Return to Imola for WorldSBK
The 2023 WorldSBK Championship will return to the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola in Italy this coming weekend, July 14-16, for round seven of the 12 round series.
A once regular WorldSBK venue, Imola makes a somewhat unexpected return to the calendar this season, after a gap of four years, as the circuit celebrates its 70th anniversary.
In 2019, when the championship last visited Imola, Jonathan took two race wins, his first of that season, on his way to clinching his fifth world title. In total he has scored nine of his record 118 career race wins at Imola, the most recent six in partnership with Kawasaki.
In what has been a challenging campaign at times due to current Championship rules that compromise the ultimate racing potential of the Ninja ZX-10RR, Rea is fourth in the championship rankings after six of 12 rounds.
The 4.936km Imola circuit is as unique as it is renowned, with no fewer than four chicanes of various designs and speeds. The layout backs onto the Santerno River on two sides, limiting any potential enlargement of the long, narrow paddock. The historic town of Imola is in plain view at its eastern end while the circuit itself encloses both the community-owned Acque Minerali park and some private residences inside its heavily undulating layout.
Weekend Schedule: (GMT +2)
Free Practice 1 - 10:30-11:15
Free Practice 2 - 15:00-15:45
Free Practice 3 - 09:00-09:30
Superpole Qualifying - 11:10-11:25
WorldSBK Race 1 - 14:00 (19 laps)
Warm Up: - 09:00-09:15
Tissot Superpole Race - 11:00 (10 laps)
WorldSBK Race 2 - 14:00 (19 laps)
Jonathan Rea said: “When I saw Imola was back on the calendar I was already looking forward to this one. It is a great track with a real atmosphere. You feel very close to the fans, especially with the paddock being so closely-knit and intimate. The circuit is steeped in history. It has a nice layout, undulations and some of the most iconic sections of track in the world. I am looking forward to getting there and we have good memories from 2019. With a lot of data I hope we can start Friday with a strong set-up and continue being competitive, like we were at Donington last time out. It is important to try to stay on the podium and try to score some good points for our championship battles, because we will move on to Most soon after. These next two rounds, in Italy and the Czech Republic, mark a part of the championship where we want to capitalise and be strong. I cannot wait to get stuck in.”