World Superbike would see sunnier skies off the coast of the Adriatic Sea, and a Misano track almost completely devoid of any sign of prior rain for Race 2. Slicks would now be the order of the day, which probably came as a relief to a few riders who were less than graceful in their bike swapping in Race 1. With the change in conditions came a complete change in the racing order. Continue reading to see how Race 2 went down under the Italian sun.
At the start of Race 2 it was another Ducati fastest off the line, this time the red and white bike of Noriyuki Haga, which we have grown accustomed to seeing at the front of the pack, but was sort of a no-show in Race 1. Haga was followed by Ben Spies and Johnny Rea going into the first few turns of the race. Spies, who needed desperately to best Haga in Race 2 in order to chip away further points from the Japanese rider in the World Superbike Championship, would not be able to keep in contact with the front-runners for long.
Falling behind Rea, Smrz, and then Fabrizio, Spies was clearly having issues with his Yamaha R1. Fiddling with his controls, it became apparent the American was having clutch problems. He crossed the line to start lap 2 in 6th lace, but had dropped down to 17th by the end of the lap. After making repairs while riding the bike, it appeared Spies had fixed his slipping clutch, and was back in the hunt. Unfortunately, the front pack was long gone, and all the American could do was perform damage control.
The action of Race 2 centered around the now four bikes that had now broken away from the peloton of other competitors. Haga, Rea, Fabrizizo, Smrz, all seemed to have an equal chance of claiming Race 2 as theirs.
Haga led at first, followed by Rea, Fabrizio and Smrz, but Johnny Rea was on a charge and went past Haga at Quercia on lap 4. Each rider had a go at passing on another, but none of them seemed able to breakaway from the group. At the brink of their limits, it was finally Jakub Smrz who buckled under pressure, and fell by the wayside.
On lap 15, Fabrizio took the first shot at Rea, diving underneath him in the Carro corner, which follows the Curvone right handers, but Rea answered back on the exit of the turn. It didn’t take but another lap to see Fabrizio make another move on Rea, this time cutting inside at the second part of the Variante del Parco chicane.
With no quick retort, Rea showed his wheel a few more times before a pass at Curvone briefly succeeded. The pair danced back and forth, one passing the other in an endless string of turns over several laps. On the second to last lap, Rea closed on Fabrizio through Tramonto and round Curvone, and waited his chance to pass into Turn 1 on the final lap. Knowing time was of the essence, Fabrizio looked for every opportunity the Czech rider would give him, prodding the Honda CBR at every corner for a chance to take back the lead.
With some masterful defensive riding, Johnny Rea went on to win his first World Superbike race, in his rookie year in the championship. Michel Fabrizio would finish second, in a well lost race, while Noriyuki Haga took the final podium spot.
Spies finished the day in 9th place, after making progress through the field after repairing his clutch. He would gain 5 points on Haga in the Championship standings, making the outing at Misano a successful one, but surely not as good of an outcome as he had hoped.
World Superbike heads to Donington next week, before taking a Summer siesta. Haga has traditionally done well at Donington Park, and Spies has raced the track as well, on the Suzuki MotoGP bike. Hopefully, this will mean more good WSBK action for us.
Results from Race 2 of World Superbike at Misano, Italy:
|1||65||J. Rea||GBR||Honda CBR1000RR||–|
|2||84||M. Fabrizio||ITA||Ducati 1098R||0.063|
|3||41||N. Haga||JPN||Ducati 1098R||0.457|
|4||96||J. Smrz||CZE||Ducati 1098R||3.635|
|5||7||C. Checa||ESP||Honda CBR1000RR||4.460|
|6||67||S. Byrne||GBR||Ducati 1098R||4.538|
|7||66||T. Sykes||GBR||Yamaha YZF R1||12.679|
|8||91||L. Haslam||GBR||Honda CBR1000RR||12.763|
|9||19||B. Spies||USA||Yamaha YZF R1||13.237|
|10||3||M. Biaggi||ITA||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||14.412|
|11||71||Y. Kagayama||JPN||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9||20.073|
|12||10||F. Nieto||ESP||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9||20.239|
|13||56||S. Nakano||JPN||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||22.351|
|14||9||R. Kiyonari||JPN||Honda CBR1000RR||24.547|
|15||36||G. Lavilla||ESP||Ducati 1098R||24.696|
|16||111||R. Xaus||ESP||BMW S1000 RR||25.615|
|17||23||B. Parkes||AUS||Kawasaki ZX 10R||31.887|
|18||57||L. Lanzi||ITA||Ducati 1098R||34.751|
|19||11||T. Corser||AUS||BMW S1000 RR||38.061|
|20||99||L. Scassa||ITA||Kawasaki ZX 10R||47.717|
|21||14||M. Lagrive||FRA||Honda CBR1000RR||48.973|
|22||2||J. Hacking||USA||Kawasaki ZX 10R||51.027|
|23||53||A. Polita||ITA||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9||52.526|
|24||77||V. Iannuzzo||ITA||Honda CBR1000RR||57.589|
|25||88||R. Resch||AUT||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9||1’36.359|
|RET||25||D. Salom||ESP||Kawasaki ZX 10R||5 Laps|
|RET||94||D. Checa||ESP||Yamaha YZF R1||9 Laps|
|RET||15||M. Baiocco||ITA||Kawasaki ZX 10R||19 Laps|