More, from a press release issued by Dorna WorldSBK Press Office:
Rea remains on top overall with Bautista fastest in FP2, Razgatlioglu third
2022 is well-and-truly off and running, with a titanic trio at the front and a close challenge behind
The opening day of action from the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has come to a close as Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) topped day one. The six-time World Champion’s aim to reclaim the title started well, as he fended off a late challenge from Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), who topped FP2 but was second overall, whilst reigning World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) took third, making it three manufacturers inside the top three.
KAWASAKI VS DUCATI VS YAMAHA: a titanic battle awaits the titanic trio
Jonathan Rea was in magnificent form at MotorLand Aragon, the circuit at which he took a 100th victory of his career at in 2021. Topping FP1 and doing so once again in FP2, Rea is certainly the rider to beat. Decent runs and improving incrementally throughout the morning, Rea was also top for the majority of the session in the afternoon, albeit not quicker until later on, ultimately finishing second in the session but in-turn setting a long second run. Rea still led the way on the combined times whilst teammate Alex Lowes (had a more than solid day at the office, with fourth in the morning and was in the top five throughout the second session. He was sixth at the end of the day.
Alvaro Bautista (was one of the early improvers in FP2, going two tenths of a second quicker in the afternoon. The Spaniard, who is returning to Ducati for 2022, set 18 laps in the morning session but put in a good race simulation in FP2, using the SCX tyre to assess the tyres performance. Bautista, who was using the swingarm he had tried throughout testing, improved his time at the end with SCQ tyre, topping the session and finishing second overall. On the other side of the garage, Michael Ruben Rinaldi was also strong and inside the top five in the afternoon, finishing fifth on the combined times.
Second in the morning session and inside the top three for the majority of the afternoon, reigning World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu was looking good after day one at MotorLand Aragon. The Turkish rider was fractionally slower in the afternoon, but nonetheless, finished the session in third overall and got a long run in too. Teammate Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) had a rather unassuming session, finishing eighth overall after being eighth in FP1, it was a consistent start for 2021’s best rookie.
INDEPENDENT SENSATIONS: a familiar face and a huge surprise
Three Independent riders inside the top nine was one of the claims of the day as Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) finished fourth overall as he goes in search of a solid start to his campaign. The next Independent and top BMW on combined times, Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) was just over a second off Rea’s top time but over three tenths quicker than the next BMW. Ninth place went to one of day one’s revelations; eleventh-hour replacement at the Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team, Roberto Tamburini was a star on Friday, finishing FP2 in seventh after lapping with Jonathan Rea at the end, putting him a surprise ninth on the combined times for Sandro Carusi’s team.
HONDA AND BMW: mixed opening day of 2022
As for Honda and Team HRC, it was tenth overall for rookie Iker Lecuona and 13th for Xavi Vierge, although Lecuona could only place in 17th at the end of FP2. Seven tenths slower in FP2 than FP1, Lecuona will hope that the cooler temperatures in FP3 and Tissot Superpole allow him to improve once more. As for Vierge, he did improve his time in the afternoon session, putting him 11th in the session. Working away well, Team HRC will hope to put in a strong Saturday and Sunday.
For the factory BMW, it was a mixed day; Ukraine’s Illia Mykhalchyk (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was in fine form on his WorldSBK debut and finished 11th in FP1, whilst finishing FP2 in ninth place and top BMW, leaving him 12th overall. On the other side of the garage, one of 2022’s headline switches was not having the best day. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was only 16th in FP1, 14th in FP2 and finished in 16th at the end of the day. Adapting from a V4 to an inline four engine configuration, Redding’s adaptation is in process.
COMPLETING THE ORDER: Independent riders and a rookie round-up
For the other Independent riders, Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) was a tenth away from the top ten as his first day of competitive action concluded in WorldSBK. Fellow Independent Ducati rider Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) had a quiet day and finished 14th overall, one place ahead of Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW).
After a fast crash in FP1, Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) got back out on track halfway through FP2, finishing 17th on the combined times, ahead of Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), rookie Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) and wildcard Gabriele Ruiu (Bmax Racing). Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) was 21st ahead of Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura), Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team), his rookie teammate Hafizh Syahrin and Belgium’s Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing), who suffered a broken chain in FP1.
More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:
Rea Fastest As New Season Begins
Official KRT WorldSBK riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes finished the first day of 2022 FIM Superbike World Championship track action in first and sixth places on the combined timesheets at Motorland Aragon.
Both Ninja ZX-10RR riders were fast in the morning session, with Rea relying on his FP1 time to set his class-leading overnight pace. Lowes went marginally faster than his early pace in the afternoon FP2 session.
