A Rea-Marc-Able Career

Two separate careers to be precise, and what careers they have been.

With a total of 14 World championships between them, Jonathan Rea 6x WSBK champion, and Marc Marquez 6x MotoGP World Champion, as well as both 125cc, and 250cc champions. Both riders have their upcoming birthdays next month in February, with Jonny turning 37, and Marc turning 31. Now in the twilight years of their respective careers, they both still feel they have a point to prove, and perhaps, also prove a few critics and naysayers wrong.

Jonathan Rea – Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

The end of the 2023 season saw an emotional Rea walk away from the Kawasaki Racing Team, an incredibly long partnership that saw him dominate many seasons and claim 6x World titles, becoming arguably their best WSBK rider. The struggles of the Kawasaki team over the past few seasons were well documented and a frustrated Rea could do no more than look on in envy at the sheer flawless nature of Alvaro Bautista’s wins on the Aruba.it Racing Ducati, which saw the Spaniard claim back-to-back championships.

Prior to the Ducati dominance in both WSBK and MotoGP,  2021 was the year of Yamaha, with both Toprak Razgatlioglu on the R1, and Fabio Quartararo on the M1 claiming their respective world championship crowns. In WSBK that year Toprak was a joy to watch, pushing the R1 to its absolute limits. Rea however, was once again left frustrated with the performance of the Kawasaki, only managing to finish runner up.

There was a time when Marc Marquez was considered unstoppable on the Repsol Honda RC213V, dominating his rivals and racking up incredible statistics in the process. His 2019 winning season and 6th overall in the premier class, was testament to the absolute insane level of skill he possessed at that time. He won 12 races and finished on the podium in 18 out of 19 rounds, amassing an eye watering 420 points, which was also a points record at that time. Not to mention beating riders like Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, and Andrea Dovizioso in the process.

Sadly, subsequent seasons have seen Marc suffer virtually career ending injuries, with many speculating that he’d never return. The fact that he did return, albeit on an under-performing Honda, speaks volumes about his mental resilience and sheer unquenchable desire to continue riding and return to winning ways.

2023 was not a happy season for Marc and saw him crash a total of 29 times, the most out of any rider across all the classes in MotoGP, according to the MotoGP falls report, published by Dorna media officer, Frine Velilla. That was a figure he himself had not got close to since the season of 2017, where he crashed 27 times.  Similar to Jonathan Rea, a disconsolate Marc could do no more then look on as Francesco Bagnaia, rode his Ducati to back-to-back championships.

Marc Marquez – Picture courtesy of Honda Racing Racing Global

As the curtain closed on the 2023 season, both Rea and Marc walked away from their respective teams, buying their way out of lucrative contracts in the process. Rea secured a ride with the Pata Prometeon Yamaha WSBK Team onboard the R1, while Marc, will be joining his brother Alex in the Gresini Racing Team onboard the Ducati.

As race fans eagerly anticipate the start of the 2024 season, the fact that these two legends of motorcycle racing are still racing, is an absolute bonus to the sport, as well as a credit to the resilience of each of their own characters and the determination to succeed, continuing to push onwards for the next taste of race winning glory.

 

Round 12 WorldSBK, Jerez, Spain, Race 2

The earlier Superpole race saw Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati), claim his 2nd win of the weekend, could the newly crowned champion make it a treble to close out the season in style?

Round 12 WorldSBK Jerez, Spain 29.10.2023 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Lights out for the last time this season and its Bautista with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who immediately attacked and passed to take over the lead. Bautista 2nd,  Toprak (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 3rd, Aegerter (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 4th, and Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 5th.

Next lap of the 20 lap race and positions were as follows: 1. Rea 2. Toprak 3. Bautista 4. Aegerter 5. Locatelli 6. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) 7. Gardner (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 8. Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 9. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing) 10. Bassani (Motocorsa Racing).

With 18 laps remaining, Rea was looking quick out in the lead, and was trying to end his Kawasaki career on a high, he held a gap of 0.7s to Toprak who then posted the new fastest lap with a 1:39.871.

Next lap and both Rea, and Toprak had got away from the rest, with Bautista in 3rd barely just hanging onto the back, such was the pace being set by Rea, who went on to set the new fastest lap with a 1:39.744. Further back Remi Gardner went through on Locatelli into turn 9 to move up to 6th.

