Another frenetic Superpole Race this morning delivered further excitement for the 43,549 fans who braved the elements here this weekend, following yesterday’s “wet-dry” Race 1, as Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK’s Razgatlıoğlu put the #1-plate Yamaha R1 WorldSBK on the box for the final time this season with a thrilling ride to second place. A deluge fell on the coastal circuit just minutes before pit lane opened, but a drying track allowed Alvaro Bautista’s brave gamble to run full slicks to pay off, with the team’s Turkish ace unable to answer on the same wet/intermediate combination as Kawasaki rival Jonathan Rea, who finished a very close third.
Race 2 provided much of the same WorldSBK action enjoyed by fans throughout the year with the top trio of Razgatlıoğlu, Bautista and Rea battling for the win, after a stunning double overtake into the Miller Hairpin (Turn 4) put Razgatlıoğlu into podium contention on Lap 5. Unfortunately, the race was cut short on Lap 17 by a red flag, leaving Razgatlıoğlu to finish the season with fourth place followed by his teammate’s return to form with two very consistent and positive fifth-place rides.
Having achieved three pole positions in his 2021 title-winning year, Razgatlıoğlu won the overall Tissot Superpole Award for 2022, starting from pole on four occasions, winning seven Superpole Races and only starting outside the front row an incredible four times out of 36 races. He also achieved the largest “dry” pole margin in WorldSBK since 1992 – with a gap of 1.052s from the second-fastest time at the Mandalika International Street Circuit.
The Turkish rider has also become Yamaha’s most successful rider in WorldSBK with 30 wins to date, surpassing the previous record held by Noriyuki Haga, and 2022 saw him celebrate 14 victories to go “one better” than last year’s historic season, despite one less event in the calendar than 2021.
Razgatlıoğlu, Locatelli , Yamaha and Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK finished in clear second places in the Riders’, Manufacturers’ and Teams’ Championships. The team celebrated its best-ever event results in Indonesia last weekend with Razgatlıoğlu’s second “triple” hat-trick of victories plus Locatelli’s first WorldSBK front row-start, a superb podium in the Superpole Race and two fourth-places. [SB1]Paul want Loka mentioned in this para
In his sophomore WorldSBK year, with increased competition across the category, Locatelli stepped on the podium on just two occasions in Mandalika and Assen, but finished the season strongly in the final rounds to secure a well-deserved fifth overall in the riders’ standings.
Spectator crowds returned to WorldSBK in droves following the COVID-restricted 2020 and 2021 seasons, with the largest attendance seen at San Juan in Argentina of 78,549 followed by Misano, Italy with 65,825 and a record-breaking Donington, UK round of 51,831 – the largest seen since 2014.
The team will be back on track for a three-day private test to work on intensive preparation for the new 2023 title campaign at Circuito de Jerez from 13-15 December, as it attempts to take back the “Triple Crown”.