Rinaldi, Locatelli, Bassani: the Italian trio that can amaze in 2022

Will next year’s World SBK be just a three-way fight between Razgatlioglu, Rea and Bautista? Watch out for the Italian trio, which has the technical means and speed to enter the title race

The World Sbk 2021 has just ended with the triumph of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) who after a fierce fight until the last round on the Indonesian track of Mandalika has dethroned the ruler of the last six years Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki), and we already think to next season.

sbk 2022, i team

The official 2022 deployments are almost defined. Yamaha confirms the Razgatlioglu-Locatelli duo, as does the junior team Grt with Kohta Nozane and Garrett Gerloff and the Gil Motor Sport team with Cristophe Ponsson. Ditto Kawasaki with the officers Rea and Lowes, with Luca Mahias in Team Puccetti and probably Isaac Viñales again with Orelac Verdnatura and with Loris Cresson and another to be defined in Team Pedercini. News from Ducati, with Alvaro Bautista returning after two years on the Panigale V4, together with the reconfirmed Michael Ruben Rinaldi. News also in the three “private” teams: Go Eleven replaced the outgoing Chaz Davies with Philipp Oettl; Totocorsa Racing confirmed Bassani; Barni Racing focuses on the twenty year old Luca Bernardi from San Marino. BMW renews with the arrival of Michael Van der Mark’s teammate Redding, plus Loris Baz together with Eugene Laverty as test driver. Almost certain a fifth M 1000 RR of Team B-Max with 21-year-old Gabriele Ruiu from Rome. Honda is betting on the almost 22-year-old Iker Lecuona out of MotoGP and on the 24-year-old Xavi Vierge who has been in Moto2 for seven seasons. Waiting for confirmation in the Mie Racing Team, Leandro Tati Mercado, flanked by a new entry.

sbk 2022, and topics

In 2022, therefore, the World SBK deployment should count on six Kawasakis, five Yamahas, five Ducatis, four Hondas, four (perhaps five) BMWs for a total of 24/26 riders, three or four more than in 2021. It is not difficult to identify which will be the main themes of interest of the 2022 championship: with Razgatlioglu aiming for an encore also as a push towards MotoGP since 2023; with Rea who wants to take back “his” number 1 by trying to attack the title number 7 (then also the eighth?) before leaving the races; with Alvaro Bautista, on his return with the Ducati V4 to make us forget the fluctuating (and ultimately disappointing) 2019 season on the red and cancel 2020 and 2021 with the Hondas. Of the three “bigs”, the one who could encounter more difficulties is Bautista, a great handle but swinging and with less “impact force” than two lions such as Razgatlioglu and Rea, especially in hand-to-hand combat, which is now the leitmotiv of the SBK . Bautista, however, since his first two-day test in Jerez on the red V4, has already performed well in his 84 laps, certainly not desperate, but at the end finishing half a second behind Pirro’s Ducati MotoGP, demonstrating an immediately recovered feeling , which bodes well. Put this way, it is not difficult to hypothesize that it will be very difficult for the other drivers to get involved in the fight of the “trio of aces” Razgatlioglu-Rea-Bautista. After evaluating the forces on the field, the podium is therefore “booked” by the axes of Yamaha, Kawasaki, Ducati. But, as we know, the predictions are made to be proven wrong.

the outsiders of the sbk

If someone managed to wedge himself into the “noble” trio he could go from outsider to winner and even, from 2023, aim to become the new “king of the forest”. We will see. In particular, there is expectation for the Italian riders who reached fourth place this year with Andrea Locatelli (Yamaha), in fifth place with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Ducati), in ninth place with Alex Bassani (Ducati). The question is: will they be able to do even better than they did in 2021, fully entering the fight for the SBK 2022 world title? These are three young people who certainly cannot boast the roster of the most mature and accredited protagonists of Sbk 2021: Razgatlioglu, Rea, Redding. The three Italians have very different technical-competitive characteristics, different experiences and different results. All three are good, indeed excellent drivers, but putting them today on the level of the big three (especially the Turkish and Northern Irishmen) seems a stretch, if not a gamble.

the chances of the three Italians

Of these three steel peaks (talking about spearheads is exaggerated) it is Rinaldi (25 years old) who has the best potential: an experienced, run-in, fast runner, he knows how to win even though he has little continuity. The cup as winner of the Sbk 2020 Independent Trophy is a good omen for the Rimini player and even more so are the three victories, the two second places and the two thirds obtained this year. Locatelli (25 years as Rinaldi and like his new world champion Turkish teammate) has a good pace, he is a good hammer, he scores (4th place in the final with four podiums): however (still) missing in Sbk of the winning twist, of the “hook” that knocks out the opponent. Bassani is the youngest (22 years old) but also the one with a poorer curriculum that however came to the attention with a nice crescendo at the end of 2021: a 2nd place, two quarters, two fifths demonstrating a strong character, of a handle driven by a fine talent and a great desire to do well, to do better and better, a young man who does not seem to suffer from any inferiority complex. For now, all that remains is to enjoy a qualitatively and quantitatively strong presence of Italian drivers in all the world speed championships. In particular, in Sbk it is not forbidden to dream, finally renewing the triumphs of Max Biaggi and Aprilia in 2010 and 2012.

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Rinaldi, Locatelli, Bassani: the Italian trio that can amaze in 2022

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