Rea remains the favourite as WorldSBK heads to Misano

Cortese & Cluzel neck & neck in Supersport

Ana Carrasco holds Supersport 300 lead

Markus Reiterberger on top of Superstock 1000 standings


WorldSBK heads to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for Round 9 of the Championship, the last round prior to the mid-year summer break, with Jonathan Rea still maintaining an impressive championship lead.

WorldSBK 2018 - Misano Preview
WorldSBK 2018 – Misano Preview

However there’s plenty of riders to keep an eye on, with the Superbike class so far crowning six different winners, with eight riders represented on the podium in the races so far, ensuring there’s plenty of action.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) heads to the destination of his debut WorldSBK victory. Taking the win back in 2009, he has gone on to stand on the top step three more times here on top of four more podium finishes.

Jonathan Rea

“Misano is one of my favourite races of the season and this year we planned a holiday before the race with my family, staying on the beach with our motor home. It sets the weekend up perfectly as I feel recharged for the last race before the summer break. The circuit is pretty straightforward and has a mix of everything. Although it’s flat, it’s still a challenge to find a compromise with set up, so we will work hard on Friday to make sure we can be competitive. It’s important to strengthen our position in the championship. Our target is to keep working the way we have in the previous races and maximise our potential.”

WSBK Laguna Seca Race Rea ImageSnap
Jonathan Rea – Image by 2Snap

A strong circuit for the 31-year-old, he will have one eye on his 75-point championship lead ahead of the nine week break. After a flawless performance around Laguna Seca last time out, his level of confidence will be strong into the ninth round of the season.

On the other side of the garage, Misano is also a strong circuit for Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) with six pole positions and four victories to his name. Mr Superpole’s record of pole positions around the 4.2km track is outstanding, as he has been unbeaten to the front of the grid since 2011.

Tom Sykes

“Misano is a beautiful venue with fantastic fans. It is great just to be part of the whole atmosphere and environment. The fans do enjoy themselves! When I get there I will settle in with a nice Italian coffee and some seafood. I head there in the knowledge that we have good information to work with. The corners give it an interesting layout with a fast section that is unbelievable. A flat-out right kink, with quite a dip in the middle. You have to get the front settled on the way in. The lap times are always close at Misano so you have to get technical and find the small differences that way.”

WSBK Laguna Seca Race Sykes
Tom Sykes

Sykes’ record is already impressive without mentioning his wins here, which amount to four from 2014 right through to last season. Taking his second win of the 2017 here last season, the British rider will be hungry for more this weekend.


TB was the master of Misano

The most impressive record in WSBK history at Misano though belongs to our own Troy Bayliss. TB scored six wins spanning from 2001 to 2007, all of course with Ducati.

Troy Bayliss at Misano
Troy Bayliss at Misano 2002

TC went okay there too!

It was also a happy hunting ground for that other World Superbike legend named Troy, that being of course TC. Troy Corser has the record for the most podiums at Misano, an incredible 16 appearances on the rostrum even besting TB’s record of 11.

Troy Corser took BMW's first pole position at Misano in 2010
Troy Corser also took BMW’s first pole position at Misano in 2010

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was the hero of Misano though last year. The Italian secured Italy’s 100th WorldSBK victory in race two with a sensational performance in front of his home fans.

Marco Melandri

“Misano is always a special round for me, and clearly my first win with Ducati scored there last year left an indelible mark in me. To race there once again, this time knowing for sure our potential, makes me really excited. I feel great physically, and I’m ready for two races that will likely be very hot and grueling. I’m sure we’ll be in the mix, and I expect a big fight given how much some of our competitors have improved lately, which only makes things more fun and exciting. I can’t wait to get back on the track.”

Marco Melandri
Marco Melandri

Taking his first victory with the Ducati team – and his first around Misano – he will hope to replicate this once more this season after some tough rounds onboard the Paniagale R. With three more podium finishes to his name in Rimini, the Italian fans will no doubt be there to support him this weekend.

