Round 8 Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona Superbike World Championship

by Christina S. Brown
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The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Montmelo, which makes its debut on the FIM Superbike World Championship calendar, promises to deliver plenty of excitement to World Superbike. The fast and flowing location, which has been a regular fixture on the MotoGPTM calendar since 1992 – the same year as the Barcelona Olympics – has witnessed legendary races across all disciplines of motorcycle racing.

A long straight, with times becoming faster all the time, is a talking topic before Round 8 Circuit de Barcelona.

The eighth round of the Circuit de Barcelona 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has arrived in Barcelona from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain. The renowned venue, which will be new to WorldSBK’s calendar in 2020, is preparing for the third year of drama and excitement, and with the title race as heated as it has ever been, fireworks are certain. However, in two years, we’ve seen great unpredictability, and more is on the way – possibly even a new high-speed record… The statistical guide for this weekend’s action is now available.

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331.3 – Prior to a red light in last year’s Superpole Race, Alvaro Bautista put Team HRC on top of the track’s top speed record. Chaz Davies set the outright top speed record on an Aprilia in 2012 at MotorLand Aragon’s old layout on an Aprilia.

190 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) will take his 190th podium for Kawasaki. That is worth $60 more than Troy Corser’s total number of podiums with six different manufacturers, none of which were with Kawasaki (Ducati, Aprilia, Petronas, Suzuki, Yamaha, BMW).

51 – Tom Sykes’ pole in Barcelona last year was the 51st and last in WorldSBK history, an all-time high. It will be valid until at least 2023; the active rider with the most poles is Jonathan Rea, who has 39.

27 – Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) is one win away from tying double World Champion Doug Polen for eighth all-time (27 wins). His 26th victory moved him up to seventh overall, two wins ahead of Carlos Checa and Alvaro Bautista.

19 – Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), Razgatlioglu, and Rea have shared the podium 19 times, which is the second most of any rider: the absolute record is 31 podiums shared: Davies-Rea-Sykes (2014-2019).

17 – Razgatlioglu has led at least one lap in each of the last 17 races: data is available from 1998, and this is the longest streak since then: The next-longest streak is 12 by Colin Edwards from Misano Race 1 to Imola Race 2 in 2002.

13 – Yamaha is on a string of 13 Superpole front rows following Magny-Cours. The same goes for Razgatlioglu, the first Yamaha rider to have 13 consecutive front rows. Scott Russell on Kawasaki set the record with 17 laps from Brands Hatch in 1993 to Albacete in 1994.

12 – Rea is on a 12-race victory streak, his longest since 2012-2013, when he went 33 races without winning from Miller Motorsports Park Race 1 in 2012 to Moscow Raceway Race 1 in 2013.

10 – In just six races, ten riders reached the podium in Barcelona: the record is held by Rea and Redding, who each have three.

6 – In 2020, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya made its WorldSBK Championship debut, becoming the sixth Spanish track in history.

5×6 – Five different victors have emerged from the six races held here thus far, with only Rea claiming a second victory (2020 Race 1 and 2021’s Tissot Superpole Race). Michael van der Mark, Chaz Davies, Scott Redding, and Michael Ruben Rinaldi are the other winners. The wins have all come from the top five on the grid: only Rea has won from pole (2020 Race 1), while Rinaldi has won from fifth last year.

3×3 – In 2020, three different riders from three different manufacturers won the three races: Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki), Michael van der Mark (Yamaha), and Chaz Davies (Ducati). Ducati (Race 1 Redding, Race 2 Rinaldi) and Kawasaki shared the wins in 2021. (Superpole Race: Rea).

3x3x2 – The first three grid positions in 2020 were filled by three riders riding three different bikes: Rea (Kawasaki), Razgatlioglu (Yamaha), and Bautista (Yamaha) (Honda). In 2021, it happened again: Sykes (BMW), Razgatlioglu (Yamaha), and Rea (Kawasaki).

2 – Ducati’s best Superpole result so yet is a fourth-place finish by Redding last year, which means this is one of two tracks where they competed but did not start from the first row after Superpole, along with Istanbul Park. Ducati has started from the front row on 50 different occasions.

1 – In Circuit de Barcelona, the top 10 in WorldSBK Superpole have always been separated by less than a second.

Following Jerez, Jarama, Albacete, Valencia, and MotorLand Aragon, this is the sixth different track in Spain to hold a race. As a result, Spain, along with Italy, will host a WorldSBK round at six separate circuits.

Take a look back at some of their iconic fights and skirmishes after Rea was penalized for contact with Bautista at Magny-Cours.

The history of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is littered with rivalries that have been focal points in various periods of the Championship’s storytelling, and Jonathan Rea’s (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) battle with Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) is no exception. Starting in 2019, when the pair competed for the title, the rivalry has been reignited this season with Bautista’s return to Ducati and the Spaniard now leading the title race. Here, we look at some of their most epic battles from the 2022 season.

Starting with the drama of the French Round at Magny-Cours, which ended in Bautista’s non-finish and Rea’s Long Lap Penalty. Rea looked to make a move on the right-hander at Turn 13 on Lap 2 of Race 2, with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) out in front. The pair collided, sending Bautista sprawling over the gravel, while Rea finished fifth after receiving a Long Lap Penalty. Both Bautista and Rea used heated language after the race to express their feelings about the incident.

Round three of the 2022 season saw three last-lap deciders, with all three of the top three participating at some time. Rea and Bautista’s battle began in Race 2 at the iconic Portuguese track, with the six-time champion edging out Bautista at Turn 9 on the final lap. Rea lost time on the penultimate lap at Turn 1, but spent the rest of the race closing the gap before making a move at Turn 7. Before Rea moved up the inside of Bautista at the left-hand corner of Turn 9, both riders were sliding out of the bend and into Turn 8. Rea had a tremendous wobble through the final bend, but Bautista was too close to pass him and grab the win.

The season began in April at MotorLand Aragon, but it was a foreshadowing of things to come, with Rea and Bautista slugging it out in Race 1 with a last-lap decider. Bautista was trailing Rea going into Lap 18, but he was able to pull ahead of Rea through the final curve by utilizing the very long back straight. Rea, on the other hand, had different plans, using the cutback maneuver on Bautista to simply cling on to victory and begin his season on the top step of the podium.

The closing lap clashes between the top three have been a theme of the 2022 season. At the TT Circuit Assen, in the abbreviated Tissot Superpole Race, Rea took the lead on the final lap and held off Bautista’s charges to clinch the win despite starting last. It was not only a last-lap battle between the two, but also a battling triumph for Rea, who beat teammate Alex Lowes, Razgatlioglu, and Bautista. At Assen, there was also some post-race drama, with Bautista receiving a penalty for exceeding track restrictions on the penultimate lap of the Superpole Race.

Donington Park was a track where Bautista expected to struggle with his Ducati in comparison to others, but despite a self-inflicted collision in Race 1, the Spaniard was competitive throughout. In Race 2, Bautista had the greatest perspective as Rea and Razgatlioglu battled for the second position before battling Rea for third. Bautista completed his move in the dying circuits of the race to respond to his Race 1 collision in style with second place and expand his Championship lead over Rea.

IMPORTANT NOTES Circuit de Barcelona: Returning to 2019

The rivalry between Rea and Bautista began during Bautista’s first season in 2019 when the pair contended for the title in some intense duels. Rea finished the year on top of the standings, although there were fights along the way, especially in Race 1 at Buriram, the Superpole Race at Phillip Island, and Portimao Race 2. More from the greatest of Rea vs Bautista can be found right here!

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