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 11 WorldSBK Mandalika, Indonesia, Race 1

Temperatures were scorching for the second visit to Indonesia, 36 degrees Celsius air temp, and 60 degrees track temp, amidst blazing sunshine. None of the deluge that was faced by the riders and fans last time round thankfully. Indeed the race was actually brought forward to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms.

WorldSBK Round 11 Indonesia 12.11.2022 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

The other big news was that the track was recently resurfaced, and only had a very narrow racing line down so far. This combined with the high temperatures, meant it would be a very nervous race for the riders.

Superpole went to Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha), with an unbeaten time of 1:31.371, followed by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki KRT), and Pata Yamaha team mate Andrea Locatelli. Iker Lecuona and Mahias were both ruled unfit to start the race after bad crashes in practice.

Lights out then for the 900th race in WorldSBK, and it was the pole man Toprak Razgatlioglu with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by his team mate Locatelli, Rea, and Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati). Both Lowes (Kawasaki KRT) and Redding (BMW Motorrad), suffered bad starts getting nudged off the line, and found themselves down in 10th and 19th respectively.

Next lap, and Rea was looking to make early ground, moved past Locatelli, and set the new fastest lap in the process with a 1:33.078. Positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Rea 3. Locatelli 4. Bautista 5. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 6. Vierge (Honda HRC) 7. Vd Mark (BMW Motorrad) 8. Rinadli (Aruba.it Ducati) 9. Lowes 10. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha). Toprak held a gap of 0.6s to Rea.

On lap 19 of 21 it was the turn of Bautista to come through on Locatelli. Toprak still held a gap of 0.3s out in front. Meanwhile further back it was Lowes 8th, Rinaldi 9th, and Gerloff in 10th.

Toprak had been quick all weekend, and put in the new fastest lap with a 1:32.886 on lap 17 of 21.

With 15 laps remaining, Toprak increased his lead to 1.2s, with Rea struggling to match the pace in the tricky conditions. Bautista 3rd, Locatelli 4th, Bassani 5th. Vd Mark had a moment and dropped back to 10th.

With 13 laps left, Bautista had now caught Rea and was looking for the pass. He made his move with a nice clean pass up the inside of Rea into the penultimate corner, Rea had no response and Bautista moved into 2nd. Meanwhile further back it was: Vierge 6th, Lowes 7th and Rinaldi 8th.

Coming up to half race distance, and Toprak had increased his lead to 3.2s over Bautista, and was looking quite comfortable. Then drama for both Oettl (GoEleven Ducati), and Mercado (MIE Honda). The former had a nasty looking crash, losing the back end in a fast corner, which sent the German flying over the front of his Ducati. Mercado had a mechanical issue, and his race was over.

With 9 laps left both Bassani and Toprak had big moments and lost places, Toprak ran off the track, and lost time to Bautista, with the gap cut down to 1.1s. Meanwhile further back there was now a three way battle for 6th between: Vierge 6th, Vd Mark 7th and Lowes 8th.

With 7 laps to go, the current positions as they stood meant that the championship would go on until tomorrow.

Next lap and Rinaldi was showing good late race pace, and moved through on Locatelli moving up to 4th. Meanwhile Toprak had recovered his pace, and had brought the gap back up to 2.3s over Bautista. Bautista of course didn’t need to take any unnecessary risks at this stage in the championship, and would have his chance to wrap up the title in the next few races. Rinaldi then ran wide into a corner losing his place to Locatelli. Meanwhile further back Gerloff had joined the scrap for 6th, which had now become a four way battle.

With 3 laps left, Toprak was managing his gap which was still 2.3s and looked comfortable to take the win. Then more drama for Vd Mark who crashed out into turn 16 and his race was over.

WorldSBK Round 11 Indonesia 12.11.2022 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap and Toprak crossed the line to take his 28th win for Yamaha, which was the all time highest currently, followed by Bautista and Rea. Locatelli 4th, Rinaldi 5th, Vierge 6th, Gerloff 7th, Bassani 8th, Lowes 9th, Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 10th.

Result top 5:

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

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 527 pts
  2. Razgatlioglu – 450
  3. Rea – 425

 

Round 10 WorldSBK San Juan, Argentina, Race 1

Going into the weekend with a 51 point gap over title rival, and reigning world champion, Toprak Razgatlioglu. Alvaro Bautista could put serious damage into the hopes of both Toprak, and Jonathan Rea, of closing the gap with a strong weekend.