Yamaha’s leading rider Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) continues to hold onto his third position in the world championship standings, despite a tough weekend around Laguna Seca with two top eight finishes. Heading back to Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli – the scene of almost his debut victory last season – he will look at rectifying this ahead of the summer break.

Michael van der Mark

“I am really looking forward to Misano! It is one of my favourite race weekends of the calendar, especially at this point of the season where we are having such strong results with the R1. I think we highlighted how much we have improved the overall package by our performance in Race 2 at Laguna, as that is a track we have struggled at in the past. Misano is different, it suits the R1s strengths and I am excited to see what we can do this weekend. The target in Misano is to get back on the podium!”

Michael van der Mark
Michael van der Mark

In 2017 the Dutchman led the way in the opening laps of race one, but tyre issues forced him to retire from the fight and the race. Salvaging a fourth in race two, the 25-year-old now has two race wins under his belt in 2018, and with one win in STK600 here he will be chasing that top spot this weekend.

Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was another rider to leave Misano disappointed last season, as the Spaniard was chasing his first victory in SBK before suffering the same fate as van der Mark, and being forced to retire.

Jordi Torres
Jordi Torres

Despite this, he was able to take a top four in the opening race and has a consistent record around Misano. Heading there this weekend with his new Italian team, he looks forward to putting in place the updates and changes made to his F4 bike.

Heading to Italy following a stunning podium finish in Laguna Seca last time out, Eugene Laverty and his Milwaukee Aprilia squad are prepared to repeat their performance around their manufacturers home circuit this weekend. Finally finding the rear grip they have spent the last season and a half searching for, Laverty was able to lead the way in the opening half of race two, and took a well earned podium.

Eugene Laverty
Eugene Laverty

Misano has been a varied circuit for Laverty in the past and having never having finished on the podium here, it could be a big ask, but with the added bonus of confidence from America his performance will be one to watch.

Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) heads to Misano fresh off the back of his best weekend yet in WorldSBK, after two top ten finishes in front of his home crowds. A boost of confidence will be welcomed on the no.45’s side of the garage ahead of visiting a track he will be familiar with from his Red Bull Rookie’s days – securing a podium.

Jake Gagne
Jake Gagne

While Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) prepares to bounce back from a tough weekend in America, but is heading to a track which hasn’t been favourable to the Brit in the past. Can he break into that top six? The last time he finished in the top six here was back in 2011, but there’s no time like the present to change this.

Sitting in 11th position in the world championship standings, Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) makes his return to Misano for the first time since 2014 with WorldSBK, and he will have some fond memories from the east coast circuit. Securing a double podium with Kawasaki in 2014, the French rider has a strong pace in Italy, which will go well when coupled with his improving pace on-board the S 1000 RR.

Loris Baz
Loris Baz – Image by GeeBee

Don’t miss out on the final WorldSBK racing action before they head into the summer break! Bikes take to the track on Friday.

Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli

The Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli was designed in 1969 and opened its gates to racing activities in 1972. In 1993 the track was extended to 4060 metres and, from 2006, went through some modernisation works including the extension of the track to 4180 metres and a change to the circuit direction, which became clockwise.

Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli

At the beginning of 2008 a new 250 metre long pit lane exit was built, requiring a modification of the “Variante del Rio”, and, afterwards, the track reached the current length of 4226 meters, comprising 1850 metres of straights, including the finishing straight of 510 meters. Today the track has 10 turns to the right and 6 to the left.

In 2015 the track was completely resurfaced with the laying of 53,000 square metres of asphalt, in addition to other changes such as modifying the ‘escape’ routes. This was done in compliance with the DroCAS safety calculations for better decelerating capacity while maintaining space for maneuvering in the event of an error.

WorldSBK 2018 - Misano Preview
WorldSBK 2018 – Misano Preview

New curbs with embedded drainage and reprofiling of existing ones, the review of the system of drainage and surface profiles were revised. Two new mini circuits were also made, the Brutapela and the Acquedotto, introducing curves with original designs specially designed for safe riding and riding schools.