Two days of final pre-season testing earlier this week preceded the first day of practice at Motorland, which allowed both riders the opportunity to concentrate on their final race set-ups. Rea’s best Friday lap was set very early in the opening session, as he had arrived at the track full of confidence. His best of 1’49.301 was 0.305 seconds faster than the rider in second place.
The track and ambient temperatures were higher today than those experienced during the recent tests, which introduced the element of evaluating tyre choices in readiness to face whatever weather conditions are experienced in the 18-lap Race One on Saturday afternoon. Each rider has a clear idea of which tyre options to use, dependent on what the final track temperature will be.
Race One will take place at 14.00 local time on Saturday 9 April, after the final FP3 session and Superpole qualifying have been completed. An all new qualifying rear tyre has been brought into use by Pirelli for the 2022 season, which will make Superpole a particularly interesting session before the riders fight it out for the first championship points of the new season.
Sunday 10 April will feature the ten lap Superpole Race at 11.00 local time, and the final 18-lap Race Two will take place at 14.00.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am satisfied with today. We just kept working in the same way as we did at the tests, polishing some items. I think the test was the hardest work as we defined the package that we will race with this weekend. I worked on a longer run today, in the afternoon, on one option of tyre, just to have the information about it. On the front we also tried an option during our long run. Now I think we are quite equipped to know what to do tomorrow. It will all depend on the track temperature. My rhythm here is quite OK and if I need to push for a lap time I know I can be fast over one lap as well. So, it is just understanding what temperature we will have tomorrow and trying to make a good start. It’s the first race of the year and I am super-excited about it. I never had that feeling until today. It always felt a bit more exciting at Phillip Island going there to start the season, because it had a different ambience. But now I am pretty excited to race!”
Alex Lowes, stated: “In the recent tests I was doing a lot more work on used tyres compared to the others. In the tests we did not have very much track time. I have got a lot of experience now so I know that tomorrow, in the race, between lap nine and eighteen sometimes the difference in lap time can be massive – because the track is so long here. It is so important to have a bike set-up that you can manage in this part of the race, so maybe I was working more on this. Now my body is good, I feel good and I can ride properly. I need to find a bit more feeling in the front end as some other riders are a little bit ahead. But if I can have a good qualifying, and stay there with them, I think in the second part of the race I can be quite strong. That is how I have tried to plan the week. I am ready to race tomorrow.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) ended his first day in 17th position despite suffering a heavy crash in FP1. Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was 22nd fastest today and Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) 25th.
More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:
Podium Pace in Tricky Conditions for Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK in Aragon
Defending FIM Superbike World Champion Toprak Razgatlıoğlu finished Friday’s sessions at MotorLand Aragon third quickest, as competition looks fierce for the first race weekend of the 2022 season.
Both Razgatlıoğlu and teammate Andrea Locatelli found track conditions tricky compared to the WorldSBK Supported Test at the same venue earlier this week, as the difference in ambient temperatures and stronger winds contributed to a lack of available grip on track for many of the premier class field.
All eyes were focused on last year’s championship winner as well as Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK’s nearest rivals, as the team worked on a combination of race simulations and further data collection including Pirelli’s new tyre option for 2022 – the SCQ qualifying tyre – that can also be utilised during the 10-lap Superpole Race on Sunday morning.
For Razgatlıoğlu, his crew will work to improve front grip on his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK to allow the Turkish ace to deploy his signature hard-braking style, while Locatelli’s side of the pit box aim to help the Italian rider find an improvement in the rear tyre performance.
Tomorrow, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK will line up for the first race of the year at 14:00 local time (UTC+2) but not before one final Free Practice 3 session at 09:00 of 30 minutes to finalise set-ups, and the all-important Superpole qualifying to determine start positions at 11:10.
Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK
Position: 3rd Time: 1’49.665
“Compared to testing, there was not good grip here in the first Free Practice session and in the afternoon we worked for the race bike and try a race simulation – but after nine or ten laps I feel the front tyre drop and after I come back to the box. Tomorrow we will improve this problem because in the race I need the front tyre to be strong, I like it for hard braking! I am very happy with the rear tyre and after ten laps I feel very good grip. My dream is always to be fighting for the win, it is not easy for us, I think everyone is very strong this year. From 2020 to 2022 at this track, we improve a lot and we will improve race-by-race, so we will see.”
Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK
Position: 8th Time: 1’50.442
“I’m a bit frustrated because the feeling with the bike in the second session was not bad, but the feeling with the rear grip is strange – I want to be able to push more and use the throttle, so this is our main problem now and we need to work on this part. If I can work a little bit more here, maybe we can improve a lot, start more in front and maybe we can have a good race. The feeling in the front and on the bike as a whole is good, but in the rear I don’t have grip so tonight we will try to find more. In the end, not an easy day for me but we will continue to work and see what is possible tomorrow.”
