Round 11 WorldSBK Mandalika, Indonesia, Race 2

The Superpole race saw Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) claim his 2nd win of the weekend, followed by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki KRT), and Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha).

WorldSBK Indonesia 15.11.2022 Jonathan Rea Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati) would need a podium finish to claim his first championship, and Ducati’s first championship for 11 years. Could Toprak stand in his way?

Lights out and it was Toprak with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Rea, who quickly sensed an opportunity and made a quick pass to take over the lead, followed by Locatelli and Bautista. Redding (BMW Motorrad) was in 5th.

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Rea 2. Toprak 3. Locatelli 4. Bautista 5. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 6. Redding 7. Lowes (Kawasaki KRT) 8. Vierge (Honda HRC) 9. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) 10. Vd Mark (BMW Motorrad).

With 19 laps to go the lead group of 4 were already pulling away from the rest. It was Locatelli with the fastest lap a 1:33.2. Meanwhile further back it was 11. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 12. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) 15. Nozane (GRT Yamaha).

With 17 of 21 laps to go, it was Bassani with the fastest lap a 1:32.9. Bautista then came through on Locatelli to take 3rd. Bassani had now caught up with the lead group, now made up of 5 riders. The Italian was looking aggressive and barged through on his fellow countryman Locatelli, to take 4th.

Next lap and Toprak made his move on Rea into the hairpin corner at turn 10 taking the lead. Redding meanwhile dropped down to 10th, allowing both Gerloff and Rinaldi through.

Next lap and Rea ran wide, allowing a grateful Bautista to come through into 2nd. Toprak held a gap of 0.4s at the front.

With 14 laps to go Bassani came through on Rea, the Ducati’s acceleration proving too much for the ZX 10-RR, which couldn’t match it in the high track temperatures, which were nearing 70 degrees Celsius.

Coming up to half race distance, and Rea fought back taking Bassani with a neat pass up the inside into turn 12 to move back into 3rd. Meanwhile a miserable season for Nozane (GRT Yamaha) got worse with him crashing out into turn 11, and his race was over. At the front Bautista was right on Toprak and looking for the win to cap his impressive season off.

With 9 laps to go, Redding came through on Lowes to take 7th. Meanwhile Gerloff lost places and dropped down to 10th. Then as we’ve seen a number of times this season, Bautista used the power and speed of the “red missile” to blast past Toprak, and fire himself into the lead into turn 1. Toprak however, was up for the fight and snapped straight back a few corners later to retake the lead, and again Alvaro would again take the lead. This was a becoming a good scrap.

With 6 laps to go Bautista was still out in front. Meanwhile Toprak held a gap of 0.5s to Rea behind in 3rd. As was also the case for much of the season, these three were away, and clear from the rest of the field. Rea in 3rd held a gap of 2.5s to Bassani 4th, Locatelli 5th held a gap of 4.2s to Vierge in 6th.

Next lap and Toprak wasn’t going to let the win go without a fight, and he passed Bautista once again to take the lead.

With 4 laps to go Toprak continued his late race charge, and set a new fastest lap of 1:32.846 in the process, increasing the gap to Bautista behind to 0.6s. Meanwhile Bassani and Locatelli were battling it out for 4th.

Next lap and Toprak continued to widen the gap, now at 1.1s. Bautista looked content to take 2nd. Meanwhile Gerloff had fought back to 8th behind Vierge in 7th.

WorldSBK Indonesia 15.11.2022 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap and Toprak crossed the line to take his 3rd win of the weekend, but it was Alvaro Bautista who claimed the championship coming over in 2nd, Rea in 3rd, Locatelli 4th, Bassani 5th, Redding 6th, Vierge 7th, Gerloff 8th, Lowes 9th, Rinaldi 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  2. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki KRT)
  4. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha)
  5. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 553 pts
  2. Razgatlioglu – 487
  3. Rea – 450

Round 10 WorldSBK San Juan, Argentina, Race 2

The earlier superpole race was won by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha), followed by Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati), and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki KRT).

Track temperature was a lot higher compared to race 1, which meant it would start to feel greasy for the riders, and tyre management would surely be a big factor for the race.

Lights out for race 2 then, and it was Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) with a great start, followed by the Kawasaki team mates of Rea and Lowes in 2nd and 3rd, Bautista 4th, and Toprak in 5th. An unhappy Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW), got a shove from Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati), which sent the Frenchman ploughing into the gravel, and his race was over. Bassani would no doubt receive a penalty for that incident.

Next lap and Rea ran wide losing positions and ended up in 6th. Lowes was having a great start to the race, and was attacking Bautista, the two of them fighting for 2nd. Toprak was now up to 4th.

