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Lowes Returns to the Podium in Sweltering and Slippery Misano
Alex Lowes returned to the podium today in Misano, with a superb ride to second place in the 10-lap Superpole sprint race. The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider looked all set to repeat his podium performance in Race 2 this afternoon but, with grip levels at an all-time low, Lowes erred on the side of caution and took the points for fourth place rather than risking all to pass Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam on the final lap.
Rising temperatures and a slick track surface made for a difficult first outing for the WorldSBK grid today but, unfazed by the tricky conditions, Lowes rode an intelligent race to second place in the 10-lap sprint race. Grip was at even more of a premium for Race 2, with a number of riders caught out by the increasingly unpredictable track, but Lowes again rode to the limit dictated by the conditions, to round out his weekend with another points scoring finish in fourth place. The results mean that Lowes remains fourth in the championship standings with 164 points, but with the gap to his teammate in third now just 24 points.
It proved a frustrating day for GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Sandro Cortese, with crashes in both races while running close to the front. The reigning Supersport World Champion made the most of a front row start in the sprint race to initially challenge for the podium but was left disappointed after losing the front and crashing out of third place just after half race distance. Cortese was keen to make amends in Race 2 but, again, the GRT Yamaha rider was caught out by the tricky conditions in the early stages and crashed while running with the lead group. Cortese managed to rejoin and salvage a single point in 15th place at the chequered flag.
Marco Melandri rode an impressive sprint race, which he started from 19th on the grid as a result of a penalty imposed after Race 2 in Jerez. The veteran Italian picked up places on every lap to eventually finish sixth and claim a second row start for Race 2. Unfortunately, Melandri was unable to capitalise on this due to a crash on lap 13 while challenging for the podium positions. The GRT Yamaha rider remounted but finished outside the points in 16th place.
Loris Baz continued his familiarization with the Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK R1 today, but with hot and sunny conditions replacing the torrential rain of yesterday, the Frenchman was unable to replicate his top five finish in Race 1 today. 12th in the sprint race this morning, Baz rounded out his Misano weekend with a points scoring 12th place finish again in Race 2 this afternoon.
Pata Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark returned to the Misano paddock today, following his heavy crash in FP2 on Friday. The Jerez race winner was sporting a plaster cast on his injured wrist but was able to confirm that further examination had revealed that the two ribs thought fractured on Friday were in fact just bruised. Van der Mark will undergo surgery at Rimini Hospital to plate his fractured right radius, after which a decision will be made in conjunction with his medical team as to when he will be fit to return to action.
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK
“The weekend has been a pretty good one overall, marred only by the mistake yesterday when I was trying to win Race 1. I got caught out by new standing water, which was a bit unexpected at that point in the race, but I’ll learn from it. This morning was good, and I was expecting to be stronger this afternoon, but we struggled a bit with acceleration as the temperature rose and grip went down. We’d made some changes to the bike compared to Friday, but the worsening track condition made it difficult to assess whether these were an improvement or not. It was tough for everyone in the race today. I tried to pass Haslam a few times, but I didn’t feel comfortable on the front and couldn’t make the passes stick, so I had to settle for fourth in the end. Now it’s off to Donington, my home track, after a two-day test in Suzuka – I’m looking forward to it!”
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK
“First of all, I’m very sorry for the team and my crew, as they did a fantastic job this weekend and it’s a shame we leave here with just one point after today, because a lot more was possible, including a first WorldSBK podium finish. The positive thing is that we made a big step since Jerez and I was able to run with the front group, which was our goal for this weekend. In the end I had two crashes where I lost the front and both times I didn’t feel I was on the limit but, once again, I learned a lot this weekend. A big shame and a big disappointment because everyone gave their all this weekend. But that’s racing; you have ups and you have downs. Now I am looking forward to working hard to be ready for Donington.”
