WorldSBK Reports: All The Action From Donington Park

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Donington Park saw the reigning world champion back on the top step of the podium. Starting from third on the grid, Razgatlioglu was able to claim his first full-length race win of the 2022 season before doing it all over again in Race 2 while Kawasaki claimed their 500th WorldSBK podium.

Tissot Superpole
Tissot Superpole for the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s fifth round at Donington Park was intense and intriguing from the start. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) will see his quest for Donington Park victory and Kawasaki’s 500th podium start from pole position, as he smashed the previous lap record out of the park.

It was a disastrous start to the session for Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW), who after finishing second in FP3, crashed at the start of his first flying lap at Turn 1. However, the times were absolutely electric from the first runs, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) lapping together and getting down into the 1’26s, the best laps of their weekend so far. 

With seven minutes to go, the riders came into the pits to take a quick break before putting the SCQ tyres on and getting back out for their second and final runs with six minutes to go. Rea and Redding once again left the pits together with Redding’s teammate, Illia Mykhalchyk (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) likewise aiming to improve his time with the two home-heroes laying down the pace. 

Come the chequered flag at the end of the session, it was Rea who obliterated the lap record with a 1’26.080s, a new outright motorcycle lap record at the Donington Park circuit. Joining him on the front row in second place is teammate Alex Lowes, who will want to get a first podium of the season and his third podium at Donington Park. Third place went the way of Toprak Razgatlioglu, who made it 11 straight front rows – a record for a single Yamaha rider.

 


Donington Park Tissot Superpole Front Row (Full Results Here)

1 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’26.080s
2 Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.273s
3 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.426s


Race One
The opening MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship race of the Prosecco DOC UK Round was a dramatic affair full of battles up and down the grid at Donington Park as reigning Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK Team) claimed victory by 6.3 seconds to claim his first full-length race win of the 2022 season. It means Razgatlioglu is now 54 points behind Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in the Championship standings following the latter’s retirement.

It’s a move that has been seen a lot throughout 2022 as Razgatlioglu got the holeshot at the start to take the lead of the race and he was able to take advantage of the battling between Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and teammate Alex Lowes in the early stages, before Rea and Bautista  fought each other for second place in the middle stage of the race.

Rea initially got swamped on Lap 1 and dropped to as low as fifth place before fighting his way back up to second place. He first fell behind Bautista on Lap 7 as the pair battled, with Rea making a move on Bautista on Lap 8. Bautista then re-passed Rea on Lap 12 at Turn 9 before Rea responded immediately before making the move stick on Lap 14 at Turn 12. Two laps later, however, Bautista crashed at the same corner and retired from the race; ending his run of 12 consecutive podium.

Razgatlioglu’s victory gave him the 20th of his career and his 64th podium finish in WorldSBK, while it was also Yamaha’s 97th win. Rea claimed his 226th podium and claimed Kawasaki’s 500th podium placement in WorldSBK. In the Championship standings, Rea took 20 points out of Bautista’s lead with the gap now only 16 points, with Razgatlioglu 54 points back.

The battle for third place came down to a shootout between two home heroes as Lowes fought with Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team). Redding was ahead until the final handful of laps as the pair battled through the final sector of the race, racing hard through Turns 11 and 12 and into Turn 1 on the next lap, before Lowes got the move done on the exit of Turn 1 and into Turn 2 to secure his first podium of the 2022 season. Lowes ensured Kawasaki immediately moved onto their 501st podium; Lowes’ third place was the 30th podium finish of his career. It was also his first podium since the Superpole Race in the 2021 French Round at Magny-Cours.

Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) finished as the best Independent rider in Race 1 as he claimed fifth place in Race 1, his sixth consecutive top-seven finish in 2022. Bassani finished as the lead Ducati rider following Bautista’s crash as he finished a second clear of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in sixth place.

American star Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) performed another customary late-race surge as he finished in seventh place, equalling his best result of the season so far. Gerloff passed Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) on the final lap with the Spanish rookie finishing in eighth place, almost 7.5 seconds clear of Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) in ninth and Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) in tenth.

Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) was 11th on his first race at Donington Park, finishing two seconds clear of Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in 12th; Mahias securing points on his return from injury. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) was just a tenth back from Mahias while he was one second clear of wildcard Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) in 14th with the reigning British champion taking points on his WorldSBK debut. British rider Leon Haslam (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) rounded out the points with 15th place.

Stand-in rider Illia Mykhalchyk (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) made a good start to climb up the order but dropped down to 16th place at the end of the race, missing out on points by just 0.244s after the 23-lap race. He was more than seven seconds clear of Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) who was only half-a-second clear of fellow rookie Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) in 18th.

Japanese rider Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was 19th, just over a second clear of Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) and Robert Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team), with Laverty and Tamburini separated by just 0.085s.

Wildcard Peter Hickman (FHO Racing) was 22nd ahead of Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in 23rd; the last of the classified finishers. Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) was the first retirement of the race after he crashed at the Turn 12 hairpin, the final corner of the circuit, on Lap 8. Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) was the second retirement of the race as he brought his Yamaha into the pits.