With 19 laps to go positions were as follows; 1. Rinaldi 2. Lowes 3. Bautista 4. Toprak 5. Vierge (Honda HRC) 6. Rea. It was the Northern Irishman who then put in the new fastest lap with a 1:38.3.

Next lap and Bautista was finding his rhythm and came through on Lowes to move into 2nd. Toprak was next to come through Lowes, and moved into 3rd. Meanwhile further back it was Redding (BMW Motorrad) 10th, Laverty (Bonovo Action Ducati) 11th, and Vd Mark (BMW Motorrad) 12th.

With 16 laps to go, it was Lecuona (Honda HRC), who set the new fastest lap with a 1:38.2, impressive from the ex-MotoGP rider, as it was his first visit to San Juan. Bautista took over the lead from his team mate, and Toprak wasn’t about to let Bautista clear away, and moved through on Rinaldi into 2nd. Further back it was the Kawasaki team mates of Lowes and Rea, in 4th and 5th respectively. Bautista held a gap of 0.2s to Toprak.

Next lap and Toprak put in the new fastest lap of the race with a 1:37.923. The leading two of Bautista, and Toprak were pulling away from the rest, and had pulled out a significant gap. Rinaldi then ran wide allowing both of the Kawasaki team mates through. Positions were as follows; 1. Bautista 2. Toprak 3. Lowes 4. Rea 5. Rinaldi.

With 13 laps remaining, Bautista had increased his lead to 0.5s. Toprak was doing all he could to stay with the Ducati, and set a new fastest lap of 1:37.890. Would we see team orders come into play, forcing Lowes to let Rea through? The GRT Yamaha team mates, Gerloff and Nozane, were having a disappointing weekend and found themselves way down in 16th and 17th.

With 11 laps remaining, Bautista was once again ramping up the pace and set the new fastest lap of the race with a 1:37.789. He now held a gap of 0.8s to Toprak, who was doing everything he could to keep in contact. Meanwhile further back Locatelli (Pata Yamaha), came through on Redding into 9th. Bassani had caught the Honda team mates of Vierge, and Lecuona in 6th, and 7th respectively.

Over half distance now, and Bautista had increased his lead to 0.9s to Toprak. Bautista then put in the new fastest lap of the race with a 1:37.660.

With 7 laps to go positions were as follows; 1. Bautista 2. Toprak 3. Lowes 4. Rea 5. Rinaldi.

With only 4 laps to go, Rea did come through on Lowes into 3rd, Lowes didn’t try to respond, knowing his team mate needed the extra points. Rea wouldn’t be able to catch Toprak who was well away. There was then a three-way battle for 5th between Rinaldi, Vierge, and Lecuona. Meanwhile, Bassani was given a long lap penalty for his earlier incident with Baz, which he failed to take, and was subsequently given an additional long lap penalty. He rejoined the race down in 20th.

Last lap and Bautista crossed the line to claim his second win of the weekend, followed by Toprak 2nd. Rea 3rd, Lowes 4th, Rinaldi 5th, Vierge 6th, Lecuona 7th, Locatelli 8th, Redding 9th, Vd Mark 10th.

It has been an amazingly dominant season for Bautista, who has now finished on the podium in 27 of 30 races so far.

Next stop is Round 11 in Mandalika, Indonesia, and Bautista will be the World Champion if he outscores Toprak by 18 points, and Rea by a single point.

Result top 5:
  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki KRT)
  4. Lowes (Kawasaki KRT)
  5. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati)
Championship top 3:
  1. Bautista – 507 points
  2. Razgatlioglu – 425 points
  3. Rea – 409 points

Feature Image Credit: WorldSBK.com 

Round 6 WorldSBK, Czech Rep, Race 1

Rea (Kawasaki KRT) set the fastest time in superpole with a time of 1:30.947, followed by Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha), and Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) in second and third respectively.

Conditions in Most were much cooler then previous rounds, with the threat of rain hanging in the air.

Lights out for Race 1 and it’s Toprak Razgatlioglu with the hole shot into Turn 1 followed closely by Rea and Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati). Locatelli (Pata Yamaha), was having all kinds of early issues, and ran straight off the track into Turn 1, narrowly avoiding colliding with the leading riders.

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Razgatlioglu 2. Rea 3. Bautista 4. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 5. Redding (BMW Motorrad) 6. Locatelli 7. Rinaldi 8. Lowes (Kawasaki KRT) 9. Baz (Bonovo action BMW) 10. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team).

With 20 laps remaining, it was Bassani in 4th who set the new fastest lap of 1:32.303. Toprak, and Rea were pulling away from Bautista who was struggling to keep contact.

