Rea ends win drought with Race 1 victory in wet-to-dry battle
Drying conditions prompted pit stops up and down the grid
Race 1 Highlights – WorldSBK
P1 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
Rea took his first race win since Estoril in May, ending his 24-race win drought.
He is the first rider with a winning career spanning more than 13 years. His first win was in Misano 2009.
He was one of the first lead riders to change from wet tyres to slicks on Lap 10 to win with a 6.247s ahead of Razgatlioglu.
“There were a lot of things going on in that race and that’s what makes the victory a little bit more special because my team were involved in the pit stop. We could be strong in the wet conditions and also the dry, and I made that perfection decision to come in. it was even potentially a lap too late. I was thinking about coming in one lap earlier, but we made a deal with my team that I had to give them a signal on the pit straight. I thought I hadn’t given them the signal yet so came past so gave it one more lap and it was time. I quickly checked to see who was coming. I knew it was the perfect time. I saw Toprak was there so I thought the last ten laps would be with him. I exited the pit box and had a much better stop than Toprak and I could ride to my pit board.
“It’s nice, it’s really nice more than anything to win. It’s not something I’ve really been dwelling on since the beginning of the season because the season’s been so challenging. Alvaro and Toprak have been so good so there’s no point in me getting disappointed or feeling sorry for myself. We’re getting beaten now by guys who are riding very well and manufacturers that are pushing really hard. It’s motivating to keep working, to keep following them and keep challenging myself and my team. I think we’re doing a really good job. Hopefully we can roll this momentum on to tomorrow and finish the season really strongly.”
P2 – Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
Razgatlioglu claimed second position in Race 1 to take his 81st podium.
He entered the pits to switch to slicks on Lap 10, as did Rea, but he wasn’t able to catch the race winner in the final part of the race.
“For me, this weekend didn’t have a good start but anyway my team was working to have a better bike. Now I’m happy. We finished the race on the podium. It was a strange race for me. It was my first race like this. I felt too much spinning on the rear and after I was not pushing on the tyre. I saw that Jonny was also not pushing. Then I saw he entered to the box and I followed him directly. My team made a small mistake during the pit stop, they struggled to put the front tyre so we lost almost five seconds. But anyway, this is racing, this is motorsport. We tried our best. We are here, in second place. Now I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
P3 – Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
Lowes completed the podium as he finished 15.435s behind race winner. He claimed his third podium of the season.
He was leading when the first riders started pitting but was the last from the leading group opting to pit-in as he switched tyres on Lap 12.
His podium finish means he is now only eight points behind Locatelli in fifth place in the Championship standings.
“I didn’t expect it to dry as fast as it did. The race at the start, when I went off the start, it was a lot drier. The warm up lap was a lot drier than when we went to the grid. I need to be careful so I was trying to be smooth on the wet tyres, then I realised there was a dry line appearing so I tried to use the wet tyre a lot because I knew, at some point, we had to make a pit stop. I probably pitted one or two laps too late but when I got out on the dry tyres, I felt good straight away. In general, I’m happy. I think I have a good chance tomorrow whatever the conditions are. Really happy for the team and Jonathan getting back on the top step of the podium, me back on the podium.”
P4 – Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
Locatelli finished in fourth place 2.907s behind Lowes and around a second ahead of Bautista as he passed him in the closing stages of the race.
He remains fifth in the Championship standings with 258 points.
“Today was a fun race for the fans and for us because to stop to have a flag-to-flag was interesting. In the end we got fourth position so I think we can be happy. It’s a good result. I was fighting with Alex until the end and maybe finish in third position. My team did a really good job for the flag-to-flag, so I want to thank them. I’m really happy about today and about this race. We’ll try again tomorrow, and we’ll try to improve to try to stay closer to the front because we want to try to get a podium. This is the target, but we will see tomorrow what we can do.”
P5 – Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
Bautista took fifth place as he crossed the finish line 19.369s behind Rea.
He decided to switch to slick tyres on Lap 11, one lap later than Rea and Razgatlioglu.
