Jonathan Rea and Alvaro Bautista went head-to-head in the 18-lap season opening race of the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Spanish circuit of Aragon Saturday, with Rea on the Kawasaki nailing victory from an impressive Bautista, relishing in his return race aboard the Ducati.
As the lights went out, Bautista got the holeshot into turn one but he soon found himself demoted to second as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) forced his way through at turn two. Rea was pushed back to third place, but he soon worked himself to the front as the trio took on their race one battle. Throughout the 18-lap race, Razgatlioglu, Bautista and Rea, traded blows each rider using their bike’s strengths in the search for victory. The trio were overtaking each other down the back straight while Rea’s preferred option to make moves was into turn seven.
At the end of lap nine, Bautista had a huge moment which allowed Rea back through into turn one and the pair continued to fight through the final two corners in the battle for victory. On lap 14, Bautista used the power of his Ducati to move into the lead of the race before Rea responded into turn seven. Bautista tried a move on the last lap into the final two corners, but Rea was able to defend the position before winning a drag race to the line. Despite Rea and Bautista battling, they were able to pull a gap to Razgatlioglu who finished third place. Rea’s victory gave him his 21st consecutive podium at Aragon and his 22nd in total, the most any rider has at a single circuit for his 216th podium in his career.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed fourth place as he finished around five seconds back from Razgatlioglu. The Italian fought in the lead group in the first half of the race, but soon found himself on track on his own as he finished five seconds clear of fellow Italian Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK). Both Team HRC riders finished inside the top seven with Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge finishing sixth and seventh respectively – a strong start for the two Spanish rookies who will spearhead the Honda factory effort in 2022. Illia Mykalchyk (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) scored eighth place on his debut as he scored Ukraine’s first points in WorldSBK after becoming the first rider from Ukraine to race in WorldSBK. He finished just 0.084s behind Vierge.
American star Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) finished in ninth place, just three-tenths away from Mykalchyk in eighth place. Irish rider Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) rounded out the top ten on his first race with the Bonovo BMW squad, finishing half a second clear teammate Loris Baz. Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) scored his first points in his first WorldSBK race as he came home in 12th place, scoring the first points for San Marino since Alex De Angellis finished 13th at Laguna Seca in 2017. Bernardi finished just three-tenths clear of fellow rookie Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) in 13th as five of the seven debutants on the grid at Aragon scored points.
Frenchman Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) scored 14th on his return to competitive action following an injury-hit 2021 season, just 0.389s behind Oettl and 0.520s clear of Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in 15th place; the British rider scoring a single point on his BMW debut. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) had been running towards the top ten but a trip through the gravel at turn 15 dropped him down the order and he narrowly missed out on points as he finished in 16th place. He was less than a second clear of Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) in 17th place.
Starting his second season in WorldSBK, Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) finished in 18th place as he finished clear of Christophe Ponsson in the family-run Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha squad. Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) finished in 20th place, ahead of teammate Hafizh Syahrin, while Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) and Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) rounded out the classified finishers.
WorldSBK Aragon Race 1 (Full Results Here)
1 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.090s
3 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +5.416s
Tissot Sprint Race
Alvaro Bautista is back with Ducati for 2022 and back in the winners’ circle, with the Spanish rider taking the lead on lap one of the Tissot Superpole Sprint, streaking to the lead and crossing the line first to claim victory in just the second race of the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship.
His last win in WorldSBK was at San Juan in 2019 in his first season with world supers aboard the Ducati. But he left the Bologna marque at the end of 2019, and spent two years with Honda where success alluded him. He returned to Ducati for 2022, and in just his second outing for Ducati, has whitewashed the competition for the Sprint win.
Once Bautista was able to hit the front, he used the power of his Ducati Panigale V4 R to maintain his lead at the front of the field as he pulled out a gap of over one second to the chasing pack at the start of Lap 4, being able to hold on to claim his first victory since returning to Ducati. It meant it Bautista claimed his first win in two years and 181 days and the 17th win of his WorldSBK career.
Behind Bautista, three riders – Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) – battled for the remaining two front row starting positions for race two. Rea was able to claim second place with Razgatlioglu third, after a last lap fight to the line with Rinaldi. Razgatlioglu passed Rinaldi into the left hander at turn 15 before the Italian tried to respond into the final corner. Razgatlioglu was able to hold position before crossing the line with just 0.059s separating the pair after a drag race to the line.
Rinaldi will lead the second row from fourth place with fellow Italian rider Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) alongside him from fifth place. Locatelli had a battle with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in the closing stages of the race, with Lowes missing out on fifth place by just 0.091s. Italian rider Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) charged through from ninth on the grid to claim seventh place and he will lead the way from the third row in race two, ahead of Team HRC duo Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge. Both Lecuona and Vierge used Pirelli’s new SCQ tyre in the 10-lap Superpole Race to finish inside the top nine, finishing as the highest-placed riders using this compound; the top seven riders used the SCX tyre.
