All four Yamaha riders are hoping for better conditions in Imola than they experienced four weeks ago in Assen, where snow forced the cancellation of Saturday afternoon’s schedule and saw both feature races contested on the Sunday.
The Dutch fans who braved the bitterly cold conditions were rewarded with a superlative performance from home hero van der Mark, who secured his first podium finish of the 2019 season with third place in Race 1. In Race 2 van der Mark secured Yamaha’s best result of the season to date, getting the better of a battle with reigning World Champion, Jonathan Rea, to finish second. It’s a performance that the Pata Yamaha rider is keen to repeat this weekend in Imola, a track that hasn’t been a particularly good hunting ground for him in the past.
Lowes heads into the Imola weekend looking for a return to the podium, having narrowly missed out in Assen, where he twice finished fourth. With four podium finishes to his name already this season, Lowes is the leading Yamaha rider, with the 28-year-old Briton currently lies third in the championship standings with 126 points, a position he is keen to consolidate with three strong race results this weekend in Italy.
Having struggled with set-up issues in Thailand, Aragon and Assen, GRT Yamaha’s Melandri heads into his home race weekend in a more confident mood, following a limited but positive two-day test at the Autodromo dell'Umbria in Magione. Imola has been a successful track for Melandri in the past and the veteran Italian heads into this weekend determined to rediscover the form that saw him finish on the podium in the opening race of the season in Australia.
A 240 km/h crash in qualifying last time out in Assen left Cortese nursing an injured right shoulder and forced the reigning Supersport World Champion to ride through the pain barrier to collect points in both races. During the four weeks since Assen, Cortese has been in full recovery mode, undergoing physiotherapy on the shoulder injury in a bid to be fully fit for Imola. The German rider is confident that his recovery has been successful and that the shoulder won’t give him any problems aboard the GRT Yamaha R1, as he targets top ten finishes this weekend in Italy.
The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola hosted its first motorcycle race in 1953 and in the intervening years has become a firm favourite with riders and race fans alike. Located 40km East of Bologna, the circuit is named in honour of the founder of Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari, and his son Dino. Fast and technical, the 4.936km track combines high-speed turns with a number of chicanes in a layout that challenges both riders and machines and is one of the few circuits on the WorldSBK calendar that runs in an anti-clockwise direction.