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Sep 9, 2013

Next Stop For MotoGP World Championship: Misano

A map of the Misano Circuit.
Anticipation builds as MotoGP™ moves epic battle to Misano

MotoGP

As the MotoGP™ grid heads to the GP Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini in Misano this weekend there is once again only one thing on riders’ minds – how to close the gap to championship leader Marc Marquez.

Last time out in Silverstone it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo who managed to figure it out by beating the Repsol Honda Team rookie sensation with a bold move in the final few corners. Lorenzo will aim for much of the same as he tries to cut the lead to the Repsol Honda men, including Dani Pedrosa, who will look to convert his outright pace into a win to get his title challenge back on course. Marquez may prove tougher to beat in Misano however, as he will have recovered further from the left dislocated collarbone he picked up in a crash in Sunday Warm-Up at the last race.

Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi is aiming to find his end-of-race pace directly off the start line, as that looks to be the weak link stopping him from challenging for a podium or win once more. GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista on the other hand will be searching for a way past the famous Italian, having lost out to him narrowly in the last three races. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl has been somewhat off-colour in recent races, despite showing great pace over one lap. He will need to rediscover the race pace that saw him take second in Laguna Seca, whereas Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow will look to forget his crash-plagued Silverstone and get back to challenging for the podium.

The Ducati Team duo may fare better at Misano than in previous outings, as they occasionally use it as a test track during the season. Yet no doubt they will have Tech3’s British rookie Bradley Smith to contend with, who has recently been tussling with the Ducatis on track. Ignite Pramac Racing’s Ben Spies is once again replaced due to injury by Ducati test rider Michele Pirro, who will make it a fully Italian garage alongside Energy T.I. Pramac’s Andrea Iannone.

Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro still looks near unstoppable as top CRT on his ART machine, and the likes of NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards and Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera will have a tough job chasing him down.


Moto2

The top news running up to Misano is that of inaugural Moto2™ World Champion Toni Elias, who has now departed the Blusens Avintia team. The Spaniard is in negotiations regarding a move to the eni FIM Superbike World Championship, while he is replaced in the intermediate class by Argentina’s Ezequiel Iturrioz.

Fresh from winning his home race, Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding will head into this weekend’s GP Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini in Misano as favourite, with Tuenti HP 40 title rival Pol Espargaro needing a good race to reduce the Brit’s lead.

Redding was on superb form in Silverstone, and will prove tough to beat in Misano, however with the likes of Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing’s Tom Luthi and Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami on form at the moment, there are many contenders for the win. Espargaro had a weekend to forget in the UK, though in Misano will still remain one of the favourites for the podium, as will his teammate Esteve Rabat, who usually looks strong towards the end of the race.

The NGM Mobile Forward Racing team could be one to watch with local rider Alex de Angelis, as well as two other strong Italians in the form of Simone Corsi and Mattia Pasini. Idemitsu Honda Team Asia has replaced Yuki Takahashi permanently with Malaysian Azlan Shah, whilst Australian Jason O’Halloran steps in once again for the inured Mike di Meglio in the JiR Moto2 team.

Gino Rea is the only wildcard this weekend with his Gino Rea Montaze Broz Racing team. Blusens Avintia’s Dani Rivas will not contest the race due to injury and will be covered for by Spanish compatriot Alex Mariñelarena. At Federal Oil Gresini Moto2, Italy’s Franco Morbidelli stands in for Doni Tata Pradita for this event.

Argiñano & Gines Racing’s Steven Odendaal is set to appear in Misano, despite suffering a broken right ankle in Moto2 Warm-Up at Silverstone, but will have to pass a medical test before being allowed out on-track.


Moto3

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Luis Salom is firmly in charge as the Moto3™ contingent heads to this weekend’s GP Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini in Misano to fight it out for the lightweight title.

Salom has looked in dominant form in recent races, and the likes of Team Calvo’s Maverick Viñales and Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins will be trying their best to get past the Mallorcan and claw back some points. Rins’ teammate Alex Marquez is proving to be a constant podium threat, whilst Caretta Technology – RTG’s Jack Miller is always one to watch.

Away from the track there is a significant technology switch with the Ambrogio Racing team switching from Suter-Honda bikes to Mahindras. This means that for the first time ever there will be four permanent Mahindra bikes on the grid in the Moto3™ World Championship. Add to that the Misano wildcard of Italian Andrea Locatelli alongside regular riders Miguel Oliveira and Efren Vazquez, and there will be five.

And providing another twist this weekend will be wildcard Luca Marini with his team Twelve Racing – the Italian being the half brother of nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi.