Skip to content


Alvaro Bautista romps to a clean sweep of Round 8 in Catalunya extending his lead in the 2022 WorldSBK Championship

WorldSBK Catalunya 2022 – SUPERPOLE

Alvaro Bautista’s opponents were clearly nervous at the previous round in France about just what the Spaniard could do at a circuit like Catalunya with a straight as long as Ducati’s history in WorldSBK. Many teams had made a hot weather test at Catalunya this year, but despite Bautista being only fifth in Superpole on Saturday, there was only one red hot winning throttle-hand all weekend. His own.


Iker Lecuona, Catalunya WorldSBK 2022

Remarkably, it was local man Iker Lecuona (HRC) who piled in with the winning time in Superpole qualifying, the first time a Honda had qualified on pole since 2016, and the first ever WorldSBK pole for rookie Lecuona. Right behind were the KRT duo of Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea, but Rea was toiling underneath the front-row facade and had to get some help from Lowes to set his time. The whole pit-crew from both sides changed almost his whole bike to take on the challenge of Race 1.


WorldSBK Catalunya 2022 – RACE 1

And it was a challenge for all but the pre-race favourite. Well, Bautista challenged the rest to go with him early on and only Toprak Razgatlioglu was willing – and almost able – to do it. Unable to set a fast time in Superpole as his electronics and maps were introducing too much traction control in readiness for the race, Bautista was still the leader across the start/finish line on every lap. Of the whole weekend, as it played out.

Alvaro Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu, Catalunya WSBK 2022

Rea had been pinged out wide by Michael Ruben Rinaldi, and was down in seventh early on after so many following riders passed him. He would bide his time to get a decent result, because Razgatlioglu’s desire to stay with Bautista had cost his rear tyre dearly, and he started to lose pace – then drop very suddenly.


Axel Bassani, Jonathan Rea, Andrea Locatelli and Garrett Gerloff, Catalunya WSBK Race 1, 24 September 2022

This race was always going to be about tyre wear, and with new development options, people were willing to try new things because they knew the known things would not be guaranteed to work at a track that often chews tyres. As Razgatlioglu started to slip back, Rea was making up places simply because those in front were falling back to him, and he took their positions off them one-by-one.

Jonathan Rea, Catalunya WorldSBK

He nearly lost second at the end, as the resurgent Garrett Gerloff moved forward, after also saving his tyres like Rea had done. Intelligence trumped impetuousness as Gerloff settled for a podium place that seem equally unlikely as Rea’s in the first few tense laps. Rinaldi was fourth.


Garrett Gerloff, Catalunya WorldSBK

Bautista should have won by over 10 seconds, but even slowing up he was 8.665sec ahead of Rea at the flag. Lecuona, Lowes and most significantly Razgatlioglu were the big tyre wear losers, with Toprak only fifth.

Jonathan Rea, Alvaro Bautista and Garrett Gerloff, Catalunya WSBK Race 1, 24 September 2022

WorldSBK Catalunya 2022 – SUPERPOLE RACE

Come Sunday and the 10-lap Superpole race, Bautista repeated his front running prowess but this time he had two Kawasaki riders keeping him honest. Surprisingly, the most effective one was Lowes, with Rea sitting behind and unable to make any progress past his teammate.


Alvaro Bautista, Jonathan Rea, Alex Lowes, Andrea Locatelli and Iker Lecuona, Catalunya WorldSBK superpole race

Unsurprisingly, given the state of the championship as Bautista is starting to stretch his lead, Rea passed Lowes at the end, with the final podium order being Bautista, Rea, and Lowes.


Alvaro Bautista, Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea, Catalunya WorldSBK superpole race

Razgatlioglu was fourth, but over five seconds from Bautista, after winning a sharp battle with Rinaldi.


Jonathan Rea, Alvaro Bautista and Alex Lowes, Catalunya WorldSBK superpole race, 25 September 2022

WorldSBK Catalunya 2022 – RACE 2

The rain gods had taken a different path from the one expected this weekend, with only some sessions affected (FP3, for example) but Sunday was blessed with largely sunny weather. This meant more headaches for the teams to choose their ideal set-up entering into the final 20-lap race. The question of who could beat Bautista was answered strongly and early when the number 19 Ducati took the lead and kept creating a bigger one.


Alvaro Bautista, Catalunya WorldSBK race2, 25 September 2022

The most interesting dynamic was seeing Rinaldi held up Rea, partly for his own gain in case the rider in green could go away, partly to slow the pace to save tyres for the end at this rubber-wrecking circuit. But we must presume also so that he could hold up Rea and Razgatlioglu behind his championship chasing teammate.


Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Jonathan Rea, Catalunya WorldSBK race2, 25 September 2022

Axel Bassani (Motocorsa) was in aggressive form, and he also caused Rea to think about his situation on track in those early laps. Bassani went second at around half race distance, but after Rinaldi displaced him, the privateer dropped back – until Rea found a false neutral and ran off track, coming back on behind Bassani on lap 16. Rea would re-pass with relative ease but the podium riders – Bautista, Rinaldi and Razgatlioglu – were too far ahead to think about.


Jonathan Rea, Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Axel Bassani and Toprak Razgatlioglu, Catalunya WorldSBK race2, 25 September 2022

After his Race 1 podium Gerloff would crash, but so did Scott Redding (at a tough circuit for BMW), Lowes (on lap one) and Andrea Locatelli.

Scott Redding, Catalunya WSBK

In the championship fight itself, a lot of damage was done to Rea and Razgatlioglu, both by Bautista’s wins and their own occasional misfortunes. Rea went 2-2-4 in his race results, Razgatlioglu was 5-4-3. But compared to 1-1-1, it was all slipping back.


Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Alvaro Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu, Catalunya WorldSBK race2, 25 September 2022

In the championship points, Razgatlioglu and Rea are now 59 and 67 points behind Bautista. The Spaniard has 394, Razgatlioglu 335 and Rea 327. The next round will be the final European one of 2022, at the popular Portimao roller coaster between 7-9 October.


Alvaro Bautista, Catalunya WorldSBK