A wild card rider in WorldSSP this season, Ieraci used his local knowledge to full effect, going from eighth on the grid to the Race One win on Saturday 3 June and then repeating that amazing feat on Sunday 4 June.
He had been a regular WorldSSP300 rider in the past, but Bruno had never won a race before, turning his 49th and 50th WorldSSP300 race starts into very special race finishes.
After his double race win, Bruno’s entry for the Imola round of WorldSSP33 was confirmed, so he can try to win another double at another home race for rider and team.
The 2023 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship round at Misano - to give it is official title - began in bright sunshine and race weekend was to stay dry until shortly after the conclusion of the second WorldSSP300 race, when heavy rain swept in just as the teams were disassembling their pit garages.
After Friday’s two free practice sessions, Saturday began with a Superpole Qualifying ‘win’ for 2020 Champion Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki).
Kawasaki Ninja 400 riders filled the top eight places in Superpole qualifying, almost completely dominating the front three rows of the final grid. Alessandro Zanca (Team 109 Kawasaki) and Julio Garcia (Team Flembbo PI Performance Kawasaki) joined Buis on the pre-race front row.
After the first attempted start was annulled in Race One, when a technical issue with the starting procedure caused a high degree of confusion, the planned 15-lap race was reduced to just 10 laps. Arguably, this made it an even more intense competition than usual, in what is already an incredibly closely-matched category of racing.
From the start, wildcard rider Ieraci, who had launched from eighth on the grid, was in the lead and he would only lose his lead across the start-finish line three times in all.
Bruno was in the leading position when it really mattered, enjoying a race-winning margin of 0.149 seconds over second place rider Mirko Gennai (Yamaha) - and a relatively vast advantage of 0.818 seconds over third placed rider, Humberto Maier (Yamaha).
Given that 0.8 seconds separated the podium riders, the remarkable competitiveness of this class was demonstrated beyond question when the leading group contained 23 riders, who all finished within 3.297 seconds of each other.
Off podium in Race One, Jose Luis Perez Gonzalez (Accolade Smrz Racing Kawasaki) was fourth, Kevin Sabatucci (Team Flembbo PI Performance Kawasaki) fifth and perennial WorldSSP300 competitor Samuel Di Sora (Prodina Kawasaki) eighth.
Pole rider Buis was 11th, missing out on a top ten spot by just 0.037 seconds.
Pre-Misano points leader Petr Svoboda (Füsport - RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki) fell with two laps to go and would no-score in Race One.
Race Two would produce the same Kawasaki winner Ieraci as the Saturday opener, as Ieraci battled hard for the chequered flag again. He held off the persistent challenge of KTM rider Dirk Geiger to win by 0.062 seconds, as the large chasing pack negotiated the final few corners with full commitment and ambition.
With Ieraci first, Assen round double race winner Svoboda was third, getting back to within one point of the new championship leader Mirko Gennai (Yamaha).
Debut WorldSSP300 challenger Loris Veneman (MTM Kawasaki) had a superb ride in the second race, capitalising on his fifth place grid position to finish fourth, one place ahead of yet another new Kawasaki hopeful, Fenton Seabright (Kawasaki GP Project).
Jose Luis Perez Gonzalez (Accolade Smrz Racing Kawasaki) and Di Sora finished the second race in eighth and nine places respectively, putting six Kawasaki Ninja 400s inside the top nine places.
Race two, over a full 15 laps, had 12 riders inside 1.721 seconds and once again podium places were lost and gained from corner to corner.
In the championship points, after three rounds and six races, Gennai leads Svoboda by one point, 86 to 85, with Geiger on 71, Perez Gonzales on 67 and Di Sora on 65.
In the Manufacturers’ Championship, Kawasaki leads Yamaha by 39 points.
A long break in race action will now take place for the WorldSSP300 riders, with round four to be held once more in Italy, at Imola, between 14 to 16 July.
Bruno Ieraci (Prodina Kawasaki), stated: “Two race victories it is unbelievable. Winning on my return to the world championship is an incredible feeling. A dream for me, because if you told me this would happen on Thursday I would not believe it. Now I am standing here after two race wins, it is really a dream, only thanks to my beautiful Team Prodina. Winning is the only way to say thank you, I think. To come back with two wins is a dream and I don’t realise it now. It may take until tomorrow, or two or three days for it to sink in. Now it is just a mix of emotions. It is incredible.”
Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki), stated: “I don’t know what to say because I’m really disappointed. We had the pace to win both races but unfortunately we go home with a pole position and nothing more, so it’s a bit of disaster for us. Anyway, we know we are strong and we know our potential. We are confident and we had just been unlucky so we will continue this way and try to get back on top at Imola. My feeling with the bike is great, with the team even more so, and we are ready to fight to comeback as much as possible.”
Loris Veneman (MTM Kawasaki), stated: “It has been a great weekend for me, I’m really happy about the results we got and the improvements we made. The fourth position is just the realisation of our work. We had a very great race, even if I had to do the long lap I was able to recover and fight in the front and finally I got a fourth position. This is a very good result for me considering it’s my first year in WorldSSP300 and my first time in Misano. I want to thank all the team for the hard work and can’t wait for Imola.”
Petr Svoboda (Fusport-RT-Motorsport by SKM-Kawasaki), stated: “Yesterday was my mistake because I overtook one rider in T2 from outside, and then I was too much inside at T3, with a lot of lean angle on the bike and the rear just slipped away. That’s racing, a part of it at least, but today was much better. From the beginning I struggled a lot and I had some problem with my front brake, so I could not brake like I do normally. In the end I was able to manage it and it is nice to be on the podium and one point from the top of the championship. Next race is Imola, and that will be interesting because I have never been there.”
Samuel Di Sora (Prodina Kawasaki), stated: “The first race was very difficult to manage. I immediately found myself in quite a good position, but it was all a bit aggressive on track. Unfortunately, with these temperatures, I wasn’t able to express my full potential despite sticking with the leading group. In the final stages, I found myself in the wrong place at the wrong time, though still one of the front runners, and this prevented us from fighting for the podium or even the win. Race Two was another very complicated group race, in which, until the final stage, we were constantly in the podium positions. We did a great team job, I think together with Bruno. It's a real shame, however, that some contact with other riders in the fierce final phase made me lose positions in the group, not being able to fight for the podium in the final sprint. We were fast all weekend. However it's not over yet, we are still fighting for the championship. Now we have a few weeks off to reset and restart.”