Misano Preview, MotoGP
The action continues to come thick and fast as the MotoGP field returns to the track just five days after the visit to Indianapolis, with the World Championship moving onto Misano for the Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini. Jorge Lorenzo remains the rider to catch, having maintained his 100% podium record for the season in the U.S. along with his substantial lead in the standings.
The fact that third place at Indianapolis represented the Fiat Yamaha rider’s worst result of the season to date is testament to his phenomenal form in 2010, and he has now finished on the podium for 12 successive races – stretching back to the final race of last season in Valencia. In his two previous premier class visits to Misano Lorenzo has placed second and will be going for an eighth win of the season on Sunday.
Brimming with confidence will be his main challenger Dani Pedrosa, and the pair’s intense competitiveness has continued throughout the season. The Repsol Honda rider trimmed his rival’s Championship lead to 68 points with victory at Indy, his third of the campaign, and edged back in front of Lorenzo in the GP victory stakes across all classes. The score now is 34-33 to Pedrosa, with Lorenzo leading in terms of premier class wins at 12-11. Last season Pedrosa completed the podium at Misano behind Lorenzo, but will be aiming to upset his adversary’s run to a first MotoGP title and become the first Spaniard to win in the premier class at the circuit.
Further back Andrea Dovizioso and Casey Stoner are separated by just seven points respectively as they continue to contest third position. The Repsol Honda man has a best premier class result of fourth which came last season in his first race on new Öhlins suspension and was disappointed with fifth last time out at Indy. For Stoner it has been two years since he raced at Misano having missed last season due to illness, and he will want to correct his DNF at Indianapolis. A repeat of his 2007 victory from pole would be the perfect remedy for the Ducati Team rider.
Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi has won for the past two years at Misano, last season from pole, and is hot on the tail of Stoner in the standings having finished fourth in Round 11. Ben Spies in turn has the Italian in his sights after a season’s best result at Indianapolis of second and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider won one of the two WSBK races at Misano last year. Just a point behind him is fellow American Nicky Hayden who continues his search for a first podium of the season on his factory Desmosedici GP10.
Randy de Puniet’s (LCR Honda) continuing recovery from his broken leg will take its next step, whilst rookie Marco Simoncelli and his San Carlo Honda Gresini team-mate Marco Melandri will both want solid home results. Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) is closely grouped with last year’s 250cc race winner Héctor Barberá (Páginas Amarillas Aspar), and veteran Italian Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) is scheduled to become only the second rider in the 62-year history of GP racing to make 200 premier class starts.