ALVARO BAUTISTA CROWNED 2022 WORLDSBK CHAMPION
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) fought hard during the 2022 season against a charging 2021 World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and six-time World Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). In what has been 11 long years since Ducati’s last World Champion was crowned with Carlos Checa, Bautista’s Championship title also saw the 37-year-old be just the second Spanish rider to win this prestigious crown and the first time since 2011, 2012 & 2013 that three different World Superbike Champions, on three different manufacturers have been crowned!
Despite Bautista coming into Mandalika with one hand on the trophy and a Championship win looking highly likely, Pata Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu did all he could to keep the Championship hunt alive for a final-round battle. But, even a Mandalika hat-trick from the Turkish rider wasn’t enough to stop Bautista from being crowned 2022 World Champion.
BAUTISTA’S SEASON IN A WRAP
Bautista returned to Ducati in 2022 after two seasons away and came out firing as soon as the lights went out for the first race of the year. Bautista took his first win of the season in the Tissot Superpole Race at the season-opening Aragon Round, and a further win in Race 2 against Jonathan Rea. This Round also made clear who our top-three contenders would be for the year, and it didn’t take long for Bautista, Razgatlioglu, and Rea to be titled ‘The Titanic Trio’ of 2022.
Heading into the Motul Dutch Round as the early Championship leader, Rea proved a strong contender with a win in Race 1 and Superpole, but a costly mistake and DNF finish in Race 2 from both Rea and Razgatlioglu saw Bautista extend his lead from the ensuing pack.
Round 3, the Titanic Trio were fierce in head-to-head battles, and consistency proved key for Bautista to maintain his marginal championship lead, with a win and two podiums to see out the weekend, much the same for Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round.
In what was a seemingly faultless year, disaster struck the Ducati rider at the Prosecco Doc UK Round in Donington Park, with a crash in Race 1 that put a small dent in his lead, but not enough for Rea and Razgatlioglu to make amends.
From there onwards, Bautista took 15 podiums in the 18 races that followed, including a crucial championship moment at Round 8 in Catalunya, where Bautista took his first hat-trick of the season – the same round that only saw a 5-3 finish for Razgatlioglu in Races 1 & 2 and a big jump in the championship leaderboard.
Experience proved important for the Spanish rider, knowing his main goal was to keep results consistent for the remainder of the season. In Portugal, Argentina and of course Indonesia, Bautista knew putting a DNF on the board could diminish his Championship title hopes.
It wasn’t until Race 1 of Argentina that Bautista’s chances of taking the 2022 Title came to light when the 2021 World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu made a pass on Bautista for the lead that ended in the gravel. Despite Razgatlioglu managing to remount his Yamaha to finish in P15 to score 1 point, this moment ultimately shaped the 2022 Title, when Bautista crossed the line in that same race to score 25 points.
Coming into the penultimate round of the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship in Indonesia, Bautista had one hand firmly on the trophy. Heading into this round, Toprak Razgatlioglu knew this would be his last chance to keep his 2022 title dreams alive to take the Championship fight to Phillip Island. Razgatlioglu could not have done more towards his title campaign with a win in Race 1, Race 2 and Superpole – But, Bautista’s finishings were enough to secure the title in Race 2 – with 533 points to his name.
Alvaro Bautista: “It’s incredible. I’m so happy. It’s a dream come true, especially after the last two years and all the difficulties. I want to say thanks to everyone who trusted me, to give me this chance to fight for good places and we got the Championship for the first time trying together. Today was the first time I felt a bit nervous or stressed, but it was in Race 2 on the grid before the start. I tried to manage my emotions and when I was in first, I made a lot of mistakes because I had too many thoughts in my head! I just preferred to stay second behind Toprak, but he was very strong, so I could just follow him. I am so happy.”
Guilio Nava, Bautista’s Crew Chief: “We worked really hard for this; this team and Ducati. I’ve been working with Alvaro for many years and I’m super happy to be here with him, seeing him achieving these results. It means a lot. I’m very lucky to work with him. You create very a strong relationship together. We joke together. Alvaro is like my brother. It’s difficult for me to explain what it means, but it means the world to see him winning.”
Luigi Dall’lgna, Ducati Corse General Manager: “It is a wonderful day for us. We worked a lot with Alvaro in the past and in 2019 we did a fantastic job until the middle of the season. In the end, we could not win the crown. Today, in the end, and it was a fantastic emotion. It was a special day. This is probably one of the best seasons of his life. This year, and 2006, were two really amazing seasons for him. He won the 2006 125cc World Championship and today he won WorldSBK. He’s a real fantastic rider and I’m really, really happy he could get the title today.”
For the first time since 2011, 2012 and 2013, World Superbikes have crowned three different Champions, on three different bikes, in three consecutive years, with Jonathan Rea crowned the 2020 World Champion with the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK, Toprak Razgatlioglu crowned 2021 World Champion with Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK, and Aruba.it Racing – Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista crowned 2022 World Champion!
But the 2022 season isn’t over just yet – with the season finale still to take place at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on the 18 – 20th of November, where final championship positions will be taken! Tickets at www.worldsbk.com.au