CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Hikari Okubo pulled it out of the bag in Free Practice 2 today at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Italy with 9th position on the combined timesheet taking him straight to Superpole 2 tomorrow.
In a session that was punctuated by two red flags due to incidents, Okubo improved on his time set in Free Practice 1 earlier in the day by nearly a second and is in good shape for a strong qualifying performance tomorrow. Hikari said: “I am happy. In FP1 I did not have a good lap time or position. In FP2 I tried hard pushing but when the session was red-flagged I could relax and think about my riding and my bike settings. At the re-start I was cool and following a fast rider so I could get a good lap time. I am very, very happy, tomorrow in SP2 I want top 6.”
Jules Cluzel concluded the first day of practice at Imola in 3rd place with the strong time he set in the morning session and is determined to start the race on Sunday from the front row of the grid.
Robin Mulhauser finished the day in a disappointing 25th position. He will work with his crew to analyse where he needs to improve and be much stronger tomorrow.
Hiromichi Kunikawa’s first time at the technical Imola circuit saw him 32nd on the timesheet at the end of the opening day. He crashed at the very start of FP2 and despite losing this tracktime he was over a second quicker when he went back out.
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “It was a really good session for Hikari and is sure to boost his confidence after the disappointment at Assen. Hopefully he will be able to build on this tomorrow in qualifying. Jules had a small crash and lost momentum so we made some changes that were maybe not in the right direction. That session didn’t work out but we are still confident for tomorrow and a front row start for Jules. It was a disappointing day for Robin. We need to work with him to improve because he is a lot better than 25th. It is Hiromichi’s first time at Imola and he is still learning the track. He has improved today and we want to keep this going in the right direction.”
Free Practices Combined Results
- K. Sofuoglu 1’51.647
- F. Caricasulo +0.456
- J. Cluzel CIA Landlord Insurance Honda +0.548
- K. Smith +0.584
- L. Mahias +0.625
- S. Morais +0.698
- P. Jacobsen +0.868
- C. Gamarino +0.922
- H. Okubo CIA Landlord Insurance Honda +0.988
- A. Zaccone +1.043
25. R. Mulhauser CIA Landlord Insurance Honda +2.648
- H. Kunikawa CIA Landlord Insurance Honda +4.916