WorldSBK Race Reports: All The Action In Catalunya

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Bautista got a stunning start to move into the lead and withstood early pressure from the reigning Champion before extending his lead to win by more than eight seconds in Race 1. The Championship leader then led from the start to win Race 2, leading every single racing lap throughout the Catalunya Round!

Race One
Race 1 for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship was a stunning affair at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the Catalunya Round with all three in the title race having to make stunning fightback. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) extended his Championship lead with victory as he moved from fifth to first, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) battled from losing out at the start to take second while Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) went from eighth to second at the start before dropping back.

After missing out on front row starts in the Tissot Superpole session, both Bautista and Razgatlioglu were able to move to the head of the field before Turn 1, with Bautista jumping from fifth to first while Razgatlioglu went from eighth to second. In the early stages of the race, Razgatlioglu looked to make a move on Bautista but the Championship leader was able to hold on to claim a relatively pressure-free victory ahead of Rea. Six-time Champion Rea was able to battle back up to second place after dropping down to fight in the opening laps of the race ahead of Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in third, who started from sixth place and showed strong pace throughout the race to take the best result of his 2022 campaign and his first podium.

As the race progressed, Razgatlioglu lost ground to Bautista before losing out to the riders behind him, with Razgatlioglu being passed by Rea, Gerloff and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) to claim fifth place at the end of the race, finishing 2.785s seconds behind Rinaldi despite the Italian only passing him at Turn 10 on the penultimate lap of the race.

The winning margin of 8.665s meant Bautista took his 25th win in WorldSBK, only one behind 2021 Champion Razgatlioglu, and his ninth win of the season with his Championship lead up from 30 points to 44. Bautista became the first rider to start fifth or lower and lead all laps in a race since Rea did, from ninth, at Jerez Race 2 in 2017. It was also Ducati’s 385th win in WorldSBK and the 680th race on the podium. Gerloff’s second place took his sixth career podium and his first podium since Donington Park Race 2 in 2021, with a span of more than a year between podiums. It was also Yamaha’s 325th race on the WorldSBK podium, lots of records!

Rinaldi finished in fourth place, just 1.494s away from Gerloff in third place despite starting from tenth and running wide in the early stages of the race. Rinaldi has now secured ten top-seven finishes in the last 11 races including five inside the top-four as he leads the battle for fourth in the Championship. Razgatlioglu was fifth and his streak of leading races came to an end at 17 races, while the reigning Champion had to fend off a late charge from Iker Lecuona (Team HRC). Lecuona started from pole position but opted to use Pirelli’s SC0 tyre, inspired by Rinaldi’s victory in Race 2 in 2021. Lecuona dropped down at the start of the race but was able to stabilise his pace to finish in sixth place.

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was another who initially fought in the lead group but dropped down in the latter stages as he claimed seventh place, ahead of Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing). Bassani, like Lecuona, used the SC0 tyre and had a strong start to the race but lost out as the race progressed, eventually finishing in eighth place. He was 15 seconds clear of Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) at the end of the race, with Locatelli losing out in a battle with Rinaldi in the latter stages of the race. Irish rider Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) was the lead BMW rider in the race as he took tenth place; his first top-ten finish since the opening race of the season, as he finished just three tenths behind Locatelli.

Laverty’s teammate, Loris Baz, was 11th and just 0.296s behind Laverty at the end of the 20-lap race, ahead of Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) in 12th place. Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) took 13th place ahead of Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in 14th and Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) rounding out the points-paying positions; Ponsson’s first points since the Tissot Superpole Race at the Circuito Estoril in May. Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was in 16th place ahead of home rider Oscar Gutierrez (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) in 17th in just his second WorldSBK round. Argentinean rider Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) was 18th and Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in 19th to complete the classified riders.

There were three retirements in the opening stages of the 20-lap race, with Phillip Oettl (Team Goeleven) retiring after suffering a technical issue on the opening lap. On the same lap, Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) crashed at Turn 3 after contact with Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), with Bernardi re-joining the race, before bringing his bike back to the pits, and van der Mark continuing. The incident will be investigated by the FIM WorldSBK Stewards after the race. On Lap 3, Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) crashed at Lap 1 which put the British rider out of the race. Van der Mark retired from the race after a technical issue on Lap 9 of 20.


WorldSBK Catalunya Race One Podium (Full Results Here)

1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +8.665s
3 Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +9.289s


Tissot Superpole
The Tissot Superpole Race for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship had a familiar start to Race 1 but a very different feel at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the Catalunya Round as Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed his second win on home soil. It means Bautista will line up from first for Race 2 at 14:00 Local Time (GMT+2) after he, once again, got a lightning start on the grid as the lights went out.

Bautista started the 10-lap race from fifth place but, like in Race 1 yesterday, got a lightning start to move into the lead before Turn 1. From there, he was able to stretch his gap throughout the race to claim victory by more than a second ahead of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in second and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). Lowes was running in second until Turn 1 on the final lap when his teammate overtook him to move ahead and limit Bautista’s gain in the Championship standings. Bautista claimed his 26th career win and the tenth of 2022 for the Spanish rider, with Rea taking his 233rd career podium while teammate Lowes moved on to 31 podiums and his first since Donington Park Race 1.

