2022 FIM Superbike World Championship
Round Six – Autodrom Most, Most, Czech Republic
WorldSBK returns to the Autodrom Most for the second time after the Czech circuit hosted the event for the first time back in 2021.
Most features no less than 21 distinct corners and curves – a very high number for a circuit which measures 4.212km long. This leads to frequent changes of direction as the track weaves its way across the side of a hill, making it a truly unique and characterful venue. Track improvements for the 2022 season include resurfacing, improved drainage and enhanced run-off areas.
The Autodrom Most is next for the three-horse race for supremacy that we have this year, but there are also plenty of other riders knocking on the door to join that triumvirate, it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen in the Czech Republic this time around at the Prosecco DOC Czech Round.
Despite still leading the Championship, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) saw his points lead slashed at Donington Park after his first crash of the season in Race 1. His lead trimmed from 36-points down to 17. It’ll be Bautista’s first time with the Ducati at the track. Team-mate Michael Ruben Rinaldi found some better form at Donington Park and is now five points behind fourth overall.
“I think it can be a track that suits our bike because basically, it’s fast corners and I like it a lot, so I am looking forward to starting on Friday and working with my Ducati. About tyres, at the end it will be the same for everyone, so you have to work to make the tyres work. For sure, I feel better with the SCX tyre, but we can only use it in the Superpole and Superpole Race, so we have to use the SC0 and new SC0 from Pirelli. Let’s see what happens with the new tyre. At Donington Park, we were close to the 1000th podium for Ducati but I crashed in Race 1. It’s not in my mind but if we can do it, then perfect.”
Whilst he may not have won at Misano or Donington Park, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has made gains and is now right back in close contention for a seventh World Championship. With a new Kawasaki deal taking him until the end of 2024, Rea’s future is sorted and he can race for this year as his sole focus.
“Most is an exciting one because it is the last race of the first part of the season. It is important to go into the summer break with a good feeling and some momentum. It was a new circuit for everybody last season so we had a lot of learning to do. We hadn’t tested there so it was a more difficult weekend than we expected. Armed with all the data we gained last season, and the improvements in the Ninja ZX-10RR, I expect to start strongly. I enjoy the circuit and they have worked really hard to improve it and re-asphalt it in a lot of areas. I am expecting quite a different Most than in 2021. I expect a lot of local fans. I know when we used to race in the Czech Republic in the past they turned out in their thousands. It will be amazing to see all that support from the Czech fans. The target is to go there to maximise our opportunities and come away with a bag full of points before the summer break.”
Team-mate Alex Lowes secured his first top three finish of the season last time out on his Ninja ZX-10RR. This success has only whetted his appetite for more visits to the podium to make sure he enters the long summer break in confident mood.
Having not won any of the opening ten races, reigning World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) is now the only rider in 2022 to have won four races in five. The 26-year-old is looking at one with his bike again and team boss Paul Denning commented on Toprak’s belief of being able to ride like he wants again. With “Toprak style” coming back, he comes to a circuit where he triumphed in a stunning final lap battle in 2021 against Scott Redding and then backed it up with another victory that weekend, thus Razgatlioglu has the best form at the circuit as well as coming into the 2022 round after having achieved a career-first triple at Donington.
“In Most, like always I think we will see Johnny and Alvaro very strong, but we will keep fighting for the victory. I like the track and it was a nice fight on the final lap with Scott last year. There will be some parts of the track with a new asphalt so we will see on Thursday what the changes are like. We’re not looking at the Championship yet and I just focus race by race, same as always. The goal is only to fight for the win, and after the great feeling and very strong performance in Donington I am excited to ride my R1 again, but we will see what is possible.”
Team-mate Andrea Locatelli hopes to bounce back after a difficult Donington Park at a circuit where he took a rostrum in 2021 with third.
Huge gains were made in the BMW camp at Donington Park as a new swing-arm enabled Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) to take his biggest points haul of the season so far and a first rostrum with BMW in the Tissot Superpole Race. Although he insists it still needs work, Redding has now demonstrated the potential that he and the M1000RR package could have and comes to Most in good spirits.
Teammate Michael van der Mark is healing up, Peter Hickman, fresh from his wildcard appearance at Donington, will stand in for the Dutchman at the Autodrom Most. Illya Myhkhalchyk, who stood in for van der Mark at Aragon, Misano and Donington, is preparing for the Suzuka 8 Hours.
