#CATWorldSBK Barcelona, Sunday roundup: WorldSBK WorldSSP WorldSSP300
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) romped home to his third win of the Catalunya Round at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after claiming Race 2 victory from pole position in the final MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship action of the weekend. Bautista had claimed victory in both Race 1 and the Tissot Superpole Race, and he followed that up with a lights-to-flag win in Race 2 to further extend his Championship lead.
Starting from pole position, Bautista once again led the race into Turn 1, before remaining unchallenged as he extended his gap at the front with the Championship leader able to take advantage of the squabbling behind him to claim victory. By the halfway mark of the race, Bautista’s gap had got up to five seconds and he continued to increase that throughout the second half of the race to claim victory by more than eight seconds.
Behind Bautista, the battle for second was taking place between four riders. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) all fought it out for the remaining podium places, with the pair often swapping places. In the end, it was Bautista’s teammate Rinaldi who claimed second place after a thrilling battle, with the crucial move for Rinaldi coming on Lap 11 at Turn 1, when he passed Bassani.
As Rinaldi escaped in second place, Razgatlioglu, Rea and Bassani continued their fight with Rea moving into third place on Lap 14 as he passed both Razgatlioglu and Bassani into Turn 1. Razgatlioglu got ahead of Bassani on Lap 13 after the Italian rider made a mistake at Turn 12, which then allowed Rea to get ahead a lap later. However, on Lap 16, Rea lost a lot of time after running wide at Turn 7 which allowed both Bassani and Razgatlioglu through, although he did re-pass Bassani shortly afterwards, with Razgatlioglu going on to take third place.
The results allowed Bautista to extend his Championship lead to 59 points over Razgatlioglu, a gain of 29 points across the weekend, as he took his first treble since Aragon 2019 and the fourth of his career. He became the first rider to take three wins at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and he is edging closer to 50 podiums; now on 48. Rinaldi took his 14th WorldSBK podium with second place and it is the 135th time Ducati have finished 1-2, while taking their fourth straight win at the Spanish venue. Razgatlioglu’s third place gave him his 72nd podium in WorldSBK.
Rea, after re-passing Bassani after his mistake, was able to pull out a gap to take fourth place ahead of the Italian who took fifth place. Behind Bassani came a run of three rookies who all had a strong Race 2. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) took sixth place after taking advantage of his Superpole Race result to finish in the top six, ahead of Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) in seventh place. Oettl, like Vierge, gained on the grid in the Superpole Race and took advantage to conclude a strong Catalunya Round in seventh place. He was ahead of Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) in eighth place with Lecuona, who took pole in the Tissot Superpole session, taking another top-ten finish.
Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) finished as the lead BMW rider in ninth place, finishing just 0.084s behind Lecuona at the end of the race. The end of the race was highlighted by a charge from Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxraxing WorldSBK Team) as the Italian rookie surged into the top ten in the closing stages, taking his best WorldSBK result to date. He demoted Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) to 11th with just a couple of laps to go, with Bernardi running inside the top ten throughout the majority of the race; his best result since Race 2 at the Autodrom Most.
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was involved in a battle for tenth place but eventually took 12th place, finishing just 0.419s behind Bernardi at the end of the 20-lap battle. Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was 13th ahead of fellow BMW rider Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) in 14th and Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) who rounded out the points-paying positions with 15th.
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) was classified in 16th place 20-lap race. The Italian rider was running inside the top ten but a Turn 10 crash on Lap 4 dropped him down the order after he re-joined the action, with Locatelli having to fight to take 16th place and missing out on a point by 2.6s. Argentinean rider Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) was 17th ahead of Czech rider Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura WorldSSP), the last classified rider in 18th place.
Two riders crashed out of the race on the opening lap with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) going down at Turn 10 and Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) crashing at Turn 14; putting both riders out of the race. Redding was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following his crash, and was declared fit but diagnosed with a chest bruise. On Lap 5, Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) retired from the race following a Turn 10 crash. Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) had enjoyed a strong weekend but, in Race 2, crashed out at Turn 2 on Lap 12. Home rider Oscar Gutierrez (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) brought his Kawasaki machine into the pits to retire from the race.