Next lap, and it was the turn of Toprak Razgatlioglu to set a new fastest lap. Rea was still all over the back of the reigning champion and looking for an early pass. Meanwhile Rinaldi had a terrible start from 3rd and now found himself in 7th.

With 17 laps of 22 left Rea makes his move, cutting  under Toprak to take over the lead. The Kawasaki was showing good acceleration out of the corners.

Next lap, and Toprak responded by out-braking Rea down the straight into Turn 1 to re-take the lead. The constant battling at the front had allowed Bautista to catch up, and there was now a three way battle for the lead. Toprak made a mistake and ran slightly wide, and Rea was quick enough to snap back and take back the lead.

With 14 laps to go, Rea held a gap of 0.2s to Toprak behind in P2. Further back Redding was having a great race, and was now up to 4th after getting past Bassani. Positions were as follows: 4. Redding 5. Bassani 6. Locatelli 7. Rinaldi.

Next lap, and Toprak again retook the lead into Turn 1, out-braking Rea. A few corners later, Rea responded by cutting under Toprak to take back the lead. All the while Bautista waited for his chance to strike back in 3rd. With light rain now falling around the track, riders were allowed to enter the pits to change their tyres.

Credit: Kawasaki Racing Team

On lap 11 of 22, Bautista made his move, getting through on Toprak and then using the power of the Ducati to blast past Rea down the straight, moving from 3rd to 1st in a couple of corners. The Ducati, as it had all season, was again showing good late race pace. Redding and Bassani had caught the lead group, with five riders now vying for the race win.

With 10 laps to go, it was British rider, Redding who set the new fastest lap of 1:32.545. Further back it was: P7 Lowes, P8 Rinaldi, P9 Lecuona and P10 Gerloff.

With 9 laps to go, Toprak re-took Rea into Turn 1 to take over 2nd, while Rea was now in 3rd with Redding behind. Rea responded a few corners later taking Toprak. Next it was the turn of Redding to take Toprak into turn 20, moving into 3rd. Toprak was now in 4th, while Redding was having one of the best races of his season so far.

With 7 laps to go, Redding took Rea into turn 1. The gap to Bautista was now 0.6s and closing. The pace at the front was too high for Bassani, who had now lost contact with the group and was adrift in 5th.

Next lap and positions were as follows: P1 Bautista, P2 Redding, P3 Rea and P4 Toprak.

With 4 laps to go, Bautista looked to be controlling a gap of 0.7s to Redding in 2nd.

Next lap, and again Toprak takes Rea into turn 1 to take 3rd, while Rea was now in 4th. Meanwhile Bautista looked comfortable at the front, and had pulled the gap out to 0.9s. Redding had the bit between his teeth, but wasn’t able to reduce the gap to the Spaniard.

Penultimate lap and 2nd and 3rd places were still very much up for grabs. Bautista, barring any incident, looked to have the win sewn up.

Credit: Kawasaki Racing Team

Last lap, and Bautista crossed the line to take Ducati’s 1000th win in World Superbikes. Toprak made a lunge on Redding, cutting inside him and forcing him wide to take 2nd. Meanwhile Redding after going wide had to hold off Rea, which he did to take his first podium of the season. It was a disappointing result for Rea who took 4th. Bassani was 5th, 6th Locatelli, 7th Rinadi, 8th Lecuona (Honda HRC), 9th Lowes, 10th Gerloff.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  3. Redding (BMW Motorrad)
  4. Rea (Kawasaki KRT)
  5. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 271
  2. Rea – 242
  3. Razgatlioglu- 223

 

Round 5 WorldSBK Donington Park, Race 2

The weather was heating up, and so was the racing.

The Superpole race saw the reigning champion, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha), claim his second win of the weekend, followed by Rea (Kawasaki KRT), and Redding (BMW Motorrad), in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

WorldSBK Round 5 Race 2 at Donington Iker Lecuona Picture courtesy of HRC WorldSBK

Lights out for race 2, and again it’s Toprak with the hole shot, followed by Rea, Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati), and Redding in 4th. Rea in particular, was looking more aggressive than he had yesterday, and was keen not to let the Turkish rider get away again.

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Rea 3. Bautista 4. Redding 5. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) 6. Lowes (Kawasaki KRT) 7. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) 8. Lecuona (Honda HRC) 9. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 10. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW). Toprak put in the new fastest lap of 1:26.696, with Rea still trying to find a way through. The gap behind to Bautista was now 0.6s.

Lap 4 of 23, and it was the turn of Bautista to put in the new fastest lap of 1:26.644. This trio had already pulled out a significant gap to the rest of the field, with only Scott Redding keeping contact in 4th, 0.5s behind.

