The British rider was on top with all of the fast times coming from the opening five minutes before the rain came
The 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is back in action after the summer break as the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours welcomed back the stars of 2022. However, it was a wet start to the weekend, with a rain shower coming just five minutes into the session, seeing a pause in action that lasted for 20 minutes. Come the end of the session and relying on the times from earlier in the session, it was Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who led the way. Riders returned to the circuit for the final 15 minutes of action, getting a feel for the wet weather coupled with the Magny-Cours circuit.
Getting a fast time in before the rain started falling heavily, Alex Lowes topped the opening session of the day, with a 1’39.107 seeing him lead the way. Lowes has good podium form from the past two seasons with Kawasaki, as well as with Yamaha previously, and he hopes he can return to the rostrum again. Second place was the top Ducati of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), just over a quarter of a second behind Lowes, and he crashed at Turn 5 in the wet conditions before the pause in action; he was the first rider back out on track. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), four-times a winner at Magny-Cours in WorldSBK, clinched third, whilst Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was fourth. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) completed the top five but suffered a late fall at Turn 5 with 3 minutes to go in the wet conditions.
Sixth position went to Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), with the Italian hoping to get a strong result this weekend and put himself in contention for the factory Ducati seat. He was top Independent, ahead of German rider Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven), who was seventh. Fresh from confirmation of his future and remaining with the project for 2023, Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) was eighth and top Honda, whilst Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) took top BMW honours in ninth; Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) was tenth at a track he took pole at in WorldSSP last year.
Setting a time only in the damp conditions at the end, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was 19th, but won’t be concerned. Likewise down field as they didn’t set a time, Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and BMW riders Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) and his teammate Eugene Laverty. Top Frenchman at home was Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) in 17th. Fellow countryman Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 20th but had an electrical issue right at the start of the session.
Top six after WorldSBK FP1 at Magny-Cours, full results here:
1. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’39.107s
2. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.270s
3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.326s
4. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.999s
5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +1.318s
6. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +1.638s
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