Niccolo Canepa and David Salom head to the fourth round of the 2014 World Superbike Championship at Imola split by just a single point at the head of the 'EVO standings' following the Italian's strong performance in Assen.

Though Salom has scored in each race this season on the factory supported, EVO-specification Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R, Canepa's 12 point haul for finishing tenth twice in the Netherlands has seen him eke ahead by a single point on the Althea Ducati.

Indeed, Canepa and Salom have emerged as the riders to beat in the EVO category, with their closest rivalry coming from Leon Camier, who missed the opening round, and Ayrton Badovini, who can't compete on paper due to Alstare Bimota's ineligibility to score points.

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As such, Canepa and Salom venture to Imola with little to choose between them and both expecting to go well in Italy.

"I am taking on the Imola round challenge more motivated than ever," said local favourite Canepa. "The two victories at Assen and the first place in the EVO standings have given an enormous strength to me and the team.

"Imola is one of the historic circuits of Italian motorcycling. I feel at ease on this track having achieved good results in the past. My goal is to be of course top of my class and to defend the lead in the standings. At Imola there will be many fans of mine and I will try not to disappoint them"

"I think Imola will be a good track for our bike, because it can make quick changes of direction on it through the chicanes and it is very manoeuvrable," added Spanish rider Salom. "Also, when you exit the chicanes and corners you have good power and our bike is quite fast down the straights.

"For sure it will be difficult in Imola for me because my right hand is still not 100% and Imola has a lot of hard braking areas, plus many ups and downs. In general the circuit is very physical. But I am improving all the time and it will be better than Assen. I have confidence because to be riding a Kawasaki at Imola is a very good position to be in."

As they did at Motorland Aragon, the EVO riders will make use of Pirelli's softer specification tyre to help bridge the gap to the championship class bikes.