Tissot Superpole Race Aragon (Full Results Here)
1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +5.141s
3 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +6.008s
New Lap Record: Torpak Razgatlioglu, Yamaha – 1’49.375ss
After two years in the wilderness with Honda, Bautista has returned to Aruba.it Ducati for the season and from the get-go is banking victories and points. Sunday saw the Spaniard take command. From the box seat start, he fought off early challenges but streaked ahead to take victory by more than four seconds from Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea with Toprak Razgatlioglu in third.
The fight for victory was another thrilling affair with Bautista doubling up for victories on Sunday with a win in race two as he withstood early challenges from teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK). Bautista hit the front on lap 3 of 18 before looking to pull away at the front of the field.
He was able to take advantage of Rea and Rinaldi battling over second place, including Rea running wide at lap four which allowed Rinaldi through to second place with Razgatlioglu third and Rea fourth. Two laps later and Rea outbraked Razgatlioglu at turn one to move up to third, while on lap 11 Rinaldi ran wide which allowed Rea back into second place.
Razgatlioglu initially dropped back but he then closed the gap to Rinaldi in the closing stages of the race, trying a move at turn 16-17 where Rinaldi defended around the outside to maintain position. On the next lap, Razgatlioglu made his move into turn one to move into third place before setting his eyes on Rea. Although he could close the gap across the final four laps, Rea held on for second place with Razgatlioglu and Rinaldi behind.
With victory, Bautista leads the Championship standings for the first time since Misano in 2019, as he claimed the 18th win of his WorldSBK career. Rea and Razgatlioglu claimed second and third respectively and for the first time the same three riders shared three podiums at the opening round of the season.
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished in fifth place as he bounced back from his race one crash to claim a top-five finish. Independent rider Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) was sixth after the Italian made a good start to jump up the order.
The battle for seventh featured four riders with Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW), Xavi Vierge (Team HRC), Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Iker Lecuona (Team HRC). Baz was able to get ahead at around half distance, and stayed there as the lead BMW rider in race two. He was 0.865s clear of Spanish rookie Vierge who finished as the lead Honda rider, although he was just 0.616s ahead of Gerloff. Lecuona had been ahead of Gerloff until the last lap but found himself demoted to tenth on last lap.
French rider Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) came home in 11th place and only two seconds away from the battle for seventh on a strong comeback weekend for the Frenchman. Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) ensured both Bonovo BMW riders scored points in race two as he claimed 12th place after a late-race battle with rookie Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) as Laverty’s WorldSBK experience helped him up the order.
Laverty and Oettl were both closely followed by rookie Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) after the Italian, who received a late call-up to race in the 2022 season, claimed 14th place on his first WorldSBK round. Another debutant, Illia Mykhalchyk (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), scored points with 15th place; the Ukrainian was the only factory BMW rider to score points in race two.
Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) dropped down the order on the opening lap of the race but was able to battle back to claim 16th place although he was some 11 seconds away from claiming points. He was more than two seconds clear of wildcard Gabriele Ruiu (Bmax Racing) in 17th place who withstood the challenge from French rider Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) with just 0.615s between them.
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) was 19th after he had a crash at turn nine in the early stages of the race, but he battled back to finish four seconds clear of Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) in 20th place. Syahrin’s teammate, Leandro Mercado, was 1.6s back in 21sth place with Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) and Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) rounding out the classified runners.
Kohta Nozane’s (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) race came to an end on lap 14 when he had a crash on the exit of the turn seven right-hander. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was the only other rider not classified in the race. The British rider had a couple of off-track excursions before he brought his M 1000 RR machine into the pits after completing 11 laps.
WorldSBK Aragon Race 2 (Full Results Here)
1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +4.393s
3 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +6.223s
Fastest Lap: Alex Lowes, Kawasaki – 1’50.334s
In his World Supersport season debut, Australia’s Oli Bayliss on the Barni Ducati Panigale V2 took a 21st in WorldSSP’s Saturday race, and improved for a 19th place in the Sunday’s race two. Race wins went to Lorenzo Baldassari (Yamaha) on Saturday and on Sunday reigning champion, Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter (Yamaha) took the flag. They both lead the championship after round one on 45 points. Bayliss is yet to bank any points.
“A good debut weekend. The team and I worked hard and improved session by session, also collecting important data and making constant progress. I learned a lot in today’s race and am sure we can grow and will be able to fight for the positions that count. Now we need to focus on Assen in two weeks’ time, an unknown for me as we’ve never tested there, but I think I have good feeling with my Ducati and so hope to do well” said Oli.
Championship Standings After Round One (Full Standings Here)
1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 57 points
2 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 54
3 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 39