Stefano Manzi notched up a dominant double WorldSSP victory on home soil as he out-lasted title rival Nicolo Bulega in sweltering conditions at Imola.
Though he had to work harder during the first-half of the race compared to a comfortable performance on Saturday that saw him lead from the opening lap all the way to the flag, once Manzi had reeled in and overtaken initial leader Bulega, he sprinted clear to win.
Amid unusually high temperatures for its time-slot, it was championship leader Bulega that looked to have stolen a march on the opposition after getting the hole-shot into Turn 1.
Keen to make up for finishing a distant third in race one, the Aruba.it Ducati rider quickly pushed on, establishing a lead of more than two seconds over Manzi, who couldn't stay with his title rival initially once he'd dispatched of Yari Montella for second.
However, the gap would start to come back down once Manzi got into a rhythm on the Ten Kate Yamaha, hauling him back onto the tail of the Ducati Panigale V2 by lap seven.
Once there, Manzi wasted no time in relieving Bulega of the lead, squeezing up the inside through the second part of the Villeneuve chicane.
From here, Manzi began to circulate in a pace Bulega steadily fell away from, before taking advantage of the extended margin behind him to protect 20 points for second instead.
As such, Manzi was free to escape away to victory, the Italian taking the flag for the third time this season with a +7.1s margin back to Bulega in second place.
A double success for Manzi, coupled to a modest second and third for Bulega, means the margin between the two riders has come down towards the former. Bulega still leads the way, his advantage now 41 points over Manzi.
Behind Bulega, Yari Montella notched up his second WorldSSP podium in as many rounds with a steady run to third place. The Barni Ducati rider had some fortune to thank though Federico Caricasulo and Bahattin Sofuoglu both crashed out of third in separate accidents at the same corner two laps apart.
Caricasulo was the first to fall, literally, the Italian dropping his Althea Ducati at the Variante Bassa to complete a damaging double DNF from two races he started on pole, while Sofuoglu, having only just scurried up the inside of Montella coming into the chicane, low-sided into retirement shortly afterwards.
Indeed, in a race of high attrition that saw almost as many retirements as there were race finishers, Adrian Huertas bounced back from being caught up in Niki Tuuli's crash on the final lap of Race 1 to secure a fine fourth as the best of the Kawasakis, while Raffaele de Rosa prevailed in a tight four-way battle for fifth.
Jorge Navarro followed him home for sixth to equal his best result of the season, while Valentin Debise picked up seventh on the last lap from Marcel Schroetter who, having already lost time by running off at the Variante Alta, was then punished for a wild move on Navarro for sixth that sent him wide and down to eighth at the flag.
2017 WorldSSP Champion Lucas Mahias brought home solid points in ninth place after getting the better of YART Yamaha's Tom Edwards, who secured his best result of the season in tenth.
Only one of the four Brits would make it to the flag as John McPhee scored a solitary point for 15th, while Tom Booth-Amos, Tarran Mackenzie and Harry Truelove failed to reach the flag.
Imola WorldSSP | RACE 2 RESULTS
|2023 Italian WorldSSP | Imola | Race 2 Results | Rd. 7 of 12]|
|1||Stefano Manzi||ITA||Ten Kate Racing||Yamaha R6||17 Laps|
|2||Nicolo Bulega||ITA||Aruba Racing WorldSSP||Ducati Panigale V2||+7.188|
|3||Yari Montella||ITA||Barni Spark Racing||Ducati Panigale V2||+9.804|
|4||Adrian Huertas||ESP||MTM Racing||Kawasaki ZX-6R||+15.370|
|5||Raffaele de Rosa||ITA||Orelac Racing Verdnatura||Ducati Panigale V2||+17.370|
|6||Jorge Navarro||ESP||Ten Kate Racing||Yamaha R6||+17.636|
|7||Valentin Debise||FRA||GMT94||Yamaha R6||+18.088|
|8||Marcel Schroetter||GER||MV Agusta Reparto Corse||MV Agusta F3 800 RR||+18.387|
|9||Lucas Mahias||FRA||Puccetti Racing||Kawasaki ZX-6R||+35.110|
|10||Tom Edwards||AUS||YART||Yamaha R6||+36.576|
|11||Andy Verdoia||THA||Yamaha Thailand Racing||Yamaha R6||+40.049|
|12||Filippo Fulgini||ITA||Evan Bros. Team||Yamaha R6||+40.254|
|13||Max Kofler||GER||D34G Racing||Ducati Panigale V2||+43.139|
|14||Alvaro Diaz||ESP||Arco YART||Yamaha R6||+46.829|
|15||John McPhee||GBR||Vince64 by Puccetti||Kawasaki ZX-6R||+51.140|
|16||Luke Power||AUS||Motozoo Racing||Kawasaki ZX-6R||+58.038|
|17||Adam Norrodin||MAL||Petronas MIE Racing||Honda CBR600RR||+1m 13.041|
|DNF||Maiki Abe||JPN||VFT Racing||Yamaha R6|
|DNF||Harry Truelove||GBR||PTR Racing||Triumph STR 765 RS|
|DNF||Luca Ottaviani||ITA||Extreme Racing Service||MV Agusta F3 800 RR|
|DNF||Tarran Mackenzie||GBR||Petronas MIE Racing||Honda CBR600RR|
|DNF||Tom Booth-Amos||GBR||Motozoo Racing||Kawasaki ZX-6R|
|DNF||Stefano Valtulini||ITA||ProDina Racing||Kawasaki ZX-6R|
|DNF||Federico Caricasulo||ITA||Althea Racing||Ducati Panigale V2|
|DNF||Bahattin Sofuoglu||TUR||MV Agusta Reparto Corse||MV Agusta F3 800 RR|
|DNF||Emanuele Pusceddu||ITA||J Angel by Edafos||Yamaha R6|
|DNF||Federico Fuligni||ITA||Orelac Racing Verdnatura||Ducati Panigale V2|
|DNF||Glenn van Straalen||NED||EAB Racing||Yamaha R6|
|DNF||Anupab Sarmoon||THA||Yamaha Thailand Racing||Yamaha R6|
|DNF||Nicholas Spinelli||ITA||VFT Racing||Yamaha R6|
|W||Niki Tuuli||FIN||PTR Racing||Triumph STR 765 RS|
|W||Yuta Okaya||JPN||ProDina Racing||Kawasaki ZX-6R|
|W||Apiwath Wongthananon||THA||Yamaha Thailand Racing||Yamaha R6|
|W||Oliver Bayliss||AUS||D34G Racing||Ducati Panigale V2|