With just one round remaining before the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship plunges into their summer break, there’s all to play for as Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli hosts round nine, and there are plenty of riders to keep an eye on. With 2018 providing fans with six different winners, eight podium finishers and enough drama to last a full season, riders aren’t on their holiday’s yet and action is about to begin.
As always, all eyes will be on Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), as the three time world champion 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. 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. His 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.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was the hero of the weekend last year, as he secured Italy’s 100th WorldSBK victory in race two with a sensational performance in front of his home fans. 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. 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. 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. 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. Whilst 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.
Don’t miss out on the final WorldSBK racing action before they head into the summer break! Bikes take to the track on Friday at 09.45LT (+2 GMT), before Saturday’s full schedule of Superpole at 10.30 and Race One at 13.00. Lights go out for the final time this July on Sunday at 13.00, and no rider will give in.
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. 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. 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.
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.
Follow all the sensational WorldSSP action as it goes down to the line, with lights going out for the race at 11.30LT (+2 GMT).
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. 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?
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.
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. And what about Kevin Sabatucci (PROGP Racing) or Manuel Bastianelli (PRODINA IRCOS TEAM), both returning after strong wildcard appearances at Imola? The field is talented, the bikes are even and the pace is electric: in WorldSSP300, it ain’t over until it’s over. Bring on Misano.
Follow all the on track action around the 4.2km circuit, as bikes take to the track from 11.45LT (+2 GMT) on Friday, before Saturday's Superpole at 11.30 and the lights go out for the race at 14.20 on Sunday.
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.
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.
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.
Keep up with all the STK1000 on track action throughout the weekend along the east coast of Italy, ahead of the race start at 15.15LT (+2 GMT).