An unpredictable Race 2 was in store for the FIM Supersport World Championship at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with reigning Champion Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) battling back from a poor start and an off-track excursion to claim his second victory of the Catalunya Round. With the results of his title rivals, Aegerter extended his Championship lead to 36 points with four rounds remaining in the 2022 season.
Aegerter started from pole position but dropped back at the start of the race and had to battle his way back up to the lead group in order to limit the damage in the Championship standings. After he worked his way back up to fourth place, Aegerter ran wide at Turn 1 on Lap 12, costing him more time as he looked to overtake Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team), Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Stefano Manzi (Dynavolt Triumph) with the four riders leading the race.
The reigning Champion put in a series of fast laps to catch back up with the group, and soon started picking his way through the three riders ahead of him. On Lap 15, Aegerter went from fourth to second with one move on the inside at Turn 1 before he, on the same lap, passed long-time leader Oncu at Turn 4 to take his 12th win of the season, equaling Andrea Locatelli’s record for wins in a season, and his 30th WorldSSP podium, as he extended his Championship lead to 36 points over Baldassarri.
While Aegerter was able to extend the gap to over two seconds by the end of the race, there was a fierce battle for second, third and fourth between Oncu, Manzi and Baldassarri. Eventually, Oncu and Manzi pulled a gap to Baldassarri of two seconds and the pair battled right until the end of the race for second. Manzi did cross the line in second place but he was demoted one place for exceeding track limits at Turn 9 on the final lap, promoting Oncu to second and Manzi to third. Oncu’s second place was his seventh career podium while Manzi took his third podium and Triumph’s 10th in WorldSSP after starting from 17th on the grid.
Baldassarri claimed fourth place and he had more than a four-second advantage ahead of Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in fifth place. Tuuli had crossed the line behind Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing) but the Italian rider was demoted one place for exceeding track limits on the final lap, promoting Tuuli to fifth with Caricasulo in sixth place. In seventh place was Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) as the Turkish rookie claimed the honours for best-placed WorldSSP Challenge rider. He was only 0.001s ahead of Yari Montella (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) who claimed ninth place. Despite a strong start, Montella dropped back in the closing stages and claimed a top-eight finish.
The gap between Tuuli and Montella at the end of the race was just over a second at the end of the 20-lap race in the hard-fought battle for fifth. They were over a second clear of another fierce battle in the field as Leonardo Taccini (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) and Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) battled for ninth spot. Taccini just edged out Huertas in that battle by 0.040s in that battle as the Italian took his best-ever WorldSSP result.
Marcel Brenner (VFT Racing), returning from injury, claimed 11th spot and was just three tenths away from a top-ten spot while he was almost nine tenths clear of Simon Jespersen (Kallio Racing) in 12th place. Danish rider Jespersen had a similar margin to Estonian rider Hannes Soomer (Dynavolt Triumph) in 13th place, with Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) and Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) rounding out the points-scoring places. Cluzel had a last-lap fight with teammate Andy Verdoia for that final point with the pair separated by 0.050s at the line.
Verdoia in 16th had a gap of 3.584s behind him to Patrick Hobelsberger (Kallio Racing) in 17th place, with the German rider fending off Ondrej Vostatek (MS Racing Yamaha WorldSSP) with the Czech rider taking home 18th place. Wildcard rider Julian Giral (Valvulas Raco JG76 Team) was 19th, three tenths clear of Peter Sebestyen (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) with the Hungarian rider rounding out the top 20 riders in Race 2.
