Kyle was optimistically looking forward to this the 5th round of the Championship at the famous Italian circuit of Imola, where so many Champions have conquered before. This proved to be a nightmare of a weekend for Kyle and the team, but a lot of lessons may have been learnt by all.
Kyle was mid-pack during both the Friday free practice sessions and it was during these sessions that the first experience of his weekend’s nightmare began when he crashed heavily on some oil which was left from an earlier Superbike crash of Michael Van De Mark’s machine. This crash damaged his machine heavily and also totally wrote his helmet off which did a tremendous job in protecting Kyle.
This didn’t deter Kyle from trying to recover what he could from this really bad crash and during qualifying he set the fastest lap in Superpole 1 with a lap time of 1.52.4 minutes taking him through to Superpole 2, now up against the best of the grid; Kyle managed in this qualifying session to finish in 9th position with a time of 1.52.5, starting on the grid alongside Kyle Smith and French rider Jules Cluzel.
On the Sunday raceday the World SSP 16 lap race finally took place after the second World SBK Race in the afternoon, following an initial race start delay and two interrupted races earlier in the morning – due to red flags, after incidents had left debris and oil on track, this race was now reduced to a 11 lap sprint!
In the initial race Kyle had a good position on the first lap after an excellent start and was in a strong position of 7th when this first race stoppage was implemented. After around 15 minutes the machines went out again and this now reduced lap race Kyle didn’t quite get the same start and was swamped as they set off the grid for the first lap, he came around in 14th place but by the time this race was stopped on the 3rd lap due to a three bike crash and one of them being Rolfo who had previously crashed in the earlier race, Kyle was already up to 10th in the field.
So with the 3rd attempt of the race now being put back due to TV scheduling of the main Superbike race, Kyle prepared himself for the re-run again of this incident packed field of machines and with having done all these previous laps, Kyle & the team had now exhausted the choice of tyre for the next attempt to complete this Italian round of the Championship.
Kyle & the team had no choice but to put a hard compound tyre on the bike and with the very hot conditions, this wasn’t really the choice which they would have gone with, but it was all that was left under the tyre rules which are implemented by the organisers.
As Kyle set off he had another excellent start and during this first lap he was actually battling with his own team mate Turkish five times World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu and was up to a strong 6th place in the pack this was looking good, but the hard compound tyres on Kyle’s bike were struggling for grip and as Kyle came around to the start & finish straight for the second time, the back tyre lost its grip and spat Kyle off, with the remaining pack narrowly missing Kyle as they sped away from the corner.
Kyle wasn’t to be the last in yet another incident packed race with the Flying Fin Niki Tuuli being one of the later riders to depart from his machine in the final stages of the race.