Lap 6 of 23, and Rea was desperate to find a way through on Toprak. The Turkish rider is an absolute demon on the brakes, and with so few places to pass, it was making life impossible for Rea. He tried a move in the Foggy Esses, briefly getting ahead, but Toprak was able to use the acceleration of the Yamaha R1 to retake the lead. As was the case yesterday, the constant battle between Rea, and Toprak was playing into the hands of Bautista, who had closed the gap to Rea. Meanwhile further back it was 7. Locatelli 8. Bassani 9. Lecuona 12. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 13. Vierge (Honda HRC).

On lap 9 of 23 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Pedercini) retires from the race. Meanwhile at the front, Rea was still throwing everything he could at Toprak, although the reigning champion was showing his grit, and standing firm. Bautista was still making ground in 3rd, with Redding having a decent ride in 4th, Rinaldi 5th, and Lowes 6th. Further back Tarran Mackenzie (MacAMC Yamah), the reigning BSB champion, was in 15th, while Peter Hickman (FHO BMW) was in 19th.

WorldSBK Round 5 Race 2 at Donington Scott Redding Picture courtesy of BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team

With 11 laps remaining, Rinaldi finds a way through on Redding, who slips back to 5th, Lowes was in 6th. At the front Toprak was still holding off Rea, with a gap of 0.5s, while Bautista was in 3rd. Further back Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), was having another poor race, and was in 18th.

With 8 laps to go, Toprak had pulled out the gap to 0.8s, Rea looked to be having a problem either mechanically, or with the tyres.

Next lap and the gap had been increased to 1.4 to Rea, who was still struggling with the bike. Meanwhile Toprak was looking cool, and calm as he had in race 1, and would surely take the win.

With 5 laps to go, Bautista had now closed right up to Rea, and cuts under him into Melbourne loop taking over 2nd. Further back Bassani gets through on Locatelli to take 7th.

With 3 laps remaining, Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW), retires from the race, possibly having a mechanical issue. Meanwhile Rea was holding a gap of 1.2s to Rinaldi behind in 4th.

WorldSBK Round 5 Race 2 at Donington Toprak Razgatlioglu Picture courtesy of Pata Yamaha BRIXX WorldSBK

Last lap, and Toprak crosses the line proving he’s the king of Donington, taking his first career triple win across the weekend, and massively reducing the gap to the championship leader, Bautista, who comes in 2nd. Rea 3rd, Rinaldi 4th, Redding 5th, Lowes 6th, Bassani 7th, Locatelli 8th, Baz 9th, Lecuona 10th. Tarran Mackenzie takes 15th, while Hickman takes 19th on their debuts.

Result top 5:

  1. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  2. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki KRT)
  4. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati)
  5. Redding (BMW Motorrad)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 246
  2. Rea – 229
  3. Razgatlioglu – 203

 

 

Round 3 WorldSBK Estoril, Portugal, Race 2

The earlier Superpole race saw Rea (KRT Kawasaki), claim his first win of the weekend, followed by Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) and Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati).

WorldSBK Estoril 22.05.2022 Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

Lights out for race 2, and it’s Toprak with the hole shot, followed by Rea 2nd, Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) 3rd, Bautista 4th, Leucona (Honda HRC) 5th and Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) 6th. And then drama as light rain began to fall – would this have a bearing on the race?

Next lap, and Rea again showing good pace, takes over the lead from Toprak. His team mate, Lowes, was showing good early pace too and moved up into 5th, and then quickly into 4th moving through on Lecuona, setting a fastest lap of 1:37.222 in the process.

With 18 laps of 21 remaining, it was Lowes with another fastest lap this time 1:37.039, and moved past Bautista with a neat pass. Both the ZX10-RR machines were looking quick in the early stages of the race. Positions were as follows; 1. Rea 2. Razgatlioglu 3. Lowes 4. Bautista 5. Lecuona 6. Locatelli 7. Rinaldi 8. Vierge (Honda HRC) 9. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 10. Redding (BMW Motorrad).

WorldSBK Estoril 22.05.2022 Lecuona Picture courtesy of Honda Racing Corporation

With 13 laps to go, a group of 4 riders had splintered away from the others, with Locatelli trailing by 2s back in 5th. Positions were as follows; 1. Rea 2. Toprak 3. Lowes 4. Bautista. The former then moves past Lowes to take 3rd. The good news was the earlier light rain had stopped, with the track remaining dry.

