2015 Misano MotoGP Preview

2015 Misano MotoGP Preview - Rossi’s Rhythm Heads Home
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi

Since winning the opening round of 2015 MotoGP at Qatar, Valentino Rossi has remained on top of the points battle throughout the opening 12 of 18 rounds. The nine-time World Champion had technically lost the top position after the Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno – round 11 –  where Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Jorge Lorenzo earned his fifth win of the season.

After Brno MotoGP, Lorenzo and Rossi were tied with 211 points, but because Lorenzo had five wins to Rossi’s three, the 28-year-old Spaniard technically had the lead. In reality, though, Rossi had never really lost this top position. Rossi then regained the top tier after dominating a wet Silverstone two weeks ago, earning the victory ahead of two surprise riders – Octo Pramac Racing Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.

With Rossi claiming his fourth win of 2015 MotoGP – and Lorenzo finishing fourth – the 36-year-old Italian now has 236 points, 12 ahead of Lorenzo as the series heads to Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for round 13. This is the 19th time Misano has hosted MotoGP.

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Rossi’s return to momentum couldn’t have come at a better time considering the San Marino Grand Prix is a home race for the #46 Yamaha YZR-M1 pilot. Rossi was born in Tavullia, just six miles away from Misano, meaning the paddock will be a sea of yellow. As the Rossi/Lorenzo battle heads to Misano for a 28-lap battle, both MotoGP leaders have won at the circuit three times. Rossi won last year’s race, 1.5 seconds ahead of Lorenzo. This was his first home win at Misano since 2009.

“We now arrive in Misano and there will be a lot of pressure on me, especially from the fans, friends and family that are coming, but I like this track a lot. There is always a great atmosphere in Misano and it‘s really my home race, because the track is only 10km away from Tavullia,” Rossi says.

“Last year I rode a great race, but at the same time Jorge is also very fast there, so it will be another great fight. I‘ll have to manage the situation in the right way. It will be difficult, but the most important thing is that this is a place where I‘m able to go fast and where Yamaha is usually very strong.”

Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo heads to Misano MotoGP 2015
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo

As for Lorenzo, he tasted victory at Misano three-years straight from 2011-2013; he also earned the 2007 win there in the former 250cc class. In all other races, he had never finished worst than second. Lorenzo continues to hold the record lap (under race conditions) since 2011 at the 2.63-mile circuit containing 16 corners.

“Silverstone didn’t go as we expected due to the weather conditions. We tried all we could to stay on the podium but unfortunately we couldn’t get the pace to stay in front and finally we had some problems beyond our control, prohibiting us to keep up the fight until the end as well,” Lorenzo says.

“Now I’m focused on the race at Misano because it’s a special track for us and for Yamaha. I know Valentino will feel good because it‘s his home Grand Prix, but in the past I’ve always been quite fast there and achieved several victories so let’s see what happens. My teammate has a gap of 12 points in the championship but there are still six races left so there are still enough points up for grabs. I’m going to push to the maximum in every race starting in Misano.”

The next closest rider to the Yamaha duo is Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, the two-time reigning MotoGP champion. After winning at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix and taking second at Brno, Marquez was moving towards the top of the point standings. But he suffered another crash at Silverstone – his fourth DNF of 2015 MotoGP – and is now 77 points behind Rossi with six races remaining.

From a statistical point, Misano is only one of three tracks that Marquez has yet to win at in the premier class; the other two are Phillip Island and Motegi. Marquez did win a 125cc race at Misano (2010) and two Moto2 races (2011,2012). Last year, Marquez crashed while battling with Rossi, though he remounted to finish 15th. As for Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa, the Spaniard won at Misano in 2010, and is currently seventh in the point standings with 102.

Honda's Nicky Hayden to Misano MotoGP 2015
Honda’s Nicky Hayden

Fourth in points, nine behind Marquez, is Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone. The Italian has two podiums at Misano in Moto2 (2011,2012), and crossed the finish line in fifth last year while piloting the satellite Pramac Racing Ducati. Iannone’s teammate Dovizioso – also an Italian – arrives in Misano after earning his fourth podium of 2015 MotoGP, but he has never finished in the top-three at Misano. Dovi is currently fifth in points with 120

Leading the satellite teams is Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith, who is in sixth with 115 points, 13 ahead of Pedrosa. The next closest satellite rider is Petrucci on the Ducati GP14.Rounding out the top 10 in points are Smith’s teammate Pol Espargaro (81 points) and LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (74 points). In eleventh with 67 points is the top Suzuki GSX-RR pilot, Team Ecstar’s Aleix Esparagro.

2015 Misano MotoGP Preview – TV Schedule

Fox Sports 1 will provide live coverage of 2015 Misnao MotoGP from 7:30 to 9 a.m. ET.

2015 MotoGP Point Standings (after 12 of 18 rounds):

1 .Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 236
2. Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 224
3. Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 159
4. Andrea IANNONE Ducati ITA 150
5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 120
6. Bradley SMITH Yamaha GBR 115
7. Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 102
8. Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati ITA 83
9. Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha SPA 81
10. Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda GBR 74
11. Maverick VIÑALES Suzuki SPA 67
12. Aleix ESPARGARO Suzuki SPA 60
13. Scott REDDING Honda GBR 47
14. Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati COL 41
15. Hector BARBERA Ducati SPA 23
16. Alvaro BAUTISTA Aprilia SPA 22
17. Loris BAZ Yamaha Forward FRA 15
18. Nicky HAYDEN Honda USA 12
19. Jack MILLER Honda AUS 12
20. Stefan BRADL Aprilia GER 11
21. Michele PIRRO Ducati ITA 8
22. Eugene LAVERTY Honda IRL 7
23. Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda JPN 5
24. Mike DI MEGLIO Ducati FRA 4
25. Alex DE ANGELIS ART RSM 2

2015 Misano MotoGP Preview – Photo Gallery