As WorldSBK 2017 reaches the halfway mark the battle intensifies with Misano the next stop
The 2018 Superbike World Championship reaches the half way point of the season, tensions are as hot as ever. Pushing their rivals to the limit, the heat is on as the battle for the title intensifies.
With the Rimini coastline the destination for the seventh round of the season, Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli is a historic setting for the WorldSBK championship and with the passionate Italian fans it’s a favourite of many. 4.226km of sweeping corners await as the paddock gets set for another sensational instalment in the Pirelli Riviera Di Rimini Round. Below are some interesting statistics ahead of the Misano round.
161 – At 161,783 kph, last year’s was the fastest ever pole at Misano.
76 – The number of podiums for Ducati riders at Misano – an all-time record. The Italian manufacturer has 71 at Assen.
48 – Misano has hosted 48 WorldSBK races so far, and this weekend will equal Donington at 50 – third overall. Only Phillip Island (53) and Assen (52) have hosted more races.
28 – This is the track in which a single manufacturer has won the highest number of races: Ducati won here 28 times. Next up is also Ducati, with 25 wins at Assen. The best value for another team is 15 from Kawasaki at Donington.
27 – The number of podium finishes here for the two Troys: Corser (16) and Bayliss (11) at Misano. They are the only ones in double-digit podium figures. Among the current riders, Rea leads with 6.
12 – Ruben Xaus is the only rider who won here starting outside the top-10 grid spots. In 2003 he recorded the double, starting from the 12th grid spot twice.
11 – Ducati holds only two poles less than the sum of all its rivals (13). Curiously, the last two poles at Misano for the Italian manufacturer didn’t come from the works team: in 2009 Jakub Smrz recorded pole for Guandalini Racing, while in 2004 the Ducati poleman was Steve Martin for D.F.Xtreme Sterilgarda.
11 – Ducati was the sole winner here for 11 straight races: from 2001 Race 1 to 2006 Race 1. Andrew Pitt (Yamaha) broke the streak, taking his only WorldSBK win in 2006 Race 2.
8 – Eight years ago, double World Champion Jonathan Rea took his maiden WorldSBK win at this track. 45 more and two World Championships have since followed.
6 – Troy Bayliss is the most successful rider in Misano, with 6 wins spanning from 2001 to 2007, all scored with Ducati. The second place (4 wins) is shared by Max Biaggi and Jonathan Rea, the latter being in the position to equal the record this year if he secures a double victory.
6 – Another Troy leads the standings for poles at Misano – Corser – with no less than six. His last one, in 2010, was of particular significance as it was the last of his 43 poles (an all-time record) and the first one for BMW. Tom Sykes – with 5 poles under his belt – can equal Corser’s Misano record this year.
6 – Kawasaki have won the last six races here, the second best string at this track. This equals the one set by Ducati from 1994 Race 2 to 1997 Race 1, and in the six races run here from 1991 to 1993. The record run stands at 11, set by Ducati from 2001 Race 1 to 2006 Race 1.
6 – The last six wins here have been from British riders (3 Sykes, 3 Rea, in this order): the best string for any country in this track. The previous record had been set by Australia, with 4 in 2006-2007 (Bayliss/Pitt and a double by Bayliss).
1 – There is only one rider in the current field who has qualified from pole at Misano: Tom Sykes, 5 times. He has recorded pole in each of his last five race weekends here.
Looking to add his name in the history books of WorldSBK at Misano it Italian Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), hopeful of impressing his home fans for the second time since his return to WorldSBK.
“I’m very confident ahead of this round. I feel good, both physically and mentally. In the tests done at Misano we gathered some important data, despite not having been able to completely solve the issues we’ve encountered at Imola and Donington. I think the team has done a great technical analysis afterwards and devised some solutions that can help me improve my performance, so I feel optimistic and refreshed. The weather will be very hot, so it will be difficult for everyone during the races. Our rivals will be very competitive, but Misano is a good track for the Panigale R so I’m ready to battle.”
Standing on the podium in race one at Imola, Melandri continues to look for improvements on board his Panigale R and with three podium finishes at the San Marinese circuit – his last one back in 2014 with Aprilia – it will be an intense weekend for the Italian veteran. Consistently finishing on the podium so far in 2017, it will be a big ask for the the 34 year old can bridge the gap to the front.
