2014 Misano World Superbike Sunday Roundup: Favourites Rise At The Halfway Mark

World Superbike at Misano, the seventh round of thirteen, offered a chance for Ducati to finally get a win on the Panigale, and a fairy tale result in Italy would round out the excellent work they did in qualifying.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. Davide Giugliano had a poor start in the first race, and he claimed a bad choice of tyre held him back, while Chaz Davies finished in fourth, four places better than he qualified. Race two was even worse as Giugliano jumped the start before setting the fastest lap of the race on the second lap and settling into what looked like winning potential before the race collapsed around him as he had to take a ride-through, ending his hopes and those of Ducati.

It was left, therefore, to Aprilia to get an Italian victory, and both Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli looked like they had both the pace and the bike to win. Melandri finally has confidence in the front of his bike and Guintoli qualified on the front row. None of this mattered as, no matter how well Melandri rode, for a brace of third places, Tom Sykes and Loris Baz were unbeatable. Melandri confirmed that the speed of the Kawasakis surprised them and Loris Baz once again showed that when Tom Sykes turns on the metronome in his head, Baz is the only man who can keep up with him.

This does not bode well for anyone not on a green bike. Tom Sykes, carrying a serious wrist injury, was able to maintain a punishing lap-record pace in race one and, even though he was gifted the lead, in race two he managed to compensate for his injury and manage the race from the front. Loris Baz said he rode his best race in race two, holding off Marco Melandri, and even at his best pace, on equal machinery to Sykes, he could not catch him.

Tom Sykes may have made the race boring, if you concentrate only on the lead bike, but he has developed that bike with Kawasaki and it is suited to his style, changing from a tyre-eating saturday-only monster to a championship-winning package. When the track suits either his bike or his style, and when there's a tyre he can budget out over a race, he makes it look easy. A tenth or two a lap, every one treated like a qualifying lap on limited rubber, like boiling a frog one degree, one lap, at a time.

Both Honda and Suzuki struggled, a familiar tale. Eugene Laverty snapped something in his injured foot, pressing on a foot peg in race one, and, after five laps of pain, he found a position he could ride in without too much pain, and finished in ninth place before getting filled with pain killers for race two. Jonathan Rea, back to struggling mid-pack couldn't do better than fifth all day, with the track just not letting him get a setting that wouldn't punish him for having a slow bike. Alex Lowes and Leon Haslam both had a crash a piece, although Haslam's allowed him to recover for twelfth place.

In World Supersport, Kawasaki aren't having as much fun, as Kenan Sofuoglu's title chase looks all but finished. With only twelve rounds, Laguna Seca being the one they miss, five remain for the smaller bikes, and Sofuoglu is in sixth place, sixty-eight points behind Michael van der Mark who is three times a winner so far this year. Jules Cluzel in second place, with two wins including today's, is the only man who looks like he is in with a chance of beating Van der Mark.

Half way through the year, favourites have risen to the top, but this is racing and anything can happen, but in the words of Tom Sykes, for the Kawasaki team, it's “happy days”.

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Sykes is just so dominating. Any chance he'll fancy a MotoGP opportunity one day? Seems like he could better Crutchlow and maybe even get a win like Spies did. Or better off stay in this class and rack up the records?

I think Sykes will only go to Motogp if the rules in WSBK are changed resulting in him losing the advantage he currently enjoys. Cant see Sykes wanting to race on an open class bike in Motogp. But if Kawasaki ever return to motogp - you never know.

Tell you what though - you think you have fun understanding Cutchlow's accent - start listening to Sykes Yorkshire tones!

That's the accent I grew up around. Anyone that watches Game of Thrones will recognise the accent as the one used for House Stark. 

Aye luhv tha accents exceptin fer tha German ones which sound like overly technically serious grumpay arses! ;) I always understand Tom just fine. What a good guy!
Moto4 I will co-sign your hope, Kawi must be following the dramatically changing tides keenly but aloofly. They are frisky and chirping just to have bikes at the pointy end of WSBK, but it isn't out of the realm of possibility that we hear something in a couple seasons eh?

I am STILL amazed with our last vision of a black Melandri mounted bandit sneaking into the front pack proceedings! How the heck?! Do it again!

Wierder things have happened than a WSBK victor getting to test out a decent GP bike...I would bet against it mind you, and would sure like to lose!

Kawasaki have long said they would not return to MotoGP until they had claimed the WSBK title.

Sykes has said repeatedly he'd like to race in MotoGP, particularly with Kawasaki.

Sykes has further said that many people inside Kawsaki have talked about wanting to return to MotoGP.

Kawasaki are backing Avintia more this season than with any team since their departure.

Forward Racing's boss claimed he'd had talks with Kawasaki about running their factory team before they signed to race the open Yamahas.

All of which amounts to absolutely nothing... but it is surely better than if none of those things occurred.

I live in hope!

... Bayliss, Mladin, Fogarty and other veteran riders who've honed their craft to an almost insurmountable level of performance. It's also cool to see that Kawasaki is likely to win the last 2 "true" World SBK championships now that the rules will be substantially dumbed down from next year onward. Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to the potential for closer racing next year, but I'll also miss all the impossibly-trick superbikes.

Agreed, it feels like he's just entering a period of dominance.
It wasn't all that long ago that Kawasaki looked ready to drop him, really pleased that they stayed together and worked the ZX10R into the machine it is today.

It would be really good to see Kawasaki go back into MotoGP, only reservation would be is, can they afford it? Last time round they had a bike with a lot of potential, and just as they signed Melandri they bailed out.

Yamaha made a big mistake dropping Tom. He wasn't that far off Spies back then. I am most impressed how he pushed his way from back-door Kawasaki Superbike rider to their Factory Team World Champion. True, a regrettable tragedy factored in somewhat, but he definitely has proven himself to be the top dog in a very tough championship. I'm not sure how old he is, but he seems to be just hitting his prime.

The commentators were making a big deal *during* race one of David Giugliano's front wheel coming off the ground on the straights. Does anyone know what was going on? They were definitely wheelies and not just the front fighting against hard acceleration. The commentators thought that Giugliano was losing his mind, but I thought maybe he was having electronics issues with traction control/power-supply? It would be rather interesting to know whether he was showing his displeasure of his bike setup/tires by messing around like that.

I didn't think they were necessarily deliberate, but I don't have any insight into them and neither he nor the team made any mention of it. Odd.