WorldSBK 22.10.2022 Alex Lowes Picture courtesy of KRT World SBK

However the championship leader would have to start the race from 3rd on the grid, after Toprak (Pata Yamaha) claimed pole with an unbeaten time of 1:36.216, followed by Rea (KRT Kawasaki) in 2nd.

Ideal weather for the start of race 1 then, with the Andean sun baking down onto the track. Lights out and it was Toprak with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Rea, Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati), and Lecuona (Honda HRC) in 4th. And then massive drama as Toprak went off line, and way too hot into turn 9, sending his R1 plunging into the gravel. He managed to pick up his bike and rejoin the race at the back of the field. A huge, and potentially catastrophic shift in the outcome of this championship now for Toprak.

With 19 laps to go, it was Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) with an impressive start, and leading the race, setting a new fastest lap of 1:37.881 in the process. Positions were as follows: 1. Bassani 2. Rea 3. Lecuona 4. Bautista 5. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) 6. Redding (BMW Motorrad) 7. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 8. Lowes (Kawasaki KRT).

With 17 laps remaining, Bautista made a move on Lecuona, getting through to move into 3rd, and setting a new fastest lap in the process of a 1:37.5. The leading trio of Bassani, Rea, and Bautista were now pulling away from the rest of the field. Meanwhile further back it was: 10. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) 11. Vd Mark (BMW Motorrad) 14. Laverty (Bonovo Action Ducati).

Next lap and Bautista was beginning to ramp up the pace, he lined up Rea, and made a clean move, and up into 2nd. Rea had no response. Further back Redding was struggling, and dropped two places down into 8th. Gerloff was also struggling, and the Texan found himself down in a disappointing 15th. Toprak was still at the back of the field.

With 14 laps to go, Bassani held a gap of 0.3s to Bautista, the Spaniard was reeling him in however, and he moved through on the young Italian a few corners later, taking the lead. Rea knew he had to stay with Bautista, and made an aggressive move on Bassani into turn 10, moving into 2nd. The move surprised Bassani, the Italian now in 3rd. Drama for Mercado (MIE Honda), who crashed out into turn 14, and the local rider’s race was over. Meanwhile at the front, Bautista was increasing his lead, and now held a gap of 0.6s to Rea.

With 12 laps to go, Bassani had got back past Rea into 2nd, the speed of the Ducati again proving a decisive factor. Rea was growing increasingly frustrated, as he could once again see Bautista disappearing down the road.

With just over half race distance done, and with the lower fuel load, the Ducati was even quicker, and Bautista continued to ramp up his lead, the gap was now 2.7s. Positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Bassani 3. Rea 4. Lecuona 5. Rinaldi 6. Lowes 7. Redding 8. Vierge (Honda HRC) 9. Locatelli 10. Baz.

With 7 laps to go, Rea was throwing everything he could at Bassani, but to no avail. The fight between Bassani and Rea suited Bautista, and he forged on, putting ever more time into the gap.

With only 5 laps left, Bautista put in the new fastest lap of the race with a 1:37.389. Meanwhile further back, Toprak had moved up places, and was now in 18th.

With 3 laps left, Rea finally made a move on Bassani that stuck, and he moved into 2nd. Bautista was 6s ahead, and no doubt had the win firmly sealed up.

WorldSBK 22.10.2022 Alvaro Bautistas courtesy of Aruba.it_racing

Last lap and Bautista crossed the line to take another dominant win, followed by Rea 2nd, Bassani 3rd, Lecuona 4th, Rinaldi 5th,Lowes 6th, Redding 7th, Locatelli 8th, Vierge 9th, Vd Mark 10th, while Toprak came in 15th claiming just the single point.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)
  2. Rea (Kawasaki KRT)
  3. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati)
  4. Lecuona (Honda HRC)
  5. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 473
  2. Razgatlioglu – 393
  3. Rea – 386

Round 9 WorldSBK Portimao, Portugal, Race 2

Victory in the earlier Superpole race, meant the reigning champion, Toprak Razgatlioglu, was on a charge, and looking for a complete set of wins across the weekend.

Lights out for race 2 and it was Toprak (Pata Yamaha) with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Rea (Kawasaki KRT) 2nd, Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati) 3rd, Lowes (Kawasaki KRT) 4th, and Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) 5th.

WorldSBK 09.10.2022 Portimao Picture courtesy of KRT Kawasaki Racing Alex Lowes

Next lap and Rea barged through on Toprak to take over the lead, and was looking aggressive early on. Further back it was 6th Bassani (Motocorsa Duacti), 7th Locatelli (Pata Yamaha), 8th Redding (BMW Mottorad). Then drama for Mahias (Puccetti Kawasaki) who went down, and his race was over.

