Sbk Misano: Bautista-Ducati in a state of grace;  Rea, not just a question of tires

The Misano round reaffirmed the current superiority of the package consisting of Spanish and Borgo Panigale bikes, while Razgatlioglu collects other stops and the Northern Irishman is in crisis with the many Pirelli choices

Massimo Falcioni

– Milan

With the two peremptory triumphs in the fourth round of the Misano Superbike World Championship, in Race 1 and Race 2, Alvaro Bautista and Ducati extend the overall standings with 33 points ahead of Rea (Kawasaki) and 79 over Razgatlioglu (Yamaha), in their first success of the season. with the victory in the Superpole Race. The championship is still long, with eight rounds (24 races) to be played and anything can happen. It is a fact, however, given the race results, the qualifying times and the split times in the strategic points of the first four circuits, that Bautista – 6 victories in this first part of the championship, 38 podiums of which 11 consecutive from the start of the season – he has been the most competitive driver to date, both for his prudent racing tactics and for his safe, authoritative and flawless driving. A Bautista at the top, supported by a Ducati-missile, apparently without weaknesses: superior not only in top speed, but also in cornering and acceleration, with the tires at the top from the start to the checkered flag. In short, this is the best Bautista ever, but it is the package with the Borgo Panigale manufacturer that works and makes the difference on the track. Moreover, at Misano, Ducati was in great shape also with the ‘private’ fastest rider Axel Bassani and with the second official Michael Ruben Rinaldi (twice on the podium), evidently also thanks to the feeling of these riders on the Romagna track and the tests done here.

the tire issue

The state of the fair is well represented by an embittered Jonathan Rea (225 career podiums) off the podium in Race 2 and with a gap of 15 seconds from Bautista, because his Kawasaki (postponed the party for the 500 podium finish in the WSBK) it slipped without grip, especially with the front hopping when entering corners. Having reached Misano with a gap in the standings of 17 points from Bautista, Rea left the Romagna round at -36: “It was frustrating – says the Northern Irishman, 6 times world champion – because in every corner entry I lost the ‘front. At Misano we had three options for the race, but there was no time over the weekend to understand the tires, it is to be hoped that Pirelli will not bring so many alternatives in the future. In any case, I’m aiming for a rematch right from the next round in Donington ”. Rea is a long-time driver who is not involved in “shots” and his technical analysis of the decisive element which is the tire deserves attention. In this case, however, the doubt arises: riders usually complain when they have little choice on the tires, while in the Misano weekend Pirelli brought new tires to test and develop, with three new rear tires and a different choice. by the big three. Bautista mounted the A (the new front compound) at the front and the B at the rear (the second variant between the two new compounds); Rea chose the A front and back; Razgatlioglu put the B in front (it is the standard SXC used so far since the beginning of the season) and the C in the back (the same type used in previous races). In short, there was no shortage of tires and it was up to the driver and the team to choose: whoever chose well was rewarded with great lap times and excellent results; those who have chosen badly have paid the consequences. That’s all.

the difficulties of others

The counter-proof of the Kawasaki’s stability difficulties at Misano comes from the two or three overtakes suffered by Rea in full curve by Bautista, on the ball with a step under the wall of 1’35 and supported by a Ducati racing on the tracks. Overtaking in this way, at that point at full throttle, are not realistically possible against a Rea with the bike in place. Unless you think that it is not so much a problem with the rubber and the feeling with the bike, but a sign of difficulty that is a premonitory of a Rea crisis. However, Jonathan has shown in the past, see 2019, that he knows how to recover quickly and with … interests. In any case, at present, Bautista is on the run, with Rea struggling to keep up with his pace and also to contain Razgatlioglu, unlucky driver for the zero of Race 1, who certainly is not satisfied with a one-off victory in Superpole. Race and to put on a show with his guide always sideways. And the others? Very good Locatelli, fourth on Yamaha in the general classification. Ditto Xavi Vierge, fourth in the Superpole Race, his best career result in the WSBK, but then crashed in Race 2 with a fractured wrist and right hand. Well Iker Lecuona (fifth) who puts some of him, but has his work to do to tame the Honda. Bad Lowes. Bmw without improvements, out of the games that matter, in full purgatory. After Misano, Superbike takes a month off, returning to the track on the weekend of 15-17 July with the UK GP at the tough Donington Park circuit.

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