MotoGP™ stars react to the 2022 WorldSBK title fight, which was won by Alvaro Bautista in a dramatic Race 2 in Indonesia
The battle to claim the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship came to a thrilling conclusion at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit as Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed his first title after a stunning season. It was not easy for him after fierce battles with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) but he was able to wrap up the title with a round to spare. MotoGP™ stars such as Marc Marquez, 2022 Champion Pecco Bagnaia and more have given their thoughts on the incredible WorldSBK season.
Eight-time World Champion Marquez, who has a good relationship with Bautista, explained his thoughts on the 2022 season. He said: “I know Alvaro really well and already, when he was with Ducati, he was very, very fast. In the first year in WorldSBK, he lost the Championship because he made many mistakes, but he was the fastest one. He moved to Honda and struggled a lot and now he’s back at Ducati and this year, they have a really good bike, Alvaro is riding really well too. It was a really nice fight against Toprak and Rea, and I enjoyed it a lot.”
It was a memorable week for Ducati as the Italian manufacturer claimed the Riders’ Championship in both WorldSBK and MotoGP™, following Bagnaia’s success in Valencia. The Italian said: “Seriously, I’m very happy for Ducati. There’s been a lot of years saying the same thing, the best bike but without the best riders. It’s something incredible. I think Alvaro and I have done an incredible job. For sure, he’s the one understanding the Panigale better to adapt to everything and reduce tyre consumption. It’s something other riders are struggling with.”
Australian Jack Miller, who was Bagnaia’s teammate during the 2022 MotoGP™ season at the factory Ducati team, added: “Watching those three go at it week in, week out, has been awesome. I think we’re seeing the best of both Ducati and Bautista. The Panigale, I think, is now at a point where it’s very dominant and Alvaro’s riding it really well. I think he understands those tyres and whatnot now. They’re both doing a fantastic job. He’s been the cream of the crop this year. He’s ridden very smartly, stayed out of trouble, hasn’t made too many mistakes and been unfortunate a couple of times, but so have the other guys.”
Title contender in 2022 and race winner, Enea Bastianini, also weighed in on Alvaro’s success and praised Bautista’s consistency. He said: “Alvaro, for me, has been really competitive this year. He stayed really consistent throughout every weekend and I think with Rea and Toprak it’s not simple. Rea is a multiple World Champion, Toprak won the title last year.”
French rider Johann Zarco raced on a Ducati in 2022 in MotoGP™, like Bastianini did, explained how the titanic trio in WorldSBK’s battles felt to him and about Bautista’s success. He added: “Alvaro’s not been a surprise. He has huge experience from Grand Prix and now in WorldSBK. He’s incredible on the Panigale. When he’s feeling good, he rides this bike like a MotoGP™ bike and that’s nice to see from him. Rea’s pretty aggressive and fights a lot because he’s the Champion who got so many titles, and then Toprak’s incredible. It seems hard to fight against Toprak, he can go wherever he wants whenever he wants with the bike. To be able to fight against these guys is always something nice.”
Bautista’s compatriot, Pol Espargaro, believed 2022 was the Bautista from the past after his return to Ducati, saying: “It’s super nice to see Alvaro enjoying it again after his chapter with Honda. Now back with Ducati, he’s super strong and he’s really enjoying it. He’s fast. You can see, when he’s riding his bike, it’s the Alvaro we have seen in the past.”