Expectations for the Italy round of WorldSBK
Ducati and Yamaha are under particular pressure, respectively two of their drivers in the factory team and their managers. Not only we were surprised that Chaz Davies was relegated and replaced by Michael Ruben Rinaldi in the works team. The veteran Welshman had been better than the young Italian for the entire 2020 season. Michael Ruben Rinaldi was able to shine on exactly one of only 8 weekends due to the pandemic. In the end, however, he was only seventh in the World Championship, had a victory like Chaz, but he had 2 on the account and 7 podiums compared to only 2 for Rinaldi. In addition, the three-time vice world champion was at least third in the World Cup.
Rinaldi and Locatelli now have to deliver
For this season Davies has swapped places with the 25-year-old from Rimini, drives as a private driver with factory support for GoEleven Ducati and is again significantly better than him. World Cup rank 5 for Davies compared to P10 for the man from the land of pizza is a clear verdict. The Italian now has to deliver only a few kilometers from his hometown, otherwise he will embarrass those responsible for Ducati. They would appear in public as laypeople if the tendency of the first rounds continued. The same applies to Yamaha Europe Manager Dosoli, who instead of Garrett Gerloff had shipped WorldSSP World Champion Andrea Locatelli directly to the works team. Two years before that, Sandro Cortese had become WSSP Champion and then joined the B-Team GRT Yamaha. Despite two crashes in the second rounds of Aragon and Estoril, the Texan is clearly ahead of the Italian in the World Cup intermediate ranking. Therefore, like Rinaldi, he has to deliver soon, otherwise his commitment directly to the works team is considered a wrong decision because there was an alternative, as with Rinaldi and Ducati.
The best WSBK drivers in the home of Rinaldi and Locatelli
Not surprisingly, Jonathan Rea is the first to be mentioned in this context. The Northern Irishman won the 526th WorldSBK race on June 21, 2009, on the Ten Kate Honda. This was in the second race and six years later, in his first year with the Greens, the next triumph also followed in the second race. Another 6 wins followed, which means that his mark is already 8, which of course automatically makes the World Cup leader a favorite. This does not calm his opponents down and besides Tom Sykes (4 wins), only Alvaro Bautista has won two of the current WSBK drivers at the Autodromo on the Adriatic Sea. After all, Scott Redding has fond memories of the course known today as the “Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli”. The Englishman achieved one of only two MotoGP podium places in his career on this track. And after his bike under Alvaro Bautista had won almost three times there two years ago, there are no excuses for the Reds at the Italy event.
Who are the main favorites for the only Italy event in 2021?
Of course, based on the statistics and his results from the first two rounds, Jonathan Rea cannot call himself an outsider, but this also applies to Toprak and Scotty. Only with Honda driver Alvaro Bautista things are much different, because here on the Honda he can only hope for top five results after the first two events in 2021. Alex Lowes finished second on a Yamaha two years ago and fourth on Sunday after falling while in the lead in the rain the day before. In the 2017 season he was second behind Sykes and ahead of his current teammate Rea. Exactly that year, Lowes’ teammate at the time, Michael van der Mark, finished fourth. A year before that, he was even on the podium in Misano. He was also very successful there in 2018 as fourth and second, while he was injured a season later because he broke his wrist during training. In addition to the local heroes, we have evaluated the most important drivers who should be among the front-runners.
The Misano circuit
Italian-born Sandro Cortese has mixed memories of this course. In 2019, we were not far from the point where he ended his race in WorldSBK with a crash in 3rd position in the finish curve. He started from the front row behind Jonathan Rea and the expectations were correspondingly high at the time. Since Misano has been driven clockwise, the route has 6 left and 10 right turns. The longest straight is at the start-finish line at 530 meters. The grandstands offer a total of around sixty thousand spectators. There are also some natural grandstands. The huge range of accommodation options is pleasant for visitors thanks to the proximity of the Mediterranean holiday destination of Rimini. The current weather report indicates damp conditions, but this may change in over a week.
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