Nobody could stop the six-time World Champion, who will lead the field ahead of the races in the Czech Republic
The Tissot Superpole session at the Autodrom Most for the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship was dramatic from the start. With spots of rain in the air after an overnight shower, riders were forced to exit onto the circuit straight away. With no SCQ tyres available and the SCX tyre only available for Superpole and the Sunday morning Superpole Race, the session gave extra challenges compared to others. Getting the most out of the 15-minute shootout, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) stormed to a 1’30.947 for a new lap record and a second consecutive pole position at Most.
THE START: banking a time with the threat of rain
Riders flocked to the circuit instantly and it was clear that everyone wanted to bank a time in case of rain, whilst the likes of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and his teammate Alex Lowes all waited a little longer, the latter two on their own with Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing). Championship leader Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was at the head of the field on track and the first rider to set a lap time of a 1’32.608, whilst Razgatlioglu stormed to a 1’31.578, just outside his Free Practice lap record from FP2.
Further times came in behind with Rea going second ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), whilst Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was fourth. Bautista was down to ninth but soon went up to fourth, with Lowes and Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) getting ahead of Mahias who was left in seventh with just under ten minutes to go. Having been a top five rider in FP2 on Friday, Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) was ninth ahead of Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) at the end of the first stint. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) waited until the end of the first stint before getting a time registered, slotting him in third.
SHOOTOUT FOR POLE: a flurry of times come in
With the threat of rain abating for the time being, the second runs and the pole position attacks came in, with Rea one of the first riders to leave the pits. Out-laps completed, red sectors and personal best times were coming, although Rea had a big moment at Turn 13, and his advantage of two tenths of a second through the first half of the lap had been squandered. However, at the head of the field, by 0.011s, Alvaro Bautista had taken provisional pole, although Razgatlioglu was responding already on his own flying lap. Turk went top momentarily, but it was Rea who smashed in a lap time in, the first ever 1’30 lap time, with a 1’30.947.
REA ON A MISSION: a new lap record as Razgatlioglu is pipped
The six-time World Champion was unstoppable and he will start from pole position at Most for a second consecutive season with a 38th career pole. He will have a busy job in the opening stages however, with Razgatlioglu lining up second, although he is 0.330s off Rea’s outrageous pole position time, although it is Razgatlioglu’s 12th consecutive front row. Leaving it late to make it onto the front row at the expense of his teammate, Rinaldi snatches a first front row since 2020 at MotorLand Aragon. Third place for a rejuvenated Rinaldi, perhaps he’ll be the surprise when racing commences.
SECOND ROW: Bautista with work to do
Heading up the second row, Championship leader Alvaro Bautista will have to clear his teammate before challenging his title rivals. Bautista was third until the very end, when he was knocked back by his factory Ducati teammate. Alex Lowes was briefly on the front row – which at the time knocked Rea back to fourth – but was shuffled back in the closing stages to fifth, whilst he lines up alongside American rider Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), who is back on the front two rows for the first time since Assen, when he was also sixth.
THIRD ROW: Redding leads the charge
Heading up the third row, Scott Redding wasn’t able to replicate his Donington Park successes but he was a solid seventh, within three quarters of a second of the pole time and top BMW. Locatelli will line-up in eighth whilst fellow countryman Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) completes the third row, just over a second back of Rea’s pole time. Completing the top ten and with a strong showing in Superpole, Lucas Mahias starts from his first top ten of the season.
REST OF THE ORDER: personal bests further down
Having been strong earlier in the weekend, Baz could only manage 11th, whilst it was a disappointing session for Team HRC, as Iker Lecuona could only manage 12th, one place ahead of Xavi Vierge in 13th. With a good showing in 14th, Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) achieved his best Superpole result of his rookie season, whilst Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) will go from 15th for his 50th WorldSBK race. Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) was 16th, ahead of Yamaha duo Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) and Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha).
Behind all of that, it was a best Superpole of the season for home-hero Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura), who clinched 19th, whilst Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) was 20th. Peter Hickman (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was 21st ahead of Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team), his teammate Leandro Mercado and British debutant Ryan Vickers (TPR Team Pedercini Racing), who on a bike he’d never previously ridden and at a circuit he didn’t know, was only 3.1s off the pole time. For wildcard Michal Prasek (Rohac & Fejta Racing), he was outside of the 105% time at the back of the field.
Top six from WorldSBK Superpole, full results here:
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’30.947s
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.330s
3. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.559s
4. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.620s
5. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.675s
6. Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +0.680s
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