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Eazi Grip

WorldSBK at Donington Park – Round Six

Bautista triumphs after epic ‘Titanic Trio’ scrap to end Ducati’s Donington woes in Race 1

The Spaniard claimed his 15th win on 2023, and 11th in a row, while six-time Champion Rea secured his 250th podium in WorldSBK

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) wrote himself into the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship history books again during Race 1 at Donington Park as his victory in the UK gave him his 11th in a row after a fierce ‘Titanic Trio’ scrap. He ended Ducati’s winless run at the iconic UK venue circuit as he fended off Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), while the Northern Irishman made more history of his own at the Prosecco DOC UK Round.

History in the titanic trio: Droughts end, record podiums added to…

Bautista got the holeshot as the lights went out as he looked to end Ducati’s Donington drought, but his lead did not last long as polesitter Rea took advantage of the Spaniard running wide on the entry to the Foggy Esses on Lap 2 to take the lead. The Ulsterman was able to pull away from Bautista, but the reigning Champion soon found himself under pressure from 2021 Champion Razgatlioglu as the Turk looked to make gains.

Razgatlioglu made his move on Bautista at Turn 11 on Lap 3 before setting his sights on Rea out in front, with the gap coming down as soon as the Yamaha rider got ahead of Bautista. On Lap 6, the Turkish star made his move on Rea at the same corner to move into the lead, but he was unable to pull a gap as the ‘Titanic Trio’ battled it out at the historic venue.

The trio switched positions several times between Lap 6 and Lap 9 with all three taking their turn to lead the race before Bautista made a move on Razgatlioglu on the exit of Coppice to move back into first. Razgatlioglu and Rea both remained in touch with the reigning Champion edging out a small gap. On Lap 11, Bautista posted a new race lap record of 1’26.615s as the gap edged out to just over half-a-second to his rivals.

The Ducati rider’s pace was shown two laps later when he set a 1’26.610s to break his own lap record with the gap up to 1.200s at the start of Lap 15. A lap later, he went a tenth quicker as he showed his consistency. He was the only rider to lap in the 1’26s bracket at this stage of the race with Razgatlioglu and Rea dropping into the 1’27s. While Bautista and Razgatlioglu had their places secured, Rea had to fight Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) for third place. The rookie had been just behind the lead group, but his late-race pace allowed him to pass Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on Lap 16 at the Foggy Esses before chasing down Rea for third although Rea was able to manage the gap throughout the final laps to secure third.

Bautista’s victory means Ducati’s 12-year wait for a Donington victory came to an end as he extended his Championship lead to 91 points ahead of Razgatlioglu. His win also means his winning streak has reached 11 races; equalling the longest set by Rea in 2018 and himself in 2019. Razgatlioglu’s second place puts him on 97 WorldSBK rostrums as he closes in on a century while Rea secured his 250th podium; the first rider to achieve this feat.

Best results: Just missing out on a first podium…

Petrucci missed out on a podium by only 1.740s but the two-time MotoGP™ race winner was still able to take his best result in WorldSBK as he finished in fourth place. His previous best had been fifth in Indonesia Race 1. He was almost three seconds clear of compatriot Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) after he showed strong race pace to move up the order from seventh, including passing Lowes on Lap 21 at the Foggy Esses for fifth. Home hero Lowes limited the damage in the closing stages to take sixth place after a really impressive start to the 23-lap race.

Battling back: Bassani goes from 14th to seventh

Italian rider Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) secured seventh after starting from 14th. The Independent Ducati star moved into seventh in the first half of the race as he fought his way through the field and he remained there, finishing 12 seconds down on Bautista. He was ahead of the two ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team riders as Scott Redding and Tom Sykes battled it out on the final lap. The 2013 Champion was ahead as Lap 23 started but Redding made a move for eighth as he went up the inside of his teammate at the Melbourne Loop to gain a position. Sykes was able to take ninth with Australian rider Remy Garner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) rounding out the top ten; 13 seconds down on the BMW pair. The #66’s ninth place meant he now has 266 top-ten WorldSBK finishes to his name.

In the points: Late-race battles for the lower range of the points

2021 Moto2™ World Champion Gardner had to fend off a charging Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) to secure a place in the top ten with just 0.106s separating the Australian and Vierge. Two-time WorldSSP Champion Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) took 12th but he had drama on the final lap of the race. He ran into the gravel at Turn 8, the right-hander of Coppice, and lost time but recovered to finish less than a second ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) after the Italian battled back from the back of the field. Rinaldi ran wide at Coppice on the opening lap, but he was able to fight back to finish in 13th for. The #21 was 21 seconds clear of Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) in 14th with Isaac Vinales (TPR by Team Pedercini Racing) completing the points-paying positions with 15th; his best result of the season and his first points of 2023.

Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) narrowly missed out on a point as he finished in 16th place as he finished ahead of Hafizh Syahrin (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) in 17th. Czech rider Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) finished 18th on his return from injury with Eric Granado (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) the last of the classified riders.

Housekeeping: Ray’s home race ends in the gravel, late drama for Lecuona and Oettl

Home hero Bradley Ray’s (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) race came to an early end after he crashed out after contact with American star Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW). Gerloff was able to return from the gravel but brought his M1000RR machine into the pits. He did return to the track a few laps down but retired later on. The incident was investigated by the FIM Stewards with no further action taken. Gerloff’s teammate Loris Baz also retired from the race when he had a technical problem with his machine in the opening stages.

Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) crashed out at the Old Hairpin, the right-hander at Turn 4, on the penultimate lap which forced him out of the race. He was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash and declared fit following his check. Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) was a last-lap retirement after he stopped with a technical problem.

The top six from WorldSBK Race 1

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

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +3.718s

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +6.115s

4. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +7.855s

5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +10.738s

6. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +11.143s

Fastest lap: Alvaro Bautista, Ducati – 1’26.550 (New Lap Record)

Razgatlioglu ends Bautista’s winning streak after stunning ‘Titanic Trio’ fight

Reigning Champion Alvaro Bautista was on the verge of a new record but Toprak Razgatlioglu struck back in the Tissot Superpole Race

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) claimed his second victory of the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship campaign after a hard-fought battle between the ‘Titanic Trio’ at Donington Park. The 2021 Champion ended Alvaro Bautista’s (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) winning streak on 11 races as the Turk denied the reigning Champion a piece of WorldSBK history during the Prosecco DOC UK Round.

Missing out on history: Razgatlioglu stops Bautista’s winning run

Bautista got the holeshot but six-time Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) responded immediately to take the lead at Turn 2. Bautista was soon demoted to third as Razgatlioglu went through at the Old Hairpin to move up the order before the trio battled it out for victory. The Ulsterman tried to stretch his legs and got the gap up to half a second before the 2021 Champion brought the gap back down to just over a tenth at the halfway stage.

The Spaniard remained in touch as he posted several lap records, including a 1’25.896s on Lap 6 to bring the gap across the top three to 0.5s. As the 10-lap encounter progressed, Bautista closed in on his rivals and he made a last-lap pass at Turn 9 to move into second and soon set his sights on Razgatlioglu but, with two corners left, the Turkish star was able to hold on to claim his second win of the season and ended the Championship leader’s winning streak.

Razgatlioglu’s victory means he ends Bautista’s run at 11 races with the Spaniard unable to break the all-time run, while Razgatlioglu took his 34th career win. It is the first time Bautista has finished a race and not won in 2023, while Rea moved on to 251 WorldSBK podiums and he also took Kawasaki’s 530th rostrum in the World Championship. The trio will start alongside each other on the front row in Race 2. It was also the closest podium finish of the season.

Battling throughout: Securing a second row start for Race 2

Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) will start Race 2 from fourth place after he made a move on Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) on Lap 4, with Petrucci joining him on the second row. Home hero Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) will be alongside them for Race 2 as he took sixth in the Superpole Race. In the early stages of the encounter, Lowes moved into fourth after passing Petrucci but dropped back in the closing stages.

Moving on up: Battling up the field for a place in the top nine

American star Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) will be the highest-placed BMW rider on the Race 2 grid as he took seventh, narrowly missing out on a spot on the second row by just three tenths. Italy’s Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) took eighth, moving up the order from his starting position, to secure a third row start this afternoon with Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) completing that row in Race 2.

Drama for Baz, Sykes and Rinaldi: A difficult Superpole Race

Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) was an early crasher when he went down at Turn 12 on the opening lap, although he re-joined the race to finish in 23rd. Tom Sykes (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) had been in the top nine when he crashed at the same corner on the penultimate lap, which it was another difficult race for Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). He ran wide on the opening lap at Turn 11, and into the gravel, which dropped him to the back of the field. The Italian was able to battle back for 17th.

The top nine following the Tissot Superpole Race

1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)

2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.315s

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) `0.537s

4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +4.247s

5. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +5.018s

6. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +5.330s

7. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) +5.629s

8. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +6.884s

9. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +9.047s

Fastest lap: Alvaro Bautista, Ducati – 1’25.896 (New Lap Record)

Bautista resists Razgatlioglu pressure for victory, Petrucci claims maiden WorldSBK podium

Ducati had a weekend to remember at Donington as they took two wins while Danilo Petrucci stood on the WorldSBK podium for the first time

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) had to fight hard for his Race 2 victory at Donington Park after a fierce fight with title rival Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) throughout the shortened and red-flagged race. It was also a day to remember for Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) as he stood on the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship podium for the first time since he arrived in the paddock after an incredible Prosecco DOC UK Round.

