The second half of the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season begins with the Pirelli French Round at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours.
The 2022 edition will see Pirelli as its Event Main Sponsor and the event will be taking place on September 9th-11th.
Pirelli has been the exclusive Official Tyre Supplier of the Championship since 2004, and since 2020 all classes has been using exclusively DIABLO™ Superbike slick tyres. Pirelli also supplies the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup as part of the SBK Roadway initiative.
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati – Racing)
- It will be Bautista’s fourth visit at the French circuit, the second one with Ducati.
- He has never won at the French venue, his best result being fifth position in 2019.
- Bautista starts the second half of the season as the Championship leader with a 31-point advantage over Rea.
“I think Magny-Cours will be a difficult race for us. Three years ago, I remember that my first practice was Race 1 so it wasn’t easy, I started from the back and then I was fighting for the win until Toprak hit me. Last year, I was quite good with Honda finishing sixth. But looking at the track itself and the weather conditions, I believe it will be hard for us. Let’s see, I go there positive with no expectations because I expect that we’ll suffer there.”
Championship P2 – 267 points
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
- Rea is the most successful rider at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours with 9 wins. His last one was in the Tissot Superpole Race last year.
- He holds the lap record of the French track with a fastest time of 1’36.374s set in 2021’s Race 1.
- Rea is on a winless run of 9 races, his longest since he was second 10 times and third once at the beginning of 2019, when then-rookie Bautista was the winner in all those 11 races.
“Magny-Cours is a great place to start this last part of the season. It’s one of the most important part of the year because it’s six races in very quick succession. It’s important to be very strong and consistent, stay healthy through that period. Kicking off in Magny-Cours, a great start … It’s a good circuit for me and the team. Our ZX10RR works well there and I had lot of happy memories. So being September and coming into the autumn season in Europe, we have to expect anything in terms of weather. But we will be prepared either way. After a really solid test in Barcelona a couple of weeks ago, I feel like we have a good base to start the weekend and I look forward to continuing working with the team. Of course, the target is to be on the podium.”
Championship P3 – 260 points
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
- Razgatlioglu has four wins at the French track and he took two wins at Magny-Cours in 2021, although he crossed the line first in all three races.
- He took his first WorldSBK victory at the French venue back in 2019.
- He stands in third place in the Championship standings and has reduced the gap to Rea to seven points.
“After the test in Barcelona, we are ready to race in Magny-Cours. It’s my favourite track. Last year was especially great with three wins… not two! This year, I’ll try again for three wins. I hope we won’t have rain in France. I will give my best again.”
Championship P4 – 148 points
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
- Locatelli’s best result at Magny-Cours is his third place in Race 1 2021.
- He stands in fourth place in the Championship standings with 14-advantage over Rinaldi.
“I’m heading positive to Magny-Cours. After two days of testing in Barcelona we found a good base setup and I have a really good feeling with the bike. Now it will be interesting to be back on track. Magny-Cours was another great track for us last year because we had a podium there. I will give my maximum because it’s time to close the gap to the front and we need to stay with our competitors.”
Championship P5 – 134 points
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati Racing)
- In 2021, Rinaldi’s best result at the French venue was a fourth place in Race 1.
- He has been on the podium two times so far this season, both on home soil at Misano.
“We go to Magny-Cours after a positive test in Barcelona. I don’t know what to expect there because the weather conditions can change a lot. I will try to give my 100% and get the best result we can. It’s not a good moment overall, not because of the speed but for other reasons, but it is what it is and we’ll give our best.”
Championship P6 – 127 points
Iker Lecuona (Team HRC)
- It will be Lecuona’s first visit to the historic French venue.
- He is sixth in the Championship standings, only seven points behind Rinaldi.
“I’m happy to come back on track for the Championship after the summer break that allowed us to charge the batteries, although for me it has been a mix of rest and work. First, the wonderful experience at Suzuka 8 Hours, it was my first endurance race and so I had to learn lot of things. I enjoyed it a lot, not only racing but also sharing everything with two amazing teammates. Then we had a good test in Catalunya. I kept on the development work with my team and it allowed me also to regain the feeling with my bike, the tyres and the seat. Now we go to Magny-Cours, again a new track for me this year and I know nothing about it. I’ve only watched some videos from past races but the first day will be important in order to learn the layout and then the work will continue as always.”
To keep an eye on:
With five top five finishes in the last six races, including two podium places, Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) continues to get closer to the front. So far, his best result at the French track is a victory back in 2021. His teammate Michael van der Mark will make his return following his injury sustained in Estoril.
French rider Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) stands in 11th place in the Championship standings. His best result so far in 2022 is a sixth place in Race 1 at Assen. His best result at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours was a second place in 2020 (Race 2).
Other local rider Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) is 14th in the Championship standings. Most Race 2’s ninth place is his best result so far this season. In 2021, his best result at Magny-Cours was a 13th position in Race 2.
Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha), 22nd in the standings, will aim for a top ten finish at his home round. His best result of the 2022 season was a 12th place in Estoril and Assen. In 2021, he was 12th in Race 2, his best result at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours.
All five factory teams took part in a private test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in August to prepare for the second part of the season. The factory teams were joined by the Bonovo Action BMW, Orelac Racing VerdNatura and TPR Team Pedercini Racing teams.
1. Alvaro Bautista (ESP) Ducati (298 points)
2. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki (267 points)
3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (TUR) Yamaha (260 points)