Marc Bongers – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director
“At Donington we confirmed that we are making good progress with our further developments. The feedback from both Scott and Loris was very positive, and this was reflected in the race performances. Now we need to build on this at Most, even though the characteristics of the track are totally different. We’re delighted that Peter is able to step in for BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team at short notice, and would like to thank Faye Ho and FHO Racing Team for allowing him to race at Most. Huge thanks also go to Ilya, who stood in for Michael for three race weekends. Now he needs to focus on the FIM Endurance World Championship. We wish him and BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team all the best at Suzuka.”
In what was always going to be a tricky Donington Park weekend, Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) and team-mate Xavi Vierge got through it but now face a similar scenario as they head to a circuit that they don’t know. Lecuona is the only rider in the entire WorldSBK field to have scored points in every race – all of which have been top ten finishes – and that is vital for development of the CBR1000RR-R. He’s just eight points off fourth overall, with the fight for the top four being a four-way battle and seeing four riders covered by just 18 points. Team-mate Vierge never looked settled at Donington Park but hopes that with his injury from Misano improving, he can hold onto a top ten placing going into the summer break.
“I’ve spent a week just relaxing and resting. It was important to try and recover generally and regain strength after a very busy six weeks of testing around the world. I’ve basically not stopped recently, and I really felt it at Donington. So I’ve done my best to recover in preparation for Most, another new track where we need to start from scratch. I’ve never even seen a video of the track actually, so Friday’s free practice sessions will be crucial. In my case, this is the third of several new tracks we are going to visit this season and, so far, we have been able to adapt well, so we must keep up the good work.”
Besides the factories, the battle for top Independent is fierce; so far, it’s Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) who leads it and the Italian has made no bones about his aims of beating the factory Ducati of Rinaldi in his bid for a 2023 factory seat.
The next Independent is Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW), who after a hat-trick of ninth places in the UK, arrives at Most for the first time, 28 points behind Bassani.
Behind Baz is the enigmatic Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) whilst Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven), Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) and Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) all head to Most for the first time, keen for a top ten before summer.
“Thankfully we have another race weekend just two weeks after Donington. The British one was not the best for us, but we still learned some good lessons, and I really want to show our real potential in Most. Let’s see what will happen, looking at the weather we might have tricky conditions, but I just want to jump back on track and be fast.”
The rolling carousel of riders at TPR Team Pedercini Racing continues with Ryan Vickers making his World Superbike debut with them at Most this coming weekend. Vickers, who currently races in the British Superbike Championship will replace Leon Haslam who has been requested by Kawasaki to fly to Suzuka in Japan early, in preparation for the Suzuka 8 Hour event.
“I’m really excited about this weekend to be joining Team Pedercini Racing for a Wildcard opportunity at Most. It’s always been a goal of mine to eventually race in World Superbike and to get this little taster is amazing, so a big thank you to Lucio, Guim and everyone else involved. Also thanks to Faye Ho for allowing me to take this opportunity! I’m going to enjoy this weekend and learn as much as I can from the experience.”
Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) and team-mate Hafizh Syahrin hope to do their Czech-based team proud at home, whilst home rider Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) hopes for his first points of 2022, where he took a podium in WorldSSP300 last year.
On completion of the Czech round there will be a five weekend-long summer break from competitive WorldSBK action. The season will get underway again at the frequently visited Circuit de Nevers Magny Cours in France, between 9-11 September.
WorldSBK Championship Points
Michael Ruben Rinaldi
Michael Van Der Mark
As the FIM Supersport World Championship heads to the Czech Republic for the 2022 Prosecco DOC Czech Round, there is plenty to celebrate for the Championship as it reaches a huge milestone. Race 1 at the Autodrom Most is set to be the 300th race in WorldSSP history but it also could be a historic milestone for reigning Champion Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) in the same race.
The reigning Champion is on a win streak of nine victories which puts him level with 2020 Champion Andrea Locatelli, which was the longest winning streak in WorldSSP history. Victory for Aegerter in Race 1 at Most will put him clear of Locatelli’s record and he will become the first rider to take ten consecutive wins in the class. The Swiss rider claimed one victory at Most in 2021 but found his winning streak from last year ended in Race 1 when he finished fourth, with Steven Odendaal, who raced for Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team, claiming victory. Will the rider competing for that team now, Lorenzo Baldassarri, be able to prevent Aegerter writing more history? Or could Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) take his and Ducati’s first win of the 2022 season?
After a crash at Estoril which meant Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) had to undergo surgery and have three toes amputated, he will return to action at the Autodrom Most. Tuuli did get back on a bike earlier in July to begin his training but will race for the first time since Estoril on his MV Agusta F3 800 RR machine. In the 2021 Czech Round, Tuuli claimed two top-ten finishes for MV Agusta.
