After some intense and closely contested qualifying sessions Kawasaki's many young WorldSSP300 championship hopefuls were primed and ready to fight for the race win at the old school parkland circuit of Imola. The arrival of heavy and persistent rain, however, brought about the inevitable cancellation of the planned 11-lap race today.
Championship leader Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGo Team) finished eighth in qualifying, one place up on perennial contender for trophies and titles, Scott Deroue (Kawasaki Motoport).
With Marc Garcia (DS Junior Team Kawasaki) and Robert Schotman (Motoport Kawasaki) tenth and 12th on the grid respectively there was no shortage of possibilities for a third Ninja 400 race win in succession, especially after Gonzalez had taken full points at both Motorland Aragon and Assen.
No fewer than 56 riders attempted to qualify, first in A and B qualifying heats and then - for those who miss out - the always thrilling last chance race on Saturday afternoon.
Now the entire WorldSSP300 circus has already packed its bags to go home early but they will reconvene happily for the Jerez round in Spain, between 7 and 9 June.
Mika Perez, stated: "Today we were unlucky again. After getting pole position, setting the circuit class record and showing we were the strongest, the race was cancelled due the heavy rain! Obviously I'm not happy because starting from the pole position I was in the right condition to make a good race. I was hungry to win my first race of the season but safety is the priority. The next race will be at Jerez, one of my home rounds. We tested there at the beginning of the season and I think it was very positive."
Ana Carrasco, stated: "It's a pity not to be able to make the race but the weather conditions have changed a lot from yesterday and the track was not in good condition. Apart from that, I am happy with the weekend. The team has worked very well and we have been strong in all the sessions. Thanks to all of them and to Kawasaki for the great job, we'll have to wait until Jerez to get back in the running."
Manuel Gonzalez, stated: "It was a complicated time in Imola. We were eighth on the grid, but we have pace to be in the lead. The rain on race day changed the panorama for everyone and they cancelled the race. See you in Jerez on June 7-9th."
Scott Deroue, stated: "I was satisfied with Saturday at Imola because we were able to made a step in FP3 and then in Superpole. This is a difficult track but the feeling with the bike is getting better. I had hoped to make it a good race here."