Having been eighth in FP1, Bautista bolted himself back to the top slot in the afternoon action
The 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship action is at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” for the fourth round of the season, the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round, with action aplenty already on day one. Launching to the top of the timesheets, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was fastest on day one, getting the Ducatisti on their feet at Ducati’s home round, but he’ll have plenty of rivals behind him trying to get ahead throughout the weekend.
BAUTISTA ON TOP: the titanic trio in the top three
Over at Ducati, their home round got off to a great start with Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) leading their charge inside the top ten. Bautista, who won at Misano back in 2019 for Ducati, went top with just over ten minutes of the session to go before times further improved going into the final five minutes or so. Come the end of the session, Bautista was on top and particularly strong in the second half of the track, a sign of things to come perhaps ahead of the two race days. On the other side of the garage, home-hero Michael Ruben Rinaldi was also on a mission, inside the top five all day before finishing in fourth on the combined times.
Aiming for a first win of the season at the track where it came in 2021, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) was leading the Yamaha charge. Razgatlioglu was consistently faster than his rivals in the opening half of the lap but was losing time to Bautista in the final sector. Nevertheless, the reigning World Champion was strong and completed the session inside the top three, finishing second overall. Teammate Andrea Locatelli had a mighty FP1 as he took second behind Razgatlioglu but didn’t improve on his morning time in the afternoon when the temperatures came up, finishing in tenth overall, the only rider to not improve in the second session.
The Kawasaki effort was strong with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on fine form throughout the FP2 session in the afternoon, with him getting down to a 1’34.134s straight away. Rea has great form at Misano, having taken eight wins at the circuit – including his first of his career – and worked hard throughout the session. Teammate Alex Lowes was up inside the five for the majority of the session as he continues his progress. Come the end of the day, Rea was third and Lowes was seventh, with Kawasaki solid from the start.
RETURNING REVELATIONS: Oettl and Gerloff in the top six
There was a good Independent charge within the top six, as Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) managed fifth on his return to action in WorldSBK. Having had a collarbone fracture at Estoril, Oettl looks like he’s on for another strong round this weekend, where he’ll look to crack the top six. Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) clinched sixth on the combined running with 44 laps across the day, more than anyone else managed. An 18-lap run in FP2 will have gathered plenty of data for the first of two race days for the American.
STRENGTH FOR HONDA, BMW WOES: contrasting opening days…
Another positive opening day was on the cards for Honda, with riders Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) and teammate Xavi Vierge fresh from a test at Suzuka between Estoril and Misano. Lecuona was up inside the top six in FP1 but could only manage eighth in FP2, placing him… on the combined times, with him not improving in his final laps of the day due to having lap times deleted. Vierge likewise couldn’t replicate his FP1 showing after finishing seventh, as he managed tenth in FP2. He was eleventh overall.
BMW’s day wasn’t the brightest as it started with an electronics issue for Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) before the Brit eventually got out to be on the fringes of the top ten, before finishing ninth on the combined times. A stronger afternoon sees Redding head into Saturday just over eight tenths away from Bautista at the head of the field, whilst his teammate Illia Mykhalchyk was 23rd on his return to the paddock, as he gets up to speed with the Misano circuit.
TIME TO FIND AND RIDERS SHINE: rounding out the running
Outside the top ten, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) had a contrasting day; he was up inside the top five in the morning before dropping to 12th in the afternoon, one place ahead of Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW), with the Frenchman seemingly struggling. It was a very positive day for Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport – Yamaha), with the Frenchman strong in 14th place, ahead of Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) and Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team). Nozane suffered a crash in FP1 and for failing to comply with the marshals’ instructions, was forced to miss the first ten minutes of FP2.
On his comeback from injury, Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) took 17th ahead of fellow countryman and wildcard Gabriele Ruiu (Bmax Racing), with the latter suffering a crash in FP2 but remounting. Alessandro Delbianco (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) was 19th on his comeback, ahead of Malaysian rookie Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team), Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team), the returning Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), whilst Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) and Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) rounded out the order.
Top six combined after WorldSBK FP2 at Misano, full results here:
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’34.008s
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.107s
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.126s
4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.176s
5. Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) +0.490s
6. Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +0.597s
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