The official Kawasaki factory Supersport pairing of World Champion Fabien Foret and Pere Riba embark on the home straight of the 2003 seasons, with one victory achieved but other ambitions to fulfil.

In what has been an often epically competitive 2003 season, featuring an unprecedented level of factory interest, the new ZX-6RR has faced the toughest possible challenge. Despite being nearer the beginning of its development path than any other machine in Supersport racing the new Kawasaki middleweight has punched out a victory, for 2002 champion Foret, around the Misano circuit.

Victory at the third Italian venue on the WSS current calendar may be too much to expect for any particular rider and any machine in a season such as this, but the return to Italy will surely elicit an unmistakeable feelgood factor for Foret.

Foret and Riba differ somewhat in their opinions and affections regarding Imola, but each knows it will be an important race, with the season drawing to a close.

"Imola is one of my favourite tracks, maybe my favourite track, so it would be particularly nice to have a good result there," said the Frenchman, "I know we are approaching the end of the year, but I feel no pressure. The bike may be not so good for this track layout but we will all be trying our best to get a good result. We will see what we can achieve when we get there."

Riba approaches Imola with an open mind on what can be gained, even if he is at a slight disadvantage in not having raced at Imola in 2002, while he was riding in the MotoGP championship.

"I don't know how we will go," said a pragmatic Riba. "Sometimes I expect us to be able to have a good result at a certain track and it doesn't turn out that way, or we don't expect that much and we have a better finish.

"Last year I didn't ride at Imola, and I don't really like the track. There are not so many fast corners but many chicanes so there is a lot of stop and go. I am looking to the last two races of the year to have good results because it has been quite hard for us this year," he added.

Practice and qualifying take place over Friday and Saturday, with the race it self scheduled for Sunday 28.



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