The reigning Champion vs the Championship leader, with surprises splitting them on Friday
The 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has entered the closing stages of the season with just three rounds to go and all of them being flyaways, with the Motul Argentinean Round the first up. The Circuito San Juan Villicum welcomed the action on Friday during FP1, with it being a dominant display by reigning World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), who set a 1’37.511s to put himself on top.
Razgatlioglu was in mighty form throughout the entirety of the session but with 15 minutes to go, he set his fastest time and continued his strengths until the end of the session. With a major advantage over the field and particularly in the first, third and fourth sectors, Razgatlioglu looks good ahead of the weekend, already lapping quicker than 2021’s pole time. Second place and the only other rider in the 1’37s, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) moved up the order with his final flying lap and knows that he must have a strong weekend this weekend in order to remain in the title fight. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) secured third place and was half a second from Toprak, with both riders shining for Yamaha. Having been on the fringes of the top five for most of the session, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was fourth and although he was topping the speed charts on the back straight, wasn’t a match for his rivals in the other areas of San Juan. Top Independent honours went to Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), who was fifth.
Next up and looking good for Honda, Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) was on the pace and sixth after the first session of the weekend, whilst it was Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in seventh, although he was inside the top three for most of the session. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) made it five manufacturers inside the top eight with the British rider enjoying a solid Friday morning in Argentina, whilst Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) completed the top ten. Outside the top ten, Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) was only 16th, whilst the returning Max Scheib (MIE Racing Honda Team) was 21st, ahead of Marco Solorza (TPR Team Pedercini Racing).
Top six after WorldSBK FP1 from San Juan, full results here:
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 1’37.511s
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.332s
3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.571s
4. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.642s
5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +0.932s
6. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) +0.941s
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