With the rain continuing to fall by the bucket-load, it was a delayed start to WorldSBK Race 1 at Misano, Italy. After a 20-minute delay, racing got underway in treacherous conditions but after just two full laps, the red flag was brought back out as the remain intensified. After the restart, drama unfolded all through the field, but it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who made hay whilst the sun certainly did not shine!
With the race getting underway nearly 25 minutes late, it was a frantic opening few laps before the red flag was waved. Alex Lowes was the race leader ahead of Jonathan Rea, whilst Tom Sykes and Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) were right behind. After the red flag came out, positions for the new restart would be made up by the order of the riders at their most recent timing point.
As the race got underway for a second time for a reduce 18-lap distance, it was another great start for Jonathan Rea, who had the lead ahead of Lowes again, with Sykes third and Chaz Davies up to fourth, ahead of Bautista. Haslam was sixth but one of the biggest improvers was Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK). Thunder and lightening certainly made the opening laps very frightening, but the WorldSBK warriors continued to battle.
Conditions began to deteriorate and soon, riders began to drop back accordingly, with some eventually dropping out. Lowes began to close on rival Rea and at Turn 8 with 12 laps left to go. Behind the leading duo, it was Loris Baz who had got himself up into seventh place and was now beginning to close down Alvaro Bautista. One lap later, it was Bautista’s teammate Chaz Davies who went head-to-head with Leon Haslam.
However, with ten laps left to run, it was drama out front at Turn 12, as Alex Lowes crashed out of the lead to complete a miserable set of races for the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team rider. Now, it was Jonathan Rea who had the lead back. Behind Rea, Michele Pirro (BARNI Racing Team) crashed at the same corner. Tom Sykes was now second, and Leon Haslam was third, with Davies and Bautista behind.
It was drama with nine laps to go, with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) crashing at Turn 13, completing a wretched day for the BARNI outfit. Then at Turn 8, more spills, this time with Leon Haslam at Turn 8. The British rider remounted but retired with too much damage done. Chaz Davies was now third, but a small error allowed Bautista through, whilst Loris Baz was now fifth and Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Mie Racing Team) in sixth!
A small error from Davies allowed Bautista through into third, whilst Baz eventually closed down Davies to get fourth and then, the Frenchman hunted down Bautista, albeit not being able to close him down enough to pass. The battle for sixth was raging, as Delbianco came under pressure from Melandri, with the veteran Italian getting ahead of his rookie compatriot on the front straight. Delbianco was then swallowed up at Turn 8, as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing), Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) and Yuki Takahashi (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) moved ahead.
Out front, it was Rea who took the win, his 74th win and 10 years and one day after his first at the same track. Tom Sykes gave BMW their first podium since 2013 at Jerez and Alvaro Bautista salvaged a podium after an eventful first wet race. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) took the fourth place and was top Yamaha, ahead of Chaz Davies in fifth.
Marco Melandri held on to sixth place from 13th on the grid, whilst Toprak Razgatlioglu suffered a huge crash in the final sector of the last lap. Cortese picked up seventh ahead of Yuki Takahashi, Lorenzo Zanetti (Team Goeleven) and Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) – the Argentine picking up his first top ten in almost a year. Delbianco was a career-best 11th at the flag.
The championship gap is now down to 32 points as Jonathan Rea continues to make gains on Bautista. Tom Sykes, Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri were beneficiaries of Haslam’s crash, as they all close him down – Sykes moving up to eighth overall.
The 2019 FIM Supersport World Championship took to the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” for their Tissot Superpole session, which decided the grid ahead of Sunday’s race. Under darkening skies, it was frenetic action right through the 25-minutes as championship leader Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) crashed whilst a stunning late lap from Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) saw the former WorldSSP champion take pole.
Mahias had a steady session, on the limit throughout the 25-minute encounter, constantly sliding sideways as he looked to get in a strong lap time. In the closing stages, Mahias propelled himself up the order as he stormed to pole position, giving Kawasaki their first in WorldSSP since Kenan Sofuoglu in 2017 at Portimao. Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) managed to get second ahead of his teammate Krummenacher, making for a spectacular race day. Mahias’ pole position is France’s 74th in the class.
Once again, it was an impressive showing from Hannes Soomer (MPM WILSport Racedays) who took his joint-best Superpole starting position with fourth place, comfortably finishing as top Honda. Behind him on the second row is Pirelli Thai Round winner Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA), whilst wildcard Luca Ottaviani (SGM Tecnic) took a career-best sixth place and will look to be in the fight on Sunday.
Row three features big names, with Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) heading it up. The Spaniard has plenty of experience at Misano and put it to good use ahead of Sunday’s race. Raffaele De Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse) suffered his worst Tissot Superpole of the year at his home round, whilst Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was only able to get ninth at the end of the session. The top ten is completed by wildcard Lorenzo Gabellini (GOMMA Racing).
Big names outside of the top ten include Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing), back in 12th place and Corentin Perolari (GMT94 YAMAHA) in 15th. Peter Sebestyen (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), who has taken top tens in the last two races, crashed at Turn 10 and was only able to finish 20th.
In a rain-affected WorldSSP300 Tissot Superpole session, the grid for the main race on Sunday will see a staggered approach, with those riders in Group A starting from odd grid positions in first, third, fifth etc, and even position starting slots for Group B riders, in a second, fourth, sixth etc format. With this situation, Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) took pole position ahead of Andy Verdoïa (BCD Yamaha MS Racing) and Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300) in third.
Gonzalez took to the circuit when it was dry, putting in a strong banker-lap to top Group A, before the rain began to fall with just under five minutes to go. In the Group B session, France’s Andy Verdoïa finished on top which put him in second on the grid on the combined timesheets. The Yamaha rider will look to take his first win and remain in the title fight on Sunday. Reigning WorldSSP300 Champion Ana Carrasco took third, as she looks to continue her bounce back in form.
Having been in the top five at Jerez, it was Victor Steeman (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team) who headed the second row from Group B, ahead of Indonesian rider Galang Hendra Pratama (Semakin Di Depan Biblion Motoxracing) from Group A and Italian wildcard Emanuele Vocino (GRADARACorse) in sixth, having placed third in the wet Group B. He will look to repeat Manuel Bastianelli’s (Prodina IRCOS Kawasaki) achievement from 2018, by taking a win as a wildcard at Misano.
Down the order, it will be the Last Chance Race for the likes of Omar Bonoli (Team Trasimeno Yamaha) and Tom Edwards (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team), whilst Marc Garcia (DS Junior Team) slipped to 15th and only a few places ahead of Scott Deroue in 18th for the main race on Sunday.
Despite a delay in proceedings due to the weather, it was a frantic WorldSSP300 Last Chance Race, run at the Misano circuit over 13 laps. As usual, the top six finishers go through to join the regular riders on the grid for Sunday’s main race and leading them over the line was Kevin Sabatucci (Team Trasimeno Yamaha).
Starting from 21st, Sabatucci had to work hard to get to the front of the field and at one point, he didn’t look like he would feature. However, it was a crash for race leader Bahattin Sofuoglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing by TSM) that closed the leading group up and put more value on the leading positions.
At the line, Sabatucci saw off Maximilian (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team) and Enzo De La Vega (Team MHP Racing – Patrick Pons). In fourth place was Nick Kalinin (Nutec – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki), with Jose Luis Perez Gonzalez (DS Junior Team) and Tom Edwards (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) completing the list of riders who will join the rest of the field on Sunday! Dino Iozzo (Nutec – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) just missed out and finished seventh.
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