Italys Imola circuit provided a tough first practice session for Kyle and Team Ranieri Med on their home track.
Problems and improvements at Imola
The Imola weekend started off with a lot of positivity but that was soon cut short by an electrical problem that started in turn 3, the problem hampered Kyles progress for the first half of the first free practice session and the bike had to be returned to the pits for diagnostic work and repairs to be carried out.
Kyle was able to do just about ten laps to get familiar with the difficult Imola circuit but the lack of a full practice session certainly curtailed the early progress the team had hoped to make and Kyle ended the session in 21st position with a best lap time of 1’55 “2.
The afternoon session was held without the earlier technical problems but with the bike running it’s full race settings, Kyle was able to lower his best time by about half a second, putting in a fastest lap of 1’54 “7 .
The team had planned to attack the last lap of the race to get the best time possible, unfortunately heavy traffic out on the circuit in the final frantic minutes meant Kyle wasn’t able to improve the performance with the softer tyre, thus losing four positions in the rankings.
“Imola is a really hard track and we really didn’t need to lose half the morning with an electrical problem”
“In FP2 the bike just didn’t feel right under braking with the softer tyre. Tomorrow we’re going to change the clutch and final ratio, because we’ve got a lot of places to try and make up.”
The second practice day at Imola gave cause for hope after suffering a bad start on Friday. The team decided major changes were needed in the clutch setting to give Kyle better feeling under braking and it paid off. During free practice 3 Kyle was able to replicate the best Friday lap time while riding with very poor tyres.
Kyle was able to lower his best lap time by more than a second in Superpole 1, putting in his fastest lap time of the weekend a 1’53″6 on the final lap of the session. the time would have been quicker had Kyle not had to slow right down at the Tosa corner to avoid a collision with a slower rider.
“With the changes to the clutch setting and a few other small set-up changes, the bike was a lot better under braking which gives you confidence, you can see that in the lap time”
“We are’nt where we want to be but Imola is a very difficult track. For now we’ll settle for what we have and say that today was a good day. I hope to do better in the race tomorrow. ”
Sunday bought with it fresh optimism for Kyle and the team, who were hoping to build on the positive changes made earlier in the weekend.
Starting from 22nd on the grid, it was going to be a tall order but a place in the points was certainly attainable. Changeable weather conditions had meant a damp start to the days warm up session and everyone involved knew the race was going to be interesting.
As the lights went out, Kyle got a clean start, moving through the pack and gaining several places. Aggressive riding saw kyle claw his way out of the pack and three laps later Kyle was up into an impressive 8th position but trouble was ahead. As Kyle came into one of the turns he had to stand his bike up to avoid a stricken bike that lay in his path, this cost him several places but this wasn’t the worst of it.
With Cluzel, Sofuoglu, Krummenacher and Jacobsen fighting it out in front, a problem developed on the Puccetti machine of Randy Krummenacher, with smoke and oil mist coming from Krummenachers machine, the race was red-flagged, with the Swiss rider not allowed to take the restart.
The restart meant the race would now be an 11 lap sprint to the finish but the field had to take their original positions on the grid so Kyle was unceremoniously dumped back down to 21st on the starting grid.
Kyles second start wasn’t as good as the first, we think this was compounded by what turned out to be a less than perfect choice of tyre, parlty due to the changing track conditions but with the race closing out, Kyle was forced into more evasive action as a rider in front made an ambitious move and came to grief in the final chicane, nearly taking 4 other riders (including Kyle) with him so it hardly mattered.
At the end of it all, Kyle finished the day in a creditable 16th place, well up on his results from qualifying but just outside of the championship points.
A big thank you
After a tough weekend at Imola Kyle and the team would like to thank everyone involved for their continued support.
We’ve had some lovely messages of support this last few days from fans and supporters from all over the world. It was a real pleasure to meet with some of you at Imola, sign some bits and pieces and get to enjoy the atmosphere with you..
Maybe we didn’t get the result we had hoped for, but you guys make it all worthwhile.