#ITAWorldSBK Misano, Saturday roundup: World Superbike, World Supersport, World SSP300
The action kicked off almost immediately at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” for the Pirelli Made in Italy Emilia-Romagna as Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed an emotional victory in front of fans in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship to claim the second win of his career, and the first on the factory Ducati.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi got a superb start as the lights went out to start the race, first passing Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) as well as teammate Scott Redding, before sweeping around the outside of Turn 1 on reigning Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).
Rea tried to defend on the outside of the left-hander of Turn 2, which forced Rinaldi around the outside of the next corner but allowed Turkish star Razgatlioglu to take advantage to briefly take the lead of the race. Soon, Rinaldi made his move on Rea to take the lead but was unable to build up a gap.
Rinaldi resisted all pressure from the six-time World Champion Rea in the first ten laps of the race, with the gap fluctuating up to a maximum of half-a-second but with Rea not able to even consider making a move on the race leader. It was a similar story throughout as the two riders looked to apply pressure to each other.
The pressure would eventually pay off for Rinaldi when Rea made a rare mistake at Turn 1, having to save a massive slide on his ZX-10RR; Rea was able to stay on his machine but lost time to Rinaldi as well as second place to Razgatlioglu, the pair around four seconds behind home hero Rinaldi. It meant Rinaldi became the first Italian winner at Misano since Marco Melandri in 2017. Rea’s podium meant he claimed his 150th podium with Kawasaki, while it was Kawasaki’s 350th race on the podium.
It meant the podium would finish with Rinaldi claiming a maiden factory Ducati victory after a difficult start to the 2021 season with his new team, with Razgatlioglu and Rea completing the podium. Redding, who initially tried to grab the lead in the opening corners of the race, was not close enough to Rea to take advantage of his error.
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) claimed fifth place on his Kawasaki ZX-10RR, just finishing ahead of Team HRC’s Alvaro Bautista after the Spanish rider showed strong pace throughout the weekend. Less than a second behind was rookie and the youngest rider on the grid, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), with Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in eighth. Bautista, Sykes and Bassani engaged in a titanic three-way battle for sixth place, with Sykes holding on until the penultimate lap of the race.
Italian rider Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) claimed a ninth-place finish after a quiet but solid race battling his way up the order, finishing ahead of the rider he replaced at Pata Yamaha as Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) completed the top ten.
After a strong Tissot Superpole session, Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) came home in 11th place while Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) battled from the pitlane, starting there after being sanctioned for a crash with Rinaldi at Estoril, to finish in 12th place. Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Leon Haslam (Team HRC) engaged in a battle for the majority of the second half of the race, with the Japanese rookie coming out on top in that battle; Nozane finishing 13th and Haslam 14th. Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) completed the points paying positions with 15th. Haslam and Gerloff were the only two riders to use the standard SCX tyre provided by Pirelli, with the other 19 opting to use the development SCX solution for Race 1.
Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Action) just missed out on a points finish at Misano, finishing just 0.161s behind Rabat in 16th place, with Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in 17th place, nine seconds behind Folger. Frenchman Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha) was 18th with TPR Team Pedercini Racing duo Samuele Cavalieri and Loris Cresson rounding out the classified finishers. Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) had been running in the top ten when he had a crash at Turn 4 at the Italian venue, meaning the British rider was unable to re-join the race.
It was a race full of tension, drama and excitement for the FIM Supersport World Championship at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” as rookie Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) claimed his second victory in as many races and took the Championship lead at the Pirelli Made in Italy Emilia-Romagna Round.
It was Aegerter who stole a march on his rivals at the start as he got a superb launch off the line, with the Swiss rider remaining at the front of the field after he secured pole position in the morning Tissot Superpole session. It was a complete contrast to Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team) and Luca Bernardi (CM Racing), who joined Aegerter on the front row, with both losing ground at the start of the race.
Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) jumped up from the second row of the grid to second place and immediately put Estoril Race 2 winner Aegerter under pressure, although the Swiss rider was able to withstand that pressure in the early stages of the race.
Gonzalez found himself being forced wide by Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) in the middle stages of the race as the Frenchman looked to move into the podium places, and although he was able to briefly jump up into third place, he found himself shifted down to fourth place by a resurgent Bernardi, who also took advantage of Gonzalez running wide to move up the order.
Once Bernardi passed Cluzel, he set about closing down Odendaal for second place while Aegerter pulled a gap on the South African rider, with Aegerter able to make it back-to-back wins following his success at Race 2, while also claiming Yamaha’s 100th victory in WorldSSP. Bernardi was able to pass Odendaal on Lap 14 in the 18-lap to move into second place, with Aegerter his next target. Odendaal had other ideas, though, and kept the pressure on the Sammarinese rider although Bernardi was able to hold on for second place.
Cluzel had no answer to Bernardi’s pace while he also had to hold back Gonzalez who was looking to move back ahead of Cluzel, with the battle ongoing throughout the second half of the race; Cluzel just about holding on by just 0.031s on a race to the line coming out of the final corner.
Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) claimed a sixth place finish ahead of 2019 Champion Randy Krummenacher (EAB Racing Time) as the Swiss rider secured his best result of the 2021 season with seventh place, after working his way through the field and battling with Can Öncü (GMT94 Yamaha) with the Turkish rider taking his best result in 2021.
Finnish rider Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Corse Clienti) finished in ninth place after battling back from two crashes in Tissot Superpole to secure a top ten finish, ahead of One Event rider Filippo Fuligni (D34G Racing) who rounded out the top ten after a strong one-off weekend for the Italian rider, although Roberto Mercandelli (Team Rosso e Nero) had crossed the line in tenth, he was demoted one place after the chequered flag after he exceeded track limits on the last lap; Mercandelli classified in 11th place.