Several riders will be looking for a podium finish in the Czech Republic to either continue their strong form or bounce back from difficulties at Donington Park. Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) currently sits fourth in the standings but has not had a podium since Race 2 at Assen, whilst Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) hasn’t been on the podium since Race 1 there; the Dutchman aiming to bounce back from two Donington DNFs. Yari Montella (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) is looking for a first podium and, after two fourth place finishes in 2022, will be hoping that comes at Most.
Stefano Manzi (Dynavolt Triumph) produced another sensational comeback at Donington and the rookie will be hoping that he, along with teammate Hannes Soomer, can fight for Triumph’s first podium since 2012 whilst Ducati duo Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing) and Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura WorldSSP) set their sights on the podium; Caricasulo aiming for his first of 2022 and De Rosa hoping to add to his Donington Race 1 rostrum.
After suffering injuries in a crash at Donington Park, Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) will miss the Czech Round and will be replaced by Valentin Debise, at the circuit where the Frenchman made his first appearance of 2021 at and recorded a seventh-place finish. In terms of wildcards, Patrik Homola (Motoriders) will make his WorldSSP debut on home soil in the Czech Republic.
The two Australians in the World Supersport Championship, Oli Bayliss and Ben Currie, are raring to go for the weekend.
“I am looking forward to the weekend, Donington didn’t go how I was expecting it because of a couple of big crashes that hurt. However it was a really good weekend for Information and on confident we can make a step with the bike to push more forward. Had a good little rest to get the body back in shape and I’m raring to go!”
“I came to Most to test with the road bike, right after the Misano test, and I found a circuit that reminds me a little of the ones in Australia. The test went very well and I think I can have a good weekend here.”
WorldSSP600 Championship Points
Glenn Van Straalen
Raffaele De Rosa
It’s been a longer break for the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship but after seven weeks since the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round, the Championship is back in action this weekend. After two incredible races last season at Most, the Championship battle this season still rages on with four riders separated by 29 points at the head of the field.
Spanish duo Alvaro Diaz (Arco Motor University Team) and Marc Garcia (Yamaha MS Racing) lead the standings on 125 and 105 points respectively but face a challenge at Most, a circuit they are yet to race at. The pair are being chased down by Samuel Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo) and Victor Steeman (MTM Kawasaki), both of whom raced at Most in 2021 with Di Sora claiming fourth in Race 1, whilst Steeman won Race 1 and finished fourth in Race 2. How will this impact the title fight? Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki) is close behind this battle and, like Di Sora and Steeman, raced at Most last year; the Japanese rider aims to use his experience to close the gap in the title fight.
The Autodrom Most circuit in 2021 proved to be one of KTM’s strongest weekends as the Austrian manufacturer claimed 38 of their 81 points, taking a win and a fourth place across the Czech Round with Steeman. In 2022, Lennox Lehmann (Freudenberg KTM – Paligo Racing) is the sole KTM representative and he has made some impressive comebacks through the field this season. Lehmann has not raced there in WorldSSP300, but in the German IDM championship he claimed a win and a second place at Most on his way to the title in 2021; missing out on a double by just 0.001s. Lehmann is currently in a tight three-way battle for sixth in the standings with Hugo De Cancellis (Leader Team Flembbo) and Mirko Gennai (Team BrCorse), as just four points separate the trio who will be looking to close the gap to the five riders ahead of their group.
Misano Race 1 winner Matteo Vannucci (AG Motorsport Italia Yamaha) used the gap to compete in CIV and win in Italy, but his attention now returns to WorldSSP300 and his Championship battle. The rookie is currently ninth in the standings and back from injury having missed Race 2 at Misano. He leads a group of riders including Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing) and Bruno Ieraci (Prodina Racing WorldSSP300), covered by just five points. Can they close the gap to those ahead in the standings?
Young Aussie Harry Khouri is keen to hit the track.
“Looking forward to getting the second half of the year started at Most this weekend. I was fortunate enough to have to have two days testing here after Misano. It has been a tough first half of the season, but now its our time to turn it all around and have the best possible finish to the year.”
After sustaining injuries in preseason, Jose Luis Perez Gonzales (Accolade Smrz Racing) will be looking to make his first appearance of the season although the Spanish rider will need to pass medical checks. Petr Svoboda, who has replaced Perez Gonzales so far this season, will make a wildcard appearance on home soil for the same team while Filip Feigl (Genius Racing Team) also makes a wildcard appearance for the first time this season, and his second in total; his previous one came at Most in 2021, claiming 32nd and 20th in Race 1 and Race 2 respectively.
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