Written by Dan Evon, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com
Before the MotoGP riders can even catch their breath from the action packed round at Indianapolis, they will be shipping out for this weekend’s Misano Grand Prix at San Marino. Jorge Lorenzo may have seen his worst finish of the season at Indy (it was a third place finish) but he is still the rider to beat at Misano.
Dani Pedrosa got a big boost of confidence last weekend as he took home his third win of the year, and cut down Lorenzo’s lead to 68 points. The win also puts Pedrosa back in front of Lorenzo in terms of career wins. Pedrosa leads 34-33 in wins across all disciplines, and leads 12-11 in premier class wins.
Pedrosa managed a third place finish last year, while Lorenzo took second for the second year in a row at Misano. Both riders will be looking for a race win, although the pressure is firmly on Pedrosa’s shoulders if he wants to compete for the MotoGP championship.
Pedrosa and Lorenzo might be vying for the top spot in the championship, but you can expect Valentino Rossi to steal the show in Misano. Rossi grew up, and still lives, in Tavullia, which is just 13 km away from the Italian’s home track. Rossi fans are sure to show up in the thousands this weekend to see if the legend can reclaim the top spot on the podium. Rossi has won at Misano the past two years, and if he is going to return to glory, it will likely happen this weekend.
“Of course it’s my home race and it’s near my house so it’s always very special to race there, in front of all of my fans,” Rossi said. “I have won there the last two years but this year we come in slightly different circumstances. Still, we will be trying our hardest and I really hope I can give the fans a good show!”
Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso are currently battling for the third place spot in the MotoGP championship standings. Dovizioso leads by just 7 points, but only has a best finish of fourth at Misano. Stoner won the Misano race in 2007, but due to injury and illness, he hasn’t raced at the Italian track for the past two years. Stoner had a disappointing weekend at Indy, and will be looking to Misano to make up for some valuable lost points.
The American rookie Ben Spies had his best showing of the year last weekend, capturing his first ever second place finish. The home crowd must have given Spies a little extra push, but he has clearly shown that he is a podium contender every time he is on the track. Spies is just 4 points out of 5th place, but he’ll have to beat Rossi this weekend if he wants to move up on the leader board.
One point behind Spies, comes fellow American, Nicky Hayden. Hayden has yet to be on the podium this year, but he has had enough top 5 finishes to keep him toward the top of the leader board.
The Misano track is similar to the Indy track, in terms of flatness. But the Italian track has its 16 turns packed into just 2.6 miles. The biggest straightaway on the track is just .37 miles long, making the Misano track as tight and twisty as they come.