World Superbike riders at Misano, Italy today were greated to a damp track, courtesy of the on-and-off rain showers that have been plaguing the race course the whole weekend. With the track wet, but the sun out, tire selection would again be key.
Would the track dry out enough to run intermediates? Would some teams dry and run rains? Could there possibly be a chance to run slicks? Who would make the right choice by the start of the race? With WSBK adopting the flag-to-flag rules of MotoGP, riders would have a chance to come into the pits and swap for a new bike as the track conditions changed, making the racing all the more interesting, as many riders in the field had never performed such a swap before. Continue reading to see who got it right.
Misano had rain all Sunday morning, but as Race 1 was about to start, the weather had improved with the rain all but stopping completely. Before spectators would be treated to their first flag-to-flag race in WSBK, the drama was raised with pre-race hiccups.
On the sighting lap, Johnny Rea’s Ten Kate Honda developed a fueling glitch, which caused him to abandon his bike, and get a ride back to the pits from teammate Ryuichi Kiyonari. This act would cost both riders a ride-through penalty later on in Race 1, and also caused Rea to start from pit lane. Later on during the warm-up lap, an electronics glitch caused Troy Corser to flip his BMW S1000RR, causing him to be out of Race 1 before it even began.
All the other teams made it to the starting line without much fanfare, and Race 1 was off in Misano, Italy. Taking the early lead was Shane Byrne, who had Superpole winner Jakub Smrz and Ben Spies right behind him. Byrne seemed unphased by the damp conditions, and by the second lap had a 2 second advantage over Smrz, at the halfway point of the race, he lead by 17 seconds.
Smrz, like Byrne, was also at ease in the wet, but still could not match the former British Superbike Champion’s pace. Spies on the other hand, proved himself to be a more fair weather rider, and would not be as much of a threat until the race line on the track dried out.
By lap 9, a dry line was starting to form and Shinya Nakano came into pit lane to pick up a slick-shod Aprilia RSV4. Nakano’s experience with flag-to-flag races in MotoGP made him the perfect guinea pig for WSBK’s first bike swap, and he was in and out of the pits quickly and smoothly.
The same, however, could not be said for the other riders in the field. This first attempt at bike swapping caught several teams off guard, with riders coming in, parking the bikes awkwardly and looking most ungainly leaping from one bike to another. Johnny Rea came off worst in his pit stop, leaping off his Honda CBR1000RR bike only to stall the new one as he attempted to ride out of the pits. Forced to wait a couple of seconds while the electronics reset, Rea finally got his bike restarted with a push from his crew and he was back out again.
In the course of swapping bikes, Ruben Xaus found himself at one point the race leader, thus marking BMW’s first time in front of the WSBK pack. This would not last long however as Xaus, still on wet tires, was setting times nearly 10 seconds slower than the riders who were on slicks, and coming up to full temperature.
At home in the dry, Spies was the first man to pass Xaus and take the lead. There’s was no looking back after that. Comfortable in the dry conditions, and with warm tires, the Texan took a pace that no other rider could match, and also took Race 1 at Misano.
Results from Race 1 of World Superbike at Misano, Italy:
|1||19||B. Spies||USA||Yamaha YZF R1||–|
|2||67||S. Byrne||GBR||Ducati 1098R||7.931|
|3||84||M. Fabrizio||ITA||Ducati 1098R||11.836|
|4||96||J. Smrz||CZE||Ducati 1098R||11.886|
|5||41||N. Haga||JPN||Ducati 1098R||31.670|
|6||71||Y. Kagayama||JPN||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9||33.241|
|7||65||J. Rea||GBR||Honda CBR1000RR||35.772|
|8||66||T. Sykes||GBR||Yamaha YZF R1||41.931|
|9||56||S. Nakano||JPN||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||51.507|
|10||14||M. Lagrive||FRA||Honda CBR1000RR||59.921|
|11||7||C. Checa||ESP||Honda CBR1000RR||1’04.285|
|12||91||L. Haslam||GBR||Honda CBR1000RR||1’04.313|
|13||3||M. Biaggi||ITA||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||1’19.822|
|14||111||R. Xaus||ESP||BMW S1000 RR||1’22.412|
|15||53||A. Polita||ITA||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9||1’31.635|
|16||2||J. Hacking||USA||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1’39.830|
|17||23||B. Parkes||AUS||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1’42.964|
|18||10||F. Nieto||ESP||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9||1’43.303|
|19||57||L. Lanzi||ITA||Ducati 1098R||1 Lap|
|20||77||V. Iannuzzo||ITA||Honda CBR1000RR||1 Lap|
|21||94||D. Checa||ESP||Yamaha YZF R1||1 Lap|
|22||36||G. Lavilla||ESP||Ducati 1098R||1 Lap|
|23||25||D. Salom||ESP||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1 Lap|
|RET||99||L. Scassa||ITA||Kawasaki ZX 10R||4 Laps|
|RET||15||M. Baiocco||ITA||Kawasaki ZX 10R||9 Laps|
|RET||11||T. Corser||AUS||BMW S1000 RR|
|RET||9||R. Kiyonari||JPN||Honda CBR1000RR|
|NS||121||J. Hopkins||USA||Honda CBR1000RR|
|EX||88||R. Resch||AUT||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9|