The home-hero put Honda on top in the first session of the weekend, whilst the title contenders are all third to fifth
The eighth round of the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has ignited at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain, with plenty of headlines coming through from FP1 in WorldSBK. The weather coming into the round had been far from ideal, but it was a sunny start to the day in Barcelona, with Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) setting the pace to top his first-ever WorldSBK session at a circuit he knows well.
In the final ten minutes, Lecuona got down to business and like we’d seen in the tests at the track before, carried out a short run of time attack laps at the end of the session. Going mightily fast, a 1’41.396 was the time to beat, set by the Spaniard. Leading for much of the rest of the session, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was second, a good start to his weekend after re-signing a new contract with the factory Ducati team until the end of next year. Reigning World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) was third and top Yamaha, ahead of Championship leader Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), who was being tracked by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in the opening laps of the session, with the mind games beginning between the two. In terms of the top five, it was Rea who had the highest top speed at 325km/h.
Completing the top half-dozen, Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), whilst Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) took seventh despite a tumble at Turn 10. Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was top Independent in eighth at the circuit at which he took a career-first podium at in 2020, whilst it was a bright start for Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) who took ninth, one place ahead of home-hero Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) in tenth. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was only 11th whilst teammate Michael van der Mark only set two laps before a technical problem ended his session. One talking point was Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in 15th, a rather quiet start given the Italian’s recent form. Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) was out of action due to an upper respiratory tract infection; he’ll be reviewed on Saturday morning.
Top six after WorldSBK FP1 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, full results here:
1. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) 1’41.396s
2. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.535s
3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.595s
4. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.646s
5. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.717s
6. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.747s
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