Misano WSBK: Ducati's Rinaldi scores impressive home victory
Michael Ruben Rinaldi claimed his maiden victory as a factory Ducati rider at his home turf in Misano, as reigning World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea survived a major moment to finish third.
Rinaldi made a brilliant getaway from fifth on the grid to take an early lead into Turn 2, before coming on top in a thrilling scrap with both Rea and Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu later on the opening lap to reinstate his position at the head of the field.
Rea, who lost multiple places in the opening sequence of corners after starting from pole, quickly recovered lost ground to put himself right on the tail of Rinaldi’s Ducati.
As the race progressed, the two started pulling away from the rest of the field, building a buffer of several seconds over the battling duo of Scott Redding and Razgatlioglu.
Rea managed to keep the pressure on Rinaldi but wasn’t able to close the gap enough to make a move, the Italian doing enough to hold onto the lead.
After slipping more than half a second behind Rinaldi on lap 9, Rea made a rare mistake at the start of the next tour, nearly falling off his Kawasaki at the exit of Turn 1.
The six-time champion managed to remain on his bike in an incredible save but ran well off the track, allowing Razgatlioglu to come through and take second.
With Rea out of the picture, Rinaldi cruised to a first victory of 2021, and the second of his WSBK career following his Aragon success last year with the GoEleven satellite team, taking the chequered flag by a winning margin of 3.6s.
Razgatlioglu secured his fourth consecutive podium of 2021 in second, while Rea had to settle for third after his off-track excursion on lap 10.
Redding held third position in the early laps of the race but ran wide at Turn 4 on lap 5, and was unable to take advantage of his title rival Rea’s troubles, ending up fourth at the finish.
Alex Lowes had a lonely race on the second of the factory Kawasakis, finishing 13s off the lead in fifth, as both Honda’s Alvaro Bautista and Motocorsa Ducati rider Axel Bassani demoted the BMW of Tom Sykes in the closing laps to take sixth and seventh respectively.
New Yamaha recruit Andrea Locatelli finished ninth behind 2013 champion Sykes, while Michael van der Mark completed the top 10 on the second of the BMWs.
GRT Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff rose up the order to finish 12th behind Puccetti Kawasaki’s Lucas Mahias, having been forced to start from the pitlane after crashing out in qualifying and not setting a timed lap.
Honda’s Leon Haslam and MotoGP convert Tito Rabat (Barni Ducati) picked the final points in 14th and 15th respectively.
Chaz Davies was the only non-finisher in the race, the GoEleven rider suffering a crash at Turn 4 while running inside the top 10.
Race 1 results:
|1||21||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||Ducati||21|
|10||60||Michael van der Mark||BMW||21||28.364|
|View full results|
BMW rider Laverty declared unfit for first Misano WSBK race
Misano WSBK: Ducati’s Rinaldi scores another home win
Tom Sykes is eyeing a return to the World Superbike Championship next year and the Puccetti Kawasaki team could emerge as the most likely destination for the 2013 title winner.
World Superbike points leader Alvaro Bautista says he is hoping to get through one more "critical" track for Ducati at Magny-Cours without losing major ground to his rivals after stretching his advantage last weekend at Most.
Defending MotoAmerica champion Jake Gagne will return to the World Superbike Championship as a wildcard entrant in Portugal on October 8-9.
Scott Redding has admitted he had doubted his BMW World Superbike machine would ever reach its current level of competitiveness after scoring his first podium in a full-distance race last weekend at Most.