The Superbike World Championship returns to Imola, an iconic motorsport venue and travel destination with numerous visitor attractions as well as exciting track action from Bautista, Toprak, Rea and company.
Imola SBK: the return of a classic
The WorldSBK Italian Round 2023 marks the return of the Superbikes to this track, which had not hosted WorldSBK since 2019. On that occasion, Jonathan Rea ended Álvaro Bautista's run of eleven victories in a row, in what would be the start of a points comeback historical during the rest of the championship.
Imola Superbike has been a fixture on the calendar since it was implemented in 2001 until 2009, with the sole exception of 2007 and 2008.
This has led to numerous epic battles, in large part also because Imola is a demanding and technical track where the talent of the rider is more important than the mount. Surely the most veteran fans have numerous fights in their memories, especially the one that decided the title between Colin Edwards and Troy Bayliss in 2002; it was one of the most memorable of the 35 years of World Superbike history.
What to see at the Imola Superbike
The Imola circuit is an old layout, with an 'old school' drawing and with steeper ups and downs than what they appear on television. Tamburello, Tosa, Piratella, Acque Mineralle... are mythical names in the history of motorcycling and also of Superbikes. It is mandatory to visit all corners of this beautiful enclave.
It is a tradition for visitors to come to see the monument to Ayrton Senna, who tragically lost his life in the 1994 Formula 1 GP. The place is a kind of sanctuary where we can find flowers that many fans leave in memory of the Brazilian star. This space is located within the Parco delle Acque Mineralle, a park with paths, facilities, tennis courts and even a stadium. And it is that the Imola circuit is one more part of this city; in fact, there are houses that border its land and only the Santerno river that borders it separates it from the old town.
In the Imola Superbike paddock you will also find the Checco Costa Museum, located near the pit building. It brings together an important collection of racing cars, especially Formula 1.
And by the way, if you meet a cat in the Imola Superbike paddock, don't worry, he's not lost: he's Formulino. The feline 'works' in the offices of the circuit, it even has its own accreditation and Instagram account.
The cities of Imola, Faenza and Forli
Imola is a small historical city and that means that it has some important monuments. The main one is the Rocca Sforzesca, a castle currently located in the middle of the city. It was built by the powerful Sforza family, hence its name, and in its day it was the southern end of the city, as can be seen on the map of Imola made by Leonardo da Vinci in 1502. The Italian genius projected one of the first maps with an overhead view of modern times, with surprising precision in its measurements and scales.
Another of Imola's attractions is Palazzo Tozzoni, whose interior can be visited. It is a perfectly preserved example of a house belonging to the nobility during the 18th century. In the center we will also find the Duoma de Imola, that is, its cathedral. Walking through the historic center is a pleasant activity and there are numerous squares where you can stop for a drink, such as Piazza Matteotti or Antonio Gramsci.
About 15 kilometers east of Imola, following the highway that takes us to the coast, we find the city of Faenza, famous for its ceramics. In fact, it has the International Museum of said art and its historic center is a good place for a walk.
If we continue towards the Adriatic, the next city we will find is Forli. It has a good number of buildings of cultural or historical interest, where Piazza Aurelio Saffi stands out especially, which is the heart of the city.
At Ducati Superbike's home
Imola is synonymous with tifosi and the red Ducati Corse: the grandstands are packed with Aruba.it Ducati fans. And it is that the circuit is located just 50 kilometers from Borgo Panigale, headquarters of the Ducati factory. It is therefore almost mandatory to visit the Ducati Museum and the manufacturer's facilities to discover the secrets of the most successful SBK brand. They are so close to the Bologna airport that, if you arrive by plane, it is the first activity you will be able to do!
The official name of the Imola circuit is 'Autodromo Enzo e Dino di Imola'. It goes without saying that Imola is also the home of Ferrari. The Maranello factory and its many attractions are 80 kilometers north of the circuit.
And it is that the Bologna region concentrates a multitude of manufacturers of luxury vehicles: not far from Maranello is Sant'Agata Bolognese, headquarters of Lamborghini. And in this area, we will also find the Maserati, Pagani, De Tomaso factories… it really is the center of Italian style and speed.
Bologna and the Emilia Romagna region
Bologna is the capital of the region where Imola is located. A historic city that has the honor of being the seat of the first university to be created in the world, dating back to the year 1088. The university is still running, being one of the most prestigious in Italy, so almost all year round you can find many cultural activities and a lively nightlife.
Bologna is known for the reddish color of the buildings in its center, built mostly with bricks; in fact, his most popular nickname is 'la rossa'. Also noteworthy are the 24 Renaissance-era towers that still crown the center. It is a display of power by the merchants of the time to show who had more resources and influence in the city.
Another city with a tourist attraction is Modena with numerous monuments and a beautiful historic center. The Piazza Grande contains the town hall and the cathedral, while the Piazza Roma houses the ducal palace, perhaps the most important architectural work in the city. And for a curious visit, the Mercato Storico Albinelli is a good place to see and taste many of the products of the area.
The Emilia Romagna region is as synonymous with motoring as it is with gastronomy. Many emblematic dishes of Italian cuisine originate here. Obviously, the Bolognese sauce takes center stage, but be careful: the Italians call it ragù and it is always served to accompany tagliatelle, never spaghetti.
The lasagna, the tortellini, the prosciutto, the mortadella, the salami, the Parmesan cheese, the balsamic vinegar... they are all products with the stamp of Emilia Romagna. Other products may not be as well known outside their borders, but they enjoy prestige in Italy, such as the olive oil from Brisighella, a beautiful medieval town just 15 km south of Imola that is worth visiting for its beauty.
And to drink, two also famous wines from the region: the Modena lambrusco and the Sangiovese di Romagna wine. Let yourself be seduced by the cuisine of Emilia Romagna!