WorldSBK hits Misano – Halfway marker for WSBK 2016
The Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” was designed from 1969 and finished after three years, in 1972, with the beginning of sports activities thanks to a modest-sized structure. The first circuit was 3488 metres long and it was used assiduously during the Eighties: during the following decade it underwent a renovation project, which was carried out with the aim of creating a cutting-edge facility designed with an international effort. New modernisation works were carried out between 2005 – when the new circuit entrance was realised – and 2006, the year that saw Misano World Circuit closing its activities for a complete restyling that lasted for five months: after these works the length of the circuit has been increased to 4180 metres.
Other renovation works have taken place over the years including the current configuration, which took place in 2008 with the building of the new pit lane exit, a different track entrance and also at the Rio high-low. The new configuration is 4226 metres long with 10 curves on the right and 6 on the left, with a minimum width of 12 metres.
In March 2015 Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” was completely resurfaced by the Italian company Dromo, led by Jarno Zaffelli, with the laying of about 53,000 square meters of new asphalt, developed with a specific formula able to face dried salt – due to the proximity with the Adriatic Sea – and humidity. Along with the full resurfacing, several works have been made to redefine the escape routes, in compliance with the DroCAS safety calculations, including the profiling of the kerbs. The result is a much more aggressive and abrasive asphalt on the tyres than in the past, which is particularly influenced by high temperatures typical of this area that may affect the accuracy of the trajectories.
This circuit is a very curved one, with short straight lengths that do not allow riders to achieve high top speeds, instead it creates different braking and acceleration points: the most challenging section from this point of view is the next one after the Curvone (turn 11), a very fast section which is characterized by a series of right-handed turns which require a high mechanical and thermal stress on the tyre shoulder.
In 2015, the Italian track saw KRT pairing Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea split the wins down the middle, with Sykes victorious in the first and Rea in the second. The year before saw Sykes do the double, giving the man with 3 wins from the last 4 Races in 2016 good reason to be confident ahead of Round 8. With a full fifty points from Donington, Sykes is now the chaser on his teammate’s tail too, having overtaken Chaz Davies in the fight for P2 in the title. The Yorkshireman has momentum on his side.
In addition to Sykes’ wins and Rea’s podiums at the most recent round in the UK the entire KRT squad tested for two days at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain recently, with strong results for both riders. These tests should be a major help to both Rea and Sykes as they head to Misano for the start of a long run-in to the final round at Losail in Qatar at the end of October.
“Misano is a circuit that I really enjoy and it has special memories for me because I won my first ever WorldSBK race there, and last year we were able to make a 1-2. I am also excited to race there because it seems like in the last rounds we have been doing a very good job. Although we did not get a race win at Donington I feel like I rode really strongly. We had a productive two-day test in Jerez after that in which we were able to test some things for the future but also confirmed that the direction we have been going in at Sepang and Donington with bike set-up seems to be the right way. I think we can be confident that we have found a good base with the 2016 Ninja ZX-10R. I am going to Misano to try to win both races because it has been a few rounds now since I have stood on the top step of the podium.”
“I am looking forward to Misano because we have some great fans there. The circuit is tight and twisty which always lends itself to good racing. To top it off we have been successful there in the past. I also feel that I have found a little bit of harmony with the Ninja ZX-10R in recent races. I am very motivated and relaxed. We won a race at Sepang in extreme conditions and won both races at Donington despite some issues in the races, which make those wins even more rewarding. We are now carrying all that momentum forward. We also had a good test at Jerez recently, learned a lot of things and evaluated quite a lot. Some other teams have tested at Misano recently but I intend to make up for that when I get there. I am very much looking forward to Misano.”
Chaz Davies heads back to Ducati homeland after two rockier Rounds since he took an impressive and decisive double at Imola. With a DNF in Donington Race 1 and a P4 in Sepang Race 2, the Welshman’s deficit to leader Jonathan Rea went from falling to once again looking like a difficult mountain to climb. The Ducati is a machine to be reckoned with however, and the leaps forward in development for the homecoming marque mean Davies cannot be discounted anywhere. One of the most impressive performers on the grid this season, Chaz may need to take more chances to bridge the gap to Rea – but he may also be willing and able to pull them off.
Davide Giugliano is another man flying the home flag at Misano, not only for himself in his home nation but for his Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team. After a more difficult few Rounds, in Malaysia and Donington the Italian came back with a bang, proving a real challenger for victories with pace to match and rival that of British teammate Davies. With a new setup and more confidence, Giugliano will be ready to push when back on home soil on the Adriatic Coast.
