2014 Misano World Superbike Saturday Roundup: Farewell To Yakhnich
Misano, or Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli to give it its full name, was missed off last year's calendar, but its inclusion in the 2024 season was a welcome one. The first four qualifying sessions in World Superbike were led by an Italian on an Italian bike, with Davide Giugliano and Marco Melandri sharing the spoils, giving local fans plenty to cheer about.
Another Italian marque, MV Agusta, was making headlines, and not just for qualifying. Yakhnich and MV Agusta parted ways this weekend, leaving Vladimir Leonov without a ride, while Jules Cluzel and Claudio Corti riding for the MV Agusta directly. Whether this was over the Russian round being cancelled, something Yakhnich were financially involved in, or just a difference of opinion, it does free the Russian team up to cosy back up to Yamaha and their planned 2015 return to World Superbike. Cluzel rewarded MV Agusta with a pole position in Italy, but Corti was unable to match that achievement in World Superbike, having to settle for sixteenth place on the grid.
When the qualifying rubber comes out, you can rely on Tom Sykes and Sylvain Guintoli to make the most of it, and both did improve their form, but Davide Giugliano was the man most likely to spoil their chances, with a run of qualifying all weekend that filled Ducati with hope at the prospect of a good result. However, Tom Sykes, whose qualifying this year has not lived up to the promise of last year's, grabbed his second pole position of the year, in spite of the wrist injury resulting from the incident with Loris Baz last race weekend. The pole position, set beating a record formerly belonging to one of Sykes's heroes Troy Corser, has brought Sykes's total pole positions to twenty-one. Once more pole position and he passes Carl Fogarty in the list of most pole positions, but he's still got a way to go to catch Corser's forty-three pole positions.
Davide Giugliano was able to manage the second fastest lap, and is not carrying an injury, making this race the best chance so far for the Ducati Panigale to finally win a race. Giugliano has not yet won a race either, and the other fast Italian this weekend, Marco Melandri, has just worked out how to turn his Aprilia round corners, making things less cut and dried for Giugliano.
Weather doesn't look like it will be an issue, although Chaz Davies was concerned that it might be a little warmer than ideal, but nobody has mentioned rain.