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Alvaro Bautista, Superpole race, Australian WorldSBK, 20 November

AS IT HAPPENED Bautista wins red-flagged race 2 at the Phillip Island finale

Last Updated: 20 Nov 2022 - 08:36

This is it! The season finale for the 2022 World Superbike championship starts at 4pm local time (5am UK) at Phillip Island in Australia.

Jonathan Rea ended a 24-race drought with victory in Saturday's wet-dry opening race, before a dramatic damp Superpole sprint was won by Alvaro Bautista after a brave slick tyre gamble this morning.

That means Bautista goes into race 2 - where rain showers could again be a factor - with 15 wins for the season, one ahead of outgoing champion Razgatlioglu.

But who will claim glory during the final Bautista-Rea-Razgatlioglu battle of the year?

Reporting By:
08:36
Update from Eugene Laverty's Bonovo BMW Team

"No result on the planet matters when we see something like today. We are very relieved that Eugene was conscious, talking and had feelings in all extremities.

"He’ll get checked further at Melbourne hospital now. We are very sorry to see him ending his career like that and wish him a speedy recovery

"Thanks to all the medical staff at the Phillip Island Circuit for their great support! All the best for Eugene Laverty, but as well to Philippa Laverty always being by his side. We love you guys, cheers to you"

Laverty, a 13-time WorldSBK race winner and former MotoGP rider, was competing in his final WorldSBK race before retirement.

His turn 1 accident, which was not broadcast but also involved Xavi Fores, who escaped injury, stopped the race with 5 laps to go.

07:47
Eugene Laverty Update

Eugene Laverty has been 'diagnosed with a pelvic injury and taken to Alfred Hospital in Melbourne for further assessments. Rider is stable'.

05:49
05:43

Alvaro Bautista - 1st: "I'm so happy because this morning we took a big gamble [with slick tyres]. Then in race 2 I was confident in my pace and took the lead after a few laps. Jonathan was very strong and we were close every lap.

"I expected a big battle in the last laps but unfortunately the red flags came and I hope the riders are okay. Thanks to everybody, it's been an amazing season for me and Ducati. See you all here again in a few months, with better weather than today I hope!"

Rain was falling as Bautista spoke, which would have added a further twist to the end of race battle with Rea had it gone the full distance.

05:40

Jonathan Rea - 2nd: "I've really enjoyed this year, trying to get the best out of myself and my bike. Huge thanks to my team, both team 65 and 22 inside Kawasaki. I wanted to go out with a good race, my bike was so good, better than Alvaro for traction but he took so much time on the straight. Congratulations to Alvaro and Toprak and thanks to the fans."

05:38

Alex Lowes - 3rd: "The pace was good, Johnny and Alvaro got away in the middle when I was battling Toprak and then I was saving a bit tyre to hold off Toprak at the end. Thanks to Kawasaki, well done to Alvaro this season, and respect for him on the slicks this morning!"

05:36

Alvaro Bautista finishes his title-winning season with 16 wins. Razgatlioglu took 14 and Rea 6 victories.

05:33

Eugene Laverty has been 'taken to the Medical Centre for a check up'.

05:30

5 to go: RED FLAG. 

An accident for Eugene Laverty in his final race before retirement and Xavi Fores at Turn 1 halts the race.

With over 2/3rd distance complete there will not be a restart meaning Bautista wins from Rea and Lowes.

No further information on the turn 1 accident, which has not yet been shown.

05:25

6 to go: It looks like a straight Bautista-Rea duel with Lowes and Razgatlioglu now 2.8s from the lead.

05:24

7 to go: Bautista hasn't been able to shake off Rea, the Ducati pulls ground on the straight but Rea closes in again through Turns 1 and 2.

05:22

8 to go: It's make or break time for Lowes who needs to clear Razgatlioglu if he wants to join the victory fight.

The Englishman overtakes the Yamaha into Turn 1 but has a 1.8s gap to close to Bautista and Rea.

05:20

9 to go: Bautista raises his pace, Rea tries to goes with him but Razgatlioglu is dropping back into the clutches of Lowes.

05:18

11 to go: Bautista, Rea, Razgatlioglu and Lowes are all within one-second. The clouds are gathering but no rain so far.

05:15

13 to go: After his early heroics, Scott Redding has settled into sixth, between Locatelli and Bassani. Laverty is in the points for 14th on his final race.

05:14

14 to go: Lowes isn't out of this either, he's closing on the leading trio, who may well be in tyre conservation mode.

05:12

15 to go: Bautista, Rea and Razgatlioglu are covered by just half-a-second at the front.

05:10

16 to go: Bautista tries again into turn 1 and takes the lead for Ducati.

05:08

17 to go: Bautista is soon on Rea's rear wheel and immediately goes on the attack. Rea defends.

05:08

18 to go: Bautista passes Lowes and then Redding through the opening turns for second behind Rea.

Redding also loses out to Lowes and Razgatlioglu.

05:06

19 to go: Rea has built a small lead as the likes of Lowes, Bautista and Razgatlioglu are swarming over the rear of Redding's bike.

05:05

20 to go: Redding is still putting up a fight in the lead pack on the BMW, sandwiched between the Kawasakis of Rea and Lowes.

05:03

21 to go: Top 10 - Rea, Redding, Bautista, Lowes, Razgatlioglu, Locatelli, Rinaldi, Oettl, Bassani, Laverty.

05:02

22 to go: Rea and a flying Redding both pass Bautista by the end of the opening lap!

05:01

Garrett Gerloff and Xavi Vierge crash out at Turn 2.