The pressure is on Bradley Smith when he returns to the scene of his greatest MotoGP™ success on Sunday. Two years ago Smith finished second at the 2.626 mile Misano circuit on the Adriatic coast of Italy and returns on Sunday for the Tribul Mastercard Grand Prix of San Marino and the Riviera of Rimini desperate for a change of fortune in the 28 lap race.
It’s been a tough season for the Oxfordshire rider as he helps develop the new RC16 KTM in the debut MotoGP™ season for the Austrian team. Tyre problems kept him out of the points in his home Silverstone race a couple of weeks ago and he arrives in Italy knowing the results must improve. KTM tested at Misano a couple of weeks ago and Smith also has a new crew chief. He is confident the tide will turn at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli on Sunday.
In that same race two years ago Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding finished in third place and like Smith, a repeat would be just perfect. Redding, who moves to the Misano – based Gresini Aprilia team next year replacing Sam Lowes, arrives following an encouraging eighth place at Silverstone on the Octo Pramac Ducati.
Another team based at Misano are LCR Honda which makes it an important race for Isle of Man –based Midlander Cal Crutchlow. He’s eighth in the World Championship just one point behind four times Misano winner Jorge Lorenzo and produced a superb ride to fourth place in the previous Silverstone round.
It’s an ironic race for Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes at the home of his Gresini Aprilia team. They have terminated his two year contract at the end of his first MotoGP season. He will return to the Moto2™ class next season, replacing the MotoGP™ bound Tom Luthi at CarXpert Interwetten. It’s been a tough time for the former World Supersport Champion and he is desperate to finish the final six MotoGP races with some points scoring rides, especially at Misano on Sunday.
Oban – based Scotsman John McPhee got caught by the last lap Moto3™ red flag at Silverstone to finish 13th. The British Talent Team Honda rider is sixth in the championship but only five points behind Fabio Di Giannantonio in fifth place.
British Supersport Champion Tarran Mackenzie crashed in the Moto2™ race at Silverstone but remounted to finish the race. With six rounds of his debut season remaining he chases his very first championship points in the 26 lap race on Sunday.
ROSSI OUT OF HOME RACE AFTER ENDURO CRASH
Local hero Valentino Rossi misses his home race after breaking the tibia and fibula in his right leg when he crashed during enduro training on Thursday.
The 38 year old, nine times World Champion, returned to his Tavullia home on Saturday after an operation in Ancona. His home town is situated just a few miles from the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.
It’s too early for Rossi to set a date for a return to the track. He currently lies fourth in the World Championship and finished third at the previous round in Silverstone and also won the Dutch TT in Assen this year.
DID YOU KNOW
This will be the 21st time that Misano has hosted a motorcycle grand prix event and below are some facts and stats related to the event:
• The first grand prix event to take place at Misano was in 1980; the 500cc race was over 40 laps of the circuit that measured 3.448 km and ran in an anti-clockwise direction and was won by Kenny Roberts.
• The Misano circuit hosted a GP event for a total of ten occasions between the years of 1980 and 1993.
• Misano did not have a grand prix event for thirteen years following the accident that ended the career of Wayne Rainey in 1993.
• When GP racing returned to Misano in 2007, it was on a much revised 4.18 km circuit running in the opposite direction to the earlier layout.
• There have been nineteen previous San Marino Grand Prix events. The first San Marino Grand Prix was held at Imola in 1981. Three different circuits have hosted the San Marino Grand Prix – Imola twice (1981 & 1983), Mugello four times (1982, 84, 91 and 93) and Misano on thirteen occasions (1985, 86, 87 and from 2007 onwards).
• Yamaha have been the most successful manufacturer in MotoGP™ since the grand prix series returned to Misano in 2007 with six victories, the last was with Valentino Rossi in 2014.
• Honda have had a three MotoGP™ wins at the Misano circuit, including for the last two years.
• The win by Marc Marquez in 2015 was the first for Honda at Misano since 2010 and followed four successive wins for Yamaha at this circuit.
• Ducati’s single victory at Misano was in 2007 with Casey Stoner. Since Stoner’s win in 2007 Ducati have had two more podium finishes at this circuit: Toni Elias 3rd in 2008 and Valentino Rossi 2nd in 2012.
