The reigning World Champion vs the Championship leader: Razgatlioglu leads the way into the weekend…
The first day of action at the Circuito Estoril has come to a close for the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. The Portuguese venue hosts the third round of the season and there promises to be a plenty more excitement to come. Coming out on top of the opening day Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) was a man on a mission and headed the field by just under two tenth of a second.
YAMAHA VS DUCATI: Razgatlioglu heads Bautista on Day 1
After his Assen DNF in Race 2, Toprak Razgatlioglu bounced back in style on Friday at Estoril. The reigning World Champion was pushing the limits as always and took top spot on the combined times after being second in the morning. A 1’36.290 meant that Toprak was uncatchable at the front as he came on strong later on in the session. With plenty of “new stuff” on Toprak’s bike, including some brake cooling ducts, the Turkish rider, who has never finished off the podium at Estoril, will be one of the favourites going into the first of two race days. Teammate Andrea Locatelli was inside the top six in FP2, with him fourth in FP1, leaving him sixth on the combined.
For Championship leader Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), consistency was the call of the day. Third in the morning session and then second in the afternoon, the Spaniard was on fine form as he took to Estoril with Ducati for the first time. Brake ducts seemed to be the call of the day, with various teams and riders using them, including Bautista. After a disappointing morning, teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi elevated himself from 14th in the standings to the top five in FP2; when combined at the end of the day, Bautista was second and Rinaldi was fifth.
INDEPENDENT SUCCESS: Gerloff back on form
In terms of the Independent riders, Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was right in the mix as he stormed to top spot in FP1 before finishing third in FP2, leaving him third on the combined. The American rider took two podiums at Estoril in 2020 and was in the podium fight last year too, whilst next Independent was Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) in eighth, the top BMW rider throughout the course of the day. The Frenchman was just over a second adrift of Razgatlioglu at the top, whilst completing the top ten and also an Independent riders, Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).
KAWASAKI’S DAY 1: do they need a step?
After struggling in the first session of the day, Kawasaki bounced back somewhat in the afternoon, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) leading for most of the session. Having been just fifth in the morning session, Rea threw down the gauntlet right from the off and held top spot for the majority of the session, with changes to the bike from FP1 to FP2 whilst also using the SC0 rear tyre for most of the session on his way to third in FP2. However, it wasn’t all positive for Kawasaki as Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) struggled in the afternoon session. Lowes was using brake ducts for the first time in 2022 and reverted back to the morning setting of the bike for the final 10 minutes. On the combined times, Rea was fourth and Lowes took 11th.
HONDA AND BMW: solid for Team HRC, disaster for van der Mark
It was a solid opening day of the weekend for Honda, as Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) was up in seventh in FP2, ahead of teammate Iker Lecuona, who was ninth in the same session. The results were mirrored on the combined times, with Vierge just under a tenth quicker than teammate Lecuona, who is making his debut at the Circuito Estoril. Whilst brake ducts were visible up and down the pitlane, Team HRC weren’t using them on Friday, although they had tested with them on day one of testing in Barcelona back in March. Brake ducts are used for cooling, with Turn 1 being particularly punishing on the brakes.
For BMW, the day got off to the worst possible start as Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) crashed on the exit of Turn 10 and suffered a fracture of the right femur neck, ruling him out for the remainder of the weekend in what has been an injury-hit season so far for the Dutchman. Flying the factory BMW flag, Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was just outside the top ten in 12th.
THE REST: big name Independents further down
After being fifth in FP1, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) had a tougher afternoon session as he was only able to manage 13th on the combined times, whilst he was ahead of Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW), who was seventh in the morning session too. Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) was 15th but suffered a big crash at the end of the session on the exit of Turn 13; he was taken to the medical centre for further checks, where he was later declared unfit with a right collarbone fracture. Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) bounced back from his FP1 crash to take 16th, ahead of Roberto Tamburini’s replacement Marvin Fritz (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team), Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) and Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) who completed the top 20. Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team), Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) rounded out the running, with Michael van der Mark rooted to the bottom after his injury.
Top six combined after day one in WorldSBK at Estoril, full results here:
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 1’36.290s
2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.173s
3. Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.791s
5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.899s
6. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.911s
Watch more action unfold throughout the 2022 season and the Estoril weekend with the WorldSBK VideoPass!