Phillip Island produced more incredible action with plenty of stories up and down the grid
There were many highs and lows across the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship grid as the Championship returned to the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round. Riders and manufacturers ended their respective droughts, there was a surprise leader in Race 1, a debutant impressed throughout and tyre gambles paid off throughout the round. Of course, there were some lows throughout as one manufacturer dropped down the order in the final race of the season.
Race 1 was where Ducati wrapped up both the Manufacturers’ Championship and the Teams’ Championship with the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team, making it a double triple in 2022 for the Bologna-based manufacturer after achieving the same feat in MotoGP™. It capped off a memorable campaign for the Italian brand as they finished the season with 38 podiums and 16 victories as they claimed all three Championships in 2022.
After 24 races and 181 days, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) ended his win drought with a tactical masterclass in Race 1’s flag-to-flag encounter, as he timed his pit stop to perfection as he claimed his first win since Race 2 at the Circuito Estoril in May. Rea ended his season on a high as he looks to return to title-winning ways in 2023, while he backed up his Race 1 victory with two further podiums on Sunday: third in the Tissot Superpole Race and second in Race 2. It was also a strong weekend for teammate Alex Lowes as he took two podiums in a single round for the first time this year.
Tyre gambles were the order of the weekend in Australia. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) made a bold choice to start the Superpole Race on slick tyres despite a wet track after a pre-race downpour. He dropped to 14th at the end of the opening lap but fought back to claim a sensational win after his rivals opted for Pirelli’s wet-weather tyres; his first of two wins on Sunday. In Race 1, Kyle Smith (TPR Pedercini Racing) went against the grain as he did not change tyres and stuck with wets in the wet-to-dry race. He became the 82nd rider to lead a WorldSBK race and he finished in 12th place; the team’s best result of the 2022 season.
Substitute rider Tatsuta Nagashima (Team HRC) enjoyed a strong debut weekend as he stood in for the injured Iker Lecuona, taking 13 points from his first three races. A best of ninth in Race 2 came after tenth in Race 1 as he matched teammate Xavi Vierge throughout the round. Unfortunately for Honda, his strong results did not help them maintain fourth place in the Manufacturers’ Championship as they dropped down to fifth place after BMW outscored them on the final day of the season.
It was also a disappointing end to his Yamaha career for Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), who retired from Race 2 after a crash with Vierge where he ran into the back of the Spaniard. After 92 races in three with the GRT Yamaha squad, Gerloff ended with six podiums with a best of second place, as well as with Yamaha in his native United States, he will now embark on a new adventure with the Bonovo Action BMW team.
Take a trip down memory lane and re-watch some of the incredible moments using the WorldSBK VideoPass!