• Suzuki has had two podium finishes in the MotoGP™ era at Misano circuit, both of which came in 2007 when Chris Vermeulen finished second and John Hopkins third. Vinales’ 5th place finish last year was the best result for a Suzuki rider at Misano since Loris Capirossi finished 5th in 2009.
• The most successful riders at Misano since racing returned to the circuit in 2007, each with four victories, are Jorge Lorenzo (1 x 250cc, 3 x MotoGP) and Marc Marquez (1 x 125cc, 2 x Moto2, 1 x MotoGP)
• Dani Pedrosa’s victory in 2010 is the last time that the MotoGP™ race at Misano was won by a rider starting from pole position.
• Lorenzo Baldassarri’s victory at Misano last year was the first Moto2™ win by an Italian for 4 years, since Andrea Iannone won at Mugello in 2012.
13 POINTS SEPARATE TOP THREE IN MISANO MELTDOWN
Andrea Dovizioso returns home to the Adriatic coast of Italy with a precious and precarious nine point lead with six rounds of the MotoGP™ World Championship remaining. The 2.626 miles Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli situated a couple of miles inland from Riccione stages the vital round 13 of the title chase with just 13 points separating the first three riders.
Dovizioso, riding the factory Ducati, leads the way after winning his fourth grand prix of the season at the previous round at Silverstone in England. Both the rider and his team will receive massive support from the patriotic home crowd especially after winning the previous Italian round in Mugello, as they fight off the challenge of World Champion Marc Marquez and Maverick Vinales in what promises to be another enthralling 28 lap encounter. Previous championship leader Marquez was desperately unlucky at Silverstone when he was side-lined with a blown engine challenging for the lead. He trails Dovizioso by just nine points and has won in all three classes at Misano. His Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa won in Misano last year and hangs onto his championship chances by a finger nail 35 points adrift of Dovizioso whose team-mate Jorge Lorenzo has won four times at Misano including three MotoGP victories.
Third placed Maverick Vinales bounced back to form at Silverstone on the Movistar Yamaha finishing second, almost catching Dovizioso on the last lap. He will be without team-mate Valentino Rossi and the further Yamaha threat will come from the Monster Tech3 duo of Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger. Frenchman Zarco won the Moto2 race a couple of years ago and is having a superb MotoGP debut season, lying sixth in the championship. Folger is three places behind him and returns after missing the Silverstone race following a high speed crash in the Sunday morning warm-up session.
Cal Crutchlow, who was fourth at Silverstone and is eighth in the championship, will be desperate to bring LCR Honda success at their home base. Aleix Espargaro has similar sentiments at Gresini Aprilia’s homecoming while Danilo Petrucci, who’s experiencing a real up and down season, seeks home support on the Octo Pramac Ducati.
Another Italian returning home leading the World Championship is Franco Morbidelli. The Estrella Galicia Marc VDS Kalex rider opened up a 29 point lead in the Moto2™ Championship after finishing third at Silverstone. The two riders who finished in front of him could again prove the biggest threat in the 26 lap race on Sunday.
Takaaki Nakagami won his first race of the season after announcing his departure to MotoGP next season while veteran Mattia Pasini, who has been on pole at the last two rounds, is relishing the prospect of racing at his home circuit especially after whetting his appetite with victory at Mugello. Tom Luthi is another rider MotoGP bound as he chases his next year’s premier class team-mate Morbidelli for the championship while Morbidelli’s team-mate Alex Marquez will be hoping for no repeat of his Silverstone crash. KTM come into the race with high hopes. Last year’s Moto3™ winner Brad Binder and Miquel Oliveira spearhead their efforts.
Spanish teenager Jean Mir replaces Morbidelli in Moto2 next year and has every chance of bringing the Moto3™ World title with him. The Leopard Racing Honda rider holds a massive 64 point lead in the championship over Silverstone winner Aron Canet. Italian Romano Fenati is just two points adrift and it promises to be another frantic 23 lap encounter.
BT SPORT 2
Friday 8 September: 8.00 – 15.00
Saturday 9 September: 8.00 – 15.15
Sunday 10 September: 7.30 – 15.00
Highlights Tuesday 12 September 19.00
talkSport2 will also have live commentary of the race on Sunday.