On lap 18 of 20, it was Rinaldi in 4th who set the new fastest lap of the race with a 1:40.098, and was having a much better race. Meanwhile further back it was the Honda HRC team mates of Lecuona, and Vierge in 10th, and 11th respectively, 12th Vd Mark (BMW Motorrad), 15th Gerloff (GRT Yamaha).

With 16 laps to go, drama for Bassani who went down into turn 12, losing the front end of the Ducati, and his race was over. Meanwhile at the front, the leading group of 5 riders had pulled away from the rest of the field.

With 15 laps to go, it was Rea who set the new fastest lap with a 1:40.673, and the pace was gradually getting ramped up, to be more in line with the quicker pace in race 1. Bautista held a gap of 0.5s to his team mate behind in 4th. Meanwhile Lowes was struggling with the faster pace, and was beginning to lose contact in 5th.

Next lap and, as in race 1, Toprak out brakes Rea into turn 1 with a nice looking move, cutting up the inside of the 6x champion. All three of the title contenders were swapping fastest laps, and it was the turn of Alvaro to put in the new fastest lap of a 1:40.647.

With 12 laps to go, Rea repays Toprak by making the same pass on him, as he had to Rea into turn 1, to retake the lead. Meanwhile Bautista sensed an opportunity, and came through on Toprak to move into 2nd. The Turk going from 1st to 3rd in one corner.

Next lap and Bautista was gathering momentum and passed Rea down the straight, and into turn 1 to take over the lead. Again the ZX10-RR had no response to the shear speed of the Panigale V4.

Half race distance, and Toprak again passed Rea into turn 1 to take over 2nd. Bautista meanwhile, held a gap of 0.3 out in front. Further back it was 6th Locatelli, 7th Redding, 8th Lecuona.

Next lap and keen to not allow Bautista to clear away, Toprak continued to push the pace on, setting a new fastest lap of 1:40.4.

With 7 laps to go, drama for Lecuona who went down into turn 14 losing the front end on the downhill cambered corner. He was having a decent race until then, and his race was over. Meanwhile at the front, Toprak was still shadowing Bautista, and then made a surprising move into turn 13, looking to have caught Bautista out, and cut under him to take the lead. The Spaniard did not expect that move, and Toprak was looking keen for a scrap.

Next lap and Bautista would make a reply, blasting past the R1 down the straight and into turn 1, to take over the lead. Meanwhile behind in 3rd, Rea had cooked his tyres, and was losing contact with the two riders ahead of him. It would surely come down to either the Spaniard or the Turk to claim to the win.

With 4 laps to go, Bautista had extended his lead to 0.8s, and Toprak was clearly suffering from tyre wear issues as was Rea. Meanwhile further back it was 8th Vierge, 9th Baz (Bonovo Action BMW), 10th Gerloff.

With the final 2 laps to go, Bautista had broke the advances of Toprak, and had extended the gap to 1.7s. Barring an incident, he would have the win in the bag.

WorldSBK 09.10.2022 Portimao, Picture courtesy of Aruba.it Racing, Alvaro Bautista

Last lap and Bautista crossed the line to deny Toprak a hat trick of wins across the weekend. It was Toprak 2nd, Rea 3rd, Rinaldi 4th, Lowes 5th, Locatelli 6th, Redding 7th, Vierge 8th, Gerloff 9th, Baz 10th.

With the final 3 rounds to come, it was looking as though Bautista firmly held the advantage over his rivals.

Result top 5:

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

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 448 pts
  2. Razgatlioglu – 392
  3. Rea – 366

 

Round 9 WorldSBK Portimao, Portugal, Race 1

The earlier Superpole saw Rea (Kawasaki KRT) claim top spot with an unbeaten lap time of 1:39.610, followed by Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha), and Lowes (Kawasaki KRT) in 2nd, and 3rd respectively.

An earlier red flagged incident in the SSP300 race, forced race direction to delay the start of race 1, and subsequently cut the laps down to 14. This was going to be a short and sharp shootout, reminiscent of a Superpole race.

WSBK 08.10.2022 Portimao, Alex Lowes picture courtesy of KRT Kawasaki

Lights out then for the delayed start to Race 1, and it was Rea with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Lowes, Toprak, and Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati).

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Rea 2. Toprak 3. Lowes 4. Bassani 5. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati) 6. Redding (BMW Motorrad) 7. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha). Further back it was Lecuona (Honda HRC) 11th, Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) 12th, and Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) in 15th.