Ducati team-mate Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) has his third key weekend in a row ahead of him; following his team’s home race at Imola, to his home race at Donington Park last time out and now another home round for the Italian manufacturer.
“I feel good heading into the second Italian round of the year. The home fans’ support is always worth a lot: it’s humbling, enjoyable, and gives you an extra motivation. We have yet to step on the podium at Misano and we need to put it right because we always had the pace there. Last year we were particularly strong, but the ball just didn’t bounce our way as we crashed and then were pushed off the track during the races. The testing was good, we just need to put together a few bits and pieces but our window has been defined and we won’t make any radical changes. We defined a couple of potential directions to try and that’s where we’ll start from in FP1”.
Thriving off the pressure around Imola, the British rider put in a stunning performance to secure the double victory, but can he repeat this around Misano? At a circuit the 30 year old is yet to win around in WorldSBK, it will be a tough challenge for Davies.
The true home hero of the weekend is San Marinese rider Alex De Angelis (Pedercini Racing SC-Project); hailing from Rimini, the 33 year old secured a best result of fourth at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli back in the Moto2™ class in 2011. De Angelis has had a difficult start to the season in 2017, but the Kawasaki rider will be pushing with the support of his home crowd on board his ZX-10RR.
Despite the Italian passion surrounding the Pirelli Riviera Di Rimini Round, it is impossible to count out the Kawasaki Racing Team duo of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes. Championship leader Rea has won the last three races at Misano, on top of taking on victory with Honda in 2009.
“After spending some time at home soaking up the Isle of Man TT vibes I’m really excited to arrive in Misano, especially after our test there a couple of weeks ago. Now we have a good understanding of how the bike performs in different temperatures. We are even better equipped than before to build a solid base after focusing on conserving our tyre life, and that gives me some more confidence. Misano is a circuit that means a lot to me as I took my first ever WorldSBK race there, and I always hang out after races in the local area for a small holiday. I love everything about this race; the atmosphere, the circuit, the fans, the food and the beautiful beaches up and down the coast.”
With eight victories so far in 2017, the Northern Irishman will take some beating along the San Marinese coastline. But with ‘Mr Superpole’ sitting on the other side of the Kawasaki Racing Team garage, there will be a hard fight around the 4.2km circuit. Sykes has taken pole position in the last five years around Misano, and finishing in second position in both races last season he will no doubt put up a strong fight. In fact, Kawasaki have won the last six WorldSBK races at Misano., three for Sykes, and the most recent three going to Rea.
“We have been coming closer to where we want to be and at Donington we had a great performance, despite not winning race two. In race one we did what we had to do, and had good speed. In race two I got boxed in and it was not until lap seven that I got through. From then on my speed was really good. I was very disappointed to miss out but luckily we moved straight on to the Misano tests. The boys kept working hard and I have to say I left the tests very happy, with a lot of information and mileage done. Considering my previous physical condition I was very happy to do 100 laps on day one of the tests and just over 50 on day two. Finally, I feel I am going to Misano ready to step-up my game and enjoy it more, focusing on getting more points and overall performance.”
Securing his eighth podium in the class last season, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) has fond memories of Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, and still reeling from his fourth position at Donington Park which saw the Dutch rider miss out on a podium on the final lap, van der Mark will be hunting for redemption in Rimini. Making some strong steps with his YZF-R1 machine at the Misano test just two weeks before the seventh round of the season, can van der Mark make his podium debut of 2017?
Michael van der Mark
“I’m looking forward to Misano. We had such a good test there, nearly 180 laps, and it really felt like we made a step forward. It’s also good for me to arrive at a track where I have ridden with the YZF-R1 before, so we don’t start have to start from zero. The weather is looking perfect, so we can just focus on working on race pace from Friday, and my aim is to get on the podium.”
Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) heads home for the second time of the season, and will hope to bring some improvements with his RSV4 RF machine following a tough start to the season. With two victories to his name around the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in the European Superstock 1000 championship as well as two top six finishes in the WorldSBK round last season, will the home crowd spur on the Italian?
Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) continues to search for that all important set-up change with his new Fireblade, and with his team continuing to race with the late, great Nicky Hayden in mind it will be another testing Round for the factory Honda team. The two day Misano test allowed the German rider to continue to work on his set-up, but he will still be searching for more results around Misano. A circuit he has stood on the podium at in the past, it will be another learning curve for Bradl.
“Misano is going to be a good race for us and I hope the recent test will help us to be more competitive this weekend. It’s a track that I really like because it’s a good mixture of fast corners and slow sectors, so I hope with the data we were able to gather during the test we will go some way in making a step forward and so move closer to the front of the field. This last month has taken its toll on all of us, but we will do our best to stay focused and do a good job.”
Fresh off the back of a consistent weekend at his home round of Donington Park, Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) will now look to impress in his teams second home race of the season, as he continues to make steps with his Italian machine. MV have a varied history around Misano, and with Camier’s best finish of a top six at Misano, it will be interesting to see how his pace can develop over the weekend.
Raffaele De Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team) will be hoping to draw on the pace he is beginning to build on his S 1000 RR. The Pirelli Riviera di Rimini Round will mark his second round in front of his home fans, and with a strong history at the circuit it will be important for him to take confidence into a WorldSBK Round.
Bikes roll out on track at 08:45LT for WorldSSP Free Practice, with WorldSBK Race One lights going out at 13:00LT on Saturday. Don’t miss any of the action from Round Seven of the sensational WorldSBK Championship.
WorldSBK Championship Standings
Jonathan Rea 260 Kawasaki
Tom Sykes 205 Kawasaki
Chaz Davies 185 Ducati
Marco Melandri 137 Ducati
Alex Lowes 121 Yamaha
Michael Van Der Mark 102 Yamaha
Xavi Forés 99 Ducati
Leon Camier 84 Mv Agusta
Jordi Torres 72 Bmw
Eugene Laverty 58 Aprilia
Román Ramos 57 Kawasaki
Stefan Bradl 48 Honda
Pirelli solutions for WorldSBK and WorldSSP classes
For this round Pirelli decided to rely on solutions already well known by the riders, and which they have already successfully tried during other rounds of the current season, especially in Imola and in Donington.
For the WorldSBK class Pirelli brings six slick solutions, three for the front and three for the rear. For the front, riders will have available the SC1 (soft) and SC2 (medium) standard solutions, together with a third option, the development SC1 V0952 solution.
This features the same compound as the standard SC1 but with different structural solutions, which have been the most used front solution in Race 2 both in Imola and Donington Park.
As for the rear, in addition to the standard soft SC0, the development V0602 solution, very popular with the riders in Race 1 in Imola and in Donington Park, will also be available. As a third option, especially for the first sessions or in case of low temperatures, the V1199will also be available, an SC1 development solution with particular structural characteristics.
As for WorldSSP class, there is five dry solutions, three for the front and two for the rear. For the front, in addition to the standard SC1 and SC2, the V1267 development SC1 is also confirmed, featuring the same compound as the standard SC1 but with a different manufacturing process.
For the rear, the riders will have the chance to choose between the standard SC0 and the V1201 development SC1, (the development solution in medium compound) which made its debut in Motorland Aragon and brought to Assen and Imola.
This last solution features the same compound as the standard SC1 but, compared to it, should be able to guarantee better mechanical resistance with low temperatures.
Pirelli 2016 Statistics for Misano Circuit
Total number of tyres Pirelli brought: 4802
Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the WorldSBK class: 6 front and 7 rear
Number of tyres available for each WorldSBK rider: 40 front and 39 rear
Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the WorldSSP class: 5 front and 4 rear
Number of tyres available for each WorldSSP rider: 26 front and 21 rear
Superbike Best Lap Awards won by: Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team)in 1’35.507 (Race 1, 6th lap) and by Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) in 1’35.165 (Race 2, 2nd lap)
Supersport Best Lap Awards won by: Federico Caricasulo (Bardahl Evan Bros. Honda Racing), in 1’38.968 at the 16th lap
Temperature in Race 1: air 24° C, asphalt 43° C
Temperature in Race 2: air 22° C, asphalt 38° C
Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tyres: 272 km/h, by Alex De Angelis (Iodaracing Team), Jordi Torres (AltheaBMW Racing Team) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) respectively at 1st,10th and 1st lap
Maximum race speed reached by the Pirelli DIABLO™ Supercorsa tyres: 242,2 km/h, by Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing Verdnatura) at 8th lap.
