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 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

Round 3 WorldSBK Estoril, Portugal, Race 1

With the extended break, it was a welcome return to action back on track. The skies were grey and gloomy, but the racing was white hot. Rea (KRT Kawasaki) would claim the Superpole with a fastest lap of 1:35.346, followed by Razagatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) and Bautista (aruba.It Ducati) in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

WSBK Estoril Race 1 Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

Lights out and it was Razgatlioglu with the hole shot into turn 1 followed by Rea, Locatelli (Pata Yamaha), Bautista and Lowes (KRT Kawasaki). Mercado (MIE Racing Honda) crashed out, and his race was over.

With 20 laps to go, it was Toprak and Rea setting a very quick pace, and they were already pulling out a gap to the group of Locatelli and Bautista behind. Rea had gone with the harder tyre option and was able to match the pace of Toprak on the softer tyre, Rea setting a fastest lap of 1:36.258. Then drama into turn 6, Rea ran into the back of Toprak making contact with his rear tyre, but both riders were able to stay upright. The gap to Locatelli in 3rd was now at 1.0s.

With 18 laps to go Redding was again showing an improvement on the BMW, and was in 5th. Bautista used the top end speed of his Ducati to blast past Locatelli down the straight and took over 3rd. Meanwhile at the front both Toprak and Rea were still very much locked in battle, with only a gap of 0.5s between them.

With 16 laps to go, Razgatlioglu who was giving everything, ran too hot into turn 3, allowing Rea to come through and take the lead. Positions were as follows: 1. Rea 2. Razgatlioglu 3. Bautista 4. Locatelli 5. Redding (BMW Motorrad) 6. Lecuona (Honda HRC) 7. Vierge (Honda HRC) 8. Lowes.

With 14 laps to go Toprak out brakes Rea into turn 1 to retake the lead. Bautista was struggling to match the pace of the two at the front.

With 12 laps out of 21 remaining, it was now Rea who out braked Toprak again into turn 1, and took over the lead. Neither rider was giving an inch, and you felt the race win would be fought out between the two of them. Bautista had distanced Locatelli, and was having a lonely ride in 3rd. Meanwhile further back it was Laverty (Bonovo action BMW) in 13th and Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) in 14th.

Next lap, and Toprak retakes the lead, again it’s into turn 1. Bautista was 1.7s behind in 3rd.

WSBK Estoril Race 1 Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

Just over half race distance, and Rea responds yet again, retaking the lead again into turn 1. This was becoming one of the all time great battles between Rea and Toprak, with the lead changing virtually every lap. Meanwhile Bautista was finding good late race pace, and set a new fastest lap of 1:36.7. The Spaniard wasn’t out of contention for the race win yet.

Next lap and the battle between Toprak and Rea showed no sign of ending, and yes, you guessed it, Toprak retook the lead into turn 1, both riders leaving braking to the very latest possible into the corner.

With 8 laps of 21 remaining, Rea again stuffs his ZX10-RR under the Yamaha R1 of Toprak, again it’s turn 1, and he retakes the lead. This battle looked to be going down to the wire. Meanwhile further back there was a 3 way battle for 5th between Redding, and the Honda team mates of Lecuona and Vierge. Bautista however, had now closed the gap to Toprak to 1.0s.

Next lap and once again the lead changed hands, this time the reigning champion retakes the lead, again it’s turn 1. The constant battle between Rea and Toprak had allowed Bautista to catch them, and he was now 0.4s behind, and was looking to have managed his tyres well.

With 6 laps to go, Rea was pushing hard, and ran wide into turn 1, allowing Bautista to come past and into 2nd. The Spaniard now had Toprak in his sights, and was looking quick. Meanwhile further back, Lecuona had got past Redding, and was now in 5th.

With 4 laps to go, Toprak held a gap of 0.4s to Bautista. Rea looked to have completely lost tyre grip, and was losing contact with the two at the front. Meanwhile further back it was Lowes in 8th, Baz (Bonovo action BMW) 9th and Rinaldi (aruba.it Ducati) in 10th.

With 2 laps remaining, Bautista was all over the back of Toprak and looking for the pass. The hard battle between Rea and Razgatlioglu had taken a toll on the tyres, and both of them were now struggling with limited grip in the closing stages of the race.

WSBK Estoril Race 1 Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

Last lap, and Toprak was desperately still trying to keep Bautista at bay. Into the final corner, and Bautista got the drive out of the corner to power past Toprak and pip him to the line. Toprak looked disgusted and shook his head, but Bautista had judged the race to perfection using all of his experience to claim the win. Top ten positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Razgatlioglu 3. Rea 4. Locatelli 5. Vierge 6. Lecuona 7. Lowes 8. Redding 9. Rinaldi 10. Baz. If the Superpole race and race 2 are anything as exciting as this one, race fans are in for a treat.