Pata Yamaha are another party with a vested home interest in Misano success, with title sponsors Pata looking for glory in their home country. After a few difficult races marred by injuries for both Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli, the Pirelli Riviera di Rimini Round sees Lowes back on track and hoping to be back up in the hunt; the Brit has already tested at Misano ahead of the Round as he pushes through the pain barrier after his collarbone-breaking crash in Sepang. Teammate 2014 Champion Guintoli, after a highside crash in Imola, has a longer window of recovery and will be at Misano to support his team, but won’t yet be back on track.
Honda World Superbike Team’s Nicky Hayden will be another force to be reckoned with. A first podium in Assen was soon followed by his first victory in Sepang, and the veteran American legend also counts on a legion of experience at Misano World Circuit. His teammate Michael van der Mark is another rider who has scores to settle not with the Italian track but with the record books, as the Dutch podium-contender chases his first victory and takes on Davide Giugliano in the quest to be the first of the next first time winners.
Althea BMW head to their home track as top BMW team looking to bounce back from a difficult Donington, as rivals MV Agusta and IodaRacing Aprilia instead look to build on their UK results. With both MV Agusta and compatriot rivals Aprilia heading back home in the wake of results to have equaled their season bests – with Leon Camier and Lorenzo Savadori respectively – the fight in the top ten will as always be close. After many teams having taken the opportunity to test at Misano ahead of Round 8, some could find the odds changed somewhat in their favour as the battle to catch Kawasaki and Ducati rages on.
As the odds change behind him, the man with no need for loaded dice at Misano undoubtedly remains Jonathan Rea. On the podium in every Race and with 5 wins by the halfway point, the Northern Irishman may not count on the same steamrollering momentum as he did in 2015, but his advantage is such that he can afford to keep one eye on the long game as one podium leads to another. Points are what is counted towards titles, and Rea always scores big whilst his rivals keep increasing their bets. The reigning Champion holds.
Josh Brookes will be looking for further improvements during the practice sessions to get a better feeling with the Milwaukee BMW. The previous round at Donington Park saw Brookes take nine points, a tally he also achieved in Sepang. His best result of the season came on home soil at the season opener where Brookes claimed 13 points at Phillip Island. Brookes had 48-points from WorldSBK season 2016 thus far and is 14th in the championship standings.
Together with Pirelli SC2 and SC3 standard options, for the front two soft development solutions will be available: the well-known S1699, one of the most used solutions by the riders, and the U0176, with a compound which is located more or less halfway between a SC1 and a SC2 and which has been brought only to Assen so far.
For the rear Pirelli, due to the climate and temperatures that should be enough higher during this time of the year, decided to focus primarily on soft solutions. Together with the standard SC0 one there will be two development SC0: the new V0375, which has never been used by riders, using the same compound of the development SC0 T0611 which has been the most popular solution used in Misano last year, and theV0377, which has different structural principles than the standard SC0 but offers a better level of grip and a higher stability. If the track does not reach acceptable temperatures for using soft compounds, riders can still count on the standard SC1 that best suits to abrasive asphalt and low temperatures.
WorldSBK 2016 – Championship Standings prior to Misano
Jonathan Rea 293
Tom Sykes 237
Chaz Davies 231
Davide Giugliano 147
Michael Van Der Mark 141
Nicky Hayden 136
Jordi Torres 117
Leon Camier 97
Lorenzo Savadori 89
Alex Lowes 70
Xavi Fores 62
Sylvain Guintoli 58
Markus Reiterberger 58
Josh Brookes 48
Alex De Angelis 42
Roma Ramos 42
Anthony West 28
Karel Abraham 25
Matteo Baiocco 12
Lucas Mahias 9
WorldSSP: Experience Is the Key
Kawasaki Puccetti Racing duo Kenan Sofuoglu – reigning Champion – and Randy Krummenacher – rookie – are the two men to beat in WorldSSP running up to the Pirelli Riviera di Rimini Round. Title defender Sofuoglu once again heads the points table, and rookie Krummenacher is the first chaser in the fight to catch the Turk. In 2015, Sofuoglu was on the way to a podium finish, before succumbing to the pressure and seeing a third place slip away, meaning the reigning Champion has scores to settle with Misano World Circuit. That could prove motivation more than nerves for the Turk, as the most successful rider in Supersport history does not count on many tracks on which a big haul of points have escaped him.
Krummenacher may be a WorldSSP rookie, but the Swiss rider is in fact the most experienced in the field when it comes to Misano. After a long history in the Grand Prix paddock, the man who currently sits P2 has experienced some of his best results in the World Championship at the Italian track, including a rookie P6 in 2007 in the 125 World Championship. With a good feeling with the bike and hopes that the normally glistening sun of the Adriatic will greet the WorldSBK paddock, Krummenacher may prove the man to beat.
