Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport MotoGP News
Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini Preview
Revitalised Rossi returns home to #SanMarinoGP with championship lead
Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi heads into his home grand prix having wrestled the championship advantage back from his teammate Lorenzo.
The MotoGP™ World Championship heads to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for round 13 of the 2015 season, the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini. Built in 1972, Misano was the venue for the 1980 Italian Grand Prix and this will be the 19th time the track on the Adriatic coast has hosted a World Championship event. The first San Marino GP occurred in 1982 before moving to Misano for three years between 1985 and 1987. The circuit made its return to the World Championship calendar in 2007 and has been ever present since.
The paddock arrives in San Marino with the MotoGP™ title battle delicately poised between Movistar Yamaha teammates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, with Misano providing the perfect backdrop for the next thrilling instalment in the 2015 championship saga.
Rossi’s fourth win of the season at the British GP means he holds a 12-point advantage over his teammate heading into his home race. The Italian was born in Tavullia just 10km from the track and the race has become a traditional celebration for the passionate Rossi fans.
Both riders have won three times in the premier class at the circuit before, with Rossi emerging victorious last year, 1.5s ahead of Lorenzo. That was Rossi’s first home win since 2009, while Lorenzo was victorious for three years in a row between 2011 and 2013.
The track has traditionally been a happy hunting ground for Yamaha. In fact since the World Championships came back to Misano in 2007, only twice have Rossi and Lorenzo not been victorious. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa winning in 2010, and in 2007 when Casey Stoner took the victory on the Ducati. Lorenzo has an incredible record at the track, winning four times across all classes (250cc – 2007, MotoGP™ – 2011, 2012, 2013) and incredibly the Spaniard has never finished lower than second during a race at Misano.
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez all but saw his championship hopes evaporate as he crashed out in the wet at Silverstone, but he could still play a vital part in the deciding where the 2015 title ends up. The reigning MotoGP™ World Champion is now 77 points behind Rossi with only 6 races remaining as he heads to one of only three circuits on the World Championship calendar that he has not won at before in the premier class along with Motegi and Phillip Island. Marquez won the 2010 125cc race at the circuit, and back-to-back Moto2™ races in 2011 & 2012. His best MotoGP™ result was second in 2013, while in last year’s race he crashed while challenging Rossi at the front, and remounted to finish in 15th.
Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso heads to Misano on the back of his fourth podium of the season last time out at Silverstone. The Italian has never achieved a rostrum at Misano, although he has managed to cross the line in fourth on four occasions. His teammate Andrea Iannone has two podiums to his name at the circuit in Moto2™ (2011 & 2012), finishing in second both times. Last year he crossed the line in fifth on the Satellite Pramac Ducati after qualifying on the front row.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro will be hoping to finish inside the top ten for the 8th time this season. This is a feat he has never managed at Misano in any class before, with a best-placed finish of 11th in 2009 & 2010. His rookie teammate Maverick Viñales claimed second in the Moto3™ race in 2013, and finished last year’s Moto2™ race in fourth.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith (115pts) leads the Satellite battle from Danilo Petrucci (83pts) on the Octo Pramac Racing Ducati by 32 points. Smith’s teammate Pol Espargaro (81pts) is two points behind the Italian with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow on 74 points after his DNF at the British GP. Espargaro is the only rider of the bunch to have won at Misano before, in 2013’s Moto2™ race. In last year’s race Espargaro crossed the line in sixth ahead of his teammate Smith with Crutchlow in 9th on the Factory Ducati, while Petrucci crashed out.
Hector Barbera (23pts) on the Avintia Racing Ducati leads the Open class standings by 8 points from Forward Racing’s rookie Loris Baz (15pts). Aspar MotoGP Team’s Nicky Hayden (12pts) is now third after his Open victory at Silverstone, level on points with Jack Miller on the LCR Honda.
The Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini officially kicks off on Thursday with the official Press Conference at 5pm local time. The on-track action starts at 9am local time on Friday with Moto3™ Free Practice 1.