The winner’s champagne sprayed after the victory in Salt Lake City (USA) has dried out and Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport has returned to Europe for the third Italian race of the season in Misano Adriatico on the Adriatic coast. This weekend (8th to 10th June) the “Misano World Circuit”, also known as the “Marco Simoncelli Circuit” since November 2011, will host the seventh round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship. The races will be held under the flag of the nearby republic of San Marino.

Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) has climbed to second place in the Riders’ Championship following his victory and second place in Salt Lake City. He now has 142.5 points to his name, 18 less than leader Max Biaggi (ITA). Marco’s team-mate Leon Haslam (GBR) is determined to rediscover his old form after a difficult weekend in the USA. He currently lies sixth on 103 points. Together, the pair has already scored 245.5 points for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport this season. In the Manufacturers’ Championship, BMW is leader Ducati’s (195.5) closest rival in second with 176 points. Only the best result from each race counts towards this championship.

Misano has played a great role in the history of the Bavarian team: in 2010 Troy Corser (AUS) claimed the team’s first pole position and second podium finish in the Superbike World Championship. Local hero Marco, who lives in Ravenna, finished third there last year. Leon was also on course for the podium in the first race, before suffering a nasty crash. In race two he fought his way into the top five on his RR, despite having riding with a broken ankle.

Marco’s helmet will bear a special design for his home race in Misano. After the weekend, the helmet will be auctioned and the profits will go to those affected by the serious earthquakes in the Modena region. The tremors could also be felt in Marco’s home town of Ravenna. The thoughts of everyone at Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport are with those who have lost relatives or homes in the earthquakes.

Marco Melandri

“I am excited to go to Misano. It is the first time I will arrive in Italy after having won a race with BMW, so I expect many fans to turn out. I am definitely proud to come to Misano after what we have achieved in the last two rounds. I will have a lot of pressure on my shoulders, because there will be high expectations as everybody thinks that I can get a good result there too. But I like that. At the last three rounds, we had three completely different types of tracks and our RR worked well on all of them. Misano is another different track, so it is going to be interesting to see how competitive we can be there. And actually, it will be the first time this season that we will race in very hot conditions. The Misano circuit is nice, but it has many stop and go corners. As such, it is going to be much more important to have a good position on the starting grid than it was in Salt Lake City. We have to be very focused on producing a good performance in qualifying.

My thoughts are with all the people who were affected by the earthquake. We could feel it quite strongly at my home, as the epicentre was not far from my house. In Misano I will use a special helmet and I want to sell it in an auction after the race to support the people who lost everything in these hard times. I am trying to do what I can to help a little.”

Leon Haslam

“I am looking forward to Misano and to making amends for the USA round. I really like the track and I can’t wait to be fighting at the front again. Misano is a circuit I really enjoy and where our RR goes quite well. The characteristics of the track suit our bike. Already last year, two podium places were in reach for us. However, I had a really bad crash when I was in a podium position in race one. In race two I finished inside the top five despite a broken ankle.

After the earthquakes in Italy, my thoughts are with the people in the region around Modena, who are going through a difficult time. Italy is a second home for me, as me and my family spend a lot of time there.”

Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations)

“After claiming our second win in two events, the whole team is very motivated ahead of the third race in Italy this season. Misano is a track that seems easy, but it’s a tricky one. It is technically demanding, with fast bends like ‘Curvone’, as well as slow and tight corners, some of them demanding hard braking. In addition, the grip might not be ideal. It needs a big effort from the team and the riders to find the proper setting for the chassis, gearing and engine management. Considering the performances BMW has shown here in the past — including the pole position and the podium with Troy Corser — and the fact that our RR has been well suited to all the different tracks we’ve raced on so far, we’re looking forward to this event.

Marco and his crew are very motivated and extremely concentrated. So I’m confident that he will back up the form he has shown so far. He will get extra support from the Italian fans. Leon will forget the difficulties he experienced in Miller and be back to the level seen in Donington. I’m sure that, with the support of all his crew and everyone at Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport, he will be able to challenge the top guys again.”