Despite a poor start and dropping down to tenth, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) claimed fourth spot after a battle with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), with the reigning Champion passing Rinaldi at Turn 1 at the start of Lap 5 with a move up the inside. They will be joined by Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) on the second row after the German rookie took a career-best sixth place; Oettl was one of only two riders to use Pirelli’s “SCQ” front tyre, a development solution that could only be used in the Tissot Superpole session and Superpole Race.

Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) moved up the field to claim seventh place to take a third-row start for Race 2, with two BMW riders joining him on the third row. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) will line up from eighth after taking that position in the Superpole Race ahead of Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) in ninth. Baz had a scrap with Race 1 podium finisher Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) in the closing stages of the race, with the pair often swapping positions, but Baz was able to hold on by just 0.026s to take a third row start in Race 2.

There was drama for riders who started inside the front two rows on the opening lap. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) and Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) had an incident at Turn 10, with Lecuona retiring from the race and Locatelli re-joining in last place. Lecuona will therefore start Race 2 from tenth place, with Locatelli in 11th. Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was a retirement from the race after a Turn 7 crash on Lap 8. The Dutchman had to serve a Long Lap Penalty in the race for irresponsible riding following a collision with Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) in Race 1.


Tissot Superpole Race Catalunya Podium (Full Results Here)

1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +1.185s
3 Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +1.377s


Race Two
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) romped home to his third win of the Catalunya Round at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after claiming Race 2 victory from pole position in the final MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship action of the weekend. Bautista had claimed victory in both Race 1 and the Tissot Superpole Race, and he followed that up with a lights-to-flag win in Race 2 to further extend his Championship lead.

Starting from pole position, Bautista once again led the race into Turn 1, before remaining unchallenged as he extended his gap at the front with the Championship leader able to take advantage of the squabbling behind him to claim victory. By the halfway mark of the race, Bautista’s gap had got up to five seconds and he continued to increase that throughout the second half of the race to claim victory by more than eight seconds.

Behind Bautista, the battle for second was taking place between four riders. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) all fought it out for the remaining podium places, with the pair often swapping places. In the end, it was Bautista’s teammate Rinaldi who claimed second place after a thrilling battle, with the crucial move for Rinaldi coming on Lap 11 at Turn 1, when he passed Bassani.

As Rinaldi escaped in second place, Razgatlioglu, Rea and Bassani continued their fight with Rea moving into third place on Lap 14 as he passed both Razgatlioglu and Bassani into Turn 1. Razgatlioglu got ahead of Bassani on Lap 13 after the Italian rider made a mistake at Turn 12, which then allowed Rea to get ahead a lap later. However, on Lap 16, Rea lost a lot of time after running wide at Turn 7 which allowed both Bassani and Razgatlioglu through, although he did re-pass Bassani shortly afterwards, Razgatlioglu going on to take third.

The results allowed Bautista to extend his Championship lead to 59 points over Razgatlioglu, a gain of 29 points across the weekend, as he took his first treble since Aragon 2019 and the fourth of his career. He became the first rider to take three wins at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and he is edging closer to 50 podiums; now on 48. Rinaldi took his 14th WorldSBK podium with second place and it is the 135th time Ducati have finished 1-2, while taking their fourth straight win at the Spanish venue. Razgatlioglu’s third place gave him his 72nd podium in WorldSBK.

Rea, after re-passing Bassani after his mistake, was able to pull out a gap to take fourth place ahead of the Italian who took fifth place. Behind Bassani came a run of three rookies who all had a strong Race 2. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) took sixth place after taking advantage of his Superpole Race result to finish in the top six, ahead of Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) in seventh place. Oettl, like Vierge, gained on the grid in the Superpole Race and took advantage to conclude a strong Catalunya Round in seventh place. He was ahead of Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) in eighth place with Lecuona, who took pole in the Tissot Superpole session, taking another top-ten finish.

Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) finished as the lead BMW rider in ninth place, finishing just 0.084s behind Lecuona at the end of the race. The end of the race was highlighted by a charge from Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxraxing WorldSBK Team) as the Italian rookie surged into the top ten in the closing stages, taking his best WorldSBK result to date. He demoted Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) to 11th with just a couple of laps to go, with Bernardi running inside the top ten throughout the majority of the race; his best result since Race 2 at the Autodrom Most.

Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was involved in a battle for tenth place but eventually took 12th place, finishing just 0.419s behind Bernardi at the end of the 20-lap battle. Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was 13th ahead of fellow BMW rider Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) in 14th and Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) who rounded out the points-paying positions with 15th.

Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) was classified in 16th place 20-lap race. The Italian rider was running inside the top ten but a Turn 10 crash on Lap 4 dropped him down the order after he re-joined the action, with Locatelli having to fight to take 16th place and missing out on a point by 2.6s. Argentinean rider Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) was 17th ahead of Czech rider Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura WorldSSP), the last classified rider in 18th place.

Two riders crashed out of the race on the opening lap with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) going down at Turn 10 and Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) crashing at Turn 14; putting both riders out of the race. Redding was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following his crash, and was declared fit but diagnosed with a chest bruise. On Lap 5, Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) retired from the race following a Turn 10 crash. Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) had enjoyed a strong weekend but, in Race 2, crashed out at Turn 2 on Lap 12. Home rider Oscar Gutierrez (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) brought his Kawasaki machine into the pits to retire from the race.


Race Two Catalunya Podium (Full Results Here)

1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2 Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +8.103s
3 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +9.090s


Championship Standings After Catalunya Round (Full Standings Here)

1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 394 points
2 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 335
3 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 327


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