WorldSBK commentator Steve English looks forward to the Rimini WorldSBK
Round seven of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship gets underway at Misano this weekend at Misano, as we see the series return to Italy. Last month Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed a double victory at Imola, but can Ducati maintain their Italian form on the Adriatic Coast?
Last year it was a case of Misano misery for Davies, but the Welshman is well placed to put his difficult Donington Park weekend behind him. Last time out, a crash from the lead in Race One meant the 30 year old was able to fight through the pack and scored points, but a solid recovery in Race 2 led to a podium finish.
Securing a similar outcome would be a disappointment for Davies this weekend. Even though his form card at Misano isn't much to write home about - with a solitary podium to his name - it was a test here last year that really formed the springboard of Davies' success, which we saw in the second half of 2016. That included winning seven of the final eight races, which he could well repeat this season.
One of the obstacles standing in his way will be his teammate, Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). The Italian has finished on the podium three times at his home race, and after a solid start to the 2017 campaign with a string of podium finishes; his first win in his comeback to WorldSBK is nearing. Melandri grew up just an hour from the Misano World Circuit and since rejoining Ducati he has spent plenty of time testing at the Adriatic venue. He should be very well placed to fight for the win this weekend.
Last year it was double delight for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and the championship leader will once again be exceptionally strong. With a 55 point lead over his Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes - who finally claimed his first win of the year at the last round in Donington Park - Rea will be keen to build on his advantage over the next four races before the WorldSBK summer break .