Round 13 – Misano
The next stop on the 2019 MotoGP World Championship tour is a date at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in Italy as the Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini signals round 13 on this season’s calendar.
It’s hard to overstate the love the crowd has for their home hero from nearby Tavullia, and it’s a true spectacle to look out over the seas of yellow in the grandstands.
So will this year be a glorious homecoming for the ‘Doctor’? It could prove so, but there is some serious competition.
Starting with, of course, the main man in enemy territory: Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team).
The reigning Champion and Championship leader will want to win for the points, for the Championship fight and for the sheer competition – but it’s also always nice to take home some bragging rights. With a staggering 78-point lead despite having been beaten to the line twice in a row, Marquez doesn’t need to play it safe. There’s surely some serious motivation for the number 93 to go weapons free this weekend. So will he?
Whether he does or not, some big rivals will be ready to try and make it three defeats on the bounce. Last year’s winner Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) – the man responsible for Marquez’ loss in Austria – will be back on track on home turf after his crash out at Silverstone, and the man who took victory in the UK, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), now has a similar string to his bow after HIS last lap defeat of Marquez. They’re also second and third in the Championship, although for Rins it’s not by much – and it’s Mugello winner Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) doing the lurking in fourth. Can he get back to the form that saw him reign supreme on his first visit to home turf in factory colours? The three seem likely candidates to join Rossi and Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) in that fight at the front.
Viñales, fresh from a return to the podium, isn’t to be counted out at a track where Yamaha have shown some serious form.
But neither is Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), who crashed at Silverstone in only his second rookie mistake…and then raised some eyebrows at the Misano Test. The Frenchman was within hundredths of the lap record as he topped the timesheets, so it will be interesting to see how some extra track experience affects his incredible form. Could now be the time…?
He’ll want to get back ahead of Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and get some breathing space on Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) in the fight for top Independent Team rider as a minimum.
The Misano Test (Link to report/results) is, of course, something to take into account. FP1 is no longer first recent contact for the field and it could prove crucial – especially for rookies or those with a little less experience.
I think we have a good set-up with the bike after completing more than 150 laps in the Misano test so I’m confident that we can be strong from FP1. It was really beneficial to get those two days testing in advance of the race; it’s one of the first times I’ve been able to do that mid-season. We’ve already got very good pace and we know that we’re very strong in qualifying, so if we can just improve our race pace a little bit then I know we can be really well prepared for the final laps of the race. The circuit is pretty small, but it’s got a bit of everything which is good for us and our bike.”
Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) will be hoping so as he was close to Quartararo in the test, and the likes of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini doubtless value the track time too.
“Misano is a very special track for me, because it’s my real home race. I can see the track from my house, I train a lot at it and I really like riding it. There are always a lot of my friends and family who come to the race, and it’s always good to have them to help you relax or get you pumped-up at the right moment. It’s really positive to head there off the back of two great test days at Misano. We’re well-placed for a strong result after the work we did on the bike’s set-up, but we will see what level of grip and what track conditions we find this weekend. We can still improve in the fast corners like turns three and 11, so our set-up isn’t quite 100% ready to race just yet. We have plenty of time in practice and we know what we want to improve, so we’re hoping for a productive Friday to get us where we want to be.”
Few are going into Misano blind, and KTM also have feedback on the venue from the man who obliterated the opposition in 2016: test rider Dani Pedrosa. Will that help the Austrian factory continue their form?
Hervé Poncharal – Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Manager
“Misano will be the first of the back to back races, before we fly away for the South Asia-Pacific trip. Therefore, it is important to do well during these last two races in Europe. Misano is always an interesting place. We arrive Misano with a bit of worry in our heads, because as we must all remember Miguel was hit by another rider in Silverstone and although we thought he was physically ok after that unnecessary accident, back to Portugal he found out that there was a tendon damage on his right shoulder, still thinking it was not that bad. He had two days of treatment and flew to Misano for the test, but after just two laps it was game over, we will only know if he can ride on the Friday morning in FP1. For us this is a big setback, because Miguel since he’s back from the summer break, was riding better and better. Thanks to KTM the new improved parts gave him a lot of confidence and it was a very exciting moment for us, that unfortunately has been stopped for a while. So, we really have our fingers crossed hoping he’s going to be all fine for Misano. On the other side of the garage, Hafizh had a healthy weekend in UK, got another three important points in Silverstone and more important than anything, got I think some confidence back after the productive two days test he could do in Misano. The lap time was quite interesting and we really hope Hafizh can continue on that note. Let’s see everyone in Misano, hopefully with our two riders fit. We know also we will have a lot of guests, there will be many spectators and most of our sponsors will be there with their representatives, so let’s hope we can be at the level everybody is hoping Tech3 to be.”
At Misano, Marquez has won, Dovizioso has won, Rossi has reigned and a host of riders have form. None more so than Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team), although the five-time Champion’s current mission is recovery rather than silverware…
Tyre Talk with Michelin
The technical and precise 4,226m circuit situated close to the coastline of the Adriatic Riviera features a layout that combines slower turns, with high-speed corners and fast curves, which are coupled with a medium abrasive surface that places specific demands on the front tyres. The six left- and ten right-hand turns that travel in a clockwise direction, need a range of Michelin Power Slick tyres to perfectly match the requirements of the riders to give them and their machines best possible performance throughout the 27-lap race. The soft, medium and hard compounds that have been chosen are a symmetric front selection and a soft symmetric rear, with the rear medium and hard compounds all having an asymmetric finish with the harder rubber on the right side to manage the extra turns that head in that direction.
The Misano circuit is now the permanent home of what is known as the ‘San Marino Grand Prix’ – named after the micro-state totally surrounded by Italy – and the event has previously been held at Imola and Mugello, before finding its permanent home in 2007 when the race was re-instated on to the MotoGP calendar for the first time since 1993.
Misano’s coastal position and proximity to mountainous terrain, can also lead to heavy downpours, as have been witnessed in previous seasons. With this threat looming over the circuit, the Michelin Power Rain tyres will be available to overcome any potential wet weather. The selection will be a soft and medium symmetric front and an extra-soft symmetric and soft asymmetric rear.
The Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini will also see the staging of the third and fourth rounds of the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup as Misano becomes the first circuit to hold a double-header weekend of this new format. The ‘Energica Ego Corsa’ machines will be equipped with the Michelin Slick MotoE tyres which have been specially developed for these electric motorcycles. The single compound selection will be available as a medium front, with a soft rear, both of which will be symmetric and if wet weather arrives, then the 18-strong field will have symmetric soft front and extra-soft rear Michelin Power Rain tyres available in their allocation.
MotoGP Championship Points Standings
Misano MotoGP Time Schedule (AEST)