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Eazi Grip

Bautista and Razgatlioglu take the spoils at WorldSBK Imola

Race One

The reigning Champion battled hard for victory at Imola as he edged closer to history while Toprak Razgatlioglu claimed his 100th podium

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) overcame his rivals in an incredible Race 1 for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship to record his 17th victory of the 2023 campaign in style. The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola hosted a sensational battle as Bautista claimed took a stunning win ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) who racked up a century of podiums as he finished second.

Writing history: Bautista equals race wins in a season record, 100 up for Razgatlioglu

The opening laps were a sensational fight in front of the passionate Italian fans as two Italian riders led their first laps of the season. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) got the holeshot from second and led until the final chicane on Lap 2, when Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) overtook his compatriot. At the start of Lap 3, Bassani had a huge wobble through Tamburello which dropped him down to fourth, before Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) went through at the Variante Alta at Turn 4.

On Lap 3, 2021 Champion Razgatlioglu made one of the best overtakes of the season as he went around the outside of Bautista on the entry to the Variante Alta to move into P2 behind Locatelli, before it all kicked off at the front as Locatelli, Razgatlioglu and Bautista battled for first. The Turkish rider was able to get ahead of his teammate on the run into Turn 1 when Locatelli ran a bit wide into the final chicane and compromised his exit, although the Italian was able to defend from Bautista. The Spaniard demoted the home hero into third a lap later with an overtake into the Variante Alta before he set his sights on Razgatlioglu.

Razgatlioglu and Bautista pulled out a gap over Rea, who passed Locatelli on Lap 5 at the final chicane, to duel it out for victory although Bautista did briefly lose second to the six-time Champion after he had a massive moment on the run to the Variante Alta on Lap 8; he swiftly re-passed Rea to take second place back. There was little to separate the pair throughout the first two-thirds but an error from the Turk allowed Bautista to pass him on the run down to Rivazza 1 to lead. He ran slightly wide at the final chicane but the #54 was unable to capitalise and remained in second. From there, the reigning Champion pulled out a gap to claim his 49th win in WorldSBK, ahead of Razgatlioglu while Rea took third.

Bautista’s win puts him on 17 for the season which equals the most in a season, putting him level with Doug Polen in 1991 and Jonathan Rea in from 2018 and 2019. One more win at any point throughout the season will give him the all-time record for wins in a single campaign with 18. Second gave Razgatlioglu his 100th WorldSBK podium and his 16th consecutive rostrum finish; the joint sixth-longest all-time streak. Rea racked up his 252nd podium, while Razgatlioglu and Rea have now shared the podium 75 times together.

Strong starts, dropping back: Locatelli and Bassani lead but finish off the rostrum

Locatelli’s stunning start was rewarded with fourth place although he had to work hard as he fended off Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in the closing stages. Rinaldi was the quicker rider and the gap between them on Lap 19, the final lap, was just over a second but the Yamaha rider was able to hold on lead a quartet of Italians inside the top seven. After his podium at Donington last time out, Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) headed into his second home round full of confidence and he scored sixth, 2.6s down on Rinaldi ahead. Bassani dropped down the order to finish seventh, having to fight hard to keep that position.

Fierce fights: Baz finishes strongly

French rider Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) was the top BMW rider as he took eighth, but he was very close to finishing one place higher. He put pressure on the Independent Ducati directly ahead of him but was unable to make the move before he had to defend from Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). The Brit had to settle for ninth but finished just over three tenths down from the two-time race winner, while Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) completed the top ten.

Unpredictable action: The battle for 11th is a late-race thriller

Rookie Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) put in a strong charge to take 11th after a fierce fight with four riders. The Australian battled with Xavi Vierge (Team HRC), Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) and Leon Haslam (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) to take 11th with the Honda rider in 12th; Vierge was forced to start from the back of the grid due to a tyre pressure limits infringement, but he was up to 17th in the early stages before claiming P12. American star Gerloff was 13th with stand-in BMW rider Haslam right behind. Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) started from the second row and secured a point as he claimed 15th.

