Gerard Bailo became the 2022 FIM Flat Track World Champion at the Bisalta Motor Park in Boves after Final Five reached a premature conclusion following heavy rain.  Deteriorating track conditions meant that the day’s Standings were based on each rider’s first three qualifying heats, and Bailo had done enough to take his first world crown.

The Spaniard came into the season finale four points down on Matteo Boncinelli, who won three of the opening four Rounds of the season with Bailo directly behind him.  But the first match-up between the pair at the TT Circuit proved a sign of things to come: Boncinelli disqualified for a crash, Bailo victorious.  And he wasn’t far from winning his third ride either; he spent much of Heat Eleven battling past pole-sitter Martin Sulzbacher for second, but then hunted down race leader Gianni Borgiotti over the final two laps to provide a close finish before the rain came.  In between there was a battling fourth position from the outside of the back row of the grid, and his combined score of 17 was enough for seventh place in the day’s Standings.

Boncinelli, the favourite coming into his home Round with knowledge of the new track layout from the Italian Championship earlier in the season and the points lead, suffered falls in each of his opening two rides that ultimately proved pivotal.  And even had the rain not brought precipitated the halt to proceedings he would likely have struggled to make the Last Chance Qualifier to remain in title contention; he was down in twentieth in the pecking order and set for a back row start in his final programmed ride.  At just eighteen years of age, though, the Tuscan will surely be back for more than the silver medal he has claimed this season.  Ervin Krajčovič, third in the Standings coming in to the Italian Round, held on for bronze in 2022 with a ninth place finish, ahead of direct rival Daniele Moschini by a single place on the day.

The unique demands of a TT Circuit, with two chicanes and a jump the most notable features, plus the lack of a Grand Final as a result of the weather, threw up several unexpected results.  Matias Lorenzato, after a previous best finish of tenth in Hungary just a week earlier, claimed the win at the Italian Round as top scorer with two heat victories and a second.  Markus Jell, back at the venue where he secured the bronze medal last year, made it onto the podium for the first time in 2022.  And Dutchman Menno Van Meer dropped just three points from his three rides to take second.

But the day belonged to Gerard Bailo; runner-up in the 2018 World Cup, he finished fourth overall last year, but brought his tag as the sport’s nearly man to an end with the 2022 world title.  His success was made all the more impressive when an injury following his first-ride crash behind Daniele Moschini was diagnosed as a fractured bone in his finger; he bounced back from that over the course of three rides in Boves to become a worthy Champion.

FINAL FIVE RESULTS: 1st Matias Lorenzato 25, 2nd Menno van Meer 20, 3rd Markus Jell 20, 4th Gianni Borgiotti 18, 5th Daniele Tonelli 16, 6th Adrian Garin 15, 7th Gerard Bailo 14, 8th Sébastien Jeanpierre 13.

CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATION:  1st Gerard Bailo 95, 2nd Matteo Boncinelli 86, 3rd Ervin Krajčovič 78, 4th Daniele Moschini 76, 5th Masatoshi Ohmori 65, 6th Daniele Tonelli 65, 7th Eric Reverté 65, 8th Adrian Garin 60.

Gerard Bailo – 2022 FIM Flat Track World Champion:I am so happy to have claimed this World Championship, and also to be the first Spaniard to do so.  It is the culmination of a lot of work over the course of several years, but I have always believed in this dream.  I have taken part in many races in Spain and Great Britain to be as prepared as possible.  I would have liked to complete the Final and try to win on the day because I felt good, but ultimately the work was done.  In the end I am really pleased with the whole year, it was my consistency that has given me the title.  Credit to Matteo Boncinelli as well who made it very difficult with his three wins.  Now I’m looking forward to next year and hopefully to more success.”

FIM/Alex Raby