“It’s been a new experience for everybody, for me and also for the team, having a flag-to-flag race. In the beginning, it was strange in wet conditions because I had a worse feeling than this morning during the practice. I struggled a lot to have some temperature on the tyre and I was suffering a little bit even if I was in the front group. Then I saw that the track was drying step by step. But I wanted to be sure that we’ll have a clean line in the dry to make the switch. I switched the tyres. With the setup I had for the wet conditions, it wasn’t working so well for the dry tyres. I didn’t have too much confidence. On the front I couldn’t brake so hard because the bike started to move and jump a lot but also on with the rear tyre, it was like riding on ice. I needed five or six laps to start to feel some grip on the rear. I think this is a big disadvantage to be light because I cannot put weight on the lap in these kinds of conditions. We depend too much on the setup of the bike. If the setup is nice, I can push like I did in the Superpole where I did a really good lap time on the SC0 tyre. But when the race setting is not the right setting for me it’s difficult because the bike is more difficult to go into the corners and I cannot move myself to put some weight at the front or the rear. I am more limited than other riders. Anyway, I’m happy. It has been a new experience. We did a really challenging race. For sure we have some data for the future in case this happen again.”
P6 – Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
Gerloff was sixth around 36s behind the race winner. He pitted on the same lap as Bautista.
“Complicated is the right word to describe this race. It was raining really hard after the Superpole session. I honestly didn’t think that it was going to be a dry race at all. But then, we were sitting on the grid, the track was still soaking wet, but the sun came out and the wind was hard. The wind was up there pretty hard. And I was thinking ‘alright this is going to dry’ and it did pretty quickly. In the race, I made a decent start and it didn’t feel too bad in the rain but honestly, I didn’t feel too fantastic either and I lost some ground. But staying around sixth, seventh place and then when the track started to dry, I was feeling pretty good, expect that I wasn’t really sure about when I should come in, because there were still a couple of places on the track that were pretty wet. I probably waited a lap longer than I should have. I saw Locatelli in front of me, he was with Bautista maybe, I saw him going into the pit and I was thinking like ‘do I do it or not’ but on the grid, I told my guys that I was going give them a signal before I come in so, I never gave them the signal so I didn’t want to catch them out. Anyway, they would have been ready, but I decided to do one more lap, giving them the signal so they were properly ready and in the end it was good.”
WorldSBK action resumes on Sunday from 10:35 (Local Time) with the Warm-Up, followed by Tissot Superpole Race at 13:00 and Race 2 at 16:00.
WorldSBK Results Race 1
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +6.247s
3. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +15.435s
4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +19.369s
5. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +19.369s
6. Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +36.235s
Championship standings (after Race 1 – Round 12)
1. Alvaro Bautista (ESP) Ducati (564 points)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (TUR) Yamaha (507 points)
3. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki (475 points)
More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:
Rea Wins As Lowes Takes Another Podium
The opening race of the final 2022 FIM Superbike World Championship round was a double podium success for KRT. Jonathan Rea won after a very complicated 22 laps and a mid-race pit-stop, and Alex Lowes was a strong third.
After a dry opening day of practice on Friday rains appeared and disappeared through the opening raceday on 19 November.
After a thrilling Superpole qualifying session in which Rea finished second and Lowes third, both KRT riders launched off the front row, under what were fully wet track conditions. All WorldSBK riders except one opted for full rain tyre options but as the track dried out and sunshine finally appeared, one-by-one the competitors were forced to enter pitlane to fit slick tyres.
Jonathan benefitted most from his pitstop strategy as he ended a race with seven changes of lead as the rider out front and lapping at a fast pace when the track conditions had stabilised.
Having not won a race since May Rea took full advantage of his latest opportunity and after an early scare on a damp section of asphalt with fresh slick tyres, he rode with a cool head and a fast pace to take the chequered flag.
In second place Toprak Razgatliolgu was pushing Rea as hard as he could but Jonathan managed his race well, crossing the finish line with six seconds of advantage over his closest rival.
Fully in the leading mix when the track conditions were wet, Alex led for five laps and also demonstrated strong pace in the dry conditions at the end.
Lowes stayed out on rain tyres for longer than some other riders but his overall pace on both portions of the race, plus the work done in pit-lane by his technical staff, was more than enough to let Alex score his third podium of the season.