With 11 laps to go, as he had in race 1, Bautista was showing good late race pace, and used the top end grunt of the Ducati to overtake both Rea and Toprak down the straight and into turn 1, moving from 3rd into the lead. Meanwhile further back, Bassani was having a decent race and was now up to 7th.

Next lap, and Rea comes through on Bautista, after the Spaniard made a mistake running wide and missing the apex. Rea had gone with the softer tyre option, and it looked to be a valid choice, as the Irishman set a new fastest lap of 1:37.751.

WorldSBK Estoril 22.05.2022 Vierge Picture courtesy of Honda Racing Corporation

With 8 laps to go, Bautista again using the top end speed of the Ducati, powers past Rea to retake the lead into turn 1. Further back it was 10. Redding 12. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) and 13. Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK).

With 6 laps to go, the leading group was now down to 3, as Lowes went off the track briefly, losing contact in the process. The win looked likely to be fought out amongst the leading group of Rea, Toprak and Bautista.

With 2 laps to go, it was the turn of Toprak to lose contact with Rea and Bautista, after the reigning champion made a mistake and ran wide, seemingly struggling with tyre grip again.

WorldSBK Estoril 22.05.2022 Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

Last lap, and Rea was all over the back of Bautista, he made his move into the chicane, cutting under the Ducati to take the lead. He held the slim gap into the final sector, and crossed the line to take his 2nd win of the day, and his 117 career win to date. 2nd Bautista, 3rd Toprak, 4th Lowes, 5th Locatelli, 6th Lecuona, 7th Bassani, 8th, Rinaldi, 9th Vierge.

Result top 5:

  1. Rea (KRT Kawasaki)
  2. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)
  3. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  4. Lowes (KRT Kawasaki)
  5. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 161 pts
  2. Rea – 144
  3. Razgatlioglu – 109

Yamaha Outlines Test Plan Ahead of 2022 WorldSBK Season

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK’s pre-season preparations get underway this week at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, serving as the first of four tests for reigning WorldSBK Champion Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and last year’s rookie sensation Andrea Locatelli to gear up for the 2022 FIM Superbike World Championship. Here’s what Yamaha have to say:

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK’s pre-season testing Picture courtesy of Yamaha Racing

Returning to the track for the first time since claiming the WorldSBK “Triple Crown” in Indonesia, the team is unloading its Yamaha R1 WorldSBK bikes in Portugal today to set up for two days of running on 8-9 February. Acting as a first shakedown for the upcoming season, the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK squad and Yamaha staff will evaluate 2022 technical updates, both mechanical and electronic, with their focus on development confirmations rather than outright performance.

Razgatlıoğlu and Locatelli will then be back in action at a private MotorLand Aragon test on 3-4 March, alongside the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team who will complete their first outing of 2022 with riders Garrett Gerloff and Kohta Nozane.

The target for Aragon will be to re-confirm the development plan completed over the winter and find a strong base set-up at a track that hasn’t often played to the Yamaha R1 WorldSBK’s strengths. It will also be a key opportunity for “rookie-no-more” Locatelli to ride at Aragon again, this time with a lot more experience, four podiums and a plethora of top-five results since his debut at the circuit in 2021.

March weather can be unpredictable in the Teruel region, so Misano (16-17 March), where GRT Yamaha is set to continue its pre-season preparations, has also been penciled in as a back-up option for the championship-winning Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK crew.

Then it’s back to Spain to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where both Yamaha teams will officially unveil their colours for the 2022 season. Fans will also be excited to see Razgatlıoğlu take to the track with the coveted #1 on his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK for the first time from 25-26 March! But most importantly, both teams will look to finalise their full race packages with just a week to spare prior to the WorldSBK Official Test at Aragon on 4-5 April. These two tests will also give Yamaha a chance to square up the competition before the first races of the season.

Finally, Yamaha and the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK team will begin its much-awaited title defense campaign at the opening round of the 2022 FIM Superbike World Championship at MotorLand Aragon from 8-10 April.

Pre-Season Test Dates:

Portimão – 8-9 February (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK only)

Aragon – 3-4 March

Misano – 16-17 March (GRT Yamaha only – back-up option for Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)

Barcelona-Catalunya – 25-26 March

Aragon – Official WorldSBK Test – 4-5 April

2022 WorldSBK Season Preview

Yes fans, the new superbike season is nearly here, and if it’s anything like last season, we’re in for a real treat.

wsbk
WSBK Navarra 22.08.2021
Picture courtesy of Ducati Racing

Thirteen rounds of action packed racing await, and hopefully we’ll have a Phillip Island round, which has been pencilled in at the back end of the year, which as of yet we still await the dates to be announced. Round 13 is also unknown as of yet. It seems that we won’t be returning to Navarra in Spain this time round.

