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WSBK team by team analysis - Misano

A disappointing weekend by all accounts for Stiggy Honda, as tactical and technical errors went some way to betraying their rookie status. Racing at Misano for the first time, Leon Haslam was nonetheless on form from the off, comfortably positioned towards the front of the mid-pack before going on to qualify a solid tenth. While not seemingly happy with his bike in the tricky conditions of race one, a drying surface brought out the best in the Briton as he surged his way back up to fourth position as those ahead of him traded in their wet-shod bikes for try weather tyres. However, the differential in speed between Haslam and the likes of Ben Spies and Shane Byrne was immense and by leaving it just a little too late to make that stop, Haslam lost far more than he'd made up by avoiding the pit lane altogether. Finishing an eventual 12th, Haslam fought back for eighth in the second race, despite an engine problem that kept pushing him out of the corners and making him run wide. Still, this remains a solid foundation ahead of his home return at Donington Park next weekend.

On the other side of the garage, John Hopkins has only a week to get better prepared for his return to WSBK competition after choosing to sit Misano out following the first day of competition. Deciding the rigours of the circuit were doing more harm than good, Hopkins will be hoping to be present for his 'second home event' this time.


Aprilia
Shinya Nakano – 9th, 13th
Max Biaggi – 13th, 10th

An unusually anonymous weekend for Max Biaggi allowed Shinya Nakano, for the first time this season, to fly the Aprilia flag at Misano. With the RSV-4 seemingly not so assured around the Adriatic circuit, while Biaggi and Nakano made top ten appearances on the run up to qualifying, this wasn't shaping up to be one of their better events. Worse was to follow in the races, particularly the wet encounter, with the RSV-4 simply dropping back into the field before the circuit came back towards them at the end. Nonetheless, both Nakano and Biaggi secured a top ten finish each to keep their points ticking over, the latter holding onto fifth in the standings too.


Althea Honda
Matthieu Lagrive– 10th, 21st

One of the big stories between events was Althea Honda's decision to drop Tommy Hill from their line-up in favour of Supersport veteran Matthieu Lagrive. While Hill's demise had been on the cards for some time, the promotion of Lagrive still came as a surprise to those who thought they'd give his younger – and more successful – team-mate Mark Aitchison a chance. Nonetheless, Lagrive's Superbike endurance background won out in the end and it was that experience that helped him secure a fine tenth place on his debut. With the weather making the time to change bikes mid-race crucial, Lagrive looked comfortable in the wet before choosing his moment perfectly and holding on to the chequered flag. While he didn't match that pace in the dry second race, his result marks the first top ten for Althea in 2009, while those six points already match Hill's haul from the opening seven rounds too.


BMW Alpha Racing
Ruben Xaus – 14th, 16th
Troy Corser – DNF, 19th

BMW reached another milestone at Misano, even if their results didn't exactly show it. A best of 14th position for Ruben Xaus was a lower result than he deserved in the first race after showing some impressive tenacity in his rise through the field in slippery conditions, only to then enjoy his moment of glory out front just a couple of laps too long. Of course, his finishing position had a lot to do with the subsequent pit lane speeding penalty he received afterwards (he blamed the fact BMW are at the end of the pit lane), but it was a good sign of how well the S1000RR performs in the wet. By contrast, the bike's dry performance was less convincing, with neither Xaus – who won at Misano twelve months ago - nor Troy Corser scoring in race two. Corser had to come back from a somewhat embarrassing fall on the warm-up lap of race one, the Australian being shaken enough to go pointless for what is now four meetings in a row (although he did sit two of those out). Progress was always anticipated to be slower than that of Aprilia, but BMW wouldn't have expected to be going backwards after what was such an encouraging start to the year…


Celani Race Suzuki
Alessandro Polita – 15th, 21st

With Karl Muggeridge making the late decision to not aggravate his vertebrae injures further – despite having done so without realising for three rounds already -, Alessandro Polita made a belated seasonal debut at Misano aboard the Celani Suzuki. Having lost his ride at cash—strapped Sterilgarda Ducati pre-season and then again when Hoegee Suzuki withdrew from Supersports, the former Superstock champion put in a decent showing on his return to the team he last raced for in 2007. Proving tactically astute in race one, Polita crossed the line 15th to get one point on the board – a good effort in what has been a difficult season off the track thus far.


Kawasaki SRT
Jamie Hacking – 16th, 22nd
Broc Parkes – 17th, 17th

Following their star turn at Miller Motorsports Park, Kawasaki's fortunes took a turn for the worse at Misano, with Jamie Hacking and Broc Parkes struggling to have things go their way. It looked like being a case of progression for Parkes, who entered Superpole with a provisional fifth position in his grasp, but he couldn't find space on his best lap and he was instead left to miss Q2 for, remarkably, the first time this season. In the races it was Hacking – given a stay of execution after his top ten showing on his debut in America – that flew the Kawasaki flag, cruising up to fourth position at one stage during the changeable conditions of race one. Somewhat embarrassingly, though, he didn't fully understand the flag-to-flag rule, making his pit stop far too late to do anything other than cross the line a frustrated 16th. Race two didn't fare much better for the pair, both struggling with set-up to miss out on the points – a disappointing weekend for the manufacturer given their rate of progress in recent races.


DFX Corse Ducati
Lorenzo Lanzi – 19th, 18th

Everything worked against Lorenzo Lanzi at Misano, a circuit he would have been confident of a decent result. Quick in free practice, he qualified a decent 16th for the two races and ran well in the early stages on each occasion. However, his performances over a long distance would wane and the Italian couldn't get back into contention. Two lowly results just inside the top twenty will be considered disappointing given the performances of Shane Byrne and Jakub Smrz up the road…


Pedercini Kawasaki
Luca Scassa – DNF, 20th
David Salom – 23rd, DNF

A tough weekend all round for the Kawasaki team, Pedercini joined the factory team in failing to make it into the points. Scassa might have fancied his chances around a familiar circuit, but while he was quick in the wet sessions leading up to the races, a failure to finish race one prevented him from getting on the scoresheets. From here, neither himself nor David Salom would trouble the point scorers.


Squadra Corse Italia Honda
Vittorio Iannuzzo – 20th, 24th

A home event for both rider and team, returning to action after a two race break, Vittorio Iannuzzo and Squadra Corse Italia remain rooted at the bottom of the leaderboard with no points. On the plus side, Iannuzzo did reach the finish line on both occasions for the first time since Qatar.

Yamaha France Ipone
David Checa – 21st, DNF



Tagged as: Misano , Haga , Ben Spies

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