Bautista was one of two riders to start on slick tyres and, despite dropping down to the bottom half of the field, fought back for victory
The final Tissot Superpole Race of the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship campaign was one that’ll live long in the memory after a stunning slick tyre gamble on a wet Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit track by Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) for the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round. Bautista was the only rider in the top nine to start on slick tyres and he made it work as he fought back from a difficult start to take victory by more than three seconds.
THE GAMBLE WORKS: a slick tyre choice…
Bautista started from pole position but, with slick tyres on a track that was still wet, rapidly dropped down the order and was classified in 14th place at the end of the opening lap. However, as the track tried following a pre-race rain shower, Bautista’s times got faster and faster and he picked his way through the field to claim his 15th victory of the season, passing his rivals on Lap 9 of 10; passing Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) at Turn 2 and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) at Turn 9. Bautista will start from first for Race 2, alongside Razgatlioglu and Rea, who were separated by just 0.043s at the line in Razgatlioglu’s favour, meaning Razgatlioglu secured second in the World Championship standings Both Razgatlioglu and Rea were on intermediate tyres.
RACE 2 FROM ROW TWO: a warm-up lap risk
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) took fourth place, 6.670s down on Bautista at the end of the race, ahead of Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) in fifth place. Locatelli had to fend off Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) who, like Bautista, took a gamble albeit later on in proceedings. Lining up on the grid on Pirelli’s rain tyres, the British rider pitted at the end of the warm-up lap to switch to intermediate tyres to take sixth place and to line up for Race 2 from the second row of the grid.
STARTING FROM THE THIRD ROW: taking a top nine finish
American star Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) took seventh place in the thrilling encounter, while Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) was eighth. Vierge had a strong start on the intermediate tyre but dropped down the order, finishing ahead of Xavi Fores (BARNI Spark Racing Team) who took the final point in the Superpole Race, and also secured himself a third row start for Race 2; his best result since returning to the Barni Ducati team.
HOUSEKEEPING: to note from Race 1
Along with Redding, Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) pitted at the end of the warm-up lap to switch tyres, although he did not make the same progress as he finished in 16th. Oettl was penalised by 0.695s for a pit intervention time infringement, with riders required to spend 63 seconds between pit entry and pit exit. Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) had a storming start and was running in the podium places, but he pitted at the end of Lap 2 to change tyres. Like Oettl, van der Mark had a pit intervention time infringement and was penalised by 3.560s. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was another who opted to change tyres, with the Italian finishing second.
The top nine following WorldSBK’s Tissot Superpole Race, full results here:
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +3.285s
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +3.328s
4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +6.670s
5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +9.238s
6. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +9.328s
7. Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +12.173s
8. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) +13.427s
9. Xavi Fores (BARNI Spark Racing Team) +17.416s
Watch Race 2 from Phillip Island at 16:00 Local Time (GMT+11) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!