World SSP – Will Mahias break Sofuoglu’s charge?
Rolling into the seventh round of the season, the FIM Supersport World Championship takes the fight to the world famous Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, a circuit set alongside the stunning Rimini coastline and a fan favourite.
Nearing the half way point of the season, the battle for the title intensifies as Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) continues on a stunning run of form. One man looking to stop him is current championship leader Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), who has kept a hold onto the lead for the last four rounds and shows no signs of slowing down.
This season has already shown that anything can happen – so what will the Pirelli Riviera Di Rimini Round bring?
Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) has now taken three victories in a row in the WorldSSP series but is firmly set on only riding for wins and not with the championship in mind.
Re-signing with the Italian squad for 2018, it’s clear the Turkish rider is happy with his ZX-6R machine and heads to Misano with a confident feeling – it’s a circuit he has taken two victories around and crossed the line with a comfortable margin last year. Despite also being a strong circuit for his rivals, Sofuoglu is never deterred by the pace of those alongside him and will be out to continue his winning form in San Marino.
World championship leader Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) has made it clear of his desire to win in the series, as he has watched his lead diminish to now only 30 points, with Sofulogu slowly chipping away. Despite this, it’s important to note how consistency is key in the ever competitive class and as the Frenchman heads to Rimini – where he secured the STK1000 victory last season, meaning he will certainly be one to watch.
Undisputed record holder around Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) is continuing to look for that all important first victory of the season following a tough start.
With two podiums secured so far in 2017 – one last time out at Donington Park – Cluzel will hope to add to his two victories so far in Rimini. A circuit he is proven to have a strong pace around, there will be a high level of competition but the level of determination will be even higher for the 28 year old.
Donington Park brought a tough run for American PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) as he was forced to retire from the re-started race. However with some time off to recuperate on top of a two day private test around the Rimini circuit, Jacobsen will be hoping to be able to be up and fighting for the victory, as he will work towards bringing a similar pace to last season.
Locked in the fight for the victory in 2016 around the 4.226km circuit, and now with an Italian machine he will be battling for not only his third podium of the season but also some home glory.
Italian fans play a huge part in the atmosphere of the Pirelli Riviera di Rimini, and the desire to impress in front of the home crowd is one which stretches even further for the Italian riders. 2016 rookie Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) put on a stunning show last season but was unable to make the chequered flag.
With a varied record so far this season, Round seven of the championship could be the young rider’s time to shine on board his YZF-R6. Meanwhile Alessandro Zaccone (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) will be fighting for top European Supersport Cup honours in front of his home crowd, as the inner-championship battle continues.
Keep up with all the sensational WorldSSP action from Misano as the action kicks off on Friday at 08.45LT with Free Practice one, ahead of the Race on Sunday at 11.30LT.
WorldSSP Championship Standings
Lucas Mahias 105 Yamaha
Kenan Sofuoglu 75 Kawasaki
Sheridan Morais 68 Yamaha
Jules Cluzel 55 Honda
Pj Jacobsen 55 Mv Agusta
Roberto Rolfo 43 Mv Agusta
Kyle Ryde 41 Kawasaki
Federico Caricasulo 35 Yamaha
Anthony West 32 Yamaha
Luke Stapleford 30 Triumph
Hikari Okubo 29 Honda
Niki Tuuli 27 Yamaha
Christian Gamarino 25 Honda
Michael Canducci 24 Kawasaki
Kyle Smith 24 Honda
Decha Kraisart 20 Yamaha
Aiden Wagner 17 Honda
Kazuki Watanabe 17 Kawasaki
Jack Kennedy 15 Triumph
Thitipong Warokorn 13 Kawasaki
Hannes Soomer 13 Honda
Nacho Calero 10 Kawasaki
Rob Hartog 10 Kawasaki
Lachlan Epis 10 Kawasaki
Coppola closes in on WorldSSP300 title fight
Five Rounds in and the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship has already thrown up some stunning racing action, and unpredictable championship contenders to boot.
Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) looked to be the man to beat in the opening rounds, but following two tough rounds the championship is wide open once again, as the class continues on its stunning inaugural season. Offering the chance for youngsters to get involved in world championship racing for the first time, it won’t be one to miss out on at the Pirelli Riviera Di Rimini Round.
Italian Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) took his Yamaha YZF-R3 machine straight to the top at Donington Park, securing the gentleman’s set in the UK; pole position, fastest lap and the race win. As the fight boiled down to a final lap scrap the 19 year old kept a cool head and was victorious over the line ahead of his rivals, igniting his championship charge.
Now sitting just two points behind Deroue, Coppola heads to his home ground of Misano – a circuit which Yamaha’s have a strong history around and with some local knowledge it will be hard to slow down the young Italian.
Flying the flag for Honda, Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) was back on the podium in the UK following a few rounds of bad luck, but the Spanish rider finish outside of the points only once.
Clearly running a strong pace with his CBR500R following some strong qualifying performances, the 18 year old has been unable to convert these into podium finishes in the last two rounds but Donington changed all this, and he narrowly missed out on securing his debut victory after a final lap battle. Hoping to take this momentum through to Rimini, Perez needs to build some consistent results in order to stamp his authority as a clear championship contender.
Championship leader Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) has undergone a tough few rounds following such a stunning start to his campaign, as he was fast becoming the man to beat in the new series.
However a tough weekend at Donington Park saw the Dutch rider unable to qualify above the third row meant a fight through the competitive pack was a tough ask for the 21 year old. However with only a two lead and heading to Misano, a track he has competed at in the past, it will be interesting to see how Deroue brings the fight in front of the passionate Italian crowd.
With 15 Italian riders lining up on the grid for the very first WorldSSP300 race held at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, it could be anyone’s guess who will take the victory in front of the passionate Italian fans come race day. Riders will prepare for battle at 14:20LT on Sunday, and it won’t be a race to miss.
WorldSSP300 Standings – Top 15
Scott Deroue 68 Kawasaki
Alfonso Coppola 66 Yamaha
Marc Garcia 51 Yamaha
Mika Perez 42 Honda
Borja Sánchez 39 Yamaha
Dorren Loureiro 32 Yamaha
Daniel Valle 30 Yamaha
Ana Carrasco 25 Kawasaki
Giuseppe De Gruttola 24 Yamaha
Paolo Grassia 22 Kawasaki
Glenn Van Straalen 20 Honda
Robert Schotman 17 Yamaha
Mykyta Kalinin 16 Yamaha
Paolo Giacomini 16 Yamaha
Alex Murley 15 Yamaha
Rinaldi looks to home ground to fight back for STK1000 title
Tension it heating up in the European Superstock 1000 Championship as the fight rumbles on into the fifth round of the season, and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) is no longer on top. With Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) continuing to develop and mature on his green machine, the fight is well and truly on in Rimini.
Just minutes away from the San Marino coastline, Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli boasts many positives for riders and with 16 corners packed into the 4.2km track it will be the setting for many intense battles throughout the 37 rider field.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) put in another stunning performance to dominate around the historic Donington Park Circuit, and now leads the championship standings by an impressive nine points.
Getting into a comfortable rhythm with his ZX-10R, the young Turkish rider made it his third podium position finish of the season, and now heads to Misano ready to fight off the Italian’s as they battle in front of their home crowd. Securing a top four finish in Rimini last season, as well as having a podium history to his name, Razgatlioglu will have momentum behind him at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.
Heading into the fifth round of the season, Italian Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) will be hoping to impress his home fans for the second time this season.
Securing the victory in front of his home fans around Imola in May, he will be hoping to repeat this success along the Rimini coastline, despite Misano World Circuit being one he has struggled around in the past. But with the boost of the home crowd behind him, we could be treated to some stunning battles in the STK1000 championship.
French fighter Florian Marino (Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team) has taken consistent podiums throughout the 2017 season so far, and is currently sitting in third position in the championship standings but is yet to take his first victory.
Seeming to struggle around the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in the past, Marino will have a tough weekend ahead of him. However in the unpredictable class anything can happen and the Yamaha rider will be looking to find any advantage possible.
Keep up with all the sensational STK1000 racing action around the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, with the race at 15.15LT on Sunday.
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