The asphalt, which was developed with a specific formula to combat the effects of salt and humidity, is definitely more aggressive and abrasive on the tyres than before, combined with high temperatures which might compromise a rider’s line during the races. The track is a very sinuous one, the most challenging section is the zone after the fast “Curvone”.

This comprises of a series of right-hand corners which require a high mechanical and thermal stress for tyres when the bike is leant over, on the leaning ‘shoulder’. On the other hand, the straights are quite short and do not allow for high ‘tipping in’ speeds but require different braking and acceleration points.

WorldSBK 2018 - Misano Preview - Pirelli Infographic
WorldSBK 2018 – Misano Preview – Pirelli Infographic

Pirelli Tyres at Misano

Pirelli has brought a total of 5298 tyres, to meet the needs of all four classes which will participate in the Italian round. In addition to dry tyres, in the event of bad weather, rain tyres are always provided and, for the WorldSBK and WorldSSP categories, also intermediate tyres.

In the WorldSBK category, the riders will have at their disposal ten dry solutions, six for the front and four for the rear, as well as two supersoft qualifier tyres, one in the standard 200/60 size and the other in the bigger 200/65, to be used in the second session of Superpole.

WorldSBK 2018 - Misano Preview - Pirelli
WorldSBK 2018 – Misano Preview – Pirelli

The solutions provided for the front are four in soft compound SC1 and two in medium compound SC2. In addition to the standard SC1, those in the soft compound are the development versions W0746, which adopt a supersoft compound to guarantee a high level of grip on the front, the V0952, much appreciated by riders in all the races this year, and the brand new X0417 which presents itself in the innovative 125/70 size compared to the 120/70 used by all the other solutions.

For the medium solution, the riders will be able to choose between the standard SC2 and the development SC2 X0605, a solution with a rather rigid compound that, compared to the standard SC2, offers greater solidity and precision and should guarantee more homogeneous wear and greater grip.

As for the rear, the riders will only have available solutions in a soft compound, first of all the standard SC0. The others are development solutions: the X0175, which debuted at Brno and which uses the same compound of the standard SC0 but is in the new 200/65 size, the new X0022, also in a bigger size and with the SC0 compound but with different structural solutions compared to the X0175. Finally, the W1050, in a standard size and when compared to the standard SC0, is generally more suitable for cold temperatures.

WorldSBK 2018 - Misano Preview - Pirelli
WorldSBK 2018 – Misano Preview – Pirelli

In the WorldSSP class, four solutions for the front and three for the rear. At the front the standard SC1 and SC2 are supported by the development soft solution X0012 and the development SC2 X0582, designed to offer greater grip and more contained wear than the standard SC2.

At the rear the standard SC0 is flanked by the new development SC0 X0633, which compared to the standard solution should offer better resistance and performance consistency, and from the development SC1 X0093, designed to offer a high level of performance and limited wear, especially with low temperatures and already brought by Pirelli to Aragón and Assen.

WSBK Championship Standings

  1. Jonathan Rea 320
  2. Chaz Davies 245
  3. Michael van der Mark 215
  4. Tom Sykes 196
  5. Alex Lowes 183
  6. Marco Melandri 168
  7. Xavi Fores 154
  8. Toprak Razgatlioglu 91
  9. Eugene Laverty 89
  10. Jordi Torres 80
  11. Loris Baz 79
  12. Leon Camier 75
  13. Lorenzo Savadori 75
  14. Michael Ruben Rinaldi 54
  15. Román Ramos 49

WorldSSP

Coming to the end of a month long break, the FIM Supersport World Championship riders are ready to go back on track for the eighth round of their season ahead of the summer break, and there is still all to play for.

WorldSBK 2018 - Misano Preview - Supersport
WorldSBK 2018 – Misano Preview – Supersport

With just 19 points dividing the top four riders in the standings, every race counts and if the battles we have seen so far are anything to go by, it will a drag to the line for not only the race win, but for the title too.

German rookie Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) heads to Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli as the championship leader by two points, taking two victories so far this season on-board his Yamaha YZF-R6. His experience in Moto2 and Moto3 will stand him in good stead this weekend, with a victory in 2012 and 11 appearances around the 4.2km circuit.

