Yakhnich Yamaha’s Sam Lowes will start tomorrow’s World Supersport race from pole position after out pacing rival MAHI Racing’s Kenan Sofuoglu by 0.5 seconds to clinch the number one spot on the grid in Imola.
Lowes not only bagged pole he also smashed his best lap record that he set only yesterday by nearly one second, after putting in a phenomenal 1’50.404 on his last lap. The Lincolnshire lad was leading the session after thirty minutes, but with eleven minutes to go Puccetti Racing’s Riccardo Russo stormed to the top of the timesheets, with a 1’50.962. But only thirty seconds later Sofuoglu decided it was time he made an impact and came across the line with a 1’50.902 lap.
Moments later Lowes did a 1’50.623 to go top, but when the chequered flag came out he did even better and knocked 0.2 seconds off his previous time to secure his place firmly at the front of the grid. The Englishman will not be the only Yamaha on the front row; Lowes will be joined by team-mate Vladimir Leonov who starts from third tomorrow, after putting in a lap which was only one hundredths of a second behind reigning champ, Sofuoglu.
Russo makes up the start of a distinctly Italian second row, with Pata Honda’s Lorenzo Zanetti and Kawasaki Intermoto's Luca Scassa taking fifth and sixth on the grid respectively.
DMC-Lorenzini rider Kev Coghlan had a solid qualifying session and with eighteen minutes remaining found himself on a provisional second row position with a 1’51.715 lap. But Zanetti and Scassa proved too strong for the rider and the Perthshire man will start from the third row in seventh. PTR Honda’s Sheridan Morais, who crashed out towards the end of the session, and Pata Honda’s Michael Van der Mark round off the top ten.
MCE British Superbike racer Tommy Bridewell, made his debut at Imola this week, but even though he was a second faster than yesterday’s qualifying session he could only just make it into the top twenty fastest times, and starts his race for Team Lorini in twentieth place. But he will not be the only Brit on the seventh row, ParkinGO MV’s Christian Iddon was 0.01 seconds behind Bridewell in 21st. The Englishman did suffer a technical problem at Rivazza which put a premature end to his qualifying campaign.
The session was red flagged after twenty minutes when PTR Honda’s Luca Marconi crashed, and was sent to the medical centre. But he was not the only rider to hit the gravel, Rivamoto’s Jack Kennedy fell after completing only three laps, and did not have the opportunity to improve on his 1’52.785 time which he clocked yesterday, meaning the Dubliner will start from the eighth row of the grid tomorrow.