With 12 laps to go Rea was making the most of his good start, and was extending his lead over the reigning champion in 2nd, putting in the fastest lap of the race with a 1:40.604, and held a gap of 0.6s. After initially making a good start, Lowes now found himself down in 4th, after first Toprak, then Bassani and Bautista overtook him.

Next lap and Toprak had cut the gap to Rea down to 0.4s, and set the new fastest lap of the race in the process with a 1:40.328. Bautista was now in 4th, after coming through on Lowes, but he would have work to do if he intended on catching his title rivals out in the lead.

With 10 laps to go Rea only held a gap of 0.1s to Toprak, who in turn held a gap of 0.5s to Bassani behind in 3rd.

Next lap and Toprak makes an aggressive move on Rea into turn 1, the R1 getting out of shape and Toprak slammed under Rea, while the rear of the R1 was sideways. No love lost between the pair!

With 7 laps to go, Bautista, as was a familiar scenario this season, was finding good late race pace and passed Bassani to take over 3rd. This group of 5 riders had pulled out a significant gap to the rest of the field. Further back it was Locatelli in 6th, and Redding in 7th. Rea held a gap of 0.7s to Bautista behind.

With 5 laps to go Bautista had cut the gap to Rea down to 0.2s, and was soon going to be all over the back of the ZX10-RR.

Next lap and Bautista, after getting good traction out of turn 15, blasted past Rea down the straight and briefly into 2nd, although he over cooked it into the corner, and subsequently ran out wide, allowing Rea to retake the position. The intention from the Spaniard was clear however. Meanwhile further back it was Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) in 8th, Vierge (Honda HRC) 9th, and Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 10th.

With 3 laps to go Bautista lined up Rea, and this time made the pass stick, moving into 2nd. Toprak was clear out in the lead, and held a gap of 1.5s, which you felt was enough to see him take the win. Meanwhile Lowes had found a bit extra, and was all over the back of Bassani looking for a pass.

Next lap and Lowes lined up Bassani, and made a pass, but the Italian snapped straight back into turn 5 to retake the lead.

WSBK 08.10.2022 Portimao – Podium: Razgatlioglu, Bautista, Rea, picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap and Toprak crossed the line to claim the win, followed by Bautista in 2nd, and Rea in 3rd. Bassani 4th, Lowes 5th, Locatelli 6th, Rinaldi 7th, Vierge 8th, Baz 9th, Gerloff 10th. Drama for Scott Redding, who went down into turn 5, was able to pick up the bike and eventually crossed the line down in 18th.

Result top 5:

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

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 414 pts
  2. Razgatlioglu – 360
  3. Rea – 343

Round 8 WorldSBK, Catalunya, Spain, Race 1

Superpole saw the rookie, Iker Lecuona (Honda HRC), claim his maiden WorldSBK pole with an unbeaten lap of 1:40.766. The Kawasaki team mates of Lowes, and Rea, were in 2nd, and 3rd respectively.

Lights out for race 1, and it was Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati), with an amazing start to get the hole shot, after only qualifying in 5th. The same couldn’t be said for Rea who got nudged out wide by Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati), and then almost got taken out by Locatelli (Pata Yamaha), the Italian himself also going wide. The Northern Irishman found himself down in 9th after that dust up. It was Toprak (Pata Yamaha) in 2nd, with Lowes trailing behind in 3rd. Drama also for Oettl (GoEleven Ducati) who went down, his race was over.

Next lap and positions were as follows; 1. Bautista 2. Toprak 3. Lowes 4. Rinaldi 5. Lecuona 6. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 7. Rea 8. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) 9. Locatelli 10. Redding (BMW Motorrad). Lecuona then got dropped a further place, after Bassani came through to take 5th, the pole man finding himself in 6th. Drama then for Bernardi (Barni Racing Team), who got taken out by Vd Mark (BMW Motorrad), and his race was over, Vd Mark stayed on track.

With 18 laps to go, Redding, who was not having a good start to his weekend crashed out, the BMW ploughed into the gravel, and his race was over. Bautista was already applying the pressure out in front, and was putting down some quick lap times. Lecuona had regained some composure after his bad start, and was now up to 4th, Bassani, and Rea were behind in 5th, and 6th respectively.

Next lap and Bautista was continuing his relentless pace, he set a new fastest lap of 1:41.926. Toprak was trying to stay in contact, with the gap now 0.4s to the Spaniard ahead. These leading two were already pulling away from Lowes behind in 3rd. Rea was still in 6th, and was desperate to make up positions, as he could see his title rivals disappearing down the track.

