Pata Honda looks forward to return to Italy
The Pata Honda team returns to Italy this weekend (20-22 June) for round seven and the halfway point of the 2014 World Superbike championship at Misano World Circuit ‘Marco Simoncelli’.
The 4.226km circuit missed out on the 2013 SBK calendar but it has traditionally been a regular World Superbike venue, hosting 21 rounds since 1991. Set near the Adriatic resort of Rimini in north-east Italy, it has always been a popular event for riders and fans alike.
Misano, which represents another ‘home’ round for the team’s title partner, Italian snack manufacturer Pata, is a particular favourite of Jonathan Rea who scored his first World Superbike championship win there during his debut season on Honda’s CBR machine in 2009.
The 27-year-old, who currently sits third in the championship standings, finished second in race two in 2012, the last time World Superbikes visited Misano, and is hopeful of a return to the form that saw him take a double victory at Imola in Italy in May.
Rea’s Pata Honda team-mate Leon Haslam has also visited the Misano podium on two occasions in the past and the 31-year-old British rider plans to mount a determined challenge on his first visit riding the latest SP incarnation of Honda’s CBR1000RR Fireblade.
Misano is a circuit with mixed emotions for me because I injured my wrist quite badly there in 2011, but the highlight will always be memories of my first World Superbike win in my debut year in 2009. I love the track layout and the atmosphere at Misano and it’s in a beautiful part of the world. We’ve struggled a bit at the last two rounds so we’re hoping that the circuit will suit the new Fireblade SP. The team and I certainly learned a lot at Sepang and we’ll be working hard all weekend to get back to podium ways. I’m really excited about this round because it marks the halfway point in the season and, with three races now in fairly quick succession, it’s important to maximise our performances before we head into the summer break.
I like Misano and I’ve been on the podium there a couple of times so I know I can go well there. The track should suit the CBR much better than Sepang and although there are still a few issues that need sorting I think we can be positive going into the race weekend. My shoulder was quite sore after the two races in Malaysia so I went for a scan when I got home. It’s an old injury that I aggravated when I crashed at Imola and, while it doesn’t affect my riding, it will need a bit of managing over the next few races.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
I think we’re done with P6 for Jonathan now! He’s had four of those in a row now and we need to get back towards P3 and some more podiums! At Donington and Sepang we weren’t able to give him a bike to do that but I think that with the things we’ve learned in the last few races and our experience at Misano we should be able to improve things this weekend. Leon is getting closer and the feedback he’s giving is making sense. We made some fundamental changes to his chassis and electronics in Sepang and took some positives from that, so we’ll be looking to maintain that progress in Misano.