Adam Rosales tells us all about his trip to the San Marino MotoGP race and why this corner of Italy offers so much for motor racing fans.
Misano World Circuit is one of my favorite circuits. It’s located in an incredible part of Italy known as Motor Valley, home to most of the major Italian automotive brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Ducati. It has been hosting MotoGP since 2007 and has also welcomed several European racing series such as FIM World Superbike, GT World Challenge, and even Grand Prix Truck Racing. The circuit was also recently used by the Formula 1 Team, Alpha Tauri, for their 2023 shakedown and private test. A quick view of the Misano event calendar lists the wide variety of events scheduled through the year.
The Misano World Circuit is located near Misano along the Autostrada Adriatica, the Motorway that connects Milan in a little more than a 3 hour drive through cities such as Bologna, Imola and Modena; a quick detour to Maranello is definitely worth a stop for the Ferrari Factory Tour and Museum.
Another option is to get there by train, which takes about the same time as driving. There are several regional stops along the way at bigger cities with plenty of connections. For the quickest train ride, you can spend a bit more on a ticket for the Frecciarossa to Bologna and switch to an Intercity or Regional Train. The nearby stops allow plenty of options for places to stay for a weekend at the circuit, including the cities along the coast such as Rimini, Riccione, Cattolica and Pesaro.
The Misano Adriatico train station is located right near the center of the city. There are plenty of hotels near the center and many along the coast since it’s very much a popular beach destination in Italy. Overall, it feels very safe walking around. It’s always good to try and stay aware of your surroundings and be wary of pickpockets. You don’t want to make yourself a target by wandering aimlessly while staring at your phone. This advice goes for anywhere really.
The Misano World Circuit itself actually has what feels like a fairly small footprint compared to other circuits. It has two large “stadium style” areas that are separated by two parallel straights. One thing that is unique to this circuit is the separation of the different sections. On Saturday and Sunday you are only allowed to enter the areas designated to your grandstands. You use a specific entrance and there are amenities available exclusively to your section. On Friday in 2019 you were free to explore the other sections but had to follow the separate sections rules for Saturday and Sunday. In 2021, due to covid restrictions this was implemented on Friday too.
The first sector has the Brutapela Grandstands, that section has a big view of the Start/Finish Straight, Pit exit and Turns 1-6 until the riders head down the back straight towards Turn 8 and the Prato 2 General Admission Area. After the Tramonto Grandstand, the riders race past Prato 1, which is located along a short straight into the second stadium section of the circuit that showcases the fast Turn 11, through the series of right hand turns up to the final Turn 16 and onto the finish line.
Buying Grandstand Tickets for MotoGP Misano
I purchased higher priced tickets in the Misanino Grandstand for the 2019 race, which cost around €280 for a 3-day ticket (check the grandstand map). This grandstand is situated just past Prato 1 at the Fast Turn 11. The view from here was great, you could see from Turn 8 to the finish line with a bit of a blind spot at Turn 14, the furthest corner from this section. But with a large TV Screen directly in front of the section we were able to follow all of the track action from this corner.
In 2021 with the surge in popularity owing to it being Valentino Rossi’s last home race, the race sold out fairly quickly. There was also 50% capacity due to covid restrictions. Only every other seat was able to be ticketed and sold. Due to large demand, the circuit built a temporary stand named “Arena” and sold more tickets about a month before the event and I was lucky enough to get a 3-day Ticket for €220. The Arena Grandstand was located near the flat track area at the exit of Turn 6. This area provided a great view of Turns 1-3 and the exit of Turn 6 onto the back straight. It was also great seeing the riders do their practice starts in this area as the sessions ended. I felt close enough that I was able to really see the difference in the ride height systems and watch the launch control suspensions work their magic. The puffs of tire smoke from each shift on the Ducati’s was pretty great to see.
Overall, I’d say just about any seat at Misano World Circuit is a good one. Each type of ticket is located near some corners that are bound to show off some racing action. The higher you are, the more you will see but each section typically allows you to see more than just one corner. A 3-day General Admission ticket for approximately €150 is definitely worth it and you can really enjoy a fairly reasonably priced weekend by bringing your own drinks and food. You will get to see not only MotoGP but also the support classes, Moto2 and Moto3, and the final round of the MotoE championship in 2023.
Food & Drink at Misano
One thing that really made this circuit easy was the ability to bring your own food and drink, though glass containers were not allowed. I have a cooler that fits in my backpack and I was able to pack in some frozen water bottles to use as Ice along with a few beers, some fruit, cheese and prosciutto. I was able to stock up on drinks and snacks at the nearby Conad market. There were bag checks at the gates but everything was allowed except for glass, so I planned ahead with canned drinks and was let right in each day.
There are food vendors available at the circuit with the usual Prosciutto sandwiches, pizza and drinks like coffee, soft drinks, water and beer. Prices were very reasonable with meals less than €10. There was a ticket system where you had to buy tickets from a specific seller to redeem for food or drink with the vendors. The system was really smooth since the sections are separate, it was only people from your section. Along with the ability to bring your own, the lines were minimal. Peak times had maybe a 5 minute wait, if that much.
Travelling to Misano World Circuit
In 2019 my partner and I stayed in the nearby town of Cattolica. We had about a 10 minute walk to the train station and a 5-minute train ride to the Misano Train Station. It was very easy to use and the crowds were not too bad. Once you arrive at the Misano Station, it’s about a 20 minute walk to the circuit. You can look up a map and get there pretty easily or just follow the crowds. You will see plenty of VR46 Merch and flags to follow.
In 2021 I was able to get an Airbnb near the Misano Station and was able to walk to the circuit. I also found Bird electric scooters available for rent near the train station. I was able to eliminate some walking and cut through traffic alongside the Ducatis all heading to the Circuit. It was definitely a fun experience.
