Both Axel Bassani and Michael Ruben Rinaldi have been fighting hard recently with no love lost between the pair
As the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship heads to Italy and the iconic Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” for the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round, two Italian riders will be hoping to avoid a repeat of their Barcelona coming together and claim a stunning win on home soil. The rivalry between Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) has ignited in 2023 after bubbling away last season and their home round at Misano could prove to be the next chapter in their rivalry as both go in search of podiums and wins on home soil.
THE SEASON SO FAR: clashes in Indonesia and Catalunya
Their first coming together was at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit when Rinaldi went into Turn 1 on Lap 1 too hot and clipped Bassani’s bike in Race 1. Rinaldi retired from the race and Bassani was able to continue but it was the start of their rivalry in 2023. As the WorldSBK paddock moved to Barcelona, the pair would come together again. In Race 1, the pair were fighting for the podium positions in the restarted race with Rinaldi going past Bassani at Turn 3. Bassani tried to respond into Turns 10 and 11 but the pair made contact with Rinaldi going into the gravel and out of the race; Bassani was given a Long Lap Penalty for his role in the incident and it led to Rinaldi declaring “he lost more than I did” after the incident.
CONTRASTING FORTUNES IN 2023: consistency key for Bassani while Rinaldi has headline results
Bassani currently sits fifth in the Championship standings, two places and 19 points clear of rival Rinaldi and their 2023 season so far has had contrasting moments. While Rinaldi has taken three podiums in 12 races and is now only one shy of his tally from last year, Bassani is yet to stand on the rostrum this season but Rinaldi’s two retirements and poor Dutch Round, where he claimed only seven points, and Bassani’s consistency with only one non top-ten finish this season giving him the advantage over Rinaldi. However, we’ve seen in the past that Bassani is not afraid to mix it up at the front of the field and he will be aiming for a first podium of the season on home soil.
MISANO HISTORY: it suggests they’ll be close on track…
Both riders have had positive results at Misano, but the headline results go in Rinaldi’s favour. He has five podiums a Misano including two wins in 2021 while Bassani is yet to take to the rostrum this year. However, in six races at Misano, Bassani is yet to finish outside the top seven with a best result of fourth in Race 1 last year; when Rinaldi was directly ahead. With both riders frequently in the top ten at Misano, and throughout 2023, history and current form suggests the pair will be fighting with each other again on home soil.
THE RIVALRY CONTINUES: will there be drama on home soil?
As the WorldSBK paddock heads to Misano, eyes will be on Bassani and Rinaldi to see whether their rival intensifies on home soil. Both have shown incredibly fast pace throughout 2023 to be fighting in the top ten and in the podium positions. With the Ducatisti cheering both on as they look to ride the Panigale V4 R to success on home soil. Will either, or both of them, be able to take a historic victory or will they come together again?
Watch Bassani vs Rinaldi unfold at Misano in style using the WorldSBK VideoPass!