The title fight will be raging when WorldSBK returns to major Misano
Round 3 of 2021 will be played at full speed, with the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” back on the calendar after one year in 2020
The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is ready to tackle the first “return” circuit on the calendar, with the magical, majestic Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” poised to rock the WorldSBK again. The championship fight is alive with just 36 points between the top three, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) leading Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) in round three. Misano hosted their first showdown on the final lap for victory in Race 2 in 2019, so will we see more of them?
He is a Maestro from Misano, it is the scene of his first victory; Jonathan Rea’s relentless records can be seen on most of the racetracks that are an integral part of the calendar, but Misano has an air of magic about it. With countless wins and a strong track for the ZX-10RR, Rea could be a good way to bring back memories of Misano and build on his championship advantage. On the other side of the garage is teammate Alex Lowes, who suffered a difficult Estoril lap and was plagued by bad luck. He has a good record at Misano, but it will be his first experience in racing on the Kawasaki.
It was the scene of one of his first assaults on WorldSBK victory and he gave it his all, although in 2021 it feels like Toprak Razgatlioglu will leave no stone unturned in his pursuit of a first win in 2021. Razgatlioglu’s Race 2 podium in 2019 may seem a distant memory, but the last time WorldSBK raced at Misano, it was the headlining duel with Rea that stole the show and got the fans going. After three podiums in Estoril and only top 6 positions this year, Toprak wants to taste the victory. Local hero Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) is heading for his first home race in the WorldSBK paddock after a best race in fifth place in race 2 in Estoril and is the best Italian in the overall standings – he could place a strong outside bet of a. his good result?
The Ducati factory team of Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi is on their way home eager to hit back after the bitter disappointment in race two at Estoril and will try to do all of their tests before the season to use in Misano so that it counts come racing action. Redding, who retired in race 2 with seven laps to go at Estoril in the heat of battle with title rivals, has never ridden a WorldSBK bike at Misano so it will be a voyage of discovery this weekend; Teammate Rinaldi has WorldSBK experience and the warmth of the home fans who cheer him on. Will it be a Misano master class after a mixed Estoril?
The brand new BMW M 1000 RR has yet to conquer everything, but Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) has been full of action and occasionally a pleasant surprise in the top 6 so far this year. He continued his adaptation to his Yamaha motorcycle from previous years and so far had the racing advantage over his teammate Tom Sykes. Sykes himself is making his return to Misano, happy territory for BMW, having given them their first podium in 2019 when they returned to the championship as a factory performance. Both van der Mark and Sykes have good records in the Adriatic which they want to strengthen in the coming races.
It’s another new experience for Team HRC and the Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR-R SP as the bike and factory team first visited Misano. After a disastrous start to his weekend in Estoril with three falls on Friday, Alvaro Bautista managed to arouse good feelings with the bike throughout the race by scoring a top ten hat trick from 18th on the grid. He won his first premier-class MotoGP ™ at Misano in a final-lap showdown in 2012 and was a 2019 WorldSBK race winner for Ducati. For Leon Haslam (Team HRC) he is hoping to return to the company after a relatively modest first two rounds in the top ten.
Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) always lives on the support of Ducatisti and the Italian passion and returns to Misano aboard the Ducati Panigale V4 R with the aim of building on his first podium in 2021 last time in Misano. He’s caught in combat, however, with Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) bringing it to him as they battle to become top independent. Although Gerloff looked like he had better pace, mistakes cost him dearly. They are not only fighting for the top independent, but for the title as a whole, with Gerloff in particular showing a brilliant pace in the first two rounds. One driver who is in some shape is Eugene Laverty (RC Squadra Corse) who showed really good potential at Estoril. Since I’ve never driven the BMW to Misano, this weekend in Italy will be a new experience and a new learning curve.
Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) leads the rest of the fights for the independents and especially the rookies and wants to shine at home, while Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) is also hoping to continue to make it in WorldSBK after two top ten finishes to find out on a route he knows well. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) put in a stunning Gaerne Estoril lap and will hope to replicate it at Misano, a track where he has a solid record with podium finishes in WorldSSP. Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) tested at Misano and was quite impressive on the first two laps, while behind him Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing), Isaac Viñales (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) and Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha). Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and teammate Samuele Cavalieri want to collect points for the first time in 2021.
Championship status (after race 2, round 2)
1. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki (110 points)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ENG) Yamaha (75 points)
3. Scott Redding (GBR) Ducati (72 points)