PREVIEW: will Misano’s unpredictability stop Bulega’s homecoming in WorldSSP?

Tuesday, 30 May 2023 05:32 GMT

World Supersport travels to Italy and Misano for the 2023 Emilia-Romagna Round with plenty of opportunity for surprises, even for those looking comfy on top of the Championship tree…

The fifth round of the 2023 FIM Supersport World Championship campaign is here as the paddock checks in to Italy and the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” for the 2023 Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round. After four thrilling rounds so far this season, Misano is set to be another mix of incredible racing and unpredictable action as the first half of the season approaches its conclusion. There are plenty of home heroes for the passionate Italian fans to cheer on in WorldSSP as everyone looks to secure the best possible result at Misano.

HOME HEROES: will an Italian rider take victory at Misano?

Home hero Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) comes into Misano on the back of a recent V4 R test at Mugello and he also heads into his home round as the Championship leader despite a retirement from Race 2 in Barcelona. He took two third place finishes last year at Misano and, with five wins in eight races this year, will be aiming to claim victory on home soil to extend his Championship lead. There will be plenty of other Italian riders aiming to beat Bulega for their own slice of Italian glory, such as Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team), winner in 2018, Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha), Andrea Mantovani (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team), Nicholas Spinelli (VFT Racing WEBIKE Yamaha), Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) and Orelac Racing VerdNatura duo Raffaele De Rosa and Federico Fuligni. For the likes of Championship challenger Manzi, it’s imperative that a first win comes soon, as Ten Kate Racing seek their 100th in WorldSSP.

LOOKING TO CARRY THEIR FORM ON: MV Agusta’s high home hopes…

Two of the standout performers from Barcelona were MV Agusta Reparto Corse duo Marcel Schroetter and Bahattin Sofuoglu, the latter of whom secured his first WorldSSP podium in Race 1 and a first win in Race 2. Schroetter has a podium finish at Misano from Moto2™ in 2018, when he was third, whilst Sofuoglu has a best finish of sixth at the track in WorldSSP300 in 2021. He was outside the points in Italy last year in WorldSSP, but 2023 has seen a different rider, as Bahattin has clearly made a step. Can they continue their fine form at Misano, and can Schroetter close the gap to Bulega in the Championship standings, with him currently P2 and 33 adrift of the #11?

AIMING TO BUILD: strong form as WorldSSP hit Europe

Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) made a huge step forwards when WorldSSP raced in Barcelona last time out as he fought inside the top five and he’ll be aiming to repeat this at Misano, or claim his first podium. However, he’s yet to score points at Misano in WorldSSP: his best finish is 18th in 2014, the last time he raced at the circuit in WorldSSP. Another rider who has been consistently in the top ten in 2023 and aiming to become a podium regular is Niki Tuuli (Dynavolt Triumph). A sole podium to his name this year, can the Finnish rider add more at Misano, a circuit he has a top ten finish at?

RIDER NEWS: to note ahead of the Emilia-Romagna Round

Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) remains unfit following his Assen Race 2 crash where he injured his arm and he wil he will be replaced, like in Barcelona, by Lucas Mahias. At Yamaha Thailand Racing Team, Apiwath Wongthananon will be replaced by Ratthapong Wilairot on the Yamaha YZF-R6 machine. There will be two wildcard riders on track at Misano. Simone Corse (Altogo Racing Team) returns for his second round of the campaign and Marco Bussolotti returns to WorldSSP for the first time since 2018 and as reigning CIV Supersport champion, racing with the Axon Seven Team with Yamaha machinery. Bussolotti is a three-time Superstock 600 winner, with three podiums coming at Misano from 2007 – 2009.

Watch all the action from WorldSSP at Misano using the WorldSBK VideoPass!