With 15 laps remaining, Lecuona moved through on Lowes to take 3rd. Bautista increased his gap over Toprak to 0.7s. Meanwhile further back, Rea who had been lining up Bassani, made his move into turn 10, trying to cut up the inside, however Bassani snapped straight back immediately and shut the door. Rea was growing increasingly frustrated to be so far back.

With 13 laps to go, Bautista now had a gap of just over 1s to Toprak, and showed no signs of letting up the ferocious pace. Meanwhile there was now a 4 way battle for 5th, between Bassani, Rea 6th, Locatelli 7th, and Gerloff 8th.

Next lap and Rea once again lined up Bassani, this time down the long straight, and into turn 1, the move stuck this time, and Bassani had no answer as Rea dived up the inside to take 5th. Rea was now behind his team mate, and had massive work to do in order to limit the points deficit to his title rivals.

With 11 laps remaining, Vd Mark, who had had an earlier altercation with Bernardi, was forced to retire due to a mechanical issue, and that was both factory BMW riders out now, a bad start to the weekend for them. Toprak was struggling to keep contact with Bautista, and the gap was out to 1.6s. Meanwhile further back Locatelli made a pass on Bassani into turn 6, cutting up the inside of his Italian compatriot. Bassani responded a few corners on into turn 9, and retook the position. Locatelli who was having an eventful race, then ran out wide for the second time, and managed to rejoin in 9th. It was; 6. Bassani 7. Gerloff 8. Rinaldi 9. Locatelli.

Next lap and Lowes had a gap of 0.5s to his team mate behind in 5th. Would we see team orders come into play? Meanwhile out in the lead Bautista now had a commanding 2.5s lead over Toprak, who seemed to be struggling with tyre grip. The Turk was 3.5s ahead of Lecuona in 3rd. Further back it was; 12. Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW), 13. Mahias (Puccetti Racing Kawasaki), and 15. Nozane (GRT Yamaha).

With 8 laps remaining, Rea was still trailing his team mate by 0.5s. Toprak continued to lose his advantage, and was now only 2.3s ahead of Lecuona in 3rd. Meanwhile further back, Gerloff pulled off an audacious move into turn 1, taking both Bassani, and Rinaldi, and cut through into 6th. Locatelli was still in 9th.

Michael Rinaldi – Barcellona WSBk 2022. Image courtesy of Ducati

With 7 laps to go, Rinaldi was finding extra pace on the Ducati, and barged through on Bassani into the last corner to take 7th. Meanwhile Lecuona continued to reel in Toprak, the gap closing all the time, the harder tyres were paying off for Lecuona. It didn’t appear to be team orders, but Rea did come through on Lowes to take 4th.

Next lap and Rea continued his late race charge to the front, out braking Lecuona into turn 1 to take over 3rd. Rea was now only 1.6s behind Toprak, and you wonder what could have been, had he not had the bad start. Meanwhile out in the lead, and with the hammer firmly down, Bautista was now leading by 5.9s, and that you felt would be enough to claim the win.

With 5 laps to go, Toprak continued to drop back like a stone, and was now only 1.1s ahead of Rea. The R1 had grip issues, and the rear was spinning up out of every corner now. There was now a 3 way battle for 4th between Lecuona, Lowes, and Gerloff. Meanwhile at the front Bautista increased his lead to 7.5s.

Next lap and again Gerloff pulled off another audacious move into turn 1, again taking two riders to move into 4th, this time its Lecuona, and Lowes. The Texan was having one of his best races of the season so far. Rea made an easy pass under Toprak into the long turn 4, to move into 2nd, with his lack of grip Toprak couldn’t respond.

With 3 laps to go Gerloff dived under Toprak, again into turn 1 to take 3rd. Meanwhile further back, Rinaldi continued to make up positions late in the race, this time moving up to 6th after getting through on Lecuona.

Next lap and Toprak continued to drop back, and Rinaldi was able to move through on him into turn 10. Positions were as follows; 4. Rinaldi 5. Toprak 6. Lecuona 7. Lowes 8. Bassani 9. Locatelli.

Alvaro Bautista winner of race one at Barcellona wsbk 2022. Image Courtesy of Ducati

Last lap and Bautista had extended his lead to an unassailable 10.5s. Gerloff had caught Rea, and was looking for a way past. Bautista crossed the line to take the win, Rea managed to hold off Gerloff to take 2nd, while Gerloff gets 3rd. Rinaldi 4th, Toprak 5th, Lecuona 6th, Lowes 7th, Bassani 8th, Locatelli 9th, and a respectable top 10 for Laverty.