With 16 laps to go, drama for Rea who lost the front end into the tight turn 2, it was a slow enough crash, and he was able to pick the bike up and rejoin at the back of the field. A disappointing way to end his 9 year career with Kawasaki, as he had been looking so good up until that point. Positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Bautista 3. Aegerter.

With 14 laps left, Toprak was making the most of his newly acquired lead and held a gap of 0.9s to Bautista behind.

Approaching half race distance and as has been the story all season long, once the fuel levels have reduced, and his tyres have been managed, Bautista starts to post faster lap times. This was the case again, and he was reeling in Toprak lap by lap, with the gap cut down to 0.3s.

Just at half race distance and Bautista lined up a move on Toprak out of the straight, and into turn 1, Toprak successfully defended. Meanwhile the battle up front had allowed both Aegerter, and Rinaldi to close in on the leading pair.

Next lap of the 20 lap race and positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Bautista 3. Aegerter 4. Rinaldi 5. Gardner 6. Petrucci 7. Locatelli 8. Redding 9. Oettl (GoEleven Ducati) 10. Bassani.

Meanwhile at the front, Bautista continued his assault on the Yamaha R1, this time with a rehearsed block pass into the final corner, but could not make it stick, and Toprak retained the lead.

Next lap and this time Bautista does take the lead with a superb cut pass under Toprak.

Round 12 WorldSBK Jerez, Spain 29.10.2023 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

With 7 laps remaining, and with shades of the amazing battle between the two at Portimao, the lead was once again being swapped multiple times, this was shaping up to be another intense fight to victory between the two champions.

Next lap and Toprak ripped the lead back, before Bautista cut under Toprak into turn 5 to retake the lead. The intense battle for the lead had now allowed both Gardner, and Petrucci to join the melee, and the group at the front was now made up of 6 quality riders. Toprak back into the lead before the start of lap 5.

With only 4 laps left Toprak was still defending his lead. Meanwhile further back a mistake from Rinaldi, meant he dropped several positions down to 6th. Bautista 2nd, Aegerter 3rd, Gardner 4th, Petrucci 5th.

Onto the final 3 laps and Gardner was now losing contact with the trio ahead of him, such was the scorching pace being set. Toprak held a lead of 0.3s.

Next lap and Bautista, becoming ever more desperate, once again attacked Toprak into turn 1, the Turkish rider was able to defend to hold onto the lead.

Onto the final lap and Toprak was in the lead, followed by Bautista in 2nd, and Aegerter in 3rd. Approaching the final corner Bautista tried the block pass, infamously used by Valentino Rossi against Sete Gibernau in a MotoGP race there. Bautista slammed hard on the brakes, dived up the inside of Toprak, but Toprak knew it was coming, and squared the corner off accelerating hard out of the corner and narrowly beat Bautista to the line in a drag race. The Turkish rider’s elation however would be short lived, as race direction subsequently demoted him one position, for exceeding track limits on the final corner.

Round 12 WorldSBK Jerez, Spain 29.10.2023 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

That meant that it was indeed a treble for the newly crowned champion Alvaro Bautista, and what a season he had. Toprak 2nd, Aegerter 3rd, Gardner 4th, Petrucci 5th, Rinaldi 6th, Oettl 7th, Redding 8th, Locatelli 9th, Gerloff 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
  3. Aegerter (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
  4. Gardner (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
  5. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 628
  2. Razgatlioglu – 552
  3. Rea – 370

 

Round 10 WorldSBK, Aragon, Spain, Race 2

The earlier Superpole race saw Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati), recover from a disappointing race 1, and claim his first win of the weekend, followed by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK), in 2nd, and 3rd respectively. Could the reigning champion claim a double in race 2 ?

Perfect conditions again for race 2 with air temperature in the mid 20’s, and bright sunshine.

WorldSBK Aragon 24.09.2023 Race 2 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Lights out for race 2, and Bautista claimed the hole shot into turn 1, followed by an aggressive looking Rea, and Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK). Rea dived up the inside of Bautista to take the lead, and Locatelli swiftly followed getting into 2nd. Bautista was now 3rd, with Toprak 4th, and Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) 5th.

Next lap of the 18 lap race, and positions were as follows; 1. Bautista 2. Locatelli 3. Rea 4. Toprak 5. Rinaldi 6. Vierge (Honda HRC) 7. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 8. Lecuona (Honda HRC) 9. Vd Mark (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 10. Oettl (GoEleven Ducati).

Toprak took Rea up the inside to move into 3rd. The Pata Yamaha team mates were now 2nd, and 3rd.

