So­fuoglu waves good­bye


Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark was ex­tremely apolo­getic af­ter he ran into Marco Me­landri on the ninth lap of Sun­day’s race, putting both men into the Ri­vazza gravel and caus­ing a first DNF for both of them in 2018. Dutch­man van der Mark, whose Satur­day ride to sixth had been im­pres­sive, was tucked in be­hind the Du­cati when his costly mis­judg­ment came. One third place and a crash sig­nals ma­jor frus­tra­tion for Me­landri, whose cham­pi­onship lead af­ter Aus­tralia must feel like a dis­tant mem­ory as he now sits 78 points be­hind Jonathan Rea.

On the other Yamaha, Alex Lowes didn’t fare much bet­ter with a tenth place on Satur­day and sixth on Sun­day. The English­man’s week­end started off on a sour note when he hit a false neu­tral and crashed at Tosa just nine min­utes into Fri­day’s open­ing prac­tice, los­ing cru­cial set-up time at a cir­cuit where Yamaha had al­ready ex­pected to strug­gle.

In a bid to pre­serve tyre life, the team opted for a dif­fer­ent elec­tronic map­ping mode but this neg­a­tively af­fected ac­cel­er­a­tion on cor­ner exit, forc­ing the rider to try to make up for it un­der brak­ing and mid-cor­ner. No Yamaha has fin­ished on the podium at Imola since Cal Crutchlow rode his Ster­il­garda ma­chine to third place be­hind Car­los Checa and Noriyuki Haga in 2010’s sec­ond race.

No Yamaha has taken an Imola podium since Crutchlow in 2010

Van der Mark was quick to try to make amends

Van der Mark tight on the tail of Marco Me­landri shortly be­fore tak­ing him out

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