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK
“Actually, it was a good weekend for me, even if I missed the result in Race 2 today. In the sprint race the bike felt much better for me; we knew it was going to be hard to finish top nine from 19th on the grid but, in the end, I had a little bit of luck and finished sixth. In Race 2 I got a good start, but I wasn’t going to accept to finish fourth, so I was pushing hard to pass Haslam, which wasn’t easy. Unfortunately, I made a small mistake and went down. I’m sorry for the team and for Yamaha because they’ve been working so hard and they never gave up, even after difficult days. That makes me more motivated than ever for the next round in Donington, a track that will suit the Yamaha well.”
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK
“Overall, it’s been a good weekend, with the fourth place yesterday putting a smile on people’s faces in the team. The sprint race was tough today, as I was expecting a good feeling after the warm-up, but in the race the feeling was gone and I felt close to crashing on the front in every corner. We made a change for Race 2, but that just moved the problem from the front to the rear and I was spinning up everywhere. It’s the first time I’ve ever had more grip on the last lap than the first! I finished 12th, picked up some points and continued the learning process. At the moment, the most important thing for us is to finish every race, collect the data and increase our understanding of the bike and the tyres. Now we head to Donington, where we will try to make another step.”
Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager
“It’s been a weekend of mixed fortunes in terms of results, but they don’t truly reflect the performance of the Yamaha R1s here in Misano. Michael was fastest in the dry on Friday before his unfortunate FP2 crash left him unable to continue, while Alex returned to the podium with second place in the sprint race and then backed that up with fourth place in Race 2. He was also leading the wet Race 1 by a considerable margin before he was caught out by the worsening conditions and crashed. Loris also showed that our R1 is competitive in the wet by finishing fourth in the same race, despite a limited amount of time on the bike. Sandro demonstrated his pace today by running towards the front in both races, although his challenge for a first WorldSBK podium was ultimately spoiled by two front end crashes. Marco, who on Friday struggled to find the feeling that made him so competitive in Jerez, improved things in the races. Sixth in the wet yesterday was followed by him battling for the podium in a dry Race 2 today, until a small mistake dropped him out of the points. While these performances show clearly that Yamaha has a competitive package in all conditions, we need to continue working to ensure that this is better reflected in the results from the next race onwards.”
Wet Race 1 sees Rea victorious as Sykes and Bautista completes podium
Reigning World Champion masters Misano in tricky conditions while Sykes conquerers first podium with BMW
With the rain continuing to fall by the bucket-load, it was a delayed start to WorldSBK Race 1 at Misano, Italy. After a 20-minute delay, racing got underway in treacherous conditions but after just two full laps, the red flag was brought back out as the remain intensified. After the restart, drama unfolded all through the field, but it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who made hay whilst the sun certainly did not shine!
With the race getting underway nearly 25 minutes late, it was a frantic opening few laps before the red flag was waved. Alex Lowes was the race leader ahead of Jonathan Rea, whilst Tom Sykes and Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) were right behind. After the red flag came out, positions for the new restart would be made up by the order of the riders at their most recent timing point.
As the race got underway for a second time for a reduce 18-lap distance, it was another great start for Jonathan Rea, who had the lead ahead of Lowes again, with Sykes third and Chaz Davies up to fourth, ahead of Bautista. Haslam was sixth but one of the biggest improvers was Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK). Thunder and lightening certainly made the opening laps very frightening, but the WorldSBK warriors continued to battle.
Conditions began to deteriorate and soon, riders began to drop back accordingly, with some eventually dropping out. Lowes began to close on rival Rea and at Turn 8 with 12 laps left to go. Behind the leading duo, it was Loris Baz who had got himself up into seventh place and was now beginning to close down Alvaro Bautista. One lap later, it was Bautista’s teammate Chaz Davies who went head-to-head with Leon Haslam.
However, with ten laps left to run, it was drama out front at Turn 12, as Alex Lowes crashed out of the lead to complete a miserable set of races for the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team rider. Now, it was Jonathan Rea who had the lead back. Behind Rea, Michele Pirro (BARNI Racing Team) crashed at the same corner. Tom Sykes was now second, and Leon Haslam was third, with Davies and Bautista behind.
