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Cycle News 2022 Issue 15 April 12

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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maneuver into the long left final corner on the 3.15-mile Aragon layout. With Razgatlioglu slowly begin- ning to feel his front-tire wear cost him time, eventually Bau- tista (on his very fast bike on the straight) and Rea (with his nim- bler and more stable bike on the brakes), took turns to lead. Rea was passed on the final lap, into the final corner, by Bautista, but as he struggled to keep a tight line against a front that wanted to fold, Bautista had to yield, and Rea did enough to make sure of a truly classic win. Razgatlioglu finished third, with early rider in the podium places, Michael Ruben Rinaldi, fourth. Fifth, finally, was Andrea Locatelli on the second factory Yamaha. A great immediate payout of points came for HRC Honda's new rookie duo, as Iker Lecuona was sixth and Xavi Vierge sev- enth. In a near disaster for BMW, stand in rider for Van der Mark, Ilia Mykhalchyk, was eighth, but Scott Redding placed only 15th after his debut BMW race. The first 10-lap Superpole race of the season took place at 11 a.m. on Sunday, in cool-ish con- ditions. It was a one-man show for Bautista, eventually, but a titanic battle behind for the other two podium places. Having ridden with some reserve in his first race back in Ducati colors since 2019, Bau- tista let loose from the first laps to the last in the Superpole race on Sunday. He was consistently under the old race-lap record in the early laps and ended up 5.141 seconds ahead of Rea at the flag. Strangely, Razgatlioglu took the actual new lap record away with him after that race, doing a 1'49.375 on lap two. Rinaldi could have been second but ended up fourth, eased out hard from his podium position on the final corner by Razgatlioglu. Locatelli was only 1.5 seconds from the top four group, with Alex Lowes recovering from his race-one crash to take sixth in the sprint. As the track temperature increased to 36°C, race two got underway, with everyone asking if Bautista could make a clear run to win this time around. Eighteen laps later, the answer seemed to be an unequivocal yes, as the Spanish rider found the pace he wanted once he was completely cleanly away from Rea and co. Rea got to lead on lap two, before trouble presented itself for the Kawasaki rider, and then his other rivals got stuck in, too. Once again, Rea had Rinaldi and Razgatlioglu to contend with, but this time it looked like Rinaldi may even have had the pace to follow Bautista all the way. Not to be, as Rea caught and re-passed him, with some gesticulation going on from Rinaldi, as he felt he was on the end of some hard moves. Razgatlioglu was again in trou- ble with his front-tire grip and, therefore, confidence, but three podiums are three podiums. Rinaldi finished fourth in race two, as the top four riders ended up spread out across 8.817 seconds. Lowes took fifth place after Locatelli crashed by losing the front. Lowes had been critical of his day one setup, and his team went back to one that they used before their extensive winter-test program, delivering him a top five on Sunday afternoon. Bassani went from seventh in the Superpole race to sixth in the second full 18-lapper and earned himself top independent status as a result. Loris Baz was top BMW rider in seventh on his Bonovo bike, with Vierge eighth, Gerloff ninth and Lecuona 10th. The HRC rookies scored in all three races, which many more established stars failed to do. In the early championship fight, two weeks before round two in Assen, Bautista leads with 57 points, Rea had 54, Razgatlioglu 39 and Rinaldi 32. "Qualifying was not so good," said American Garrett Gerloff. "We have good pace, and I feel really good on the bike. I did not put it together in qualifying. I went faster, and I was close to the best time I did. But I dropped four-tenths and everybody else dropped a second per lap. So, VOLUME 59 ISSUE 15 APRIL 12, 2022 P39

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