Next lap and Bassani moved into 6th, getting past Vierge. Meanwhile at the front it was Bautista with the new fastest lap a 1:50.5, and he held a gap of 0.5s to Locatelli behind in 2nd.

With 15 laps left, and showing no ill effects from race 1, it was Bautista with yet another fastest lap, this time a 1:50.206. Behind it looked like Locatelli was holding up his team mate, with Toprak desperate to get through and catch Bautista. Further back Rea held a gap of 0.5s to Rinaldi in 5th.

With 13 laps of 18 remaining, Bautista had now extended his lead to 1.6s. Further back Rinaldi held a gap of 1.5s to Bassani in 6th. And yet again having another superb ride, Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing), was up to 11th after starting from 24th on the grid.

With 11 laps left, drama for Petrucci after all the hard work he put in, his Ducati blew up with blue smoke pouring out the exhaust, and his race is over. Meanwhile at the front, undaunted, Bautista continued to extend his lead, now at 2.8s. Further back in 3rd, Toprak held a gap of 1.2s to Rinaldi, who had just got through on Rea, Rea now down to 5th.

Just over half race distance, and Locatelli was still frustrating his team mate, while the Yamaha R1 of Toprak looked down on power, and unable to get past. Out in the lead Bautista now held a gap of 4s, his team mate in 4th, Rinaldi was 1.2s adrift from Toprak.

With 7 laps remaining, it was Rinaldi who was setting quicker lap times then the Yamahas ahead of him, with the gap being cut down to 0.6s. Meanwhile further back it was 10. Vd Mark 11. Gardner (GRT GYRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), and 12. Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW).

Next lap and Rea was now adrift, and out of contact with the group ahead of him in 5th, his tyres seemingly having fallen off a cliff in terms of grip.

With only 4 laps left, Toprak finally got through on his team mate into the corkscrew, just as Locatelli’s engine blew up with smoke spluttering out the R1’s exhaust. A frustrated Locatelli was forced to retire back to the pits. Rinaldi was now up to 3rd, in contention for another podium place.

WorldSBK Aragon 24.09.2023 Race 2 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Penultimate lap, and Gerloff had caught Vd Mark, and was looking for a way past the Dutchman.

Last lap and Bautista crossed the line to make it a double, Toprak 2nd, Rinaldi 3rd, Rea 4th, Bassani 5th, Lecuona 6th, Oettl 7th, Vierge 8th, Gardner 9th, and Gerloff 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
  3. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  4. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  5. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 504
  2. Razgatlioglu – 457
  3. Rea – 328

Round 10 WorldSBK, Aragon, Spain, Race 1

The earlier Superpole saw Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) claim the new outright lap record with a blistering 1:47.973, a time that couldn’t be matched by either Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati), or Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Ahead of race 1, Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was declared unfit to race after undergoing knee surgery.

WorldSBK Aragon Race 1 23.09.2023 Florian Marino, Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

Lights out then for Race 1 and it was Bautista who took the hole shot into turn 1 under perfect conditions. Rea 2nd, Toprak 3rd, Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) 4th, and Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 5th.

Next lap of the 18 lap race, and positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Rea 3. Toprak 4. Rinaldi 5. Locatelli 6. Oettl (GoEleven Ducati) 7. Lecuona (Honda HRC) 8. Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 9. Vierge (Honda HRC) 10. Gardner (GRT GYRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team).

With 16 laps remaining, Bautista eager to get away from Rea, put in a new fastest lap with a 1:49.5. As had happened very often all season this trio began pulling away from the rest. Toprak held a gap of 1.5s to Rinaldi in 4th. Meanwhile further back it was 12. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing), 13. Vd mark (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK), 14. Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 15. Redding (Rokit BMWMotorrad WorldSBK).

With 14 laps left, Lecuona received a double long lap penalty, and dropped down to 15th. Petrucci was up to 10th, having started from the back of the grid after crashing in qualifying.

On lap 6 of 18, massive drama as championship, and race leader, Alvaro Bautista crashed out of the race into turn 9, losing the front end down into the corkscrew, and sliding into the gravel. He got the bike back up and rejoined at the back of the field. Toprak seized the moment and dived through on Rea to briefly take the lead, before Rea snapped straight back into turn 5 to take back the lead.

With 12 laps to go positions were as follows: 1. Rea 2. Toprak 3. Rinaldi 4. Locatelli 5. Oettl 6. Petrucci 7. Bassani 8. Gardner 9. Vierge 10. Vd Mark.