Brilliant battle for the win: Bautista overcomes Razgatlioglu’s pressure

The race was red flagged on the opening lap following a crash involving Tom Sykes (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) on the exit of Coppice. All riders were conscious following the crash. The race was restarted over a 22-lap distance, one shorter than the original distance, although it did not feature the three riders involved. The new race grid was based on the Tissot Superpole Race results. Sykes was diagnosed with a thoracic injury, rib fractures on his right-hand side and a left ankle injury; he was transported to Queen’s Medical Centre for further assessment. Rinaldi was diagnosed with a mild concussion and a right ankle injury.

As the lights went out for the new race, Bautista got the holeshot to take the lead before rival Rea attempted a move to first at Turn 4. At the Old Hairpin, he was able to pass Razgatlioglu but ran wide when overtaking the Championship leader and stayed second. However, in the same lap, Razgatlioglu made his move on Rea at Turn 11 to re-claim P2. A lap later and there was a thrilling fight as Razgatlioglu stood Bautista up at Turn 11 which allowed the six-time Champion through to demote the reigning Champion to third.

On Lap 7, Bautista made a small error at Turn 7 when he ran wide but he was able to recover without losing position and his pace allowed him to close back in on the leading duo by the end of the lap. The Spaniard ran wide a couple more times, but he soon promoted himself to second when he overtook his rival at Turn 9 on Lap 10. Rea’s pace dropped into the 1’27s while the top two remained in the 1’26s, allowing them to pull a gap over the Ulsterman.

The battle between the last two Champions reached a crescendo on Laps 13 and 14 as the duo switched positions on several occasions. Bautista had tried to move ahead on Lap 12, but the move came at Turn 1 the next lap before Razgatlioglu responded at Turn 4. Bautista repeated the Turn 1 move a lap later but was able to create a gap and resist Razgatlioglu’s pressure to claim his second victory at Donington with the Turkish star in second.

Bautista’s win means he is now only one shy of record victories in a season with 16 in 2023, with the all-time record standing at 17. He has also gone level with Colin Edwards and Marco Melandri with 75 podiums. Razgatlioglu is closing in on a century of podiums and now has 99, putting him level with Chaz Davies.

A maiden podium: Petrucci fights back for his first rostrum

With Rea dropping back from the lead pair, the battle for the podium heated up. Rea was initially under pressure from teammate Alex Lowes but, as the race progressed, other riders were joining the party. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) started from the second row but his pace, like in Race 1, allowed him to fight for the podium as he did in Race 1. He moved into fifth place by passing Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) on Lap 15 at Turn 11 before moving into fourth by overtaking Lowes at Turn 9 two laps later. The Italian rookie’s crucial move for the podium came on Lap 18 when he overtook Rea at Turn 4 before he pulled a gap to take his maiden WorldSBK rostrum and Barni Ducati’s first since Argentina 2018. He also became the 129th different rider to stand on the podium.

A best of 2023: Redding powers into the top four

Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) enjoyed his best result of the season so far as he claimed fourth place after he passed both KRT riders in the closing stages. He overtook Lowes for fifth on Lap 18 at Turn 11 before a sensational fight with Rea over the next few laps. On Lap 19, Redding overtook Rea at Turn 11 before the pair switched positions on the penultimate lap although the BMW was able to hold on for his best result of the season. Rea took fifth on home soil after two podiums in three races at Donington, while Lowes finished sixth.

Six riders in the fight: An unpredictable Race 2 at Donington

The fight for the top four featured six riders throughout the race. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) took seventh place as he showed impressive late-race pace to finish ahead of Locatelli. The Yamaha rider got off to a good start as he moved into the top four, and put pressure on the leading trio, but he dropped down the order to finish in eighth. It was a similar story for Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) who claimed ninth while German rider Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven), who had a strong weekend, rounded out the top ten.

In the points: Ending the weekend on a high

Swiss rookie Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) finished just outside the top ten with 11th place, six seconds clear of teammate Remy Gardner after what had been a trickier weekend than usual for the GRT Yamaha squad. Home hero Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) took 13th place as he, Gardner and Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) scrapped. Lecuona finished in 14th place with Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) securing the final points-paying position.

Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) narrowly missed out on a second points finish of the UK Round with 16th, just two seconds down on the Honda rider. Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO), Eric Granado (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) completed the last of the classified finishers. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) retired after bringing their machines into the pits.

The top six from WorldSBK Race 2

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

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +2.650s

3. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +7.936

4. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +9.198s

5. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +9.506s

6. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +9.960s

Fastest lap: Alvaro Bautista, Ducati – 1’26.089s

Championship standings

1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 357 points

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 264

3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 175

4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 163

5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 146

6. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 102

Posted on Monday, July 3rd, 2023 in News

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