The Misaco Circuit has some parking lots with what seemed like plenty of motorcycle parking while the car park was across the Autostrada, some big fields were available. I did not see pricing on them but it seemed like plenty of open spaces to park with a short walk either over the bridge or some tunnels that will get you across the Autostrada. Traffic can get a bit heavy in the area but overall, driving around Misano was fairly easy.
Driving to Misano from Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)
In 2021, after I bought my flights with a Monday morning return I realized I could not make it back to Milan by train on time. Services were limited and I had an early flight. So I booked a rental car and did some research about driving in Italy, I had only used public transport before. I looked up the route and figured I could plan some stops along the way. I had to meet the host of my Airbnb to check in at a specific time so I thought I could stop in Maranello at the Ferrari Museum and then make a quick stop in Imola to visit the Ayrton Senna Monument. The Ferrari Museum was fantastic, they had a lot on display that I never thought I would be able to see in person. Things like the room with all the Championship winning Formula 1 cars on display. From the likes of Niki Lauda to Michael Schumacher and up to Kimi Raikkonen’s car. I ended up spending more time than I planned for in the museum but it is well worth the €20 or so I paid for admission. Once I got back in the car and set up my navigation, I quickly realized that I no longer had enough time to stop in Imola, so I drove straight to Misano to meet my apartment host.
What to See & Do Around Misano
It was an easy drive on a mostly three-lane motorway. Despite a lot of police speed cameras setup along the way, a lot of cars were driving faster than the posted speed limits. It’s tempting to keep up but the best thing for an inexperienced user of Italian motorways is to set cruise control and keep right. Driving around the Misano area is fairly easy, it’s not congested like the major Italian cities, Rome or Milan. Signs are posted visibly well, some traffic signals and some sporadic police speed cameras that also have posted signs as you approach.
In the evenings, Misano can turn into a big street festival vibe. They typically have a stage with live music, a motorcycle show and a dirt flat track event at Arena 58, right near the Misano train station. You will see some really crazy motor vehicles drifting and racing around in short heat races. It’s really good fun. They have an annual watermelon carving contest and plenty of street food available. Some great restaurants in the area such as Ristorante Hochey; on Saturday nights, the owner typically fires up a Marco Simoncelli Replica bike and revs the hell out of it in honor of the late Italian rider. You’ll find a lot of MotoGP memorabilia in the restaurant that will grab the attention of any fan. You can find some of these types of events around the area advertised on the municipality’s Facebook or Twitter accounts. They are often posted just before race week but also seem like a bit of an annual ritual. There are also some notable memorials for former MotoGP Riders Marco Simoncelli with a museum called La Storia del Sic in nearby Coriano. Near the circuit, situated in the streets behind the Brutapela area is the Nicky Hayden memorial where many fans visit to pay their respects.
In 2019, I stayed in a nearby town called Cattolica. It was calmer than Misano but still had a great vibe walking around the town. It’s more of a laid back beach town but easy to navigate, it feels very safe and there are tons of delicious restaurants around that are all very reasonably priced with friendly staff. We did not speak Italian but were able to use google translate and most places had somebody that could understand english but may not be able to speak it. A bit of patience and some attempts at broken Italian can go a long way.
All of these towns and cities have beach areas and a nice way to relax in the area. There are a lot of hotels and beach rental spots to spend some time and enjoy the area.
Visiting Tavullia, Valentino Rossi’s Hometown
After checking into the rental, I planned on going to Tavullia to visit the hometown of Valentino Rossi. The drive is only about 20 minutes. There aren’t too many bus options to get to Tavullia but it is possible, it should take about an hour with a connection. I’d definitely hire a taxi if you don’t have a car. As I got near the town, I could hear motors revving loud, sounding like GP Bikes. I found a parking spot on a small road near the center of town which ended up being closed off for an exhibition. Various bikes and riders were doing parade laps up and down the main road. I say parade, but they were going really fast, doing wheelies and burnouts. It was cool to see some older GP bikes along with some custom show bikes on display. Right in the center of Tavullia is Valentino Rossi’s Restaurant Osteria Da Rossi which actually has some really great food, all locally sourced “Slow Food”. It can be a bit busy with a wait on race weekend but it’s a destination with a gift shop and a VR46 themed park around the corner.
Visiting San Marino
This historic microstate within Italy is a great way to spend a day. You can take a bus from the Rimini train station that takes you up the hills to the center of this medieval feeling country. There are some great views up by the Basilica del Santo Marino and at the Guaita Tower. You don’t need to go through Immigration or passport control to enter San Marino and the bus makes it an easy day trip. Walking around, you will find restaurants, street vendors/artists and maybe even some local San Marino brewed craft beer like we did.
Misano is a great area to visit with convenient transit options from the major cities, it can be very easy and reasonably priced. Race tickets are affordable and the laid back organization puts on a great event. I would gladly attend annually if I live any closer. The crowds can be a bit laid back on the grandstand seating organization but are also friendly if you are polite and mention they are occupying your seat when you arrive. The crowds can be very loud and fun cheering on many of the local Italians in the races as this is the home race of many. After the race in 2019, we were able to take part in the track invasion and cross the track onto the main straight. We had a great experience at this circuit. The Italian food, things to do nearby like the Ferrari Museum in Maranello or a trip to Tavullia make Misano an incredible city to visit, attending a GP at Misano World Circuit almost feels like a bonus.
Cost Breakdown (2021)
- Airbnb – $410 USD (3 nights)
- Flight – Austin to MIlan – 70k Delta Skymiles and $74 in fees
- Car Rental – $255 for 4 days + Fuel
- Food and Drink – $60 per day