It was drama with nine laps to go, with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) crashing at Turn 13, completing a wretched day for the BARNI outfit. Then at Turn 8, more spills, this time with Leon Haslam at Turn 8. The British rider remounted but retired with too much damage done. Chaz Davies was now third, but a small error allowed Bautista through, whilst Loris Baz was now fifth and Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Mie Racing Team) in sixth!
A small error from Davies allowed Bautista through into third, whilst Baz eventually closed down Davies to get fourth and then, the Frenchman hunted down Bautista, albeit not being able to close him down enough to pass. The battle for sixth was raging, as Delbianco came under pressure from Melandri, with the veteran Italian getting ahead of his rookie compatriot on the front straight. Delbianco was then swallowed up at Turn 8, as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing), Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) and Yuki Takahashi (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) moved ahead.
Out front, it was Rea who took the win, his 74th win and 10 years and one day after his first at the same track. Tom Sykes gave BMW their first podium since 2013 at Jerez and Alvaro Bautista salvaged a podium after an eventful first wet race. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) took the fourth place and was top Yamaha, ahead of Chaz Davies in fifth.
Marco Melandri held on to sixth place from 13th on the grid, whilst Toprak Razgatlioglu suffered a huge crash in the final sector of the last lap. Cortese picked up seventh ahead of Yuki Takahashi, Lorenzo Zanetti (Team Goeleven) and Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) – the Argentine picking up his first top ten in almost a year. Delbianco was a career-best 11th at the flag.
The championship gap is now down to 32 points as Jonathan Rea continues to make gains on Bautista. Tom Sykes, Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri were beneficiaries of Haslam’s crash, as they all close him down – Sykes moving up to eighth overall.
P1 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“Today was so difficult to understand exactly the grip level. So I set my own rhythm at the beginning, which was pretty good, and Alex came past and he was on a different level! I wasn’t prepared to push that much to stay there but he was really unfortunate cause he went down and he was incredible at the beginning. That gave me the gap to the rest and I see my pit board and understood that I could minimize the risks and keep the lap time constant till the end. I am super happy and I want to thanks Kawasaki and all my team, our fans and all the people that were here today”.
P2 – Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
“Very happy! It is just credit to all the guys of the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. We worked really hard and finally, we got the result which I feel we deserved! It has been a long time and a fantastic feeling to enjoy riding again in wet conditions. The bike is giving some fantastic feelings back today and what the best place to do it than here in Misano with these fantastic fans. We will try to keep that momentum together and try to get the result tomorrow. Thanks to all and we will try again.
P3 – Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
“Conditions today were really tricky. After lining up on the grid we had to pull back into the garages, then we restarted and stopped again and keeping the concentration was difficult. It was my first race under the rain so I had a lot to understand. I used a lot of caution at the beginning and tried to understand the track conditions because there were times it was raining a lot and there was more water on track. Lap after lap I build up my confidence with the bike and the asphalt. I am happy because it was important to get some points and getting on the podium was really a good result for us today”.
Álvaro Bautista crashes out in Race 2 in Round 7 of the Superbike World Championship at Misano Adriatico, after winning the Superpole Race, while Chaz Davies arrives twice at the flag, but in 17th and 7th place
For the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team, the Riviera di Rimini Round of the Superbike World Championship proved to be more complicated than expected, with both riders – Álvaro Bautista and Chaz Davies – for various reasons unable to bring home satisfactory results in the home race for the Aruba team and for Ducati.
Due to a crash at Turn 4 on lap 2 of the second race while he was in the lead, the championship leader Bautista saw his advantage in the table reduced to just 16 points over his closest rival Rea (Kawasaki). Bautista did manage to get back on the bike and finish the race in 14th place, picking up just two points. This morning, he dominated the Superpole Race over ten laps, taking the chequered flag ahead of Lowes (Yamaha) and Haslam (Kawasaki).
