Rea heads WorldSBK FP1 at Aragon, Razgatlioglu and Rinaldi follow behind

Friday, 8 April 2022 09:32 GMT

WorldSBK 2022 has seen the green light and it was green at the head of the field too

The 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has officially fired into life at the Pirelli Aragon Round from the MotorLand Aragon circuit near Alcaniz, Spain. The opening session of the 35th season of WorldSBK action saw Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) come out the blocks fighting as he goes in search of reclaiming the crown, he relinquished in 2021. He was ahead of reigning Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), with the Turkish star in second ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati), who made it three manufacturers inside the top three.

Getting down to fairly quick times, Jonathan Rea wasn’t headed throughout the opening session of 2022, setting a 1’49.301, which compares to being approximately six tenths quicker than his session-topping time from FP1 in 2021. With Rea on top and being the only rider in the 1’49s for the majority of the session, it was Toprak Razgatlioglu who came on strong towards the end of the session, clinching second. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) showed good pace in third as he put in a strong lap time at the end of the session too; Rinaldi had lamented his testing days at Aragon but being a 2020 race winner at the circuit, he’s bound to show competitivity. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who was second for the majority of the session, got his season underway in a solid fashion with fourth, ahead of Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati), with the Spaniard’s return to Ducati also getting underway in good way.

Top Independent honours went to America’s Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), one of three Independent riders in the top ten. He was ahead of top BMW rider Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW), with the Frenchman impressing on his full-time return to action. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), rookie of the year in 2021, got his second season in WorldSBK underway with eighth, ahead of 2022’s headlining addition Iker Lecuona (Team HRC), who improved in the closing stages to finish as top rookie. Fellow rookie Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) was tenth, 1.3s off Rea’s top time.

Outside the top ten, Ukrainian Illia Mykhalchyk (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was impressive as he replaces the injured Michael van der Mark, whilst Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) got his WorldSBK career underway in 12th. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was the only crasher of the session in 13th, whilst Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) was a surprise in 14th. It was a disastrous debut for 2021’s bronze-medallist in the Championship Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), who only managed 16th in his first session of the weekend. Malaysian rookie Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) had a technical problem early in the session, costing him valuable track time.

Top six after WorldSBK FP1, full results here:

1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’49.301s

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.364s

3. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) +0.699s

4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.763s

5. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) +0.807s

6. Garrett Gerloff (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +-0.968s

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