Result Top 5:

  1. Bautista (aruba.it Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  3. Rea (KRT Kawasaki)
  4. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha)
  5. Vierge (Honda HRC)

Top 3 championship:

  1. Bautista 134
  2. Rea 107
  3. Razgatlioglu 84

 

 

 

Round 2 WorldSBK Assen, Netherlands, Race 2

The Superpole race saw Rea (Kawasaki KRT) claim his 2nd win of the weekend, followed by Bautista (aruba.it Ducati)* (who would go on to be penalised a position due to exceeding the track limits), and Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) who crossed in 3rd. The final position saw Toprak moved up into 2nd, with Bautista in 3rd.

Race 2 saw conditions match those of yesterday. Would Rea be able to claim a clean sweep of wins this weekend?

WSBK Assen 23.04.2022 Razgatlioglu and Locatelli Picture courtesy of Pata Yamaha

Lights out and it was Razgatlioglu with the hole shot, followed closely by his team mate Locatelli, who in turn had Bautista, Lecuona (Honda HRC) and Rea in close pursuit. A bad day for GRT Yamaha who lose both of their riders. First Nozane continued his poor form by crashing into turn 1, and then Gerloff ran into the back of Rea. Rea managed to keep the bike upright, but Gerloff’s race was over.

Next lap and it was the turn of Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) to go down, this time in turn 8. Meanwhile Rea not letting the earlier incident upset his rhythm, moved past Lecuona into 4th. It was Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) in 8th who set the fastest lap of 1:34.093 however, and was looking quick.

With 18 laps to go, Rea continued to gain positions, this time moving past Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) into 3rd, and then past Bautista into 2nd. Toprak was still out in the lead, and it looked like it would be a repeat of race 1, with this trio clearing off into the distance.

WSBK Assen 23.04.2022 Lowes Picture courtesy of KRT Kawasaki

With 16 laps remaining huge drama unfolded, as Toprak and Rea collided into turn 2, with both of them hitting the deck, putting an end to their race. Bautista narrowly avoided getting caught up in the crash, and now found himself the new race leader. Positions were now as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Lecuona (Honda HRC) 3. Bassani 4. Locatelli 5. Rinaldi (aruba.it Ducati) 6. Lowes (Kawasaki KRT) 7. Redding (BMW Motorrad) and 8. Vierge (Honda HRC).

The two former MotoGP riders, Bautista and Lecuona, were now battling each other out for the race win. Could Lecuona claim his first WorldSBK podium?

With 13 laps to go, Bassani continued to show impressive pace, and had now moved up to 4th, with Lowes behind in 5th. Redding too was having a better race, and was now up to 6th. Rinaldi lost places, and was now in 7th.

With 11 laps remaining, Bautista had pulled the trigger, and had extended his gap over Lecuona to 2.8s. Meanwhile behind, Redding was looking to make a move on Lowes for 5th. Vd Mark, the local Dutch rider, was having a decent race moving up to 8th, whilst still recovering from an injury to his ankle.

With 9 laps to go, Bautista was showing no signs of weakness, and had increased the gap to 4.4s over Lecuona. The Honda rider himself held a gap of 0.4 to Locatelli behind in 3rd. Positions were as follows; 1. Bautista 2. Lecuona 3. Locatelli 4. Bassani 5. Lowes and 6. Redding.

WSBK Assen 23.04.2022 Podium Bautista, Lecuona and Locatelli Picture courtesy of Honda HRC

On lap 14 of 21, Redding made his move on both Bassani and Lowes, moving up into 4th. The BMW was certainly working much better for Redding this weekend, and he was showing his raw pace of last season. Meanwhile further back a 3 way battle had now developed between Vd Mark, Vierge (Honda HRC) and Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).

With 5 laps to go, Lecuona was holding firm in 2nd, and still held a gap of 0.2s to Locatelli who looked like he had extra grip, and was lining up a pass on the Spaniard.

Next lap and Locatelli makes the move on Lecuona going into 2nd. Meanwhile, Bautista was away and no doubt had the win in the bag, with a gap of nearly 10s. Further back, both Lowes and Bassani had fought their way back to Redding, and there was now a 3 way fight for 4th.