Team Principal – Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK
“It’s great to start the WorldSBK race season at last, even if it was a challenging day here at Aragon with track conditions very different to those experienced at the test earlier this week. We got through a lot of work and the team, as always, were very focused. Neither rider is completely happy with the package in these conditions, but with both of them having done long runs this afternoon, the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK team has all the information it needs to make a step forward for tomorrow.”
More, from a press release issued by GYTR GRT Yamaha
GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team Fourth on Opening Day in Aragón
The FIM Superbike World Championship has kicked off with the first free practice sessions of the year at MotorLand Aragón. The GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team returned to action with Garrett Gerloff and Kohta Nozane, making progress throughout the day, finishing fourth and 18th respectively on combined times.
In Free Practice 1, Gerloff ended the session sixth fastest on a 1’50.269, while Nozane managed 17th with a 1’51.622. Both worked on race pace, completing longer runs, as they also found a solid base set-up heading into the rest of the weekend.
The riders both improved their times in the afternoon free practice session, taking good steps forward with the Yamaha R1 WorldSBK. The Japanese rider’s best lap, a 1’51.118, saw him end FP2 in 15th position, while his American teammate ran an impressive 1’49.900 to go fourth fastest overall.
The GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team will be back on track tomorrow, with the first race of the 2022 season set for 14:00 (CET). Before that will come the Superpole qualifying session at 11:00, after FP3 at 09:00.
GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK
Team Position: 4th Time: 1’49.900
“I’m feeling confident, even though some of the guys look to have really strong race pace. Anyway, we did a good job, and in the morning I went out with just one set of tyres to do a long run, as we needed to see the performance. In FP2, I got a feel of the track in hotter conditions for the first time properly this year. I feel Yamaha has done a really good job and we have a great package overall. I just want to have a good qualifying and to keep building from there.”
GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team
Position: 18th Time: 1’51.118
“Today was not an easy one. Conditions were different and it was a bit tough for me to get a good feeling with the track. We need to check what happened, but we’ll push hard to overcome the problems. Anyway, we made some improvements from morning to afternoon, so I’m confident we can make another step forward tomorrow. Let’s see what happens and I’ll do my best in the qualifying session and Race 1 to get a good result.”
More, from a press release issued by Aruba.it Racing Ducati:
Solid Friday for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team at Aragon: Bautista ends up second, Rinaldi fifth. P2 also for Bulega in WorldSSP
The Motorland circuit of Aragon (Spain) held today the free practices for the Pirelli Aragon Round, the first race weekend of the 2022 WorldSBK season.
Alvaro Bautista and Michael Rinaldi – with the Ducati Panigale V4 R of the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team – finished the first day in second and fifth position respectively.
Following an intense work on setup and tyres, Bautista was able to pick up the pace in the afternoon FP2, running a sort of race simulation session. In the final time attack with the SCQ tyre, the spaniard set the fastest time of 1’49.606, (second quickest of the day).
From the very first laps of the morning, Rinaldi put behind him the difficulties encountered during testing earlier in the week. After recording a time of 1’50.000 in FP1 (which allowed him to close FP1 in third position and in fifth in the final combined standings), in FP2 the Italian rider worked well on his race pace but was unable to make the most of the SCQ tyre in the final time attack.
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #19)
“It was a very positive Friday, especially after a difficult FP1. We tried a different setup to the one we had in testing but the feeling was not right. In the afternoon things went very well. We did a lot of intense work with the tyres to get more data and try to make the best choice for the Superpole and the races”.
Michael Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #21)
“I am satisfied with what we did today. The bike’s set-up has improved a lot compared to the tests at the beginning of the week and that has given me a very positive feeling. I think the race pace is strong, in line with the front guys. Certainly, however, we need to do something more with the qualifying tyre, which up until now I have not been able to exploit to the full”.
After a lackluster FP1 (12th place overall) Nicolò Bulega and the Aruba.it Racing WSSP team worked hard on the Ducati Panigale V2 and in the afternoon found the ideal feeling for a solid session. Bulega ended the first day of free practice for the Pirelli Aragon Round in second place with a time of 1’53.986.
Nicolò Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WSSP Team #11)
“I am quite happy with this first day of free practice. Especially in the afternoon, we found again the good sensations of the test. We didn’t do too badly even though, obviously, there is room for improvement. We are all close to each other except for Aegerter who made a bit of a difference today. But if we can fix some details we can definitely do well”.