Official KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam will get back into full FIM Superbike World Championship action this coming weekend at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, located on the Adriatic coast of Italy.
The seventh round of the 13 round championship will host track action from Friday 21 June until Sunday 23 June, with Rea and Haslam having three potential opportunities to score podiums and points.
Last time out in Jerez Rea took his 18th career pre-race Superpole win, and challenged for podium positions in the two longer races. He scored a second place in race two in Spain but aims for much more in Italy; ideally to add to his all-time race winning tally of 73.
Rea has recorded six race wins at Misano in previous seasons, including his first ever WorldSBK victory, way back in the 2009 season. He has already got his 2019 winning score off the mark, with two wins in the only to races that took place at Imola in May.
After two strong podium places at Phillip Island in the opening round of the year, Haslam has been tantalisingly close since then on several occasions. After a recent private test at Jerez and an earlier one at Misano he approaches this round ready to challenge for top three places once again.
Almost omnipresent on the WorldSBK calendar Misano is not only a popular circuit but a well used one, with 52 individual WorldSBK races having taken place at the circuit since its debut in 1991. Kawasaki riders have won nine of the last 10 WorldSBK races at Misano, including a double for Rea last year.
As in all race weekends this season there will be three scheduled WorldSBK races, not two – even if attempted race starts at Assen and Imola have fallen foul of poor weather conditions. This means that 16, not 18, races have been completed after the opening rounds.
In the championship standings, after six of 13 rounds that make up the full season, Rea is second with 259 points and Haslam is fifth on 130 points.
After one free weekend the WorldSBK championship will reconvene at Donington Park in the UK, between 5 and 7 July 2019.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Misano is a race weekend that I always look forward to. It is the scene of my first ever SBK win in 2009 and the whole atmosphere of being in Italy, and right by the beach, means it has a great feeling to it. And people always come out and watch as well. After a really difficult Jerez it is the perfect place to go to and try and get back the feeling we had in Imola and some previous races. We had a really strong test at Misano just a few weeks ago, where I was both fast and consistent, so we have a really good idea where to start FP1 from, and then build forward from there. I will work with all my crew to maximise our potential.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “The atmosphere at Misano is always fantastic. Jerez was a tough weekend last time out but we did a private test after the race weekend and in my opinion we made some really big steps. The whole year I have been trying to adapt my style to how this bike needs to be ridden, especially with the electronics. At that test in Jerez, however, we got to explore the bike a bit more and try to make it work more for my natural style. Straight away we made a big step so I want to take that on to the next round in Misano. We did a test there a few weeks ago too, although it was a little bit hampered by the weather. I like the circuit there and hopefully we can restart my season and try to get back on that podium.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) has now scored two podium finishes in the past two rounds, at Imola and Jerez. Sitting seventh overall in the championship, and ranked second in the Independent team’s standings, he will approach a second home round for his Italian team with confidence this weekend.
Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) is learning more and more positive things about his Ninja ZX-10RR at each round. He is looking for more strong finishes inside the top ten at Misano, which is also a home round for his team. He is ranked 11th overall in the points standings. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) returned from injury to instant points scoring ways at the recent Jerez round, putting himself into 16th place in the championship as the season reaches the halfway point this weekend.