Jonathan Rea, Eugene Laverty out to end Imola jinx
World Superbike riders Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty head to this weekend's 11th round of the championship at Imola in Italy looking for rostrum finishes in both races tomorrow.
Rea's Castrol Honda team have been developing a new ride by wire throttle system enjoyed by his rivals all season through their state-of-the-art electronic packages and, following the sanctioning of his team's new system by the world's governing body, Rea will put it to the test in race conditions this weekend.
Although never having finished on the podium at Imola, Rea is in an upbeat mood and looking forward to the challenge of having his second comeback ride since breaking his wrist at Misano in June.
"Imola has so much history attached to it and I really enjoy riding the track," he said. "But I didn't have much luck here last year with a crash in really wet conditions during superpole that resulted in a broken wrist.
"I had a really good test at Misano last week that allowed us to see the potential of the new ride by wire throttle system and although there is more work to do we'll continue to develop the package at Imola this weekend.
"Although it's early days for us yet with the new development it's a step in the right direction and I'll be aiming for two good results for myself and the Castrol Honda Team come Sunday."
On the other hand, Laverty currently lies in fourth position in the championship standings with one eye on third position currently held by defending champion Max Biaggi whose participation this weekend is unclear as he recovers from a broken bone in his foot.
Laverty and his Yamaha team are also fresh from two days' testing at Misano and the Toomebridge rider said: "It was a really positive test and we gathered plenty of useful data that should be of benefit to me in the last three rounds of the championship starting this weekend at Imola."
"I struggled with this track for a couple of years, but felt last year I was unfortunate to crash out on the last corner going for the win."
Carlos Checa can go a long way to clinching the WSB championship this weekend as he currently leads Laverty's Yamaha teammate Marco Melandri by 74 points with Biaggi a further 21 behind and then Laverty 49 adrift of Biaggi in fourth.
Meanwhile, entries for the Hillsborough Club 2011 Sunflower Trophy meeting, at Bishopscourt on October 21-22 close tomorrow with the contact number for Race Secretary Derek McWhirter 028 90 629016 or 07812 204382.