Unfortunately, it was another difficult weekend for his team-mate Chaz Davies, who struggled in both races today. In the Superpole Race, following a crash at Turn 14 on lap 3, he finished in 17th place after rejoining the race. After making some modifications to the set-up for Race 2, Chaz struggled with a lack of grip and was unable to go any higher than seventh place.
Bautista still leads the table with 330 points, 16 more than Rea, while Davies is in eighth place with 114 points. The next race in the championship – the UK Round – will take place in two weeks’ time at the Donington Park circuit, from 5th to 7th July.
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #19) – 1st / 14th
“I’m happy but at the same time very angry with myself about the results of today’s two races. It went well in the morning’s Superpole Race because we were on really top form. After a good start I immediately took the lead, and set the pace right down to the chequered flag. In Race 2 it was very hot and the track didn’t have as much grip. On lap 2, I didn’t do anything strange at Turn 4, but just lost the front and crashed. Pity because our potential was obviously to fight for the win. Maybe the error came about because I was too confident after the win in the Superpole Race, but in any case we must have a good look at the data because I’ve made two similar mistakes in the last two races, and that’s not good. We have to understand why so as not to repeat the same mistakes and lose more points.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 17th / 7th
“It has been a difficult Sunday for me. I lost the front in the Superpole Race in Turn 14, and as a result didn’t get the chance to start in the top 9 for Race 2. Then we made some changes for Race 2, but they didn’t give us the step we needed. It was a critical racetrack today because grip was low, but it was the same for everyone. I just felt like I’ve got no adaptability with the bike, even though I tried to change my style during the race. It’s a bit frustrating to finish races like that, because I know we can do better than that. We just need to learn from the information and work hard in the areas that are letting us down at the moment.”
The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team takes home two good results in the pouring rain at the Misano World Circuit: a third place for Álvaro Bautista and a fifth place for Chaz Davies in Race 1.
Álvaro Bautista and Chaz Davies scored two good results today – a third and a fifth place respectively – in Race 1 at the Misano Adriatico circuit in Round 7 of the Superbike World Championship. Difficult conditions, with heavy downpours, caused delays in the starting procedure, initially scheduled for 14h00. In addition, the race was interrupted when the red flags came out after just three laps because the track conditions were impracticable. As a result, the race was shortened to 18 laps and was won by Rea (Kawasaki).
Davies was very effective in the early stages in spite of the difficult conditions. The 32-year-old from Wales, who started from the ninth grid slot, rapidly made up ground until he reached fourth place. Unfortunately, a small problem meant he had to drop a few places but he did eventually finish the race in fifth. After qualifying fifth in this morning’s Superpole, Bautista took a few laps to gain confidence with the difficult conditions, which he had never encountered before in Superbike, but by running a careful second part of the race and capitalizing on the difficulties of other riders, he took home a well-deserved third place.
Tomorrow the ten-lap Superpole Race gets underway at 11.00 CET, with Race 2 following at 14.00.
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #19) – 3rd
“Today there were many things new for me, first of all these difficult conditions. As well as doing my first Superbike race in the wet, with the delay in the start and the red flag two times, it was difficult to keep concentration. I made a cautious start to try and understand the conditions of the track; in some parts it was raining too hard while in others the situation was a bit better and when I understood that I could get my feeling and pace. Lap by lap I felt more feedback and went more to the limit so I’m happy for the feeling with this race. It was important to get points and to do it with a podium was a good result.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 5th
“It was the first wet race with the Panigale V4 R so overall it wasn’t such a bad performance. I had a problem in the middle of the race with the electronic shifter, then it cleared itself and was fine again, it was probably water-related. That upset my rhythm a bit because I was more or less in with the fight for the podium. I lost a bit of time trying to manually backshift, but to a limited effect. In the last four laps I got back into the rhythm again but the gap to the others was a bit too much. I was quite happy with the feeling with the bike in those conditions, it’s just a shame we didn’t really get to fight with the right package for the whole race distance.”