So the season kicks off for round 1 in Aragon, Spain on the 8th of April. We will have another Spanish round in Catalunya on the 23rd of September, and as mentioned above it seems no Navarra round.

After that we’ve got Assen, then the first of two trips to Portugal, for Estoril and Portimao later in the year. The UK round at Donington Park is smack bang right in the middle of summer on the 15th July. Will we have bright sunshine, or a complete washout? Either is possible lets be honest. Returns to Misano, Most in Czech Rep, Magny- Cours, France, Argentina, and Mandalika in Indonesia are all on. With question marks above round 12 Phillip Island and 13 still to be announced.

WorldSBK Portimao 03.10.21 Race 2 Bautista Picture courtesy of Aruba.it Ducati

There has been a couple of changes to rider line-ups so far, a few of the most notable are Scott Redding switching the red of Ducati for a blue, red and white livery of BMW Motorrad. Alvaro Bautista will take the seat vacated by Redding, and will join the Aruba.it Racing Ducati team. Honda HRC will have two new Spanish riders join them, Iker Lecuona from MotoGP and Xavi Vierge from Moto2. Eugene Laverty is back on a BMW for the Bonovo action team and he will be joined by Loris Baz who makes a return to WorldSBK.

It will take some doing to replicate last season, but I am really excited to see how the new riders for Honda HRC will handle the jump to WorldSBK. They’re both young but definitely talented. Honda didn’t produce one of their finest seasons last year, with both Bautista and Haslam struggling for form most of the year, although Bautista did improve in the last few rounds. If Honda can get their bike working, I think both riders can challenge for good results this season.

Bautista had blistering speed when he made his WorldSBK debut on a Ducati in 2019, and was challenging Jonathan Rea for the win every race in the early part of the season. Although he couldn’t maintain the form right through the season, he did pick up a good few wins early on. Rinaldi had a couple of good races last season, and if Bautista can pick up where he left off last season, I think both riders will provide a stiff test for Toprak and Johnny.

2021 WorldSBK Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu. Picture courtesy of Yamaha Racing.

Scott Redding was a thorn in both Toprak and Rea’s side last season, providing us fans with one of the most exciting seasons ever. There was no doubt that the Ducati was an absolute missile last season and Scott knew exactly how to inflict the most amount of damage with it. Finishing 3rd behind two of the most talented riders ever to grace WorldSBK is definitely no mean feat. I really hope BMW can provide Scott with a fast bike, because we all want to see him charging hard every race.

Johnny will still be seeking world championship number 7 next season and he knows full well Kawasaki will have to improve their bike if they are going to wrestle that title away from Toprak.

Is it too early to make a prediction? Of course it is, but why not, so here is mine.

Championship result top 3:

  1. Toprak Razgatlioglu
  2. Jonathan Rea
  3. Alvaro Bautista

Race Dates:

  1. Aragon Round – MotorLand Aragon – 8,9,10 April
  2. Dutch Round – TT Circuit Assen – 22,23,24 April
  3. Estoril Round – Circuito Estoril – 20,21,22 May
  4. Emilia – Romagna Round – Misano World Circuit – 10,11,12 June
  5. UK Round – Donington Park – 15,16,17 July
  6. Czech Round – Autodrom Most – 29,30,31 July
  7. French Round – Magny – Cours – 9,10,11 September
  8. Catalunya Round – Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya – 23,24,25 September
  9. Portuguese Round – Autodromo Internacional do Algarve – 7,8,9 October
  10. Argentinean Round – Circuito San Juan Villicum  – 21,22,23 October
  11. Indonesian Round – Mandalika International Street Circuit – 11,12,13 Nov
  12. Australian Round – Phillip Island – TBA*
  13. TBA*

Rider and Team line-up so far:

  • Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK: Toprak Razgatlioglu / Andrea Locatelli
  • Aruba.it Racing Ducati: Alvaro Bautista / Michael Ruben Rinadi
  • Kawasaki Racing Team: Jonathan Rea / Alex Lowes
  • BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: Scott Redding / Michael van der Mark
  • Team HRC Honda: Iker Lecuona / Xavi Vierge
  • GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team: Garrett Gerloff / Kohta Nozane
  • Motocorsa Racing: Axel Bassani
  • TeamGoEleven: Philipp Oettl
  • Kawasaki Puccetti Racing: Lucas Mahias
  • Barni Racing Team: Luca Bernardi
  • Bonovo action BMW Racing Team: Eugene Laverty / Loris Baz
  • OUTDO TPR Team Perdercini Racing: Loris Cresson
  • MIE Racing Honda Team: Leandro Mercado / Hafizh Syahrin

* Race Calender and rider/team line-up taken from http://WorldSBK.com

 

What Next For JR 65 ?

