The Misano World Circuit named after Marco Simoncelli opens to the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship: the track in historic Italian region of Romagna will be hosting the bikes derived from standard production from June 17 to 19.
A two-wheel factor must be added to the well-known Romagna Coast = Fun equation. The green inland valleys peeking out from behind the white sandy expanses that year after year welcome thousands of holidaymakers can take by surprise bikers looking forward to exploring the region before enjoying the show offered on the 4226 metre-long “Marco Simoncelli” Misano World Circuit.
The atmosphere changes inland, in balance between the chatter of the seaside resorts and the peace and quiet of the countryside, interrupted only by the buzzing of the bees,the chirping of the cicadas during the long, sunny summer days and… the roar of engines.
The recipe for falling in love with Romagna is quick and easy: just take your bike and ride out leaving the circuit behind to discover the charming atmospheres that characterise the surrounding areas. Its secret is all enclosed in the strip of land that from Misano leads into the Apennines hills and to the Adriatic Sea.
For the past fifty years, Misano has cleverly coped with the tourist boom of the Romagna coast while remaining true to its particular agricultural vocation. The traditions that have been passed down for centuries from generation to generation are clearly obvious in the farmlands surrounding the Misano World Circuit structures. The town shares the valley traced by the Conca river with San Giovanni in Marignano: this pretty hamlet is also known as the granary of the Malatesta and the ancient rulers have left many signs of their prestige, such as the cereal storage pits under the Castle walls.
Exploring the surroundings of Misano is an opportunity to appreciate the importance of farming and the impact and influence of the Malatesta family who made the entire land rich and prestigious, as very obvious in Coriano. Tradition has it that no fewer than seven castles were built here for keep the surrounding land under a tight rule. Well worth visiting is the town gate with its tower witnessing the major fortifications built by the Malatesta rulers.
The name of Coriano is also tied to engines: it is the hometown of Marco “Sic” Simoncelli, the unfortunate motorcycle racing champion who died in 2011 and to whom the heart-breaking monument entitled Ogni Domenica is dedicated. Every Sunday (hence its name) at sunset, the monument lights up for 58 seconds, to symbolise the number that the champion sported on his bike.
A bendy road leads up the hills to the nearby Albereto Castle: damaged during the war and rebuilt, this stronghold was an important crossroad between the coast and the hills and is definitively worth a stop. The skyline of this corner of Romagna is traced by the profiles of citadels, forts and towers built and destroyed over the centuries and still visible today.
One hill after the other, the road crosses the border into the Republic of San Marino, which preserves all the characteristic traits of the region. The Republic stands on Monte Titano, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with the capital City of San Marino: the flag with three medieval towers symbolising the Republic flies from the summit and the enclave boasts several destinations of historical interest which are easy to reach on a motorbike, like the Basilica dedicated to the saint after whom the small independent state is named. Mandatory is a stop in Piazza della Libertà, where the Public Palace stands, to admire the incredible 360° view from the splendid panoramic terrace.
From the highest point of San Marino, you can start making your way slowly back down into Italy: follow the directions to Verucchio, the majestic town that shares with the Republic of San Marino some of the best preserved examples of medieval and Renaissance architectures in the area. Here you can visit the Rocca Malatestiana, the birthplace of Malatesta da Verucchio who was the founder of the Guelph family that conquered Rimini in 1265. Also known as Rocca del Sasso for its position perched on the top of a rocky crag overlooking the town and the plains stretching as far as the Adriatic Sea, it is the symbol of the rule that turned Verucchio into a strategic rampart for controlling the area.
The full-blooded, deep-rooted, red earth of Romagna, delimited by the Rubicon river, opens out between the green hills and the blue sea: a well-known destination to ride to is Savignano sul Rubicone, famous for being the place where Julius Caesar uttered the phrase “The die is cast” when crossing the boundary between Cisalpine Gaul and Italy, which was traced by the river.
From the Rubicon to Marecchia cross the Conca, you will come to the most important city of the entire coast: Ariminum, or Rimini as it is known today.
Rimini, the city of the Malatesta family, is centre of remarkable artistic and cultural excitement. One monument for all? The Malatesta Temple, where the power of the ruling family was celebrated for the first time. Rimini is a city with two personalities. It is a seaside resort that attracts thousands of holidaymakers year after year and a city that proudly protects the treasures of its past. Rimini, the seaside fun resort, from the first bathing establishments in 1843 – frequented by nobility – to the popular holiday destination for the masses symbolised by the Grand Hotel.
Rimini, the city of memory, that does not forget the wounds suffered during World War II with the thousands of new buildings that made the destination take off and become one of Europe's most important tourist resorts in only a few decades. Here visitors can still experience the atmospheres of Fellini's Amarcord – a corruption of the expression "A m’arcord" (I remember) in Romagnol dialect – in the lanes around the Old Fish Market and the quarter of San Giuliano. Past and present are mixed in the streets leading to the Roman Bridge of Tiberius from where you can catch a glimpse of the majestic Grand Hotel, chosen by Fellini as the set for some of his most famous films. On the seafront you can enjoy an excellent piadina and be pampered by the proverbial local hospitality, which is considered a characteristic trait of the local people in addition to their true passion for motor sports.
The Misano World Circuit, today named after Marco Simoncelli, was opened in 1972 and sealed the strong bond of the area with motorcycle racing. The configuration of the current track on which the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship races are staged was adopted in 2008 with the building of the new Variante del Rio, the new artificial lighting system which makes it possible to hold races at night and the expansion of the grandstands. The first to cut the finish line on the 4226-metre circuit at the end of Race-1 was German Max Neukirchner (Team Alstare Suzuki) ahead of Troy Corser and Troy Bayliss, while Race-2 was won by Ruben Xaus (Sterilgarda Go Eleven) on his Ducati 1098 RS08 ahead of Max Biaggi and Troy Bayliss.