Tito Rabat (Barni Spark Racing Team) took 16th place, 19 seconds down on Ray ahead of him, as he fended off two Italians. Wildcard Gabriele Ruiu (Bmax Racing), who started from the pit lane, was 17th and only 0.181s down on the Moto2™ World Champion while Roberto Tamburini (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) was 18th and last of the classified riders.

Housekeeping: Retirements from Race 1

Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) crashed out of his home race on Lap 3 when he went down at Turn 2, while German rider Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) retired just shy of the halfway mark of the 19-lap race. Czech rider Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) retired shortly after Oettl while Eric Granado (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) crashed at Turn 18 on Lap 13. Spanish duo Isaac Vinales (TPR by Team Pedercini Racing) and Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) also did not complete the race. Swiss rookie Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) brought his Yamaha YZF-R1 machine into the pits on Lap 17 to retire.

The top six from WorldSBK Race 1

1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +3.672s

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +7.847s

4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +13.543s

5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +15.898s

6. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +18.551s

Fastest Lap: Alvaro Bautista (Ducati), 1’47.065s

Superpole RaceRazgatlioglu’s unconventional Piratella overtake hands him Imola victory over Bautista

The Superpole Race was a stunning affair in Italy as Razgatlioglu beat Bautista by just 0.244s to secure a hard-fought Superpole Race win.

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) beat Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in an epic Tissot Superpole Race scrap at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola. The battle for victory went down to the final lap as the 2021 Champion fought hard to claim his first victory at Imola with the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship standings closing ever so slightly with the results in the Prometeon Italian Round.

The fight for the win: Locatelli leads, Razgatlioglu beats Bautista for victory

Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) once again got the holeshot and defended valiantly despite pressure from teammate Razgatlioglu, with their battle allowing Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) to stay in contention. Razgatlioglu looked to pass his teammate on several occasions but was unable to make the move before the Spaniard bundled his way through on the Turkish star at the Variante Bassa at the end of Lap 5. Just a few corners later and the reigning Champion was out in front as he passed Locatelli into the Variante Tamburello.

It left the two Yamaha riders to fight it out and the 2021 Champion attempted to pass his teammate into the Tosa hairpin, but Locatelli held position. Heading out of Acque Minerali, Locatelli made a small mistake which allowed Razgatlioglu through forcefully at the Variante Alta. He soon closed the gap to Bautista out in front, with Razgatlioglu making the race-winning move at Piratella on Lap 9 as he caught his rival by surprise. Bautista kept him in his sights and looked for a way through on the final lap but the #54 was able to hold on for a hard-fought victory.

The Turk was able to hold on despite last-lap pressure from the defending Champion to claim his third win of the season and close the gap in the Championship standings by three points. It was his 35th win in WorldSBK, putting him alone at sixth in the all-time list. Bautista took his 77th podium while Locatelli resisted Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in the second half of the race for his 12th podium. The front row for Race 2 will therefore be Razgatlioglu, Bautista and Locatelli.

Moving up the grid: Rea charges to P4, Bassani loses grid positions

Rea will lead off the second row after he moved up from seventh on the grid for the Superpole Race and he will be joined by two Italians who go in search of a stunning home result at home. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) renewed their rivalry as they battled over fifth place, with Rinaldi coming out on top after the #47 fell down the order, partly aided by a poor start.

A good starting place for Race 2: Can they move up the order in Race 2?

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) will line up seventh for Race 2 as he finished 0.616s down on Bassani ahead. Danilo Petrucci’s (Barni Spark Racing Team) continued his strong run of form as he scored eighth place, the second consecutive Superpole Race he has taken points from. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) will complete the third row in Race 2 as he secured ninth; just beating Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) by 0.194s.

The top nine from the Tissot Superpole Race

1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)

2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.244s

3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +1.720s

4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +1.969ss

5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +3.341s

6. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +4.603s

7. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +5.219s

8. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +7.536s

9. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +9.407s

Race Two

Razgatlioglu fights Bassani for victory, Bautista crashes out from P1

Toprak Razgatlioglu denied Axel Bassani an emotional maiden victory but gained 25 points on Alvaro Bautista as the reigning Champion crashed out.

