PTR Honda's Sam Lowes rode a mature World Supersport race at Imola this afternoon to net second place behind winner Fabien Foret and claim runner-up spot in the championship table after leader Kenan Sofuoglu was black-flagged for ignoring a ride-through penalty.
Lowes was involved in a battle with Frenchman Foret, on the Deltafin Kawasaki, Sofuoglu, Sheridan Morais and fellow PTR teamster Jules Cluzel in the early laps but two-time champion Sofuoglu fell foul of the final chicane, going straight on and being given the ride-through for cutting the chicane. He didn't take it was forced to pit in.
"I made a good start from pole and had to control the race from the front. Fabien is a fantastic rider and he's always good at this circuit so well done to him for the win. We're getting closer and I feel good and confident. I didn't make any mistakes in the race and the bike and tyres were working well until the end. We're now second in the championship so I'm really looking forward to Assen," said Lowes.
Morais, Lowes and Foret pulled a gap on Cluzel, who subsequently crashed out, and then Morais make an error in the last chicane but remained on track, handing Lowes and Foret an opportunity to pull clear. The South African then crashed at the same corner but re-mounted to finish in tenth.
Foret, meanwhile, got the better of Lowes with ten laps to go, going past on the drop down to Rivazza and, for a change, didn't look back, taking the championship lead from Sofuoglu and hauling Lowes into second behind him. Ronan Quarmby, on another PTR bike, took the final podium spot.
Title challenger Broc Parkes came into the pits and then went back out again, eventually finishing in 20th place. Britain's Martin Jessopp was 17th.
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Post race - Lowes