So for the first time in over 5 years, the number 65, not number 1, will adorn the front end of Jonathan Rea’s Kawasaki ZX-10R. In the immediate aftermath of the Indonesian race, Rea looked shell shocked, yet as always was gracious in his praise for the new champion.

Jonathan Rea Misano WSBK. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

No one can argue that the Northern Irishman is a proper gentleman both on and off the track. Look beneath the grin and cordial demeanour however, and you’ll discover a burning desire to win. It can hardly come as a surprise that winning means so much to the 6 time world champion, yet more than anything, it is his relentless hunger to keep proving himself, which is really awe-inspiring.

In Toprak Razgatlioglu, Rea has met an opponent just as hungry as he himself is. An opponent who leaves nothing behind on the track and pushes Rea to another level. Yes the Kawasaki struggled in a lot of areas, out performed in terms of top end speed, by not only the Ducati’s, but also by the Yamaha’s. What was of more concern, certainly of trying to find a solution, was the stability issues, especially into hard braking corners which plagued the Kawasaki all season. Rea was using “Marc Marques” skills saving what could have been several nasty crashes. The save at Donington Park springs to  mind, as Rea somehow managed to “motocross” his way off-road down the Craner Curves, still managing to rejoin the race. He was not as lucky in Portimao and was involved in a really scary high speed crash, walking away from a mangled ZX-10R.

Michael van der Mark, Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes at Magny-Cours WSBK 2019. Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

A certain Valentino Rossi finally hung up his leathers this year at the age of 42, putting a bookend to 3 decades of racing. Rossi never lost his hunger for competing at the top level, and when new, younger opponents came onto the scene, he was able to reinvent himself, applying what the younger riders were doing and honing his craft.

I could see Rea doing something similar, extending his career for several more years. Certainly the talented crop of young riders in WorldSBK at the moment, will push Rea further. Not only Toprak and Scott Redding, but also the likes of Axel Bassani, Andrea Locatelli, Garrett Gerloff and the talented Iker Lecuona who comes from MotoGP.

Jonathan Rea at the 2020 Philip Island Test. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

The future is a hard thing to predict, but what does look certain is WorldSBK continuing to provide action packed racing, whether or not Jonathan Rea is still there. Although as fans of the sport, we all still hope he is there for many years to come.

 

Round 13 WorldSBK Indonesia Race 1

After the torrential downpour yesterday, both races 1 and 2 would be decided on Sunday, while the Superpole race was cancelled. Conditions were once again mixed, with dark clouds on the horizon, and the track was still damp in some places.

2021 WorldSBK Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu. Picture courtesy of Yamaha Racing.

With a points advantage of 30, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) knew 2nd place would be good enough for the championship win. Jonathan Rea (KRT Kawasaki) meanwhile, knew he’d have to try get the win, and force the championship to race 2.

Lights out and its Rea with the hole shot, followed by Redding (aruba.it Ducati) in 2nd, Toprak in 3rd, Sykes (BMW Motorrad) 4th and Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) 5th. Toprak knew he had to put Rea under pressure, and maybe force him into a mistake.

With 18 laps to go, the pressure pays off and Razgatlioglu gets past Rea. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) made a brilliant start and was up to 3rd, 0.3 seconds behind Rea.

With 16 laps to go Bassani was flying, and gets through on both Rea and Razgatlioglu to take over the lead. Rea meanwhile sensed an opportunity and returned the favour, getting back in front after passing Bassani and Toprak. This was no holes barred racing at its best, the riders were leaving nothing behind.

With 15 laps to go, Rea sets a fastest lap of 1:37.418, the track was now mostly dry, and the riders were confident. Next was the turn of Toprak to post a fastest time of 1:36.772, the lap times now tumbling down.

Rea had the hammer down and was pushing, setting a new fastest lap of 1:35.830. With Toprak on his wheel however, Rea knew he’d need help from somewhere else if he was to keep his hopes of a 7th title alive.

And then with 12 laps to go Razgatlioglu slides up the inside of Rea, both wheels of the Yamaha looked completely out of line, yet somehow as he has done all season long, the Turk gets it stopped and makes the apex to retake the lead. Meanwhile Redding was getting quicker every lap and moves through on Bassani to take 3rd.

Redding was finding his groove, and with 10 laps to go the Ducati rider gets past Rea to take 2nd. He was only 0.1 behind Toprak, and was hunting him down. Again, it was this trio of riders who would be having the final showdown, as has been the story all season long.