WSBK Assen 23.04.2022 Locatelli Picture courtesy of Pata Yamaha

Last lap and Bautista crosses the line to claim the win, followed by Locatelli and Lecuona. Lowes and Bassani both got past Redding, followed by Rinaldi in 7th, Vd Mark in 8th, Vierge 9th and Mahias rounding out the top 10. *Bassani would go on to be penalised for exceeding track limits, and conceded his position to Redding who claims 5th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (aruba.it Ducati)
  2. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha)
  3. Lecuona (Honda HRC)
  4. Lowes (Kawasaki KRT)
  5. Redding (BMW Motorrad)

Out: Rea (Kawasaki KRT), Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha), Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), Baz (Bonovo Action BMW), Oetll (GoEleven Ducati).

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista 109 pts
  2. Rea 91
  3. Razgatlioglu 64

 

IMPORTANT PORTIMAO TEST NEXT UP FOR KRT’s WorldSBK TEAM

KRT’s WorldSBK pairing of Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes are eager to get back into testing action at the undulating Autódromo Internacional do Algarve for a two-day track session on 8 and 9 February.  Here’s what KRT have to say:

Alex Lowes Picture courtesy of KRT Provec Racing

After two winter tests at the Spanish circuit of Jerez, utilising new parts and settings for the 2022 Ninja ZX-10RR, the forthcoming on-track action in Portugal will be useful to make comparisons with all the data gathered so far at a very different circuit design.

After posting some astounding lap times, despite only riding for half a day in the previous Jerez test in January, six times world champion Rea has already demonstrated his sheer pace on the 2022 Ninja ZX-10RR. He also had the opportunity to complete a long run on which delivered pleasing results and valuable information to his team; information which has already been fed back to the KMC engineers in Japan.

Lowes has been working hard on his physical conditioning after a 2021 season affected by injury throughout. Like Rea, he has also found the two post-2021 season winter tests held so far confidence-building and useful in terms of settling on a final direction for race set-up in 2022.

The 4.592km long Algarve circuit – commonly know as Portimao – is a very popular testing and racing venue and features some of the most dramatic changes of incline and highest numbers of blind corner entries of any circuit on the WorldSBK calendar. It is scheduled as the ninth round of the forthcoming season, between 7-9 October.

After this Portimao test the team should have all the data in requires to make any adjustments and improvements before the next KRT test at Montmelo in Catalunya on March 25 and 26.

Jonathan Rea Picture courtesy of KRT Provec Racing

STATEMENTS:

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “It is nice to get back on the bike, especially at Portimao, which a track I enjoy. After our shakedown test recently in Jerez our biggest target is to reconfirm the positive items we have tested during December and January. That will give us good info, because if we can confirm these items at a couple of circuits, it means we are on the right way. The idea is just to keep building the package. I feel we have definitely improved the bike since last year. I was able to make a long run in Jerez and we found some positives with the bike and my riding style, so it is important to try and maybe focus on getting some information on how the tyres behave and the new items after many laps. Hopefully the weather is consistent and we can continue to build the package to start the season. There will also be more bikes on track at Portimao and a lot of the key manufacturers will be there testing. This is the first real test where everyone is together – which is always nice to draw some comparisons.”

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “The recent Jerez test for me was very much a technical test, ticking off new parts. My crew chief Marcel is very technical so I had new stuff to try – just trying to analyse what is definitely better. Portimao is a track that I have always had a good feeling with on the Kawasaki and we have a good base set-up with our 2021 bike. So, to compare new parts will be quite good, because we already have a good feeling. If we can improve that with the new stuff then it should set us up well for the year. Trying stuff at two different tracks means that if it is positive at both tracks then you are a lot more confident committing to that base set-up going into a new season. It is going to be a busy test! I would like to ride as much as possible just to get back into it. I have been working really hard on my physical condition since the end of the season. That has been the biggest focus of mine because I know if I am going to be healthy it is going to make the biggest difference, no matter what changes we make on the bike. We will make a plan with Marcel in terms of how many days we are going to ride. After this test we have a big break so we are really going to have to be clear with the feedback to all the guys in Japan, and to all the engineers within the teams, so we can work hard in the break before the Montmelo test at the end of March. Portimao will be an important test and I am looking forward to getting out and seeing where we are compared to a few of our rivals.”

Guim Roda (KRT Team Manager): “Initially we didn’t have a plan to test in Portimao, because we were considering to make a test in the middle of the year. But, because we had a few points to check on the bike, we would like to compare them on different tracks. Portimao and Jerez are quite different. Also, we have a gap of one month to keep working before the next Montmelo test, ten days before the first race of the year. So, we considered this opportunity at Portimao was a good point to test again. So we joined with Ducati, who had rented the track, to make this test. For us, this is a kind of continuation of the items we tested at Jerez, to double check and confirm the direction of the bike set-up and the performance of the items we have received so far. We will do this so that we can have the best possible bike set-up, in combination with the riders.”

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

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