Free Practice ticked off, it’s as unpredictable as ever in World Superbike…
The 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s first race day of the season fired up with Free Practice 3 from the MotorLand Aragon circuit in Alcaniz, Spain. The Pirelli Aragon Round’s second day of action was a bit cooler than day one, thus not being entirely representative of how the pecking order may well shape up when temperatures increase. Nonetheless, it was a sublime effort for Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW), who put the M 1000 RR on top ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who suffered his first crash of 2022 and rookie Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven).
One of the fastest riders through both the first and third sectors, Loris Baz had a fantastic opening morning at Aragon by improving his time in comparison to yesterday. The Frenchman has been top BMW all weekend so far and will hope to remain in that position, targeting a top five for his return to the class. Alvaro Bautista was leading the way before Baz pushed ahead, whilst the Spaniard had his first crash of 2022 at Turn 9, the downhill left-hander in the corkscrew section. Second in the session and third overall behind Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Baz, Bautista’s in touch. Rea took third in the session, setting the fewest number of laps of anyone in the top ten. Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) took fourth, bouncing him up to sixth on the combined times, as the German rookie impressed. Completing the top five in the session was Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), consolidating his pace.
Sixth place in the session went to Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), although the remaining Champion didn’t improve his times and is still fourth on combined times. Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was seventh, ahead of Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), fifth and eighth respectively on the combined times. Illia Mykhalchyk (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) continued his fine display in ninth, whilst teammate Scott Redding was tenth, both being 12th and 13th on combined times. Besides Alvaro Bautista crashing, the only other drama was for Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura), who stopped on track with a technical problem at Turn 16.
1. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 1’49.591s
2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.073s
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.091s
4. Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) +0.335s
5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.417s
6. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.471s
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