Kevin Manfredi (Altogo Racing Team); Manfredi the highest place WorldSSP Challenge competitor in the field. Indonesia’s Galang Hendra Pratama (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) finished inside the points with 13th place, ahead of Finland’s Vertti Takala (Kallio Racing) and Leonardo Taccini (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) completing the points; Taccini claiming points in WorldSSP for the first time in his career.
Marc Alcoba (Yamaha MS Racing) had crossed the line in the points but was penalised for irresponsible riding with a four-position drop following a collision with Maria Herrera (Biblion Iberica Yamaha Motoxracing) at the final corner on the final lap; Alcoba classified in 16th place with Herrera forced to retire.
Luigi Montella (Chiodo Moto Racing) came home in 17th place, ahead of One Event rider Luca Ottaviani (RM Racing) in 18th place, while Stephane Frossard (Moto Team Jura Vitesse) and Davide Stirpe (Extreme Racing Service) completed the top 20. Armando Pontone (Bike e Motor Racing Team finished in 21st with Eugene James McManus (WRP Wepol Racing) and Federico Fuligni (VFT Racing) completing the classified runners.
Italian rider Davide Pizzoli (VFT Racing) was the first retirement following a crash at Turn 10 on the opening lap of the race, with Shogo Kawasaki (G.A.P. MOTOZZO Racing by Puccetti) crashing out on Lap 2. Massimo Roccoli (Promodriver Organization) was a retirement on Lap 3 following a crash, after the Italian was forced to start at the back of the grid following a tyre pressure infringement, while Sweden’s Christoffer Bergman (Wojcik Racing Team) retired with a technical issue in the early stages.
Matteo Patacca (Bike e Motor Racing Team) crashed out of the race at Turn 5 on Lap 5, while Raffaele De Rosa was also a retirement following his crash at the Turn 1-2 chicane. Federico Caricasulo’s (GMT94 Yamaha) re-adjustment to WorldSSP continues to be a difficult affair after he crashed out at Turn 3, while Italian veteran Michel Fabrizio (G.A.P. MOTOZOO Racing by Puccetti) also retired.
The first FIM Supersport 300 World Championship race of the weekend was a thrilling spectacle at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” for the Pirelli Made in Italy Emilia-Romagna Round with Spanish rider Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) claiming his second victory of the 2021 season in Race 1 at Misano.
Bahattin Sofuoglu (Biblion Yamaha Motoxracing) started the race from pole position and initially looked like he’d held on at the start of the race but his race came to an end on Lap 2 when Sofuoglu made contact with Victor Steeman (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team), the Turkish rider retiring from the 15-lap race. Sofuoglu had already lost the lead prior to that incident with both Tom Booth-Amos (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) and Hugo de Cancellis (Prodina Team WorldSSP300) jumping ahead; the pair battling it out for victory.
Soon, Spanish rider Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) was fighting for the lead and claimed top spot on Lap 5 of 15, although in typical WorldSSP300 fashion it did not last long when Booth-Amos and De Cancellis were able to overhaul Huertas. The lead group of five riders, featuring de Cancellis, Huertas, Booth-Amos and Steeman as well as Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki), were trying to break away but could not pull away from the chasing Koen Meuffels (MTM Kawasaki).
It meant 14 riders were separated by just two seconds as the ninth lap got underway with Huertas aiming to keep the lead he had re-claimed in the opening few laps of the race. Eventually the top six, now led by De Cancellis, were able to break away from Ton Kawakami (AD78 Team Brasil by MS Racing) in seventh place with six laps to go.
As the lead group fought with each other, the chasing group were able to re-join the lead six with Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300) now leading the group after battling up from 14th on the grid, sitting behind Italian Mirko Gennai (Team BRcorse) who also had to find his way through the field from 29th on the grid.
It meant Huertas claimed a stunning victory ahead of Booth-Amos and De Cancellis rounding out the podium places, with Huertas moving to the top of the Riders’ Championship. Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki) came home in fourth place, almost two seconds behind the podium trio, with Meikon Kawakami (AD78 Team Brasil by MS Racing) and Gennai completing the top six.
Vicente Perez Selfa (Machado CAME SBK) was in seventh place with Bruno Ieraci (Machado CAME SBK), who was forced to start at the back of the grid, finishing in eighth place ahead of Italian compatriot Filippo Maria Palazzi (ProGP Racing) in ninth and Victor Rodriguez Nuñez (Accolade Smrz Racing) completing the top ten.
Meuffels ended up finishing in 11th place in an epic four-way scrap for eighth place, with Ton Kawakami (AD78 Team Brasil by MS Racing) in 12th place. 2017 Champion Marc Garcia (2R Racing) claimed 13th place with Steeman, who had been in the lead group, in 14th and 2018 Champion Carrasco completing the points-paying positions after she lost positions in the latter stages of the race.
Teammates Alessandro Zanca (Kawasaki GP Project) and Alejandro Carrion were both penalised with a double Long Lap Penalty following a jump start, while reigning Champion Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki), Samuel di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo), Jose Luis Perez Gonzalez (Accolade Smrz Racing) and Gabriele Mastroluca (ProGP Racing) were all involved in a four-rider collision at Turn 8; Buis and Di Sora able to re-join but Di Sora retiring later on with a technical issue.
Unai Orradre (Yamaha MS Racing) had a crash at Turn 10 which forced the youngest ever race winner in WorldSSP300 to retire from the race, while Joel Romero (SMW Racing) crashed out at Turn 16 with just a handful of laps to go.