Sun, sea… and so many astonishing races to celebrate
The Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli has gifted racing fans from the world over a near endless supply of fantastic memories for the best part of the last three decades. A dashing circuit with stunning scenery to boot, let’s look back at the key moments from the past five years – with all of these races available to watch in full on WorldSBK VideoPass.
2014 – Sykes’ final foreign Double
Tom Sykes has not scored a double win outside of Donington Park since Misano, 2014. Consider for a second the Yorkshireman’s incredible performances at so many circuits since then and let it sink in: five years since Sykes pulled off a clean sweep away from the UK.
It is perhaps more incredible when you consider how insultingly superior he was on this weekend. Races 1 and 2 both saw the then-reigning world champion stroll to a five-second gap over teammate Loris Baz, with the rest of the field a few seconds further away. Pole, the fastest lap of the weekend, every lap led (excluding the three conditioned by Davide Giugliano’s jumpstart) – utter domination.
2015 – The Emperor is back
Is there a greater high than retiring as a World Champion? The answer is yes: returning three years later and proving that you’re still the man to beat. That’s what Max Biaggi did back in 2015.
The racing bug never quite left the two-time WorldSBK champion after retiring in 2012. He made Aprilia aware of that after becoming their test rider; the Italian team were happy to oblige. Two wildcards were set up, the first of them on home soil. FP1 began… And Biaggi went straight back to where he belonged: P1 by nearly half a second over the rest. Then he did it again in FP2.
Sunday’s races did not go as smoothly (two 6th positions), but by then the 44-year-old had nothing left to prove. It’s may be a cliché, but it rang true here: form is temporary, but class is permanent. Long live the Roman Emperor.
2016 – Rea joins Team Ten
Over a thousand men have started a WorldSBK race. 75 have actually won one and 41 of them did the double at some point. But that have actually gone on to dominate a weekend on 10 different occasions? Just three: Carl Fogarty, Troy Bayliss and, from June 2016, a certain Northern Irishman whose tally has since risen to 22.
This was the weekend where Jonathan Rea, still a one-time World Champion, truly began to place his name amongst the greats. Race 1 saw him hold off Tom Sykes for 21 full laps (scraping ahead by a mere 0.090s), while the roles were reversed in Race 2, with the reigning champion finally surpassing his teammate with four laps to go.
2017 – Last lap carnage
“No way, absolutely no way!”. Tom Sykes’ exclamation after the race is perhaps the best – or only – way to sum up what happened on this sunny June afternoon. Where to start? Michael van der Mark’s stunning run before a tyre issue knocked him out of the lead? The incredible three-way battle at the front during the final laps?
Or, simply, that chaotic, quite unreakl final lap – with Marco Melandri crashing out, Chaz Davies following suit a few turns later, Rea unable to avoid the carnage and running over the Welshman’s back, and Tom Sykes taking an unlikely win from fourth. Adrenaline, elation, fear, disbelief – all of racing’s emotions contained inside ninety seconds.
2018 – Two to watch for the home crowds
Setting WorldSBK aside, Sunday was a grand day for the Rimini regulars in 2018, thanks to two men: Federico Caricasulo and Manuel Bastianelli. The former was already a two-time WorldSSP race winner yet had fallen just short in all of his previous home rounds. Not this time: Caricasulo led from lap four and secured a joyous Misano win, ahead of fellow countryman Raffaele De Rosa and the Italian-blooded Sandro Cortese.
A few hours later in WorldSSP300, there was another cause for celebration. Manuel Bastianelli, a rider who had scored just four points in the entire 2017 season, entered the Riviera di Rimini Round as a wildcard… And won spectacularly. The 19-year-old is back full-time this year and is yet to grace the podium, but that moment will not be one he ever forgets.
All of WorldSBK, 50% off. You read that correctly – all of the races above OnDemand, plus LIVE action from the Pata Riviera di Rimini Round, available at a cut-rate price! Follow all of WorldSBK, past and present, with WorldSBK VideoPass!