With a flurry of new bikes and eager eyes waiting for the action, Aegerter led the way, but it was unpredictable close behind
A new era, a new look: the 2022 FIM Supersport World Championship has got underway with Free Practice 1 from MotorLand Aragon and the Pirelli Aragon Round. It was our first chance to look at all the teams and riders on-track during a race weekend, meaning our first opportunity to see the ‘Next Generation’ bikes up against the traditional WorldSSP machines in competition. Grabbing the advantage by the end of the session, reigning World Champion Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) was looking good ahead of big-name rookie Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team), whilst Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) made it a Yamaha 1-2-3.
In what was quite a close opening session of the season, Dominique Aegerter led the way as he got his title defence off to the best possible start. He didn’t win at Aragon in 2021 but has started his weekend at the track off in fine fashion with a 1’54.070, just over two tenths ahead of debutant Lorenzo Baldassarri. The rookie Italian is one of the hottest prospects in WorldSSP this season and looks to be in contention from the start. Third place and making it a Yamaha 1-2-3, Jules Cluzel got his season off to a solid start, having been the highest points-scorer from the last three races in 2021. Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was fourth, whilst the first of the returning manufacturers was in fifth, with Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing), which also sees the return of Genesio Bevilacqua’s Althea Racing outfit.
Triumph had a solid start to their returning campaign, with the British manufacturer taking sixth place with rookie Stefano Manzi. Seventh went to Marcel Brenner (VFT Racing), as the German rider impressed on what is his full-season debut. Patrick Hobelsberger (Kallio Racing) was eighth on his return to full-time competition in the category. Ninth place honours went to Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), as he got to make the MV Agusta F3 800 RR’s competitive debut, whilst completing the top ten was Dutchman Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team). One second covered the top 11, with Andy Verdoia (GMT94 Yamaha) in 11th but suffering a technical issue at the end of the session.
Maximilian Kofler (CM Racing) was the session’s only crasher at Turn 16 but was OK, whilst one of the headline names outside of the top ten was rookie Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), with the Italian having been under various lap records during testing. Reigning WorldSSP300 Champion Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) had spells inside the top ten but finished 17th, whilst Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) also made his WorldSSP debut, finishing 21st. Oli Bayliss (BARNI Spark Racing Team) made his debut, finishing 25th, although less than 2.5s off the top time.
Top six after WorldSSP FP1, full results here:
1. Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) 1’54.070s
2. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) +0.228s
3. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) +0.375s
4. Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +0.408s
5. Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing) +0.527s
6. Stefano Manzi (Dynavolt Triumph) +0.563s
Watch 2022 unfold with all of the unpredictability that lies ahead with the WorldSBK VideoPass!