A dominant victory for Bautista, who maybe had a point to make, after the spat between himself and Rea.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)
  2. Rea (Kawasaki KRT)
  3. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha)
  4. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati)
  5. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)

 

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 357 pts
  2. Razgatlioglu – 313
  3. Rea – 305

Featured Image courtesy of Ducati

Round 7 WorldSBK, Magny-Cours, France, Race 2

The Superpole race saw Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) claim the win, followed by Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati) and Rea (KRT Kawasaki) respectively.

With the track temperature nearing 40 degrees Celsius for race 2, the action on track would surely be heating up too.

Lights out for race 2, and it was Toprak with the hole shot into turn 1, followed closely by Bautista and Rea. As was the case in race 1, Bautista used the power of the Ducati to blast into the lead down the back straight, Toprak didn’t have an answer. Then Rea dived into 2nd place, looking aggressive early on. Lowes (KRT Kawasaki) got pushed out wide, and dropped down into 6th. Then massive drama as Rea took out the championship leader, sending Bautista flailing into the gravel. Rea caught him on the inside into turn 13, and the two bikes bumped into each other. There was nothing Bautista could do about that, and his race was over.

WorldSBK Magny Cours 11.09.2022 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 3. Rea 4. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) 5. Lowes. Then Bassani takes the lead making a great move on Toprak, and sets the new fastest lap of the race with a 1:37.000. Positions were changing, by numerous riders, every corner in a chaotic start to the race.

With 17 laps remaining, Rea got a long lap penalty for the incident with Bautista. Positions were as follows: 1. Bassani 2. Toprak 3. Rinaldi 4. Lowes 5. Rea 6. Redding (BMW Motorrad) 7. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 8. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) 9. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) 10. Lecuona (Honda HRC).

With 15 laps left, Bassani was having one of his best races of the season so far, and doing his best at keeping the world champion at bay behind in 2nd. The leading trio of Bassani, Toprak and Rinaldi had now pulled away from the rest. Rea took his penalty, and rejoined in 7th, in front of Baz 8th and Gerloff in 9th. The gap from Rinaldi in 3rd to Lowes in 4th was 1.2s, and Lowes held a gap of 1.4s to Redding behind in 5th. Rinaldi then makes an audacious move and moved from 3rd into the lead, taking both Bassani and Toprak. Toprak snapped back and took 2nd, while Bassani got forced into 3rd.

With 13 laps to go, Lowes had clawed his way back onto the leading group. Rea had moved up to 6th, and was in front of Locatelli in 7th.

Next lap and Vierge (Honda HRC), went down into turn 13, his race was over. Rinaldi was holding his own out in the lead, and so far was managing to keep Toprak at bay. Toprak however, was getting quicker lap by lap, and set a new fastest lap of 1:36.8. Bassani held a gap of 0.4s to Lowes behind in 4th. Meanwhile further back it was Mahias (Puccetti Kawasaki) 12th, and Nozane (GRT Yamaha) 14th.

Just over half race distance, and Redding in 5th held a gap of 1.7s to Rea in 6th.  Bassani was struggling to keep contact with Rinaldi and Toprak, both had pulled away.

With 8 laps to go, Toprak eventually made his move, and came through on Rinaldi to retake the lead.

With 6 laps remaining, Toprak had pulled out the gap to 0.4s to Rinaldi, who then ran too hot into turn 11, the Chicane, running straight through, and losing time in the process. The gap to Toprak in the lead was now up to 0.8s.

Next lap and Rea moved up into 5th after Redding ran wide. Further back there was a three way battle for 7th between Locatelli, Gerloff 8th and Baz 9th.

With 3 laps to go, Toprak now held a gap of 0.7s to Rinaldi in 2nd, Bassani was in 3rd, Lowes 4th, and Rea in 5th.

WorldSBK Magny Cours 11.09.2022 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap, and Toprak crossed the line to take his 2nd win of the weekend. Rinaldi took 2nd, and Bassani took 3rd, to claim his 2nd podium of the weekend. Lowes 4th, Rea 5th, Redding 6th, Locatelli 7th, Gerloff 8th, Baz 9th, and Lecuona 10th.

Result top 5:

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

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 332
  2. Razgatlioglu – 302
  3. Rea – 285

Round 7 WorldSBK, Magny-Cours, France, Race 1

Superpole saw Rea (KRT Kawasaki) take top spot with an unbeaten time of 1:36.124, followed by Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha), and Redding (BMW Motorrad) in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Conditions were perfect for Race 1, with Toprak opting to go with a harder front tyre, while most of the grid chose a softer option.

