Four Ducatis in the top nine and the Championship leader on top, could Mandalika be painted red?
The first day of action at the Pirelli Indonesian Round is done and dusted at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit for the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. After tricky track conditions in the morning, things were much better in the afternoon, although two red flags were shown for separate crashes. At the end of the first day, it was Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who stormed to the top, the only rider able to get into the 1’33s on day one of action.
A LATE CHARGE: Bautista to P1, Razgatlioglu in contention
A late charge up the order at the end of FP2 saw Alvaro Bautista take top spot after day one at Mandalika. The Championship leader, who can clinch the title in Race 1, bolted in a 1’33.626 on his penultimate flying lap and sported a 0.462s advantage over the next rider. Bautista was the first of four Ducati riders inside the top nine places, making it a strong day for the Italian manufacturer. Teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was third and enjoyed a positive first day of action in Indonesia. Ducati can likewise clinch the manufacturers’ Championship this weekend and with strong race pace and one-lap pace, with them featuring at least once in the top three of all the sectors, it could be a strong weekend for the Italian manufacturer.
Like in FP1, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) was in fine form in FP2 in the afternoon as he laid down the gauntlet and took nearly three seconds off of his time from the morning. With track conditions improving drastically from FP1, times tumbled right the way through the order and had a comfortable three tenths of a second advantage over his rivals for much of the afternoon running before finishing second. Alongside him at factory Yamaha, Andrea Locatelli didn’t feature inside the top ten for most of the session but went as high as seventh with less than 90 seconds to go.
KAWASAKI’S DAY 1: are they in trouble with the heat?
Fourth place in the running was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who returned to Mandalika after his mighty double in 2021. Aiming to end his win drought that goes back to Estoril, Rea had a moment early in the session at Turn 3 but managed to save it and set a time good enough for fourth and top Kawasaki honours. It was a slightly more difficult for teammate Alex Lowes, who could only manage 11th. At times throughout 2022, Kawasaki have struggled to be at their best when the heat is up and with track temperatures into the 60 degrees Celsius, it could be a factor. Throughout the sector times, no Kawasaki featured inside the top three.
FURTHER BACK: Lecuona suffers mighty crash, three Independents in the top nine
It was a mixed day for the factory Honda outfit in Indonesia; a second red-flag came out after a huge highside for Iker Lecuona (Team HRC). The Spaniard lost the rear as he made the direction change from right to left at Turn 3, flinging him into the air and him landing heavily on his right leg. After being down for some time, the Valencian rookie – who is at Mandalika for the first time in his career – was able to walk away, albeit aided by trackside marshals; he was taken to the Medical Centre for a check-up and finished the day in P14. Teammate Xavi Vierge had a far better afternoon and made bigger gains throughout the session, placing in P8 at the end.
There were three Independent riders inside the top ten, the first of which was American rider Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team). The Texan achieved a top six finish in 2021 at the circuit as well as a second row starting slot and hopes to achieve at the least the same this year. 1.2s behind Bautista, he was just 0.028s ahead of sixth-placed Xavi Fores (BARNI Spark Racing Team), with the Spanish rider showing what he’s capable of as he is back in action for his second round aboard Marco Barnabo’s Ducati. In ninth and the fourth of the Ducatis in the top nine, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) was just over 1.5s off Bautista, although he has the chance to seal the Best Independent Rider award for 2022 in Race 1. The only Ducati outside the top ten was Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) in P13.
BMW HEAD THE REST: Redding best of the rest in P10
Five manufacturers were in the top ten and it was Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) who took BMW inside the top ten; the British rider was just under 1.6s away from Bautista and couldn’t get into the 1’34s. His teammate Michael van der Mark finished the day in 14th position, although the Dutchman was high in fourth following a jumbled up FP1. Both will look to make gains throughout the rest of the weekend.
As for the rest of the field, Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was in 12th on his Mandalika debut, as he puts himself in the shop window for a ride in 2023 following the confirmation that 2013 Champion Tom Sykes will replace him at Puccetti Kawasaki next year. Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) took 16th but suffered a highside at Turn 2, although he was OK and up on his feet. Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was 17th ahead of Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW), who endured one of his hardest days of 2022 as he was only 17th in FP1 too. Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) took 19th, ahead of an impressive debut for Kyle Smith (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) in 20th. Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) was 21st after suffering a highside at Turn 7 which brought out the first red flag of the session and was taken to the Medical Centre. Completing the order, Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in 22nd.
Top six after day one of WorldSBK action at Mandalika, full results here:
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’33.626s
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.462s
3. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.964s
4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.969s
5. Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +1.217s
6. Xavi Fores (BARNI Spark Racing Team) +1.245s
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