WorldSBK Phillip Island: Champion Bautista lines up on pole

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Picture: GeeBee Images

WorldSBK Champion Alvaro Bautista secured his maiden Phillip Island pole position in Saturday’s final qualifying of 2022.

The Aruba.it Ducati’s 1’29.815 lap time headed the standings by over two tenths of a second - for just his second pole of his commanding season - with Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes competing the front row on near identical 1’30.0 efforts.

After a wet FP3, Superbike qualifying got up to speed on slick Pirellis for the 15-minute lunchtime session. KRT duo Lowes and Rea headed the early times on mid 1’30 pace with Bautista half a second off in third. The Spaniard took charge thanks to a 1’30.104 on the Aruba Ducati with ten minutes dispatched, Toprak Razgatlioglu running fourth as the session bedded in with Pata Yamaha teammate Andrea Locatelli closely behind in fifth.

Go Eleven’s Philipp Oettl was the next on the move as he split the Yamaha’s for fifth shortly after. Rea bettering his teammate by a tenth to sit second with seven minutes remaining while Motocorsa’s Axel Bassani, Puccetti Kawasaki’s Lucas Mahias, Aruba’s Michael Rinaldi and BMW’s Michael van der Mark rounded out the top ten.

GRT Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff swept through to sixth as the final five minutes fired up before bettering for fourth next time around. Bonovo BMWs’ Loris Baz and Eugene Laverty circulated 12th and 14th with Honda’s Tetsuta Nagashima between the pair as the times ignited.

Bautista consolidated his pole position with a 1’29.815 in the closing minutes. Rea and Lowes continuing to refine their times as they battled for the runner up position with Razgatlioglu still half a second adrift. Locatelli, Gerloff and Oettl held off Rinaldi in the top eight as Nagashima crashed, bringing out the yellow flags after claiming tenth behind teammate Xavi Vierge.

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