There have been scant reasons for Honda to be cheerful this season in the World Superbike Championship but when two of its bikes cracked the top four in wet warm-up at Imola on Sunday there was seemingly a glimmer of hope through the gloom that a good result was finally in the offing.

Though Honda came into the final day one-man down after Leon Camier was ruled out through injury, slippery conditions in morning warm-up appeared to suit the CBR1000RR as Alessandro Delbianco on the satellite Althea Mie bike and factory Moriwaki Althea rider Ryuichi Kiyonari stopped the clock with the second and fourth best times.

However, with the Superpole race proving dry, even when the promised rain did return in time for race two it was too wet for it to go ahead.

Regarded as a missed opportunity for Kiyonari and a manufacturer that has only cracked the top ten once this season – a tenth place at Philip Island – the Japanese nonetheless accepts the decision to abandon the race was the correct one.

“I have to say it’s a pity to miss out on the opportunity to try and race in the wet as this morning, in warm-up, I felt very good on the bike on the damp asphalt and could ride quite fast. I was looking forward to trying to get an even better result in the race.

“Having said that, I understand that sometimes one has to comply with decisions that are hard on you, especially if they are taken with safety in mind. If something bad were to happen, it’s impossible to go back in time, so at the end of the day I think that cancelling the race was the right call.”

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