Round Seven – Misano – Sunday Report
After scoring victory in the Sunday morning Superpole Race Alvaro Bautista took the holeshot into Turn 1 for Sunday afternoon’s Race Two ahead of a Kawasaki triumvirate of Leon Haslam, Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu.
Bautista then crashed out of the lead, losing the front at turn four on the second lap. That left Leon Haslam in the lead ahead of team-mate Rea, whilst Razgatlioglu was third ahead of Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team). Bautista re-joined at the back of the field.
With 18 laps to go Razgatlioglu who put a move on Rea at Turn 4, before leading at Turn 1 a lap later, ahead of Leon Haslam. At Turn 14 on the same lap, Rea lunged ahead of Haslam, as the BSB Champ started struggling to maintain pace.
Haslam then suffered a collision with Marco Melandri as the Italian tried an audacious pass into Turn 2. Both stayed upright but it allowed Razgatlioglu and Rea to break away.
With 12 laps left to go, the race was far from decided, with two separate battles: Razgatlioglu defended at the front from Jonathan Rea, whilst Leon Haslam held on to third ahead of Marco Melandri, as Alex Lowes began to claw time back on the battling duo ahead of him.
Three laps to go and it was another disaster for the GRT Yamaha squad, as Marco Melandri crashed at Turn 8, after his team-mate Cortese has already crashed out earlier.
A lap later Rea made a mistake at Turn 10, momentarily letting Razgatlioglu to sneak away.
The final four laps was when Jonathan Rea made his move out front, taking the lead at Turn 1. It was a heart-in-mouth moment for Razgatlioglu at Turn 4 however, as he came within millimetres of hitting the rear of Rea, with his rear wheel in the air.
The fight was far from done, as the 22-year-old Turkish rider stayed glued to the rear end of Rea as the final lap beckoned, setting up a head-to-head between the young challenger and the four-time WorldSBK Champion.
Razgatlioglu put a move on Rea but then ran wide, with Rea slicing back ahead and the gloves were really off but the Northern Irishman had the race-craft to keep the young Turk at bay and went on to take his 75th WorldSBK win and the mantle as highest point-scorer of all time.
Third place went to Leon Haslam, ahead of Lowes and Michael Ruben Rinaldi.
Sixth went to Tom Sykes ahead of Chaz Davies, whilst Michele Pirro (BARNI Racing Team), Lorenzo Zanetti (Team Goeleven) and Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) completed the top ten, in a frantic, feisty end to Race 2.
The championship gap is down to 16-points between Bautista and Rea at the top, whilst Toprak Razgatlioglu moved into the top Independent slot in the championship, with the best ride of his WorldSBK career.
“Winning two races at Misano was good for us, especially the two important races. Unfortunately in the Superpole Race today I made a big mistake in turn ten, when I lost the front. But I restarted to finish fifth which was all important for the weekend. Race Two today was a tough one because the temperature was hot. I was very unsure of the pace. I felt like it was slow but I did not want to push any faster. I saw Alvaro go down very early in the race and the conditions out there were very tough, especially for the front tyre. The rear was just not digging in and going forward, it was just spinning so much – but we won, which was the main thing. It was a super-nice day for Kawasaki because we put three bikes on the Race Two podium. Team Suzuka! Donington next and we will go to every track with an open mentality.”
“The third place in the sprint race today was just a matter of staying on and bridging the gap to Tom Sykes, and I managed to pass him on the last lap. This afternoon I was struggling from lap one and did not have much front feeling, but I think everybody was in the same position. When Johnny and Toprak came past I felt I could have pushed to go with them but I had already risked too much so I had to run my own race. Alex was then behind me and I did not want to give up the podium, so I fought a little bit at the end. We have made some good steps from the Jerez test but there are little things we are still finding out.”
“For me, Race Two was my best race. In the short race I did not like the feel because yesterday I had a big crash and we tried the second bike. I did not have a good feeling in the race because the rear was sliding too much. I knew Race Two was important because I started from fourth position and I needed to stay with the front group. In the race I followed Johnny and Leon after Bautista crashed and I felt the bike was good, especially under had braking. I pushed in all laps and made a gap but I saw Johnny was coming. In the last lap I tried to get to the front again but it was not easy. After my crash yesterday this podium was for my crew who did a good job, and we tried a small set-up change that worked. Imola, Jerez and here, on the podium.”
“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.”
“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.”
“It was a little bit unfortunate. I honestly feel that we had three podiums in reach. We were third in the sprint race until the last lap and had a issue which allowed Leon Haslam to come close and then unfortunately we retired. That didnt help the cause as this meant that I started the last big race from the fourth row which cost me some time in the first few laps. The whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team did a great job. I feel if we had started from the front row we could have gone away, kept our rhythm and I definitely feel that this would have allowed another podium position. So a little bit of a shame but on the plus side we’ve had a podium, we finished second this weekend with the all-new BMW S 1000 RR, we are showing its potential. Even in this last race we had very good consistency. We will build on this.”
“Today was better than yesterday, although my start was not so good in the Superpole race and a mistake cost me valuable time. The result was that I had to settle for 14th on the grid in race two. However, I made a good start and was able to hold on to 12th and later 11th place for the whole race. I did my best, did not make any mistakes, and brought the BMW S 1000 RR home safe and sound. The track conditions were more difficult today. It was very hot and I have never known there be so little grip. It was tough for everyone, but we coped well. We have taken a small step forward, which gives us more confidence. We will continue to work hard to improve. So a big thank you to the whole team.”
“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!”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“This Misano round has been tough for me because I could not improve my feeling with the bike, especially with the front, and the fluctuating conditions over the weekend did not help the situation. Having said that, it is me who has to adapt to this kind of tricky conditions and for this reason I wish to apologize for the team for a less than satisfactory weekend”.
“We made quite a good start in the Superpole race and the decision to use the Pirelli soft tyre was a good one, as it worked well during the race and we were able to lap consistently enough until the end. We also changed something in terms of set-up, looking for more grip, and I think we saw a little improvement. We continued in that direction also for Race 2, adjusting the bike’s settings a bit, and I was happy with my feeling on the bike. We know it is not enough yet of course, but we worked very hard and I hope this work will be useful for the future. I also wish to say sorry to the team for the race 2 crash, as I made a mistake in braking, and I thank everyone for their support and hard work this weekend.”
Misano WSBK Race Results