As the season unfolds, the title fight is heating up, but who will be able to master Misano?
With the 2019 FIM Supersport World Championship kicking up another gear at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, the title race is well and truly on as Misano beckons in Italy. The Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” has been a regular fixture on the calendar in the WorldSBK calendar and is steeped in history for WorldSSP, but who will write their name in the record books this time?
Randy Krummenacher’s (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) championship lead was whittled down at Jerez, back to 17 points after finishing second to his ever-improving teammate, Federico Caricasulo. The Swiss rider has never finished on the podium at Misano, having been fifth last season and fourth in 2016. However, he is also yet to finish outside of the top two positions this season; will Krummenacher keep his title lead after the Pata Riviera di Rimini Round?
It was a mesmerising final two laps that gave Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) a second victory of the 2019 WorldSSP season. The 23-year-old romped home for his second win at the Jerez circuit and will look to repeat that statistic at Misano, a circuit he won at in 2018. With his strong current form and a positive history at Misano, will the title fight continue to swing in the Italian’s favour at his home round?
Back on the podium at Jerez for the first time since he won at Buriram, Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) is back in the title fight, with an inspired ride at the Acerbis Spanish Round. The Frenchman, who currently sits 41 points behind Randy Krummenacher, will need to find his race-winning form if he is to have realistic hopes of clinching that elusive first title. Having won at Misano in 2015 and 2016, the 30-year-old knows what it takes to succeed at the Italian venue.
Once again featuring prominently at the sharp end, Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) holds fourth in the championship after a sixth top-ten finish of the season at Jerez. The Japanese sensation arrives at Misano where in 2018, he achieved ninth. Besides a retirement at Losail last season, Okubo has been inside the top ten in every race since then and will look to continue his strong form this weekend. Is a first podium in the offing?
It was another positive showing from Raffaele De Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse), as the Italian continues his quest for a first WorldSSP victory. Heading to Misano onboard the MV Agusta, the partisan crowd will be cheering De Rosa on for his first win at a circuit where he was second last year and in Superstock 1000, back in 2015. Will De Rosa deliver the goods at home?
Fighting tooth-and-nail to remain in the championship battle and the battle for his first race win, Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing) was back in the leading group last time out at Jerez, finishing fourth. The Austrian rider, who is sixth in the championship, heads to Misano, where he suffered his only DNF of the 2018 WorldSSP season. With just six points covering fourth, to sixth in the standings, it could be all change again after Misano.
Keep an eye on other riders too, starting with 2017 WorldSSP Champion, Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who led a race for the first time this season at Jerez. Isaac Viñales’ (Kallio Racing) consistency has kept him in the top eight overall, ahead of Corentin Perolari (GMT94 YAMAHA) and Peter Sebestyen (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) who secured another top ten at Jerez. Massimo Roccoli (Team Rosso Corsa) is one of eight wildcards in the class.
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