“I'm disappointed that I couldn't run with Sébastien”
Yamaha Motor Germany rider Kevin Curtain will go in to next weekend's final world Supersport round with an 18-point advantage after finishing third at Imola today.
The race was won by championship rival Sébastien
Charpentier (Honda), who needed to beat the Yamaha man to keep his title defence alive, but Curtain's sensible ride to his ninth podium of the season keeps him in the driving seat for next weekend's race in Magny- Cours.
The Imola event proved somewhat less exciting than most of the year's previous Supersport races. From the lights it was Charpentier's team-mate Kenan Sofuoglu who led the race, riding in formation with his team-mate until the Frenchman unsurprisingly took the lead with eight laps remaining.
Behind them, Curtain struggled for traction and rode a lonely race, with five seconds of tarmac ahead and behind him for much of the race. Yamaha Team Italia's Gianluca Vizziello, winner of the previous weekend's Italian Supersport championship race at the same venue, had a great race to secure the best result of his world Supersport career, crossing the flag in fourth place.
Broc Parkes, team-mate to Curtain in the Yamaha Motor Germany squad, rode heroically to bring his YZF-R6 home in sixth place, just one month after receiving serious injuries in a crash at Assen. The Australian was still in considerable discomfort from his injured neck and ribs, but rode a determined race to bag 10 points that could prove vital in deciding his final championship position.
Massimo Roccoli made it four YZF-R6s in the top ten, bringing his Yamaha Team Italia entry home in tenth. Spain's David Checa finished 12th on the Yamaha GMT94 R6.
The series will now be decided next weekend at the last round of the year in Magny- Cours. Curtain goes to the French Formula One circuit on 187 points, with Charpentier on 169. Parkes will be looking to reclaim third place at the circuit where he gained his maiden world Supersport win 12 months earlier. The Australian currently lies eight points behind third placed Sofuoglu, on 129 points.
Kevin Curtain (Yamaha Motor Germany): "I did the best I could with what I had but we just didn't have enough rear grip to challenge Sébastien and Kenan today. I don't know what it was, if it was the temperature or the tyre, but it made it a long hard and lonely race. I'm disappointed that I couldn't run with Sébastien today but if you'd told me at the start of the season that we'd be going to the final race with an 18 point lead I'd have taken it like a shot. We did a professional job today and we've now got to do more of the same at Magny-Cours next weekend."
Gianluca Vizziello (Yamaha Team Italia): "I got off the line really well but I made a mistake when I changed into second and this lost me a lot of time and places. After that I pushed hard and just found a good rhythm. I was able to run the same lap times as the guys in front of me so there is a little disappointment as you never know what I might have been capable of had I got away with the leaders. Anyway, I am very happy and I would like to dedicate the result to my team, who have worked very hard for me."
Broc Parkes (Yamaha Motor Germany): "I just got on and pushed as hard as I could and tried to stay at the same pace for the whole race. The guys in front of me were a little bit quicker, a bit more than I felt comfortable pushing, so I powered on at my best pace and felt good in the middle of the race. I could see Vizziello in front of me and he was making some mistakes. But I had no stamina at all and found it hard to change the bike from side-to-side in the middle of the chicanes. I think I will be a lot better next weekend but, considering the circumstances, I'm quite happy with today's result."
Massimo Roccoli (Yamaha Team Italia): "I wanted to get a good result for my fans today but I went into the race knowing that it would be difficult because we struggled to find a good set-up in practice. I'm now looking forward to Magny- Cours. It is a challenging track and I will be doing my best to get back up to fifth in the championship."
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