WSBK Misano preview

Jonathan Rea returns to familiar ground at Misano this weekend having had the near-perfect season to this point, and he will once again be the man to beat aboard his Kawasaki come Sunday.

The Ulsterman recorded his first-ever World Superbike victory at the Italian circuit and will be aiming to repeat history on Sunday. Rea’s nearest challenger so far has been across the garage in the figure of gangly Yorkshireman Tom Sykes and at Portimao last time out, boy did Sykes come out all guns blazing.

Although Rea claimed maximum points the 28-year-old was made to work for his two victories and his triumph was even more impressive after a fall during Superpole restricted the Kawasaki man to eighth on the grid.

Rea is striving for greatness this season and is certainly well on the way, but this weekend he will be joined on the grid by a true legend of the World Superbike paddock. Max Biaggi will make an unexpected return to the series with Aprilia this weekend, joining Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres.

The two-time World Superbike Champion will be looking to emulate the success of Troy Bayliss earlier in the season and if the Italian rides with half the determination as his Australian counterpart the 43-year-old could well upset a few people this weekend.

Ducati’s Chaz Davies continued his impressive form in Portugal and will be looking to secure a podium finished once again after battling with fellow Brit Leon Haslam last time out.

Pata Honda and Suzuki have struggled thus far this season but a visit to Portugal saw an upturn in fortunes for both teams with Honda pair of Michael van der Mark and Sylvain Guintoili securing their highest finishes of the season. Alex Lowes also grabbed an impressive third place for Suzuki during Superpole and although the Brit couldn’t quite match his result on Sunday the strides both teams have made will pose another challenge for the rest of the field.

This weekend we can once again expect a Kawasaki duel between Championship leader Jonathan Rea and team-mate Tom Sykes. A repeat of Portimao is likely with Rea favouring the layout of the Misano circuit and a clean sweep this weekend for the Northern Irishman is a real possibility, but you can never count out the determination of the gritty Sykes.

Predictions:

Superpole
1.           Tom Sykes

Race One
1.           Jonathan Rea
2.           Tom Sykes
3.           Chaz Davies

Race Two
1.           Jonathan Rea
2.           Tom Sykes
3.           Davide Guigliano

Joe Urquhart

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