Sandro Cortese
Sandro Cortese

Heading to Misano with a new bike, it will be a challenge for Cortese, but one he has relished so far this season having never finished outside of the top four in a sensational 2018.

Brno’s race winner Jules Cluzel (NRT) has been another consistent force this season, as he is has finished on the podium in the last five races – with a back to back victory. Sitting in a strong position as the season heads into its second half, the French rider is primed ready to attack.

Holding the pole, circuit and race record around Misano – as well as winning here back in 2014 and 2015 – it will take a lot of stopping Cluzel who had the pure straight line speed to take the win last time out.

Jules Cluzel
Jules Cluzel

Randy Krummenacher (BARDHAL Evans Bros. WorldSSP Team) currently sits in third position, after three tough races with his Yamaha team. His last podium finish was at Assen back in April, as the Swiss rider has been fighting off illness as well as bike problems.

Despite this, his consistent top five finishes have put him in a strong position for the second half of the season, and with two top eight positions here in WorldSBK as well as a fourth in WorldSSP, he will be hoping to bounce back.

Looking at breaking past the Yamaha’s to take a victory will be Italian Rafaelle De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag), as he continues to search for that final change to take him to the top. With four podiums this season, he is missing out on that final part to end on the top step, De Rosa will be searching for it with his home crowd, and they will certainly be an extra motivation for him.

WorldSSP Championship Standings

  1. Sandro Cortese 122
  2. Jules Cluzel 120
  3. Randy Krummenacher 105
  4. Lucas Mahias 103
  5. Raffaele De Rosa 83
  6. Federico Caricasulo 79
  7. Luke Stapleford 45
  8. Anthony West 41
  9. Thomas Gradinger 40
  10. Niki Tuuli 38

WorldSSP300

Summer sunshine, the Adriatic Sea a stone’s throw away, a two month break ahead… It would be tempting for the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship challengers to let off the throttle and go with the flow at the Rimini di Riviera Round, and take a breather before the final two battles of 2018.

WorldSBK 2018 - Misano Preview - Supersport 300
WorldSBK 2018 – Misano Preview – Supersport 300

But it’s a far cry from what most will be thinking heading to Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. But there will be no room for respite, as the up coming thirteen laps in Italy will decide the season for many a rider.

Coming under the spotlight once again, Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team) had her least successful race this season last time around at Brno, crossing the line in eleventh amidst the red flag chaos. But she’s still 20 points ahead in the standings, and a win at Misano would secure her a strong chance at taking the title fight to the end of the season. Carrasco secured the overall lead at Imola with a scintillating performance – can Italy bring her joy again?

Ana Carrasco
Ana Carrasco

She’s not the only talented Spanish rider vying for that title however. One in particular has risen to the challenge through sheer consistency, taking three podiums in the last three races. Borja Sanchez (ETG Racing) is yet to win a WorldSSP300 race, but he may not even need to.

Last year’s champion Marc Garcia averaged less than 16 points per race, and with regular rostrum finishes, Sanchez is already a huge threat. If he can secure that final push for the victory and improve his overall pace, who knows if the championship could be on its way to Galicia.

Another rider with impressive consistency this season is Luca Grunwald (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team), who sits 21 points behind Carrasco and remains a dangerous challenger, despite not returning to the podium since his last lap triumph at Assen. The German is the only rider across the field to have recorded top 10 finishes in every race so far, and is a safe bet for another good result at the Pirelli Riviera di Rimini round.

Sanchez
Borja Sanchez

At Brno four weeks ago there were three Yamaha bikes in the top 10, including the Czech Round race winner. Galang Hendra Pratama (BIBLION YAMAHA MOTOXRACING) has two victories in seven WorldSSP300 starts, as the youngster continues to get to grips with racing on the world scene. The Indonesian has been attracting a huge following in Indonesia, and could be the one to watch after the summer if he picks up another win in Misano.

