PREVIEW: Sweet Home, Misano – WorldSBK returns to the Adriatic coast for two-day test

Wednesday, 29 May 2024 07:32 GMT

Last year saw some record lap pace, epic race simulations and multiple emotions from different riders – and we’re back to do it all over again!

Three rounds in the books. Nine more to go. Already, the battle lines are being drawn for what is sure to be a brilliant season in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. Before we return to our regular race programming on June 14th, we have another two-day test, this time, on the Italian coast at Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” or just Misano for short. Here, we analyse the storylines for each manufacturer ahead of track action on Thursday and Friday.

YAMAHA: Japanese giants jubilant following Cremona

Yamaha enjoyed a very successful recent test in Cremona, Italy. In fact, GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s Remy Gardner and Pata Prometeon Yamaha rider Andrea Locatelli finished P1 and P2 respectively in the combined standings. Both riders were extremely positive following the test and expressed strong optimism for the remainder of this season. Even Locatelli’s teammate, ex-World Champion Jonathan Rea, was emphatic with how enjoyable the Yamaha R1 was to ride although he’s still looking to make it his own – with only one and a half test days remaining too. Additionally, Gardner, Locatelli, Rea and Dominique Aegerter are all expected to be present for Misano testing, so Yamaha should have a real opportunity to further build on their new-found fortunes. 

HONDA: Can Lecuona and Vierge build on form after successful test with new swingarm?

Honda has very much been a mixed bag this season. Whilst results have not fallen their way so far, the latest WorldSBK test in northern Italy provided some cause for optimism for Team HRC and their riders. Xavi Vierge, despite finishing P14 by the end of the test, was very positive about the new swingarm developments made by Honda. Iker Lecuona, who finished just outside the top ten in Italy last week, was slightly less optimistic but emphasized the need to analyse the data to extract any potential benefit ahead of Misano. Petronas MIE Racing Honda riders Tarran Mackenzie and Adam Norrodin will also be present for testing at the Adriatic track. Misano’s test has often been a place where new parts are showcased for Honda; will 2024 be any different?

DUCATI: Full steam ahead for Bologna manufacturer

Like Yamaha, Ducati also enjoyed a successful test last week at Cremona, with three of their riders finishing within the top six. Ducati are expected to be fully represented in their home country, with Racing – Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista and Nicolo Bulega continuing to test the Panigale V4 R at a track they know so well. ELF Marc VDS Racing Team’s Sam Lowes, who finished in an impressive P4 during Cremona’s test, will also be present, as will Team GoEleven’s Andrea Iannone and Barni Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci. For Petrucci, it’s much more of a fitness test than it is a bike test, as he returns from injury. Expect Michele Pirro to also make an appearance in red for testing at Misano. 

BMW – Bavarians hoping to make waves on the Adriatic Coast

Interestingly, Bonovo Action BMW’s Garrett Gerloff and Scott Redding participated in testing last week, whilst ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team riders Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael Van Der Mark weren’t present. Whilst we have not seen the latter two riders since Assen, that will not be the case come Misano, as the #54 and #60 are both present and accounted for. The Bonovo Action team, who, interestingly, will not be present at this Misano test, enjoyed a positive end to their participation in testing in northern Italy, as Scott Redding was ultimately able to round out the top five, whilst American Gerloff finished in a respectable P7. For Toprak and van der Mark, it’ll be a vital test to prepare for the round in two weeks. 

KAWASAKI: back in action and going green

Like their German counterparts, Kawasaki have not seen on-track action since the Dutch Round at Assen. Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK’s Alex Lowes has enjoyed a very impressive start to this season and he will be optimistic about enjoying a successful test in Emilia-Romagna. Likewise, teammate Axel Bassani has shown cause for promise and optimism and he too will be hoping to impress at the Adriatic facility come testing time. Don’t forget, this was Bassani’s breakthrough circuit in 2021 and the place of his first 2023 podium 12 months ago. Puccetti Kawasaki’s Tito Rabat, who completed an incredible 233 laps of the new Cremona circuit during last week’s testing, is also expected to be present at Misano to continue testing for Kawasaki, with the factory-spec swingarm seeming to help the Spaniard a great deal.

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