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2018 WorldSSP Imola Italy - Imola

11 maggio 2018

GRT Yamaha Dominate on Friday at Imola

GRT Yamaha Dominate on Friday at Imola

The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team were a cut above the rest on Friday at a hot and sunny Imola, Round 5 of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship. Local hero Federico Caricasulotreated the Italian fans as he ended the day on top of the combined timesheets with a stunning 1:51.190. There was hardly anything to separate him from his teammate and current WorldSSP Championship leader, Lucas Mahias, as he topped FP1 and finished Friday in second overall after setting a 1:51.241, despite missing most of FP2 due to a minor technical issue. European Supersport Cup rider Alfonso Coppola also showed superb progress as he got to grips with the Yamaha YZF-R6 around the iconic Imola circuit for the first time, ending the day in 29th overall.

Caricasulo has been waiting all season to race in front of the passionate Italian fans, with the 22-year-old relishing the chance to put on a show at his home round and he did just that. Getting straight to work in FP1 he showed scintillating pace, ending the session in the hot and humid conditions in second place after setting a 1:51.442 to finish just 0.201s behind his teammate at the top. In the afternoon's FP2 he went even quicker, showing excellent skill and bravery around the technically challenging Imola circuit to improve to a 1:51.190, ending the day on top of the combined timesheets to ensure his automatic progress into Saturday's SP2 and sending the Italian fans home happy.
Reigning WorldSSP Champion - and current championship leader - Mahias was just 0.051s behind his teammate in second after he also showed incredible pace throughout the day. The 28-year-old French rider leads the overall standings by one point and after a tricky last couple of rounds he flew out of blocks in FP1 to set a sensational 1:51.241, topping the session from his teammate Caricasulo. At the start of FP2, he suffered a minor technical issue that meant he had to push his bike back to the pits, an exhausting feat in the stifling heat and humidity at Imola. After his exertions, he did not quite have the energy to try for a hot lap, instead choosing to spend the rest of the session on used tyres and work on his race pace. Despite not improving his best lap time during FP2, his pace on older rubber was impressive and his time from FP1 was good enough to secure second overall and join his teammate in SP2. Having rediscovered the feeling with his GRT Yamaha R6, Mahias will head into Saturday confident there is more to come and looking to record his third pole position of the season.
European Supersport Cup rider Coppola is also racing at his home round and the 20-year-old Italian continued to show the progress that has been his trademark in 2018.  It was the first time he had ridden the Yamaha R6 around the physically demanding Imola circuit after stepping up from WorldSSP300 last season and he applied himself superbly, improving every time he took to the track. He ended FP1 in 29th after setting a 1:55.979 and then in the afternoon's FP2 he impressively managed to improve by over a second to record a 1:54.874. This saw him end the day in 29th overall and he is confident that after studying today's data with his team he will be able to make even more improvements on Saturday. Check out Friday's combined practice results.
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team return to action on Saturday morning at 9:15 am (CEST) local time for FP3 at Imola, with qualifying scheduled to start at 2 pm.

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