Fabien Foret has assumed the lead of the 2012 World Supersport Championship standings after a flawless ride to victory at Imola amidst a series of errors by his main rivals.
The Frenchman, who took his sole victory of 2011 at Imola, moved into a decisive lead on lap ten of nineteen after overtaking pole sitter and early front runner Sam Lowes, Foret using his experience to repeal his rival's late advances to hold on for victory.
However, while Foret and Lowes enjoyed a fairly composed race as they cleanly challenged one another, key rivals Kenan Sofuoglu, Jules Cluzel, Broc Parkes and Sheridan Morais endured torrid afternoons by comparison.
An eventful race fraught with mistakes, the first important error came courtesy of Sofuoglu who, having grabbed the lead from Lowes into the opening bend, proceeded to out-brake himself into the final corner chicane and cut across the gravel.
Crucially, however, though Sofuoglu eased off to drop himself to fifth place, officials would still hand him a ride-through penalty for not returning to the circuit within the correct limits. Continuing to circulate, Sofuoglu carried on until lap six when he was eventually black flagged.
Indeed, the last corner would prove a bane for several riders during the race, with five ride-through penalties being handed down, while Mathew Scholtz joined Sofuoglu on the black list for not heeding his punishment.
The bend was also the downfall of both Cluzel and Morais, the former crashing his Honda on lap five whilst running fourth, while the latter, who briefly led the race, lost considerable time when he ran wide on lap seven, before going on to drop his DeltaFin Kawasaki altogether at the same corner on lap fifteen.
Together with Parkes going a lap behind after entering the pit lane, Foret and Lowes commanded a substantial advantage over the remainder of the field. However, despite showing race winning credentials as he led intermittently during the first-half of the race, Lowes had no answer to Foret, who in turn hands Intermoto Step its first win as a Kawasaki operation.
The high attrition – and ride-through – rate also ensured some unexpected results further back with Ronan Quarmby prevailing in an entertaining last lap battle with Roberto Tamburini to secure his first-ever WSS podium on the PTR Honda, though the latter Lorini Honda rider might have fancied his chances of a victory challenge had he not ended the first lap in 17th.