Giving Ducati a first pole at Misano since 2009, an absolute classic awaits in WorldSBK, whilst the home-heroes will charge from the second row
The temperatures were high and the times were tumbling in a frantic Tissot Superpole session at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” in Italy. The Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round of the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is shaping up to host classic races, and after Superpole, it will be Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who heads the field from the front of the grid with a sublime pole position.
GREEN FLAG: the first times come in
As the green flag waved, a frenetic 15 minutes of Superpole action got underway in front of a passionate crowd in baking heat. The first times came in and immediately, the pace was hot as Alvaro Bautista instantly got into the 1’33s, only to be beaten by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), whilst Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) beat the pair of them, with the SCX tyre being used at the end of his first run. The titanic trio were marginally ahead of Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who completed the top five. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) was seventh originally, despite a small crash at Turn 4.
With five minutes on the clock, the riders were back out for their flying lap with the SCQ tyre fitted. Alvaro Bautista was the first on track, whilst Scott Redding was following the rider who replaced him at the factory Ducati team for 2022. Bautista set a 1’33.328 to set a new lap record, getting the Ducatisti on their feet but there was still two minutes to go. Razgatlioglu’s lap put him provisionally second ahead of Rea, whilst Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) and teammate Lecuona made it two Hondas inside the top five. Meanwhile, further back, Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) had crashed at Turn 4.
FRONT ROW: a classic on the horizon
The closing stages were critical but, in the end, it was Bautista who clinched the first pole for Ducati at Misano since 2009, when it was Jakub Smrz. For Bautista, it’s a first pole of the season and a first since San Juan in 2019, his fifth of his career, whilst for Ducati, it was a 34th pole on Italian soil. It was also Ducati’s 360th representation on a front row, 139 ahead of Kawasaki. Second on the grid is reigning World Champion Razgatlioglu, with the Turk matching his efforts from 2021 and making it ten consecutive front row starts for Yamaha, whilst Jonathan Rea completes the front row at the circuit of which he’s won at eight times, taking up his 100th front row.
SECOND ROW: the home charge is strong
Row two is headed up by Rea’s teammate Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), with the British rider putting in a stellar lap time following Rea in the closing stages. Michael Ruben Rinaldi clinched fifth, as he puts himself in contention for victory from the second row, albeit a place lower than last year. Rounding out the second row is the Yamaha support, with Italian star Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) securing sixth, just over six tenths adrift of Bautista at the front.
COMPLETING THE TOP 10: can Honda, BMW and Bassani come through?
After a late shuffle, the Hondas will go from the third row but are in the battle for the top five. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) got the better of his teammate for the first time this season as he clinched seventh, whilst Lecuona’s time of 1’33.999 put him just 0.040s behind his fellow countryman. After a promising start to the session, Scott Redding couldn’t replicate his Estoril efforts and had to settle for ninth, one place ahead of charging Italian Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) who was top Independent. Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) couldn’t convert his pace from Free Practice and starts 11th, one place ahead of Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW).
ROUNDING OUT THE ORDER: who hopes for the top ten?
After showing a strong potential in Free Practice, Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) dropped to 13th, one place ahead of fellow returnee Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team), who aims for a good result in front of his home crowd, going from his career-best Superpole grid slot in WorldSBK. Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was 15th ahead of Christophe Ponsson, who up until his crash has been having a strong weekend. Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) had a time deleted and starts 17th, ahead of Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) in 18th, with the Malaysian starting from a career-best grid position. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) took 19th on his return whilst wildcard Gabriele Ruiu (Bmax Racing) completed the top 20.
San Marino’s Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) could only manage 21st, one place ahead of Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team). BMW replacement rider Illia Mykhalchyk (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was 23rd, ahead of rookie Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) and returning Alessandro Delbianco (TPR Team Pedercini Racing).
Top six after WorldSBK Superpole, full results here:
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’33.328s
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.137s
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.190s
4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.341s
5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.346s
6. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.621s
Watch the thrilling season unfold as another classic awaits with the WorldSBK VideoPass!