Five racers from four different manufacturers took to the Misano podium to demonstrate the power and depth of WorldSBK.
“This is the real Superbike racing” was the way Marco Melandri assessed the Sunday’s race at Misano, and it was tough to disagree against the Italian.
With clear skies and a scorching sun, The action on the track was as intense and hot, with Jonathan Rea, Michael van der Mark and Melandri all fighting for the title.
In addition to Chaz Davies keeping an close closely following his Saturday’s podium and Eugene Laverty having stood on the Race 1 rostrum, it was evident that this was the most successful race weekend of the 2018 season.
Five competitors sprayed Prosecco onto the podium and four brands were able to watch their athletes on the podium. It was an amazing weekend to conclude to racing prior to it getting to the end of summer.
Although Rea might have achieved another double win in a row He had to work hard to achieve the win.
Sunday was a very difficult day for the current world champion. At Parc Ferme, as well as in the finals, his bleak and reflective mood revealed how deeply he was affected by the loss of the man he had known for a long time, William Dunlop.
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Rea was determined to race to win the race to help his fellow racers. His 64 WorldSBK victory was among his most memorable.
Being able to make it through the field was difficult for the Kawasaki driver, who started in ninth place with an Race 2 grid reshuffle. Making clear and decisive movements through the field was difficult due to of a set-up change for Rea.
“This was a hard race,” said the winner. “I don’t know where to start, but we made a change to the bike today, but it definitely wasn’t for the better.”
“We adjusted the balance to assist in turning the corner more smoothly however it was placing the front tire at the edge. I was having a hard time with an excessive amount of angle, and when I released the brakes, I noticed lots of movement.”
“I did a few front slides here. I had to think fast to pick up the points. I could tell that Mikey was running the laps in different areas that I was in.”
The race performance that Van der Mark put forth was impressive. After qualifying lower than the rest of the field in Race 1 He was steady throughout the race and was able to finish fourth at the finish line.
This earned the Dutchman the pole place to start Race 2, and his performance was also consistent. It took until the last race for Rea to take the lead. The victory was not guaranteed up until the flag was waved.
The troubles that Rea was battling on Sunday also had an impact on other racers. The new front tire with a higher profile by Pirelli was well-received; however, some riders were affected by it.
The most important issue was stability once brakes were released, and the tire was not allowing riders to go into the turn with confidence. If you were able to make the tire work, it was an enormous benefit, and if not, then you had to get around the issue.
On Saturday, Melandri’s front tire problems are a reality in the form of the Italian declaring, “I was racing blindly using one of the tires on my back. I was sure it was the best tire for the conditions, and you will see this because everybody used it, but I was unable to complete laps in practice.”
The experience gained from that higher-profile tire will be vital for teams over the course of this season. Many crew chiefs have said that the tire is now the primary tire used by teams, in the same manner, that the wider profile rear tire has become almost mandatory for teams hoping to win in WorldSBK.
The rubber added to the rear of the tire has allowed riders to limit the wear on their tires, and at Misano, similar to other recent races, this was essential.
It was utilized to impressive impact to great effect by Van der Mark to win at Donington Park in May, and ever since, to have the chance to win, you must use it. For the Dutch rider, the tire let him right the mistakes of the previous year, when a failure of the tire caused him to lose the chance to win at Misano.
“This track is good for Yamaha and me,” said Van der Mark. “We are good in the longer, faster corners, but we’re making progress in the slower, tighter corners too.”
“We have to take additional steps as we’ve been getting stronger over the weekend. It is possible to compete for second place in the championship; however, third place is what I am focusing on since that’s the target for this season.”
“I had a little bit more pace left at the end of the end, but it was the same for Johnny; he was fast all weekend.”
“I’m content with the second position and there were some places in which I was quicker than Johnny; however, I was not going to make any mistakes due to the fact that Marco was coming up really quickly too. I was not going to make mistakes that could be detrimental to both of us.”
It was not difficult to slip up on this weekend. The track temperature was scorching hot and it was just as challenging as any other race this year to get the additional speed required. Just a few 10ths of seconds was what made the distinction between a fantastic weekend and a decent one.
Teams have plenty of things to think about during the summer break; however, when WorldSBK resumes racing in Portimao, the aim is to keep the Misano pace that saw the most thrilling race weekend of the season.
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