The opening day of WorldSBK action concluded after FP2, with action and drama aplenty in the 50-minute session. Numerous crashes were scattered throughout the session, including on Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), although he was unscathed. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was on top at the end of the day, with Rea in second and Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) in third. The Dutchman suffered an enormous accident at the end of the session, bringing a red flag out just moments after the chequered flag was shown.
Michael van der Mark was the man to beat on Friday, after a positive FP1 and topping the timesheets at the end of the day. Having won at Jerez, the former WorldSSP champion was on a mission before a huge high-side at the end of the session saw him thrown in the air, bringing out a red flag. The Dutchman suffered a right wrist fracture, concussion, and right ribs fracture and after having undergone first medical treatment at the circuit Medical Center, he was then taken to Rimini Hospital for further assessments. His teammate, Alex Lowes, completed the top five overall and was right in the mix.
The Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK duo of Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam suffered crashes on their way to second and tenth respectively. Haslam was the first crasher in the opening part of FP2, whilst Rea crashed at Turn 2 in the closing stages, having been top for the majority of the day. It was a positive day for Rea, as he goes in search of returning to winning ways and taking the battle to Alvaro Bautista.
Bautista’s day was comparably uneventful at Misano, with him being one of the few top names who didn’t crash – although he crashed during the Misano test. Bautista was quick in all of the sectors, topping the timesheets in the final sector but not featuring too prominently throughout the rest of the lap. Teammate Chaz Davies did not improve his time and finished the day in eighth overall.
Both GRT Yamaha WorldSBK riders were inside the top ten, as Sandro Cortese popped into fourth position on the combined times and made plenty of headlines, finishing as second Yamaha. Home-hero Marco Melandri was ninth on the combined times but didn’t improve his time in FP2.
A positive opening day concluded well for Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), who will go in search of continuing his pole-run from years gone-by, with seven consecutive poles in the last seven seasons. With the 2013 WorldSBK champion in the fight at the front, he looks set for a strong weekend. Teammate Markus Reiterberger was less than a second off of top slot, but back in 13th.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) had a positive day and was the second Independent rider in seventh place. With less than half a second off, Rinaldi is in the mix at his home round and primed for a good result. Fellow countryman, teammate and wildcard Michele Pirro completed the day in 12th.
With track temperatures increasing throughout the day, the World Supersport championship is warmed up nicely for on-track action this weekend. It was a sea of Italians inside the top ten, with five of them – including two wildcards – starting their home weekend in fine style. Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) completed the day in first, ahead of fellow countryman Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and teammate, Randy Krummenacher.
Caricasulo charged to top spot on day one, continuing his strong form from Jerez. The Italian, from Rimini, is at his true home weekend and will be hoping to put on a strong show in front of a passionate home crowd. Raffaele De Rosa chased him down and was flying the MV Agusta flag, as he continues his quest for a first WorldSSP win, whilst championship leader Randy Krummenacher was in third – finishing FP2 in second but not able to conquer the top two on combined times.
Former WorldSSP runner-up Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) was up in fourth place, at a circuit at which he has victories at before. He was just ahead of his fellow countryman, Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing). Hannes Soomer (MPM WILSport Racedays), who was a surprise at the front of the WorldSSP order, completed the day sixth and was comfortably the top Honda in the class.
Seventh position went to the first of the wildcards: Luca Ottaviani (SGM Tecnic). The Italian was in fine form ahead of his return to the WorldSSP grid. Fellow wildcard, Lorenzo Gabellini (GOMMA Racing), was up in eighth place and was one of the first riders to improve his time in the session. Ninth and tenth went to Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing) and Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing). Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing) had a tough day and ended 14th overall, with work to do ahead of Saturday and Sunday.
The WorldSSP300 field was back in action at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” on Friday, with plenty to look out for as the championship reaches its halfway stage in 2019. It was a dominant opening day for Group A riders, as they stamped their authority on the Italian circuit to lock-out the top six positions. Robert Schotman (Kawasaki MOTOPORT) was on top, ahead of Indonesia’s Galang Hendra Pratama (Semakin Di Depan Biblion Motoxracing) and championship leader Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) in third.
Track temperatures soared in the afternoon sessions, meaning that most of the times were coming from the morning sessions, despite rubber being laid down by the WorldSBK and WorldSSP riders in between. Schotman’s 1’50.111 was good enough to end the day on top, whilst a bright start from Indonesian star Galang Hendra Pratama in second place will get the crowd on their feet. The Indonesian rider will be hoping to achieve a first podium of the year after premature celebrations last time out at Jerez! Manuel Gonzalez’ strong start to the year looks set to continue, with a third place after the opening day.
It was a very strong start for Ukrainian rider Nick Kalinin (Nutec RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki). Just under half-a-second off the top time, he completed the day in fourth, ahead of home-hero and top Italian Omar Bonoli (Team Trasimeno Yamaha) and reigning WorldSSP300 champion Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300).
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