WorldSBK Donington Park Race One Pdoium (Full Results Here)

1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
2 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +6.397s
3 Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +9.449s


Tissot Superpole Race
Razgatlioglu, like in Race 1, was able to get the holeshot at the start to move into Turn 1 and, also like in Race 1, went on to lead every lap of the race, finishing ahead of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in second place. The battle for third was also reminiscent of Race 1 as Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) fighting for third place; Redding this time able to come out on top for his first BMW podium. It means the front row of the grid in Race 2 will be made up of Razgatlioglu, Rea and Redding.

Lowes made moves on Redding through the Turn 9-10 chicane, battled with him through Turn 11 and into Turn 12 before Redding responded into Turn 1. After that, he had to fight with Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) for fourth place, with the Championship leader coming through at Turn 9 on the final lap for fourth; Lowes will start Race 2 from fifth. Bautista was the highest placed rider using the SCX tyre with the front three all using the SCQ, while teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi was sixth also on the SCX tyre.

Wildcard Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) retired from the race after a crash with Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) at Turn 12 on Lap 4, with Vierge able to re-join the race. The incident was placed under investigation by the FIM WorldSBK Stewards.


WorldSBK Donington Park Tissot Superpole Race Podium (Full Results Here)

1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
2 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK +1.089s
3 Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +3.889s


Race Two
It was an inseparable duo at the front of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship field in Race 2 at Donington Park but Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) was able to hold on after consistent challenges from Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) to take his first hat-trick in WorldSBK during the Prosecco DOC UK Round.

Like in the previous two races of the Donington Park weekend, Razgatlioglu led into Turn 1 but, unlike Race 1 and the Tissot Superpole Race, he was unable to escape from his rivals as Rea stuck with him throughout the race usually within just a couple of tenths of a second. On Lap 3, Rea initially got past into Turn 9 but Razgatlioglu responded immediately into Turn 11 with the same happening again on Lap 6 after Razgatlioglu was a bit offline through the Foggy Esses.

At the start of Lap 14, Razgatlioglu was able to start opening up the gap to Rea after resisting 13 laps of constant pressure from the six-time Champion, with the pair often alongside each other on the run down to the Foggy Esses. The pair were able to drop Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), with the Spanish rider taking his first podium of the weekend, although Bautista was able to attack Rea in the closing stages of the race, with Bautista passing Rea on Lap 19 at Turn 11 to move into second place with Ulsterman Rea finishing in third place.

The results mean all three riders in the 2022 title fight have now taken a WorldSBK hat-trick in their career, with Razgatlioglu the latest to join the exclusive club following his three wins. Razgatlioglu has now taken 22 WorldSBK wins in his career and 66 podiums while Yamaha now sit on 99 wins. Bautista’s second place gave him his 40th WorldSBK podium while Ducati now have 999 podium placements in the Championship, with Rea moving on to 228 podiums in his career.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed fourth place at Donington Park and, for the lap after his teammate overtook Rea, looked like he would be able to challenge the six-time Champion for the podium spot but the gap stabilised at 1.2 seconds. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) concluded a very strong weekend with fifth place, with Redding leaving his home round with a third, fourth and fifth-place finish. He was ahead of Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in sixth, with Lowes and Redding seemingly inseparable throughout the three races as they often battled on track.

Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) was once again the lead Independent rider, repeating his Race 1 feat, as he secured yet another top-seven finish, his tenth in the first 15 races of the season. The Italian finished ahead of compatriot Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) in eighth place, with Italian more than seven seconds clear of an incredible fight for ninth place. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) took home ninth place after a battle with four other riders for ninth place, passing Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) in the latter stages of the race.

Lecuona had to fend off a late challenge from American rider Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) with the Spanish rider coming out on top by just 0.084s; Lecuona remains the only rider to have scored top ten finishes in every race this season. Gerloff was just half-a-second clear of rookie Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) in 12th with Lecuona’s Honda teammate Xavi Vierge less than a second back from Oettl. Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) completed then points-paying positions with 15th place, the wildcard fighting his way up for field after being given a five-place grid penalty for irresponsible riding following a crash with Vierge in the Superpole Race.

Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) was another who fought his way up the field as he claimed 16th place, finishing seven seconds clear of Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) in 17th place. Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was 18th after losing a couple of positions in the closing stages of the race, and the Japanese rider withstood a late charge from wildcard Peter Hickman (FHO Racing) who finished 19th. Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team), Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) and Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) rounded out the riders.

Ukrainian rider Illia Mykhalchyk (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was the first retirement of the race after he had a Lap 3 crash at Turn 7. Leon Haslam (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) retired from the race when he brought his bike into the pitlane on Lap 8 of 23. Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) was the final retirement after he came out of the race in the closing stages of the race.


Donington Park WorldSBK Race Two Podium (Full Results Here)

1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
2 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +1.102s
3 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +2.615s


Championship Standings After Donington Park (Full Standings Here)

1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 246 points
2 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 229
3 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 203


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