The Tissot-Superpole race, over ten laps, and a full distance Race Two will complete the hard-fought 2022 FIM Superbike World Championship season on Sunday 20 November.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “We knew to expect anything today so we had a plan to cover all bases, and then it was about me being calm on the bike and not making silly decisions. In the wet I didn’t feel like my normal self at the beginning. I was able to pass Toprak on the brakes into Turn One and I was just able to haul it up, but I ended up doing a bit of grass tracking. I managed to catch the leaders and then said to myself to ride slowly, as the track was going to dry out and I did not want to waste my tyres. Alex came through with a really good pace and at that point I said, ‘OK, roll the dice and let’s go to the pits.’ I didn’t think it was a risky move, but I probably could have gone in a lap earlier than I did. I gave a signal to my team going down the straight and then committed to come into pitlane. After we rejoined I was just riding to my pitboard. This was a real team win today. I think we completely nailed the pitstop and didn’t lose one second. Big kudos to the team because they did the work really smoothly and they are as much part of that win as me.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “A strange race but I felt I was one of the faster riders in the wet and the dry conditions. Maybe the wrong choice with the pitstop but I was fast in the wet, fast in the dry and always happy to pick up a podium. I just want to be battling at the front and showing my speed. I know I can be fast and I enjoyed the race. It is always a strange one when you have a pit-stop in the middle. Tomorrow it looks like the weather will probably be different again but I feel I can do a good job. I want to sleep well tonight and try to finish the year strongly tomorrow.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 14th in Race One and he scored two more championship points.
Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was eighth in the wet FP3 session, 22nd in Superpole and then a remarkable 12th in the first race. He even led it on lap 14 before Rea came past to take the race win. Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) placed 19th in the opening Phillip Island race.
More, from a press release issued by Pata Yamaha:
Razgatlıoğlu Chases Victory, Locatelli P4 in Spectacular Wet-to-Dry Race 1 at Phillip Island
Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK rider Toprak Razgatlıoğlu returned to the podium for the 29th time this season, finishing second in an enthralling wet-to-dry Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit classic, at the final round of the 2022 FIM Superbike World Championship in Australia today.
He was backed up by teammate Andrea Locatelli, who continued his fine run of form with another fourth place finish – less than three seconds from the podium. The Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK pairing started the day strongly during a fully-wet FP3 with Razgatlıoğlu second-fastest and “Loka” in fifth position, before Superpole saw them qualify P4 and P5 on the grid respectively for Race 1.
Conditions by late afternoon were mixed in the full meaning of the word, with rain, wind and sun battering down on the stunning 4.445km Australian venue. What started as a wet race quickly developed into a game of strategy, as Razgatlıoğlu went to the front of the pack and Locatelli also got an excellent start into fourth. Despite a drying track, the possible chance of more rain meant the top riders stayed out as long as possible on full wet tyres and waited for the right moment to pit.
After a series of race leader changes, Razgatlıoğlu followed Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea in for slicks at the end of Lap 10. When the “dust” of the pit stops had settled a few laps later, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK’s Turkish ace was around five seconds behind eventual race winner Rea – the two matching each other’s pace lap-for-lap throughout the final 12 circuit revolutions, with Razgatlioglu unable to bridge the gap.
Locatelli was himself embroiled in a battle with new WorldSBK Champion Bautista and the second Kawasaki machine of Alex Lowes. The young Italian held his own, and with superior pace to the Ducati in the final stages of the race, passed Bautista at the Miller Hairpin on Lap 18 to finish just behind podium-sitter Lowes.
With two races left in 2022, there are two trophies yet to be decided: the Pirelli Best Lap Award in which Razgatlıoğlu and Bautista are currently tied and the Tissot Superpole Award, where Razgatlioglu holds an 11 point lead over Rea with a maximum of 12 points available for the 10-lap Superpole Race tomorrow. Razgatlıoğlu and Bautista are also tied on the number of race wins achieved in 2022, with 14 each.