The gap in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship standing was cut by the maximum 25 points as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) took advantage of Alvaro Bautista’s (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) opening lap crash at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola. The 2021 Champion had to battle his way into the lead in the closing stages of Race 2 at the Prometeon Italian Round after Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) went hunting after a maiden win but was denied with a handful of laps to go.

A key moment in 2023: Bautista tumbles into the gravel, Razgatlioglu wins

Bautista got the holeshot in the shortened 15-lap race, but his race unravelled as soon as it started. He came off his Panigale V4 R at Turn 3 and into the gravel, ending his run of feature length wins in 2023. It allowed 2021 Champion Razgatlioglu to move into the lead as teammate Andrea Locatelli had to take avoiding action. While the Turkish star was in the lead, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) pulled off a mega move to go from fourth to second.

He took advantage of Locatelli running wide at the final chicane at the end of Lap 2 and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) being held up to blast past the pair on the run into the Tamburello chicane to take second. From there, he put in a series of fast laps to close the gap to the Yamaha rider. The gap was just over a tenth on Lap 7 with Rea in hot pursuit of the pair; less than half-a-second separating the top three.

On Lap 8, Bassani made his move on Razgatlioglu for first. He looked to overtake into the Villeneuve chicane first but that didn’t work out, before he went up the inside of his rival at the left-hand hairpin of Tosa. He initially pulled out a small gap, but Razgatlioglu kept in touch as the race entered the final third of the race. At the end of Lap 12, Razgatlioglu made his move into Rivazza 1 with the #47 aiming to cut back into Rivazza 2 although the #54 held on through the exit. On his first full lap with clear air, the Yamaha rider pulled out a six-tenths margin as he went on to claim his first feature-length race win of 2023.

Razgatlioglu was able to claim his 36th career win and his 102nd podium, while it was also Yamaha’s 410th rostrum in World Superbike. Bassani took his sixth podium in the Championship, and his second this season, as he equalled his best result. Rea took two feature-length race podiums in a single round for the first time in 2023. With Bassani taking the fastest lap, a 1’47.491s on Lap 5, Bautista secured the Pirelli Best Lap Award for 2023.

Career-best results in the top six: Imola ends on a high

Locatelli was demoted to fourth when Rea overtook him at Turn 9 on Lap 3, and he remained there for the rest of the race to take P4 and end his home round in a good way following on from his Tissot Superpole Race podium. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was fifth ahead of a three-way scrap for sixth. Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) took a career-best sixth after fending off two BMW riders. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) and Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) were separated by just half-a-second at the line with Baz taking P7.

Scoring points: Fierce fights for the top 15

Rookie Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) was ninth, five seconds down on the fight ahead. He also had a decent margin on the riders behind as they battled it out for a place in the top ten. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) put Honda in the top ten for the first time this weekend as he, Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), teammate Dominique Aegerter, Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) and Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) battled it out.

The quintet was changing positions throughout the race with Gardner finishing 0.44s down on Lecuona in 11th while he was almost two seconds ahead of his teammate. Aegerter was 12th with Gerloff and Vierge directly behind; just 0.117s separated the trio. Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) was the final points scorer in 15th, with Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) narrowly missing out on a home point. Gabriele Ruiu (Bmax Racing), who started from the pitlane after exceeding the engine allocation, was 17th ahead of Roberto Tamburini (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) in 18th and his teammate, Eric Granado, completing the classified riders.

Housekeeping: The retirements from Race 2

Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) crashed out of the race on Lap 5 at Turn 12, while Leon Haslam (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) retired after a trip across the gravel. It was a similar story for Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) while Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) crashed at Turn 12 on Lap 9. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had a tumble at Turn 7 on Lap 12 which ended his hopes of a top-six finish.

The top six following WorldSBK Race 2

1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)

2. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +1.996s

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +2.458s

4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometon WorldSBK) +6.111s

5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +11.154s

6. Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) +12.210s

Fastest Lap: Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) – 1’47.491s

Championship standings

1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 391
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 321
3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 208
4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 201
5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 179
6. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 129

 

Posted on Monday, July 17th, 2023 in News

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