Turn 10 was the scene of two crashes in the early stages of the race. Italian rider Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura WorldSSP) went down on Lap 2, before Dutch rider Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) crashed there a lap later. Both were able to re-join the race but retired from the race later on. Unai Orradre (MS Racing Yamaha WorldSSP) retired from the race after a technical issue on Lap 11 of 18, while Ben Currie (Motozoo Racing by Puccetti) crashed at Turn 5 on the same lap which put him out of the race. Oli Bayliss (BARNI Spark Racing Team) crashed at Turn 10 on Lap 12 and, although he could re-join, retired from the race.
The wait to crown the 2022 Champion in the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship will go on to Portimao after Victor Steeman (MTM Kawasaki) claimed a dominant Race 2 victory at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, doing what he needed to do, and Alvaro Diaz (Arco Motor University Team) finishing fourth, with the pair 50 points apart in the standings after the Catalunya Round. Steeman’s 5.6 seconds victory helped the MTM Kawasaki team wrap up the 2022 Teams’ Championship in stunning fashion in Spain, winning it with two races to spare.
Dutch rider Steeman was able to break free from the chasing back as he claimed victory in Barcelona, despite dropping down the order in the early stages. He moved back to the front after a couple of laps and broke away as the chasing pack battled it out for the podium spots, with the pack unable to utilise the slipstream to gain back ground. Steeman’s victory, coupled with Diaz finishing in fourth place, means the title race will go to the final round in Portimao. The pair are separated by 50 points, with 50 points remaining, but Steeman would be able to overtake Diaz on countback. Steeman’s victory did, however, secure the Teams’ Championship for MTM Kawasaki.
Steeman’s margin of victory over Hugo De Cancellis (Prodina Racing WorldSSP300) was 5.618s at the end of the 12-lap race, with De Cancellis initially crossing the line in third place behind Mirko Gennai (Team BrCorse). Gennai was penalised with a one-place drop for exceeding track limits on the final lap, although he kept the third podium of his career. De Cancellis’ second place meant he took his seventh podium in WorldSSP300.
Championship leader Alvaro Diaz (Arco Motor University Team) finished in fourth place and was just 0.046s behind Gennai in the classification, ending a podium streak of seven in a race where a podium finish would have secured him the title. He was ahead of compatriot Jose Luis Perez Gonzales (Accolade Smrz Racing) in fifth place, while Humberto Maier (AD78 Team Brasil by MS Racing) took sixth place; only 0.094s behind Gonzales.
Bruno Ieraci (Prodina Racing WorldSSP300) took seventh place in the 12-lap race ahead of substitute rider Aldi Satya Mehendra (Team BrCorse) in eighth. The Indonesian rider, replacing Indy Offer, was in the lead group as he was in Race 1 on debut, finishing just under six seconds back from Steeman. Wildcard Julio Garcia Gonzalez (ESP Solutions Motap Racing Team) backed up his Race 1 podium with ninth place in Race 2, ahead of fellow Spanish rider Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing) who rounded out the top ten.
Kevin Sabatucci (Kawasaki GP Project) took home 11th place, just 6.256s behind Steeman and only 0.6s away from De Cancellis, ahead of Dutch rider Ruben Bijman (MTM Kawasaki). He was ahead of teammate Yuta Okaya in 13th, with Okaya initially in the lead group but an error at Turn 5 in the closing few laps dropped him down the order. He was ahead of Gabriele Mastroluca (ProGP Racing) and Daniel Mogeda (Team#109 Kawasaki) who rounded out the points-scoring places.
The battle for the points was an incredible fight with Italian rookie Matteo Vannucci (AG Motorsport Italia Yamaha) in 16th place but just a tenth behind Mogeda. Lennox Lehmann (Freudenberg KTM – Paligo Racing) was 17th after dropping down the order in the latter stages, having previously been in the podium places at the start of Lap 10. Spanish duo Iker Garcia Abella (Yamaha MS Racing) and Alex Millan (SMW Racing) were 18th and 19th respectively, with Fenton Seabright (Vinales Racing Team) rounding out the top 20.
There was only one retirement from Race 2, with Sylvain Markarian (Leader Team Flembbo) bringing his bike into the pits after nine completed laps.