Top Ten start for Okubo at Imola

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Hikari Okubo set his fastest lap of the weekend in Superpole 2 today in perfect weather conditions at the Motul Italian Round of the World Supersport Championship.

Okubo’s qualifying time of 1’52.594 puts him in 10th position on the grid for round 5 at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola.  Hikari said: “In this morning’s session I tried a new setting but I wasn’t happy with it so we went back to the same as yesterday.  I tried to push more in Superpole 2 but I made many mistakes.  I got my best lap this weekend in SP2 but my position is one down.  Last year I was 25th or 26th so this is better and I am happy.  I want to finish in the top 6 so I need to push more in the race tomorrow.”

Taking his spot on the 3rd row of the grid will be Jules Cluzel in 8th position after a disappointing qualifying session.    Cluzel is always strong in the race and is confident of being in the fight when it matters tomorrow.

Robin Mulhauser unfortunately had a slight technical problem at the end of his first run in Superpole 1 and was unable to do his second run so will line up on the grid for the 17 lap race in 26th position.

Hiromichi Kunikawa improved his time again by nearly a second in Superpole 1 taking him into the 55s and to 31st place.  He is looking for the best possible finish, as close to the top 20 as possible in his first race at Imola.

 

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “Good job by Hikari and his team today.  He has found his confidence again and is pushing towards the front where we want him to be.  He is in a really good position to challenge in the top ten for a top six finish in the race tomorrow.”

“That was a disappointing session for Jules in 8th.  We need to look at everything and improve the bike a bit for warm up.  The race tomorrow will be tight and exciting and I’m confident that Jules will be in the fight for the podium as he has been all year.”

“Robin has struggled this weekend and we need to find a big chunk of pace, at least a second a lap for him to fight for a points finish tomorrow.”

“Hiromichi has improved in every practice session and in qualifying.  He continues to learn the bike and the Championship.  We will continue to work with him for the best possible results.”

 

The World Supersport race from Imola will start at 11am local time on Sunday.

 

Free Practices & Superpole Combined Results

 

  1. P. Jacobsen 1’51.611
  2. L. Mahais 1’51.723
  3. C. Gamarino 1’51.795
  4. F. Caricasulo 1’51.843
  5. K. Sofuoglu 1’52.006
  6. S. Morais 1’52.050
  7. K Smith 1’52.125
  8. J. Cluzel CIA Landlord Insurance Honda 1’52.180
  9. K. Ryde 1’52.502
  10. H. Okubo CIA Landlord Insurance Honda 1’52.594
  1. R. Mulhauser CIA Landlord Insurance Honda +1.895
  1. H. Kunikawa CIA Landlord Insurance Honda +3.353