WorldSBK Magny Cours 10.09.2022 Bautista – Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Lights out for race 1, and it was Toprak with the hole shot into turn one, followed by Redding, Rea and Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati). Lowes (KRT Kawasaki) in particular, was looking quite aggressive early doors. With his hard front tyre yet to get up to race temperature, Toprak ran wide and allowed Redding to come through and snatch the lead.

Next lap and both Toprak, and Rea came through on Redding, the Brit getting barged down into 3rd. And then in the space of a one lap, massive drama as first Rea goes down into the last chicane turn 17, looking like he clipped the curb on the exit. A few corners later, and Toprak appeared as if he could not get his Yamaha R1 stopped into turn 13, with the rear violently snapping around. It could have been a nasty crash, but with the skill of a world champ he was able to rejoin the race in 23rd. Rea was not as lucky,  his ZX-10RR needed to have work done on it, and went back to the garage.

Bautista was now in 2nd behind Redding, and could no doubt scarcely believe his luck, with his two main title rivals both going out.

With 17 laps remaining positions were as follows: 1. Redding 2. Bautista 3. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 4. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) 5. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 6. Lowes 7. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha).

Next lap and Bautista had closed the gap to Redding, and was looking for a way past. The gap behind to Baz in 3rd was now 1.4s. With the power, and in particular the aggressive acceleration of the Ducati, Redding was battling to keep Bautista at bay. The Spaniard does eventually come through on Redding, snapping under him to take over the lead. Further back it was the Honda HRC team mates of Lecuona and Vierge in 8th, and 9th respectively, Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) 12th, and Toprak was in 23rd.

On lap 9 of 21, Bautista ran wide, and allowed Redding to close the gap. Meanwhile behind in 3rd, Baz was struggling to keep contact with the leading two, and had now been caught by Bassani and Rinaldi.

Rea managed to get back out on track after his bike was repaired, and was obviously trying to get a few more laps of racing in, although any chance of scoring points was now out of the question. Meanwhile at the front, there was now a three way scrap for 3rd, with both Bassani and Rinaldi  keen to claim a podium. Further back it was Gerloff and Lowes in 6th, and 7th respectively.

With 10 laps to go, Rinaldi made his move, and dived under Bassani to take 4th. And with the pressure mounting behind, Baz crashed out and into the gravel, his race was over. Meanwhile at the front, Bautista was now finding his groove, and set the new fastest lap of the race of a 1:36.715, increasing his lead over Redding to 1.2s.

With 8 laps remaining, Rinaldi over shot turn 1 and flew across the gravel, although he was able to stay upright and rejoin the race in 8th. Meanwhile at the front Bautista continued to increase his lead, with the gap now 1.5s to Redding. Incredibly, Toprak was now up to 14th, after scything through the back end of the field, and was in point scoring contention.

Next lap, and Bautista as usually happens on the Ducati, was finding extra pace in the second half of the race, and the gap had increased to 1.6s to Redding. Gerloff was having a decent race in 4th, as too was Lecuona further back in 6th.

With 4 laps to go, Locatelli had moved up from 12th, and was now in 9th. Gerloff was all over the back of Lowes in 4th, and looking for a way past, although the Brit was having a decent race himself, and rode aggressively as he had all race. Postions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Redding 3. Bassani 4. Lowes 5. Gerloff.

Next lap and Bautista was looking comfortable out in the lead, with a gap of now almost 3s to Redding. Vierge looked to be having some trouble as he was steadily losing places, and was now down in 13th.

Final lap, and Bautista crossed the line to take the win, followed by Redding who had one of his best races of the season so far. Bassani 3rd, Lowes 4th, Gerloff 5th, Rinaldi 6th, Locatelli 7th, Oettl (GoEleven Ducati), 8th, Lecuona 9th, Mahias (Puccetti Kawaski) 10th. Toprak 11th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)
  2. Redding (BMW Motorrad)
  3. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati)
  4. Lowes (KRT Kawaski)
  5. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 323
  2. Rea – 267
  3. Razgatioglu – 265

Feature image courtesy of WorldSBK

Round 6 WorldSBK Most, Czech Rep, Race 2

The earlier Superpole race, saw the reigning champion, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) claim the win, followed by Rea (Kawasaki KRT), and Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati), in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

WorldSBK 31.07.2022 Czech Rep Picture courtesy of Pata Yamaha Brixx

Before the start of the race both Lowes (Kawasaki KRT), and Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW), were declared unfit to start.

