2010 World Superbike Preview: Imola

Written by Dan Evon, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

The 2010 World Superbike series enters into the penultimate round this weekend at Imola, and the race for the top is beginning to get interesting. Leon Haslam has slowly chipped away at Max Biaggi’s lead, and is now within 58 points of the season leader.

Biaggi looked like he was running away with the title after a series of double victories, but four consecutive races without podium finishes has allowed Haslam to move back into striking distance. Biaggi doesn’t need race wins at Imola, but he may have to find the podium if he wants to keep Haslam at Bay.

If Biaggi can finish ahead of Haslam in both races at Imola, he’ll be able to clinch the WSB title this weekend.

“As I already said, at Imola I will be a reckless book keeper. I’ll battle without ever holding back but, at the same time, always bearing in mind the rankings situation and the importance of every single point. Experience teaches me that, to win the World Championship, I need to be constantly focused, never leaving anything to chance,” said Biaggi. “This is why, even more than the other weekends, it will be so important to find the best setup right from the first practice. Imola is a track with a few too many bumps, so we’ll have to work hard to stay in the positions that count.”

Haslam needs to find the top of the podium this weekend, but he can’t be reckless. A DNF would give Jonathan Rea the opportunity to slide into second place. Rea has four race wins this season, one more than Haslam, and is coming off of a 1-2 result in Germany. Rea may not be able to catch Biaggi, but he is definitely a threat to second place.

The action in the Supersport division is even tighter. With just two races left, Kenan Sofuoglu and Eugene Laverty will be fighting for all available points this weekend to get the advantage in the championship round.

Sofuoglu has a 12 point advantage going into the event at Imola, but that could be wiped clean in just one race. Third place rider Joan Lascroz was in the battle for the championship, but an injury that put him on the sidelines sees his third place spot in peril. If Chaz Davies can rack up 31 points in the next two races, he’ll complete the podium for the 2010 World Supersport Championships.