2022 Champion Alvaro Bautista took his 16th win of the season in a shortened race that ended the season after a thrilling encounter
The final race of the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship race was ended early following a red flag at the end of Lap 18 with Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) taking a hard-fought Race 2 victory at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round. He fended off Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) throughout the full race as he secured his 16th win of the season.
BAUTISTA VS REA: ending the season with a hard battle
Bautista started from pole position following his Tissot Superpole Race victory earlier on Sunday and he finished there at the end of the race, but it was far from straight forward for the Spanish rider. Bautista did lose ground at the start but worked his way past Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), who fought his way into second place in the early laps, with Bautista passing him at Turn 2 for third place before he overtook Rea at Turn 1 on Lap 7.
Rea did not let Bautista pull away from him though and always stayed within one second of Bautista, but he was unable to overtake the 2022 Champion, with Bautista holding on by 0.357s when the results were taken from. The race was red flagged after a collision involving Xavi Fores (BARNI Spark Racing Team) and Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) at Turn 1, with Laverty taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash but he was conscious. Laverty was diagnosed with a pelvic injury and taken to Alfred Hospital in Melbourne by helicopter for further assessments.
Behind the duo, there was a battle brewing for third place between Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) with Lowes coming out on top, after he made the move at Turn 1 at the start of Lap 15. It meant Bautista took his 16th win of the year, matching his total from 2019, while he now has 32 career wins; putting him level with Chaz Davies and Razgatlioglu. Rea moves on to 245 career podiums with second place while Lowes now has 33 rostrum visits to his name.
FIERCE FIGHTS: the battle to end on a high
Despite being in the lead group, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) took fourth place after he passed by, with Lowes moving into the podium position and demoting the 2021 Champion, his last race with the #1 plate, until fourth place. Two Pata Yamaha riders finished in the top five with Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) taking fifth place to end his season in the top five. Redding had been in the podium places in the opening laps of the 18-lap encounter, but he dropped back as the race progressed to sixth place.
ROUNDING OUT THE TOP TEN: strong results to round out 2022
Seventh place went to Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) as the second-best Ducati in Race 2, ahead of Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) who finished as the top Independent rider in the final race of the year. Tetsuta Nagashima (Team HRC) rounded out a strong debut weekend as he stood in for Iker Lecuona with ninth place, while Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) took tenth place as prepares for a second season with the independent BMW outfit.
POINTS IN RACE 2: inside the top 15
Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) had been running inside the top ten during the early stages of the race but dropped down to 11th place, just ahead of Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in 12th place. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) rounded out his Kawasaki Puccetti career with 13th place, while Czech rookie Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) backed up his point from Indonesia with 14th place and two more points in Race 2 in Australia. Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda) took home the final point of 2022 as he finished in 15th place.
Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) ended his WorldSBK career with 17th place, finishing ahead of Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) and Kyle Smith (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) in 18th; the last classified rider in Race 2.
HOUSEKEEPING: to note from Race 2
Garrett Gerloff’s (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) Yamaha career ended when he crashed at Turn 2 on the opening lap, after an incident with Xavi Vierge (Team HRC), with the Spanish rider able to re-join the but he brought his bike into the pits and re-joined the race two laps down in 21st place; he was classified as retired after completing 13 laps.
The top six from WorldSBK Race 2, full results here:
1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.357s
3. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
4. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
6. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
Fastest lap: Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) – 1’30.879s
1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 601 points
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 529
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 502
4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 293
5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 274
6. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 272
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