The pressure pays off the next lap, as Razgatlioglu is forced into running wide, and Scott accepts taking over the lead. Rea now in 2nd, while Toprak gets back into 3rd, but had Bassani all over the back of him.

2021 WorldSBK Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu. Picture courtesy of Yamaha Racing.

All the riders were feeling the pressure ramp up, and with 5 laps to go it was the turn of Redding to run wide into turn 10, Rea seized the momentum and retook the lead. As it stood, Toprak would need to get past Redding if he was to take his first championship title.

With 3 laps to go, Redding again runs wide, allowing Toprak to come through and take 2nd. Rea meanwhile could do no more, and was having a great race, but it would not be enough ultimately.

Rea crosses the line in 1st, followed by Toprak Razgatlioglu in 2nd and with it claiming his first ever WorldSBK championship title. Redding gets 3rd.

Result top 5:

  1. Rea (KRT Kawasaki)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  3. Redding (aruba.it Ducati)
  4. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati)
  5. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha)

 

Championship top 3:

  1. Razgtlioglu – 551
  2. Rea – 526
  3. Redding 481

 

Round 11 WorldSBK Portimao, Portugal Race 2

The Superpole race saw vd Mark (BMW Motorrad) claim the win followed by Redding (aruba.it Ducati) in 2nd and Baz (go eleven Ducati) 3rd.

WorldSBK Portimao 03.10.21 Race 2 Razgalioglu Picture courtest of Pata Yamaha Racing

Lights out for race 2 and its Redding with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by the Pata Yamaha team mates of Locatelli and Razgatlioglu. Rea (Kawasaki KRT) was a man on a mission, already up to 3rd, from a grid position of 10th. It was Redding, followed by Locatelli 2nd, Rea 3rd, Razgatlioglu 4th, Bassani (motocorsa Ducati) 5th and vd Mark 6th.

With 18 laps to go, Rea blasts past Locatelli down the straight to take 2nd, then cuts up on Redding down the sweeping left hander to take over the lead for the first time.

Next lap, and Rea subsequently loses his lead to both Redding and Razgatlioglu down the straight. Rea now in 3rd. Further back it was Locatelli 4th, Rinaldi (aruba.it Ducati) 5th, Bautista (HRC Honda) 6th, Baz 7th and vd Mark who had a terrible start, was now languishing in 8th.

WorldSBK Portimao 03.10.21 Race 2 Rinaldi Picture courtesy of Honda Racing Corporation

With 16 laps to go, Razgatlioglu tries to out brake Redding into turn 1 but locks up the front, which allows Rea space to pass. Following corner, and this time Redding runs wide, again Jonny capitalises and retakes the lead for the 2nd time.

With 15 laps to go, Rea puts in a fastest lap of 1:41.942. Again as in race 1, it is this group of title contenders pulling away from the rest. Razgatlioglu finally does make his move on Redding, moving up to 2nd and is now 0.3 behind Rea.

With 13 laps to go, Razgatlioglu passes Rea down the straight, the Kawasaki suffering from a lack of top end speed in comparison to the Yamaha R1. Toprak is next to post a fastest lap of 1:41.522, but Rea is able to stay right on his wheel. Meanwhile Bautista has moved up to 5th.

With 9 laps to go, Razgatlioglu loses the front end of his Yamaha into the high speed turn 15, nearly an identical crash to Rea in race 1. The Yamaha flying into the gravel. The Turkish rider is able to get onto his feet, but his race is over. Redding meanwhile, is starting to lose touch with Rea, the gap now 1.1.

With 7 laps to go there was a three way battle for 3rd between Locatelli, Bautista and Baz. Both of them subsequently passing the Italian. It was Baz 3rd, Bautista 4th and Locatelli 5th.

WorldSBK Portimao 03.10.21 Race 2 Bautista Picture courtesy of Aruba.it Ducati

Last 2 laps remaining, and Rea has increased his lead over Redding to 2.6 and looking comfortable at the front. Meanwhile Bautista makes a lunge from along way back into turn 5 on Baz, who then makes contact with Bautista and subsequently punts him off the track.

Rea crosses the line for his 13th win at Portimao, followed by Redding 2nd, Baz 3rd, Locatelli 4th, Gerloff 5th and vd Mark 6th.

Result top 5:

  1. Rea (Kawasaki KRT)
  2. Redding (aruba.it Ducati)
  3. Baz (go Eleven Ducati)
  4. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha)
  5. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team)

Out: Bautista, Razgatlioglu, Rabat, Epis, Ruiu

Championship top 3:

  1. Razgatlioglu – 478 pts
  2. Rea – 454
  3. Redding 424

 

©2017 The Pitcrewonline