#TheReturn is complete: Bautista crowned 2022 WorldSBK Champion, Razgatlioglu takes Mandalika hat-trick

Sunday, 13 November 2022 06:18 GMT

Spanish rider Alvaro Bautista became the first Ducati rider since Carlos Checa in 2011 to take the WorldSBK title

The fight for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship crown came to a thrilling conclusion at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit as Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) took the title after finishing in second place in Race 2 during the Pirelli Indonesian Round. Despite Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) claiming a hat-trick in Indonesia with victory in Race 2, Bautista’s second-place finish was enough for the Spanish rider to take the Championship with a round to spare.

A CHAMPION CROWNED: Bautista is the 2022 Champion

Bautista headed into Race 2 knowing a podium finish would secure him the title or losing less than nine points to Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and he did enough to secure to take his first title in WorldSBK. In doing so, he becomes the third different rider from a third different manufacturer in three seasons to claim the title, after Razgatlioglu and Yamaha in 2021 and Rea and Kawasaki in 2020.

The fight for the Championship title also turned out to be the fight for victory in Indonesia, with Razgatlioglu moving into the lead of the race on Lap 6 as he passed Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) at Turn 10 after Rea moved into the lead in the opening stages of the race. With Bautista in third at this point, behind Rea, he instantly latched onto the back of the six-time Champion and went through on Rea at Turn 10 on Lap 7 as he took advantage of Rea running onto the kerbs through Turns 8 and 9.

The duo went head-to-head in the final third of the race to claim victory, which allowed Rea to close back in on Bautista and Razgatlioglu. Bautista closed the gap before the battle ignited on Lap 14. Bautista made a move at Turn 1 to move into the lead as he looked to win the Championship with a victory, before Razgatlioglu responded into Turn 10. Through Turns 14 and 15, Bautista made a stunning move for the lead. He remained there for a short while but Razgatlioglu responded at Turn 10 on Lap 16 to re-take the lead, before extending his lead to over one second for victory with Bautista in second.

Razgatlioglu’s victory gave him his 32nd WorldSBK win and his 14th of the year which puts him level on wins for a season for Yamaha with 2009 Champion Ben Spies, while Bautista’s Championship-winning second place was his 56th podium in WorldSBK including the 29th of his 2022 campaign. Bautista winning the title also meant it became the first time in history that Ducati claimed both the WorldSBK and MotoGP™ Riders’ Championships in the same season.

FIGHTING HARD: podium fights and battles for fourth…

Rea found himself in fourth place, behind Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) but made a move on Lap 11 at Turn 12 to move back into the podium places before pulling out a gap over Bassani, coming home to take third place for his 200th podium with Kawasaki, while it was also Kawasaki’s 400th race on the podium. Bassani dropped behind Rea and ended up in a battle with Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) for fourth place. It would be Locatelli who claimed fourth place after a strong weekend for the Italian, finishing just six tenths ahead of Bassani in fifth place; in the Tissot Superpole Race, Bassani was crowned the Best Independent Rider for 2022.

ROUNDING OUT THE TOP TEN: ending the round in style

Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) claimed sixth place ahead of Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) in seventh place with all five manufacturers in the top seven positions in Race 2. Redding was four seconds down on Bassani after he had a run off the track at Turn 16 on Lap 6 but he fought back to take sixth ahead of Vierge. American star Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) took eighth spot, two seconds behind Vierge, ahead of Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK); Lowes was just four tenths behind Gerloff at the end of the 21-lap race. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) rounded out the top ten.

TAKING HOME POINTS: a first-time points scorer, strong results throughout

Xavi Fores’ (BARNI Spark Racing Team) return to WorldSBK and the Barni Ducati team continued with 11th place in Race 2 as he scored more points. He had a late-race fight with Dutch rider Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) with the pair separated by just 0.238s at the end of the race. French rider Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) was 13th, almost 14 seconds down on BMW stablemate van der Mark, while Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) and Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in 15th; the Czech rider claiming his first point in WorldSBK. Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) was 16th, 1.458s down on Konig for a point, while Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) was the last classified rider in 17th place.

HOUSEKEEPING: to note from WorldSBK Race 2

Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) retired from the race following a crash at Turn 11 on Lap 11, while Kyle Smith’s (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) debut weekend ended with a crash at Turn 7 on Lap 14 which put him out of the race. Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) was declared unfit ahead of Race 2 following a crash earlier in the weekend, with Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) also on the sidelines after he was diagnosed with a right ankle sprain following an FP3 crash on Saturday.  

The top six following WorldSBK Race 2, full results here:

1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)

2. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) +1.230s

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +2.825s

4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +7.595s

5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +8.205s

6. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +12.478s

Fastest lap: Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) – 1’32.708

Championship standings

1. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) 553 points

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 487

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 279

4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) 279

5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 245

6. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 234

Congratulate Bautista on his title success using the hashtag #TheReturn on social media, and watch all the action from the Australian Round next week using the WorldSBK VideoPass!