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WorldSBK Aragon: Rea dominates first practice of 2022

WorldSBK’s 2022 action kicked off with Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea firmly in charge as Friday’s first free practice fired up at Motorland Aragon.

A late push from 2021 Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu saw the Pata Yamaha man take second as he looked to reignite his rivalry with KRT’s six-time champ, while Aruba Ducati’s Michael Rinaldi stole third in the closing stages.

Rea was quick to hit the track, circulating with initial 1’49.301 pace that would not be beaten as he led teammate Alex Lowes in the early times. 2021 Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu and Alvaro Bautista around a second back as the 45-minutes session bedded in.


Michael Rinaldi joined his Aruba Ducati partner in the top five after ten minutes on track, while GRT Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff maintained his impressive pre-season showing in sixth. BMW sat seventh and eight as factory stand-in Ilya Mikhalchik trailed Bonovo’s Loris Baz with Xavi Vierge and Andrea Locatelli rounding out the top ten for Honda and Pata Yamaha respectively.

A frustrated Scott Redding began his BMW career from 15th overall and running 1’51.550 pace, former MotoGP rider Iker Lecuona narrowly ahead, with the final M1000RR of Eugene Laverty two places behind.

Technical issues found MIE Honda’s Hafizh Syahrin and Pedercini’s Loris Cresson sidelined in the opening half, with Roberto Tamburini heading out for his debut lap on the Motoxracing Yamaha with just 20 minutes to go. The Italian’s opening effort hit hard, however, as he made his way to 12th. Just one-tenth down on Lucas Mahias and ahead of Philipp Oettl and Axel Bassani.

Locatelli was the first mover in the final third as he jumped from tenth to seventh thanks to a 1’50.422, Rea maintaining his dominance out front as the sole rider inside the 1’49’s.

The final two minutes saw improvements for Rinaldi as the Ducati took third with a late 1’50.000 lap. Razgatlioglu claiming second as the Turk honed in on Rea’s early best, just three-tenths behind.

A disappointing end to FP1 for Mahias saw the Frenchman lose the front on the Puccetti Kawasaki at turn two as the flag prepared to drop. Rea taking the first session honours of 2022 with Lowes and Bautista rounding out the top five.

Gerloff, Baz, Locatelli, Lecuona and Oettl completed the top ten with Redding and Laverty finishing Friday morning 16th and 18th respectively.

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