The six-time World Champion has six wins at Phillip Island, all for Kawasaki, and he’s keen to build on that for 2022
It was an electric Free Practice 1 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit as the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s final round of the season has started. The Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round has got underway, and it was an action-packed first WorldSBK session as it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who leapt to P1 at a circuit where he’s had so much success at before, with his year-long rivals in close pursuit.
Going fastest with his final flying lap of the session, Rea was in great form as he chases a first win since Estoril earlier in the year and a seventh win at Phillip Island. He finished 0.022s ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), who has very good memories in WorldSBK at Phillip Island, as well as throughout his career as a whole and the Spaniard was in fine form on Friday morning. However, whilst he did finish second, he tucked the front after running slightly wide at Turn 4, being chased by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK). He was OK and got back to the pits but didn’t get back out. Razgatlioglu was three tenths off Rea after FP1 and sat third, whilst it was Phillip Island’s most recent winner, Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who was fourth ahead of Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), both of whom are locked in battle for fifth overall in the Championship standings.
Going sixth in FP1 and starting his final weekend within the Yamaha family, Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) will hope for a good final showing, whilst Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) was seventh, albeit gaining the ire of Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) earlier in the session. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was eighth ahead of super sub Tetsuta Nagashima (Team HRC), with the Japanese rider aboard the factory Honda in place of the injured Iker Lecuona and debuting well with ninth. Completing the top ten was the second Honda of Xavi Vierge (Team HRC), with 1.690s covering the top ten in FP1. Best BMW honours went to Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in 11th.
Top six after WorldSBK FP1 from Phillip Island, full results here:
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’31.284s
2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.022s
3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.320s
4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.326s
5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +1.180s
6. Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRY Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +1.200s
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