Day one of the Prometeon Italian Round was a busy affair as riders reacquainted themselves with the iconic Autodromo Enzo e Dini Ferrari di Imola. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team) emerged as the fastest rider, topping the combined practice timesheets. Despite carrying an ankle injury, Rinaldi claimed the top spot with an solid final flying lap.
The Kawasaki Racing WorldSBK Team experienced some drama as Jonathan Rea suffered a crash at the final corner but managed to continue and complete 15 laps. However, it was his teammate, Alex Lowes, who stole the spotlight with a late charge, securing the second position.
Garrett Gerloff and Loris Baz of the Bonovo Action BMW team had an early incident but were able to return to the track, with Gerloff taking third in the combined standings.
Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) and Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team) also showcased strong performances at home finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
Championship leader Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team) only finished in eighth place overall as he focussed on finding his feet on a track he hasn’t raced on since 2019.
P1 | Michael Ruben Rinaldi | Aruba.it Racing – Ducati
“This morning, I felt strange with the bike. After the crash at Donington Park, I spent almost one week in bed. I trained a bit but only in the pool, to try and not lose too much energy. But this morning, on the bike, the effort I had to make was pretty demanding. I was able to ride pretty quick, even if the feeling wasn’t good.
We worked to improve the bike for this afternoon and actually, it worked. I was able to lap quickly but every time there was a red flag, so it looked like I was just eighth, eighth and eighth! However, my potential was much more and at the end, we kept pushing with the used tyre; I didn’t put a new tyre. I was quite impressed with the time I was able to do. I had ten laps on the tyre and I did the best lap at the end. The feeling is getting better and better and I am quite happy about my riding on the bike.
Talking about how he physically feels after the first day, Rinaldi didn’t shy away from being tired and kept his hopes for Saturday coy: “I feel quite tired as I didn’t train in a proper way because of the crash at Donington, but FP2 was much better. So, I think that tomorrow I’ll have to take pills for the pain in my ankle because today, I took nothing, just to understand where I was with the pain. At the moment, I feel pretty bad with the ankle and it’s a foot I use a lot because I use the rear brake. I need to be without pain. I can do it for many laps without the pain but after one day, I don’t feel that good. I don’t want to make plans, I just want to try and find happiness with my bike again.”
WorldSBK Combined Results after FP2
1. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’47.128s
2. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.151s
3. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) +0.326s
4. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +0.420s
5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.464s
6. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.533s