One of the most marvelous facets of the WorldSSP300 championship is how ample the list of realistic race winners is (just ask Hendra Pratama, who was outside the championship top 10 before Brno). Nearly every rider can win any given race: the likes of 2017 Riviera di Rimini Round winner Mika Pérez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team), Jan-Ole Jähnig (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team), or Nick Kalinin (GP Project Team) are all tenth or lower in the standings, yet it would be foolish to brush any of them off.

Tommy Edwards has put in some scintillating rides right up with the leaders but is yet to convert that pace to podium results, let’s hope Misano is a new way forward for Tom.

WorldSSP300 Championship Standings

  1. Ana Carrasco 78
  2. Borja Sanchez 58
  3. Luca Grunwald 57
  4. Scott Deroue 55
  5. Koen Meuffels 49
  6. Glenn Van Straalen 47
  7. Dorren Loureiro 46
  8. Galang Hendra Pratama 43
  9. Walid Khan 42
  10. Nick Kalinin 33

STK1000

Five down and three to go, with one last chance to make an impression before the summer break. The European Superstock 1000 Championship heads back to Italy two months after the Imola round, and everything is still at stake. Three riders, three countries, separated by fifteen points: a thrilling contest as the Pirelli Rimini di Riviera Round awaits.

WorldSBK 2018 - Misano Preview - Superstock 1000
WorldSBK 2018 – Misano Preview – Superstock 1000

There has been some ups and downs in Markus Reiterberger’s (alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW) season so far. On a dry track, nobody has been able to match the German: three races, three poles, three wins, two of them from lights to flag. But in the two dates on the calendar that rain intervened, he’s been off the podium and never truly in contention for the race win. Which version is more likely to appear at Misano? Reiterberger will hope for the former, but watch out if the skies begin to cloud over.

Maximilian Scheib (Aprilia Racing Team) was exceptional last round in the Czech Republic, taking the lead inside the opening lap and winning his first race of the season. The Chilean has been impressively consistent since Round One, but was lacking that little boost to push him into championship contention. That came with three races now left: nine points off Reiterberger, having taken four podiums in a row, Scheib is a force to be reckoned with.

Maximilian Scheib
Maximilian Scheib

Roberto Tamburini (Berclaz Racing Team) missed a fantastic opportunity at Brno to become the new STK1000 leader. Starting from third on the grid and just ten points off of Reiterberger, a bad start launched Tamburini back down to eighth, where he remained all race. A podium in the Czech Republic would have been enough to cancel the gap between him and P1 in the standings – now, Tamburini will have to step up at his home race.

From his initial third place at MotorLand Aragon, Federico Sandi (MOTOCORSA Racing) has seen his season go progressively downhill, the gap between him and the front three increasing race by race. However, he remains fourth in the championship and within fighting distance. Also returning home at Misano, will we see a Sandi resurgence?

Two riders who probably expected more out of their season before Brno were Florian Marino (URBIS Yamaha Motoxracing STK Team) and Alessandro Delbianco (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team). Neither rider was able to fulfill their potential in the first half of the season, but at the Czech Round they both made the podium and battled in phenomenal fashion. The pair will expect to be back at the top again in Misano now that they’ve proven their worth.

Perhaps the biggest shocker of the STK1000 season so far was Matteo Ferrari (Barni Racing Team)’s cameo appearance at Imola, when the 21 year old, in just his fifth STK1000 appearance, won in spectacular fashion. Could Ferrari win again at Misano, in what will be his third wildcard appearance at the Pirelli Riviera di Rimini Round? Many eyes will be opened in the WorldSBK paddock if the Barni Racing member can do the Italian double.

Superstock 1000 Championship Standings

  1. Markus Reiterberger 99
  2. Maximilian Scheib 90
  3. Roberto Tamburini 84
  4. Federico Sandi 61
  5. Florian Marino 58
  6. Luca Vitali 52
  7. Alessandro Delbianco 35
  8. Riccardo Russo 30
  9. Gabriele Ruiu 27
  10. Matteo Ferrari 25

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