Lights out for race 2, and it was Toprak with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Bautista, Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati), and Rea in 4th. Bassani in particular, was looking really aggressive, and had barged through on Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati).

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Bautista 3. Rinaldi 4. Rea 5. Bassani 6. Redding (BMW Motorrad). Toprak had already pulled out a gap of 0.6s, and was looking keen to get away.

Next lap and Rea out brakes Rinaldi into turn 1, to move up to 3rd. The leading group of 6 riders had already started to pull away from the rest.

On lap 4 of 22, drama for Rinaldi who over shoots into turn 1, losing the front end, and going down into the gravel. He was having a decent race up until that point.

Next lap and Bautista had now closed right up to Toprak, and was looking for a pass. It was Rea behind in 3rd who was setting the fastest lap time of the leading three, 1:32.206, and he was keen to not let either title rival get away. As he had in race 1, Redding was showing good pace, and managed to make a pass on Bassani, moving up to 4th.

With 17 laps remaining, drama for both Bautista and Redding, who both run hot into turn 1, running off the track. Both were able to rejoin, but lost positions in the process. Toprak, and Rea had both pulled away, and Bautista was able to rejoin in 3rd.

Next lap and Rea lined up Toprak into turn 1, and made the pass up the inside of the Turkish rider. Positions were as follows: 1. Rea 2. Toprak 3. Bautista 4. Bassani 5. Redding 6. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha).

With 15 laps to go, Toprak repays the favour, and out brakes Rea into turn 1 to retake the lead. Meanwhile, Bautista had closed the gap down to 0.5s in 3rd. Further back it was 7th Gerloff (GRT Yamaha), 8th Lecuona (Honda HRC), and 9th Vierge (Honda HRC).

With 13 laps of 22 remaining, Redding had closed back up to Bassani, and made the pass up the inside of the Italian into turn 1. Rea was again the quickest of the leading 3, and posted a new fastest lap of 1:32.202. Bautista had clawed his way back, and as in race 1, the Ducati was looking much quicker in the second half of the race.

Next lap, and positions continued to be exchanged almost every lap, this time it was Rea to make another move on Toprak into turn 1, and again he retakes the lead. The gap from Bautista in 3rd to Redding in 4th, had been increased to 1.5s, and it was now a straight battle between the top 3 title contenders for the win.

With just over half race distance gone now, the Ducati was looking increasingly quick, and Bautista powered past Rea down the straight to take over the lead. The Kawasaki ZX10-RR didn’t have an answer to the Ducati’s sheer top end speed. Redding had now lost contact with the group ahead, and was adrift 2.0s behind in 4th, with Bassani behind in 5th.

With 8 laps remaining Toprak again burst under Rea into turn 1 to take 2nd. Bautista however, wasn’t getting away as he had in race 1, with both Toprak, and Rea still right on him. Meanwhile further back, both Nozane (GRT Yamaha), and Hickman (FHO BMW Motorrad) were having a better race in 15th, and 16th respectively.

WorldSBK 31.07.2022 Czech Rep Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

Next lap, and a demon on the brakes, Toprak was able to cut under Bautista into turn 20 to retake the lead. Bautista was struggling to match the speed he had in race 1, possibly suffering from tyre grip issues, and Rea was keen to find a way past. Meanwhile further back it was 4th Redding, 5th Bassani, 6th Gerloff, 7th Locatelli, 8th Lecuona.

With 4 laps to go, Toprak looked to have managed his tyres to perfection, and set the new fastest lap a 1:31.713, increasing the gap to 0.9s to Bautista in the process.

Penultimate lap and Toprak Razgatlioglu had increased his lead to 1.2s, setting a new fastest lap of 1:31.705. Late drama for both Lecuona, and Gerloff who both suffer mechanical issues. The Texan is able to rejoin, but only at the back of the field. They were both having a decent race until then, notably Gerloff who was running in 6th.

Last lap and Toprak Razgatlioglu crosses the line to take the win, followed by 2nd Bautista, 3rd Rea, 4th Redding, 5th Bassani, 6th Locatelli, 7th Vierge, 8th Oetll (GoEleven Ducati), 9th Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti), 10th Bernardi (Barni Racing Ducati), 14th Hickman (FHO BMW Motorrad), 18th Gerloff.

Result top 5:

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

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 298
  2. Rea – 267
  3. Razgatlioglu – 260

 

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

 

 

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