Several of the top teams have taken advantage of the long break between the previous Miller Motorsports Park meeting in the USA and the San Marino race weekend to make their own tests, many at Misano itself.
New championship leader Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) also leads the 2010 win count with six as we enter the second half of another exciting year in WSBK, all of the four-time 250cc GP Champion's victories coming in twos. Max has scored doubles at Portimao, Monza and most recently Miller. Hot on his heels is long-time leader Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare), now eager to make up for a crash in the USA that cost him his championship advantage. Both top protagonists, plus their team-mates Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) and Sylvain Guintoli (Alstare Suzuki), tested at Misano recently.
Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and his talented team-mate Max Neukirchner made their own private tests at their team's home circuit of Assen last week. The Honda duo will be keen to return to Misano in race mode however, as each has taken a victory at the ever-evolving Misano World Circuit, Rea last year and Neukirchner the year before. Rea is currently third in the championship standings, ten points ahead of the desperately unlucky Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) who was forced out of the lead in each Miller race. Carlos will have his usual high level of motivation going into Misano, and like his team-mate Shane Byrne he has tested at Misano as well, as part of the recent World Ducati Week festival. Official Ducati riders Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) also tested at Misano during that period, and there could be no better place for the talented duo to get back to their very best winning form. It has been a tough year on occasion for Michel and Nori, but they have each taken a race win; Nori in Spain and Michel in South Africa.
Two of the fastest riders at the recent Misano tests were James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda) and his team-mate Cal Crutchlow, who are looking to score their first wins of the year. BMW Motorrad Motorsports' Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus were not quite at the level of the fastest riders in the Misano sessions, but Corser in particular was very close on times, and looks to one of his favourite circuits to be able to show his podium quality again on the ever-improving S1000RR. Xaus has put in some outstanding rides at Misano and the most recent of his 11 career race wins came there in 2008. One of the few top teams not to test recently is the Kawasaki Racing Team, but Tom Sykes and Chris Vermeulen are very much up for a fight in Italy, with Vermeulen now getting on top of his long-term knee injury and Sykes having had to rest his body after a heavy crash in America.
In the kingdom of the true privateers, Jakub Smrz (Pata B&G Ducati) and Luca Scassa (Supersonic) have been battling it out for the title of most impressive rider so far. Scassa may be nearer to home ground, and have tested at Misano recently (as did the DFX Ducati team) but Smrz can count on memories of being the 2009 Superpole winner at Misano to boost his pre-race hopes. Lorenzo Lanzi returns to action for DFX Ducati this weekend. Four-cylinder private entries from ECHO CRS Honda rider Broc Parkes, and Pedercini Kawasaki riders Roger Lee Hayden and Matteo Baiocco are in place once more, and there will be a wildcard in their midst this weekend as well. Regular CIV competitor Federico Sandi (Gabrielli Racing Team) will join the grid at Misano on his Aprilia RSV4 machine.
SUPERSPORT: The intense battle for supremacy in the Supersport World Championship will continue at Misano, with leader Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) on 142 points, second placed Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) only six points behind and Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Motocard.com) now 14 points back in third. The top three have monopolised the 2010 season wins in this class but others will look to Misano as another chance to secure their first victory. ParkinGO Triumph BE-1 rider Chaz Davies is a clear fourth in the rankings, with Sofuoglu's team-mate and local rider Michele Pirro fifth, on the same points total as Spanish star David Salom. Former 1000c Superstock champion and recent WSBK regular Vittorio Iannuzzo will now ride for the BE-1 Triumph team. A total of nine additional riders will compete at Misano in the Supersport class, as well as the regular competitors.
SUPERSTOCK 1000: Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) has been making the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup category his own this year, having taken all four wins so far, the most recent at Monza back in May. Michele Magnoni (Honda) heads up a fabulously tight battle for second with 47 points, Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Racing Junior Honda) has 46, Davide Giugliano (Team06 Suzuki) 45 and Sylvain Barrier (Garnier Junior Racing BMW) 40.
SUPERSTOCK 600: In the 600 Superstock division, Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Racing Yamaha) heads up the pack, having never been off the podium so far, collecting two wins on the way. Twenty points behind, his fellow Frenchman Florian Marino (Ten Kate Junior Racing) is second, with Federico D'Annunzio (Martini Corse Yamaha) now third.
THE CIRCUIT: The Misano Adriatico circuit, now properly called the Misano World Circuit, is a 4.226km track which has seen many improvements in the recent years, and most radically of all a change in the direction of racing, meaning that right hand corners are the more predominant now. Rain affected the first day of recent tests but the normal characteristics of a Misano race weekend are heat and humidity, which make for very high track temperatures. Located at sea level, Misano will be a complete change from the previous two circuits on the championship trail, Kyalami and Miller, which are both situated at high elevations.