The final day of WorldSBK racing this season will start with a 15-minute Warm-Up at 10:30 (UTC+11), the 10-lap Superpole Race at 13:00 and close with Race 2 from 16:00.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – Race 1: P2
“For me this weekend was not a good start but my team are working every hour for the good bike and now I am happy. You know, we are finishing the race on the podium and also a strange race! For me, first time like this race with the pit stop. My team, small mistake, not possible to put the front tyre inside the bike and maybe we lose almost five seconds – but this is the race, this is motorsport, I try my best and the team tried their best so anyway, I am happy we are here! We are not alone, this is teamwork and we finish second position. Now I am looking to tomorrow because we have two more races to finish the season. In the wet part of the race, I waited until I was feeling too much spinning in the rear and after I am not pushing the tyre. I see the dry line but also possible starting again rain, so I tried to keep the tyre and watch Johnny also not pushing. After some laps, I see Johnny enter for the box and I follow him directly. Tomorrow will also not be easy with weather like today, I hope again we will see the sun but I will fight again for the podium and try my best.”
Andrea Locatelli – Race 1: P4
“It was a fun race today for the fans and I think also for us, to do the pit stop was interesting! In the end we got fourth position, so I think we should be happy because it’s a good result and I was fighting with Alex for third. I will try again for the podium tomorrow for sure! I want to say a lot of thanks to my team because they were really good in the pit stop – everyone did a really good job, we didn’t lose any time and no mistakes. I am really happy about today and I enjoyed the race, now we are looking forward to repeat again tomorrow. I hope we can take some more confidence, to learn on this track to start again strong in 2023! We are here, we are fast, and we have a good package with the R1 so we will fight in the Superpole Race and again for Race 2. I want to try for the podium and to enjoy the maximum result, we’re close to Lowes so we will try.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK:
“For Toprak, after a really difficult Friday here at Phillip Island, today was a very strong recovery – particularly in the wet FP3. It really seems like he’s improved this previous weak point of his riding and a good qualifying was followed up by a superb performance both in the wet first part of the race, and the subsequent dry laps to follow. Unfortunately, we had a problem in the pit stop with the front wheel and because Toprak was able to match the pace of Jonathan, without this it looks like he could have been in the fight to win which considering where we were at the end of FP2 is a great result for both team and rider. Loka took a big step forward in Indonesia and has repeated it again all weekend here at Phillip Island. Battling and beating the new WorldSBK Champion is no mean feat, and to finish just one place outside of the podium… A good Saturday overall and let’s see what we can do to improve and try to take another step forward tomorrow.”
More, from a press release issued by GYTR GRT Yamaha:
Gerloff Battles to Sixth in Challenging Race 1 Conditions at Phillip Island
GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s Garrett Gerloff enjoyed a strong flag-to-flag race, his first-ever since joining the FIM Superbike World Championship paddock, to take a sixth-place result and the Top Independent Rider spot.
The day started with a wet Free Practice 3 session, but once the Tissot Superpole got underway the track had dried, and Gerloff produced a strong flying lap to line-up sixth (1’30.727).
Afterwards, the rain returned ahead of Race 1 but just as they were getting ready to head out to the grid, the sun began to shine. With the track still wet, almost everyone opted for the full rain tyres, including GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s riders.
Gerloff enjoyed a decent start to retain his position, looking to find more pace on wet asphalt. However, with track conditions quickly changing, the American dived into the pits on lap 10, switching to slick tyres.
After rejoining in ninth, the 27-year-old was making quick progress, firstly pulling off a move on Honda’s Xavi Vierge for seventh, then bridging the nine-second gap to Motocorsa Ducati’s Axel Bassani. With three laps to go, the Texan got through for sixth, producing the second fastest time in the meantime.
On the other side of the box, Kohta Nozane was eager to show his skills in tricky conditions. The Japanese ace had qualified in 19th but was confident about making progress through the field. However, the #3 rider was unfortunately forced to DNF due to a technical problem.
Both riders will be back in action tomorrow for their final two races with the team, with the Superpole Race set to start at 13:00 (GMT+11) and Race 2 at 16:00.
Garrett Gerloff: P6
“It was definitely a fun race. The feeling in the wet wasn’t too great but it wasn’t that bad either, but once I came out on dry compounds the feeling was really good despite the fact that we were using wet settings. I didn’t expect it to be honest, and it’s probably helped us a lot for tomorrow. Let’s hope for no rain on Sunday!”
Kohta Nozane: DNF
“I feel disappointed with what happened, but that’s racing and we have to deal with it. Our qualifying wasn’t too bad and we kept improving, even though we knew we needed more. Right now, it’s all about Investigating what issue affected us and make everything work for tomorrow to have a proper finale.”