As we predicted the day before, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki ZX-10RR) had absolutely no chance in the sweltering heat of Emilia Romagna on July 15th, although as usual he showed an impressively strong performance. In the sweltering heat, Alvaro Bautista was able to dominate at will thanks to his better power-to-weight ratio and significantly lower tire wear than the competition.

Yawning boredom again in the seventh round of WorldSBK

It looked like a real race early on as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha R1) and Kawasaki ace Jonathan Rea battled for the lead with the championship leader until half-time. However, you didn’t have to be a fortune teller to be able to name the clear winner before the race. Without taking unnecessary risks, Alvaro Bautista was able to take advantage of his lighter weight and the extra power of his Ducati Panigale in the last third to take the lead and immediately outperform his pursuers. Unfortunately, FIM and Dorna reliably ensured that there was no tension in the title fight this season. If a reasonable date for the round in Imola had been chosen for spring or autumn, Ducati’s opponents would certainly have had a chance in Imola. However, with the far too high temperatures in the middle of July at the edge of the Po plain, it was clear that the feather-light Bautista would not have an opponent over the full distance thanks to his less tire wear and the additional performance of his Panigale V4R.

A walk inside the park of the traditional Imola circuit was more refreshing and pleasant than following round seven of the first round of the Superbike World Championship at the Autodromo Dino e Enzo Ferrari. Here is our shot of the beautiful facility in the infield, with numerous trees providing shade, which can be very pleasant at over 35 degrees Celsius. On Sunday, the temperatures are expected to rise to around 40 degrees in the shade, which impressively underlines the madness of the season planning by FIM and Dorna.

The only surprise on WSBK Saturday – the Superpole

After Scott Redding had officially confirmed his contract extension with BMW, the Englishman was promptly the best of the blue and whites with P5 in qualifying. Directly behind them with a strong Bradley Ray on the Motoxracing Yamaha R1 and record world champion Johnny Rea (Kawasaki ZX-10RR) only in P7 were the two biggest surprises of Saturday morning. Second place on the starting grid for Ducati privateer Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing Ducati Panigale V4R) impressively confirmed that the second reduction of the season for Ducati by another ridiculously low 250 rpm had no effect whatsoever. Alvaro Bautista’s safe victory in the afternoon underlined this fact impressively. Unfortunately, the Swiss fans were not rewarded for their journey into the furnace of Imola. Dominique Aegerter as a WSBK rookie was one of the most impressive privateers at the beginning of the season, but Saturday in Imola brought him no luck. The two-time Supersport 600 World Champion only started from P12 and even had to retire shortly before the end of the first race in the afternoon. For only the fifth time this year, the “Domi Fighter” remained without points.

Xavi Vierge (HRC Honda) was the stronger of the two factory riders for the world’s largest manufacturer on Saturday. While team colleague Iker Lecuona had to give up five laps before the end of the first race, Vierge showed an impressive race with his race to catch up from the last grid position to P12. The Spaniard was relegated from 13th on the grid to the very end of the field due to tire pressure problems (© HRC Honda).

The conclusion – in front of almost empty grandstands

The completely nonsensical scheduling of the seventh round in midsummer in Italy, together with the prices, which were salted like 4 years ago, made for almost empty stands in Imola. If you have to pay more than 100 euros for the main grandstand and parking for just one day, some people prefer to stay at home in the sweltering heat. Especially when the winner is already certain from the outset, as has never been seen before in the history of the Superbike World Championship. In addition, the countless triumphs of Bautista on the Ducati have a bad aftertaste due to the more than questionable actions of FIM and Dorna. With the exception of exceptional talents like Toprak, Rea and Andrea Locatelli, the front seats were reserved for the Ducati riders. Even strong works drivers like Scott Redding (BMW), Alex Lowes (Kawasaki) and the two works Hondas were almost without a chance against private drivers like Petrucci and Bassani, not for the first time this season. Because even higher temperatures of almost 40 degrees Celsius are forecast for Sunday, the Tissot sprint race on the morning of July 16 should at most provide some excitement. This is the sad conclusion of the first run on Saturday in Imola.

No fight for victory in the WSSP 600 either

For once it wasn’t Nicolo Bulega dominating the race at will on his Ducati Panigale V2. His Italian compatriot Stefano Manzi took over on the Ten Kate Yamaha on Saturday afternoon. The toughest adversary of world championship leader Bulega in the fight for the title won ahead of Marcel Schrötter (MV Agusta) and the leader in the world championship, who was still a huge margin. Co-favorite Federico Caricasulo (Ducati) retired into the gravel bed after just one lap. The race was red flagged just before the end when Niki Tuuli and Adrian Huertas crashed. Therefore, the Finn, after having been tenth in the classification before, was no longer classified later. The reason for this was his non-appearance in the pit lane within 5 minutes. Below is our summary at the time of termination, just before the end of a day that was far too hot and not very refreshing.

Unless otherwise stated, this applies to all images (© WorldSBK).