Last year’s victor at Misano was Jules Cluzel. Taking a commanding victory from pole position, the French Supersport veteran gained a big margin on Sofuoglu in the title and again proved his skill on his MV Agusta. Despite the bike having had to adjust more than some of its contemporaries to the new technical regulations introduced for 2016, the MV is now back up at the front and a consistent challenger once again. Cluzel, although back on the grid and already a winner in 2016, is still suffering effects from his season-ending crash in Jerez in 2015 and will need to call on the mental strength that has seen him able to return if he is to fight once again for another win. Having shown both the will and ability however, his record at Misano alone is enough for his rivals to ill afford being able to count him out, with two victories in the last two years at the track.
Honda World Supersport Team rider PJ Jacobsen is another man with a good record at Misano, having climbed on the podium in the last two Race weekends on the Adriatic coast. After a bumpier start to the season and some costly losses of points, American Jacobsen is now on a good roll of momentum as the second half of the year begins, with podium finishes more often than not. Last time out in Donington saw the number 2 bike move up into the top 3 in the title too, as Jacobsen held off Krummenacher to cross the line in second on race day. Going one better for the first time this season will be the goal, with a track he likes and a bike that is working well, and the American will be pushing hard to start cutting the gap at the top of the table.
Veteran Alex Baldolini, rookie Federico Caricasulo and Sepang winner Ayrton Badovini will be the riders leading the home charge in Italy, taking on their international rivals and each other for home glory. Lorenzo Zanetti, Jules Cluzel’s MV Agusta Reparto Corse teammate, could also be one to watch as the race winner tries to bounce back from a difficult start to the season. The FIM Europe Supersport Cup charge will be led by another local – Alessandro Zaccone – as the young Italian continues to impress and top the category for his San Carlo Team Italia squad, and sits 14th overall in the broader WorldSSP ranking – one place ahead of his teammate and compatriot Axel Bassani.
Young guns and experienced hands are sure to attack Misano World Circuit in much the same way as the riders battle for position at a track well known to many.
World Supersport 2016 – Championship Standings prior to Misano
Kenan Sofuoglu 121
Randy Krummenacher 95
PJ Jacobsen 76
Jules Cluzel 75
Kyle Smith 68
Gino Rea 65
Alex Baldolini 60
Federico Caricasaulo 54
Ayrton Badovini 49
Zulfahmi Khairuddin 40
STK1000: Poised For Adriatic Adrenaline
Italy’s Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, set to stage the Riviera di Rimini Round of the 2016 season, has welcomed the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup every year bar one since the category was inaugurated in 1999. Only the historic and legendary TT Circuit Assen has hosted more STK1000 races than Misano, which will stage its 17th this weekend.
It all started in 1999, as Italian Ivan Sala won at Misano on only his second outing in the class (it would also prove to be his last), while Lorenzo Savadori has been the man to beat in recent times with two wins in the last two years. The popular venue has become known as a traditional mid-season stop-off, almost always hosting its race in June; the only exception to this was the April gathering of 2004 – only the second of the campaign that year – while the track did not feature on the schedule at all in 2013.
The 2016 season is proving to be fervently contested. To date there have been four races, four different riders on pole position and as many riders have led races. However, the wins have been equally divided between two names: Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado and Raffaele de Rosa. The former was the Cup title winner in 2014, while the latter is the man with the momentum as he enjoys a string of nine consecutive podium finishes dating back to the Donington Park race of May 2015. Italy’s De Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team) has a five-point advantage over Argentina’s Mercado (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) while Michael Ruben Rinaldi is 35 points behind De Rosa but engaged in closely-fought combat with Kevin Calia for third overall.
Suprisingly, De Rosa is the oldest rider to have raced in the class so far this season, at the age of 29. At Misano, he will also be joined by a couple of fellow Italians serving as wildcard riders: Matteo Ferrari (DMR Racing Team) will race for the second time this season following his Imola appearance, while Fabio Marchionni (Speed Action) will start his fourth race in the category but his first in 2016; both riders are racing in the Italian Supersport Championship this year. Elsewhere, Lucas Mahias hopes to rejoin Donington podium finisher Niccolo Canepa in the PATA Yamaha Official Stock Team, after the Frenchman was declared unfit in the UK.
Once again, there is movement up and down the grid. At Berclaz Racing by MotoXracing, Tiziano Amicucci has been named as a permanent replacement for Marco Sbaiz, who in-turn takes the ride of Alessandro Simoneschi at BWG Racing.
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.