The 2006 World Superbike Championship heads down Italy's Adriatic coast to the Santamonica circuit for the half-way point in the series, the traditionally scorching hot San Marino Round at Misano Adriatico. All eyes will be on runaway championship leader Troy Bayliss, who currently has a healthy lead of 76 points after an impressive run of seven successive victories in the first ten races.
Troy's main aim this weekend will be to add further wins to his total to equal the nine-race winning streak of Colin Edwards (Honda) and Neil Hodgson (Ducati). The last time the 37-year-old Australian raced at Misano was in 2002, when he came away with a brace of wins, but more recent performance indicators come from the Misano tests in mid-April, when he set the circuit's unofficial best in 1m33.317s and last week's three days at Brno, where he was again quickest overall.
"It all went well in Brno so I guess I'm going to Misano confident and in the right spirit. Some of the things we tested there could also work in Misano. We also got the unofficial record in the FGSport tests but conditions are sure to be a bit different now from April. I scored a double win here back in 2002 and I'd love to do that again of course. Two more wins would equal the record of nine in a row so that's something else to aim for. I love Misano, it's a real special place and it's just great to do well there in front of the Italian fans. I love the left-handers leading onto the back straight, that's one of the best parts. The only downside is that it's not such a good track in the rain, but hopefully we won't get much of that this weekend".
Lorenzo Lanzi, fourth quickest in the April test session, comes to Misano in the wake of a couple of disappointing races at Monza and Silverstone, but the 24-year-old Italian will be counting on considerable local and vocal support for his home race as he hails from just down the road.
"The last two races didn't go very well for me but we showed some positive signs during the recent tests in Brno and also here in the tests in April, so I want to do just as well this weekend. We'll try and get off to the best possible start tomorrow morning" declared Lorenzo. "In my opinion we are competitive on this track, both with qualifying and race tyres. The best part of the circuit is from Carro 1 along the fast Curvone, while the most difficult to deal with is the bit that goes from Rio to the last curve on the start straight. However Misano is a fascinating track. It's my home circuit, I did my first races here, so it's great to be here. There will also be a lot of members of my fan club, they've prepared something special for me so I have to do my best for them as well!".