Sep 11, 2012
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Jorge Lorenzo (99).
The Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini welcomes the MotoGP™ grid to Misano this coming weekend with the fight at the top of the premier class turning into a breath-taking spectacle with Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo and Repsol Honda Team's Dani Pedrosa both on blistering form heading into this weekend.
With Pedrosa only 13-points adrift off his Spanish rival, he will undoubtedly be looking to claw back further points with only six races left in the season. Yet Lorenzo will have his say in the matter, having taken the win at Misano last year in dominant fashion. Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner is still recovering from his ankle surgery two weeks ago, and will be replaced by SBK Ten Kate Honda rider Jonathan Rea of Northern Ireland. He has had a total of three test days on the Honda RC213V machine, and will he aiming to put on a good show in his first MotoGP™ outing.
Lorenzo's teammate Ben Spies, who last time out had a weekend to forget, will be hoping for a trouble-free outing at the track, and get back to challenging for the podium. He will as usual face the challenge from Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow. The British rider not only took his first GP podium in Brno; he also topped the timesheets in the official test, making himself known as a serious threat at the Misano round. His Italian teammate will not wish to be beaten at his home round however, and will most certainly look to get the upper hand once more.
Ducati Team's Valentino Rossi, who held a private test at the track two weeks ago, will be looking for a positive result at his local circuit, as he seeks to improve the Desmosedici for a good finish to the season. His American teammate Nicky Hayden, who missed the last race due to injury, will be back for the Italian race. He has never finished a race there since joining the Ducati Team in 2008. The factory Ducati pair will be gunning to finish ahead of the satellite Hondas of Stefan Bradl and Ãlvaro Bautista. LCR Honda MotoGP's Bradl, who last week tested a factory RC213V, came second in the Moto2™ race last year, and will be hoping to challenge for a podium at the team's home race, albeit with his current satellite machine. San Carlo Honda Gresini's Ãlvaro Bautista will however have the same intentions and is likely to try and spoil the party.
The satellite Ducati machines will be back at full strength once more with Pramac Racing Team's HÃ©ctor BarberÃ¡ returning to the frame after recovering from his fractured vertebra, and Cardion AB Racing's Karel Abraham buoyed by his ninth place finish in Brno. The CRT contingent has undergone some changes since Brno, with Spaniard David Salom replacing IvÃ¡n Silva in the Avintia Blusens team, and Came IodaRacing Project's Danilo Petrucci lining up on a Suter-BMW machine. NGM Mobile Forward Racing's Colin Edwards will continue to race on his Suter bike, and will line up against the regular CRT grid of Power Electronics Aspar duo of Randy de Puniet and Aleix EspargarÃ³, San Carlo's Michele Pirro, Speed Master's Mattia Pasini, Avintia's Yonny Hernandez and Paul Bird Motorsport's James Ellison.
As the Moto2™ contingent challenge each other once more this weekend at the Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini in Misano, they will have a mountainous task in trying to catch Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol's Marc MÃ¡rquez, with the Spaniard 48 points clear at the top of the championship standings.
MÃ¡rquez, the winner at the track last year after a hard fought battle, will most certainly be joined up front by Speed Master's Andrea Iannone, who will be keen to impress his home fans. He finished third in last year's race, and will look to make up for missing out on the podium in Brno. It is however Pons 40 HP Tuenti's Pol EspargarÃ³ who will be the most driven to reduce the deficit to his Spanish rival, after failing to capitalize on his pole position in the last race. He has not finished higher than fifth in Misano, but will hoping that his outright pace can help him mount a serious challenge to MÃ¡rquez.
Interwetten-Paddock's Tom LÃ¼thi, who was on blistering form in Brno, will hope for that extra bit of pace to take his second win this season, and to overtake EspargarÃ³ into second in the standings. The Marc VDS Racing Team duo of Scott Redding and Mika Kallio, sitting fifth and sixth in the championship table respectively, will look to better their difficult outing at the last race, where Kallio finished seventh and Redding crashed out on the first lap.
Flying the local flag will be NGM Mobile Forward Racing's Alex de Angelis, the only true local rider from Rimini. He only narrowly missed out on the podium last year in fourth, yet will undoubtedly be a threat, after a solid performance on board his FTR at the last race. Other FTR rider, Came IodaRacing Project's Simone Corsi, as well as Italtrans Racing Team's Claudio Corti are two other Italians ready to impress, as they seek to climb the rankings with some local support.
Kiefer Racing's Max Neukirchner, who suffered an injury at the previous round in Brno, will be replaced in the team by Frenchman Mike Di Meglio. Neukirchner, following further medical check-ups was diagnosed with a second break in the middle part of his hand, rendering him unable to race. Di Meglio had been racing for the German MZ Racing Team in Moto2, which he joined before the Mugello round. MZ has not yet named a replacement rider. The ArguiÃ±ano Racing Team will also field a replacement for the injured Ricky CardÃºs in the form of South African rider Steven Odendaal.
The Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini in Misano will host the Moto3™ field this coming weekend, with Red Bull KTM Ajo's Sandro Cortese holding a commanding lead over nearest rival Maverick ViÃ±ales.
The German has had a tremendous year since winning his first ever GP at Brno in 2011, finishing on the podium 14 times in the last 19 races. Yet his best ever result at Misano is a fourth last year, which he will most certainly look to improve upon when he takes to the track to defend and extend his lead. Blusens Avintia's Maverick ViÃ±ales, now a full 32-points behind the championship leader will know that nothing but the win will do as he seeks to turn the tables in the hunt for top honours. He will however have the resurgent Luis Salom on his RW Racing GP machine to contend with, as the Spaniard continues his upward trend following his first win in Indianapolis.
Whilst the top three in the table have been consistent performers all year, the main danger is likely to come from Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3's Jonas Folger, who recorded a dominant victory last time out in Brno. The German has looked like a man on a mission since switching to the Aspar outfit, and will be aiming to record his third ever GP career win when he lines up on the San Marino track. Another contender will be JHK T-Shirt Laglisse's EfrÃ©n VÃ¡zquez, who recorded his last podium to date at the track last year. Having been in the hunt numerous times this year, but ultimately missing out, the Spaniard will be hoping that Misano can lend him some good fortune.
Team Italia FMI's Romano Fenati, who proved at Mugello that a home advantage works wonders for him, will be among the chargers for the podium, joined by the likes of San Carlo Gresini Moto3's NiccolÃ² Antonelli and his own teammate Alessandro Tonucci. Mahindra Racing will field replacement rider Miroslav Popov in place of the injured Ricardo Moretti, whilst two wildcard riders will join the field in the shape of Team Imperiali Racing's Stefano Valtulini and Elle 2 Ciatti's Kevin Calia.