Race report: CIV Italian Championship, Round 1, Misano
On the 7th, 8th and 9th of April, JDS Moto Racing and I attended the first round of the CIV Italian championship at the Misano world circuit. This year we are entered in the supersport 300 class on a Yamaha YZF-R3. I am riding the same bike as last season, but this year consists of different engine modifications, different riders, different tracks and great opportunities!
Since we flew into Bologna (Italy), we have been staying near the coast of Ravenna. It has been very cold lately, so it’s been hard to get prepared in the right way. During the winter many shops are closed, only the essentials are open such as fuel stations, supermarkets and if you’re lucky maybe a coffee shop! It is like everyone goes into hibernation during the winter then a few shops open here and there.
Leading up to round one I have been training very hard physically and on the bike. I’ve taken a big turn in my diet and training so I’m much lighter and stronger than last year. From 72 kilos to 63 in three months or so. Also, I’ve been at the local go kart track trying to chase down a former 250cc world champion Marco Melandri and world supersport rider Fredrico Caricasulo! They are fast but give it a few months and well hopefully I can stick with them for more than two laps.
On Wednesday we drove from Ravenna to Misano which is only an hour, we arrived at the track roughly around 5:00 pm. We only have a small setup, so it took about an hour to fully be setup and ready to go. Thursday consisted of three free practices, but it was raining in the morning and the afternoon, so I made the decision to not ride the wet practice. There was no rain forecast for the weekend and I saw no benefit, so I completed one 25-minute session at mid-day. I had a very positive feeling with the bike and even though it was FP1 I made a good time of 1:55.123. I knew very well that the riders I’m competing against know the tracks well also some compete at the world stage, so I made sure to make good use of my time.
Thursday evening and Friday morning was quite hectic, after overcoming the language barrier to sign in correctly and get the bike scrutineered we found out our bike was six kilos under the weight limit, we knuckled down to add six kilos of anything and everything to the bike.
Friday – morning it was free practice two then in the afternoon qualifying one. It was a beautiful day with the sun shining and the heat rising. We made a few changes to the bike for the second outing and we went a lot faster and pushed to eight fastest with a 1:53.67 lap which was good, but I needed more out of the bike, so we made a few more changes for the next session. Qualifying one was great, I was sitting fourth fastest for most of the session with a 1:52.50 lap-time but I encountered problems towards the end of the qualifying and was unable to improve so I ended up in seventh.
This was a good confidence boost because the qualifying time would have put me in the top three of the world championship 300 class in 2017. The guys I’m racing against are super quick and know these tracks very well so its makes it a challenge, but that’s the fun part! Qualifying two on Saturday morning I was first up at 9:00 am and it was cold, then I missed the first ten minutes of the session due to a mechanical problem and had to run with my bike back to the pits from the other side of the track. Once we fixed the problem I had ten minutes to try and improve my time, this is sketchy in cold conditions because the bike and tyres act differently and have less feel, this caught me out, I lost grip in the rear end and the bike spat me off. I was okay and quickly knew why I had crashed which put me at ease. I still qualified eight on the gird.
Race time – after fixing the bike for race one I made a great start and was in fifth place by the first corner. I made my way to fourth but by the second lap but then encountered front brake problems, with the lever was coming all the way to the bar. This started to play havoc on my riding and I was picked off down to seventh, I then made a mistake and ran into the gravel trap. I got back on track and from position twenty-seventh I got back to tenth by the finish. It was a shame, as when I was back in tenth place I was doing the same times as the top three riders.
Sunday rolled around, and I was excited to see what I could do for race two. We were up quite late fixing the front brake and making sure it would be good for race two. Starting from eight grid position again I made a good start and made it to fifth in the first corner, a few corners later I found myself passing around the outside for fourth position. We were on the back straight and I was in the slipstream of the two factory Yamahas, I made a pass up this inside skimming past both riders into a fast fifth gear corner. I was excited because I was in second place and I quickly started to hunt down first place who had opened a slight gap, one corner later I entered as what I thought was normal and my front end washed out…
I ran to my bike and picked it up, my handle bar was bent all the way in but that didn’t stop me from the finishing the race. I made my way through a pack of riders and brought the bike back home in position twenty fourth out of forty-two. I was disappointed but at the same time also had shown what I could do but I just made a few costly mistakes. I know this experience will help me and even though this round was up and down I still think it was awesome and I can’t wait for Mugello for round two in four weeks!
A massive Thank you to my supporters and sponsors you are the reason I am here and can chase my dreams.