Pirelli Riviera Di Rimini Round: WorldSBK Commentator Steve English’s five keys from Friday

Friday, 6 July 2018 16:53 GMT

Find out all there is to know about the opening day at Misano

Big weekend for tyres: Misano has always been one of the more abrasive surfaces on the calendar, but for this weekend Pirelli have brought a wide selection of tyres for teams to choose. Finding the best solution is a challenge for the teams and an all-new larger profile front tyre offers a solution to match the profile increase seen on the rear tyre. There is also a more rigid front tyre that should offer improved feeling for riders.
Superpole could spring surprises: After a wet FP3 session the teams and riders are slightly behind the curve for this weekend. This could allow some teams to spring a surprise, and nab a leading grid position. Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli is a circuit where it is crucial to be in the front group to ensure you minimise the time lost in traffic. At a circuit where a tenth of a second can cover rows of the grid, it is crucial to qualify well if you want to be in with a chance of race success.
Ducati looking to find their form: Misano hasn't been a happy hunting ground for Ducati of late. Despite being the most successful manufacturer at the Italian circuit, the Bologna based squad has struggled for home success. Marco Melandri's ( Racing – Ducati) Race 2 victory in 2017 was their first since 2011, and with Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati) having only a solitary Misano podium it is important to buck this trend before the summer break.
No-one knows the race pace to expect: Typically on a Friday evening, the teams and riders will know what pace they need to find on Sunday; this weekend however is very different. Lorenzo Savadori's (Milwaukee Aprilia) pacesetting time was 0.7s faster than last year's race pace, and will be unsustainable for Saturday's contest. The pace to expect from the winners will be low 1m35's, but if any rider dares to dip into the low 34's on a consistent basis they could be rewarded with an early lead before defending in the second half of proceedings.
Look to the skies...: Whilst the rest of Europe was basking in sunshine, the clouds coming in from the Adriatic Sea are being watched like hawks. There have been rain showers over the last two days, and while they have been quick to dry they could have a huge impact on the race. On Friday the conditions never deteriorated to the point where riders could gain useful information from completing laps; that could change for the race.
See if any of these turn into a reality as we head into Superpole and Race One tomorrow, all with the WorldSBK VideoPass.