Just over half race distance and Rea was still controlling the lead with a narrow gap of 0.1s over Toprak. Toprak held a gap of 0.8s to Rinaldi in 3rd who was on a charge, and was looking good. Meanwhile at the back of the field Bautista was in 19th.

With 7 laps remaining Rinaldi had now caught the back of Toprak, joining the leading duo, and was setting faster lap times than either of them.

Next lap and Rinaldi cut up the inside of Toprak into turn 5, with an incredibly tight line to take 2nd. Toprak had by no means “left the door open”, but could not defend the move.

With 5 laps left, Danilo Petrucci continued his remarkable charge from last place, and was now up to 5th, after getting through on the German, Oettl. Gardner was up to 7th.

Next lap and Rinaldi attacked Rea, briefly taking the lead before Rea fought back to keep it. Coming down the long back straight there was only ever going to be one winner, and Rinaldi powered past Rea and into the lead. Toprak then dived up the inside of Rea to take 2nd, Rea from 1st to 3rd. Meanwhile further back Bautista was up to 16th.

Penultimate lap, and after getting into the lead, Rinaldi was now stretching away from Toprak, and held a gap of 0.7s, and was looking on for the race win.

WorldSBK Aragon Race 1 23.09.2023 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap and Rinaldi crossed the line to take the win, followed by Toprak in 2nd, and Rea in 3rd. Locatelli 4th, Petrucci 5th, Oettl 6th, Gardner 7th, Gerloff 8th, Bassani 9th, Lecuona 10th. Meanwhile Bautista crashed for the 2nd time going too hot into a corner, and lost the front end. Not a good race for the championship leader.

Result top 5:

  1. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  4. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
  5. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 467
  2. Razgatlioglu – 430
  3. Rea – 306

 

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 2

The earlier Superpole race was won by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK), followed by Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati), and Andrea Locatelli in 2nd, and 3rd respectively.

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 2 – Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

With the extreme heat conditions persisting, it was decided by the race organization to shorten the length of race 2, to 15 laps.

Lights out then for race 2, and after initially getting a great drive off the line, Bautista tipped into the right handed turn 2 and went straight down, he had no chance to save it, and the bike somersaulted into the gravel. A rare mistake from the reigning champion.

Toprak took over the lead, followed by his team mate Locatelli in 2nd, and Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in 3rd. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) then dived through on Bassani and took 3rd. Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 5th, and Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 6th.

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Locatelli 3. Rea 4. Bassani 5. Lowes 6. Redding 7. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) 8. Ray (MotoxRacing Yamaha) 9. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing) 10. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW).

With 13 laps of 15 left, Bassani aggressive as always from the start, dived up the inside of Locatelli to take 2nd, Rea seized the opportunity and likewise did the same to the Italian who dropped down to 4th. Out in the lead, Toprak had pulled the gap out to 0.9s.

With 11 laps remaining Rinaldi took Redding into the chicane to take 6th. Meanwhile further back it was Petrucci 10th, Vierge (Honda HRC) 11th, Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) 12th. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) then crashed out, his race over.

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 2 – Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

With 10 laps to go Toprak had pulled the gap out to 0.3s. Bassani put in the new fastest lap with a 1:47.4. Rea was in 3rd. The leading trio had pulled away from the rest, with Locatelli now 1.7s behind Rea.

With 8 laps to go, Bassani had been steadily gaining on Toprak, and cut under him to take over the lead. Toprak now in 2nd, Rea 3rd. Further back it was Locatelli 4th, Lowes 5th, and Rinaldi 6th.

Just over half race distance and Bassani only held a gap of 0.1s to Toprak. Meanwhile it was Toprak who put in the new fastest lap with a 1:47.7. Drama further back for Isaac Vinales (Team Pedercini) who crashed out, his race over.

With only 4 laps remaining Rea was now struggling to remain in contact with the two ahead of him, and had a gap of 1.0s to overcome to 2nd. Drama for the other factory Kawasaki, Alex Lowes crashed out from a comfortable 5th place, losing the front end, his race over. Meanwhile up ahead Toprak had caught back up to Bassani, and cut up the inside of the Italian into turn 16, to retake the lead. Bassani, however, snapped straight back although Toprak was able to defend the lead.

Last 3 laps and the win would surely be decided between Toprak, and Bassani. Rea now too far back to be in contention.

Penultimate lap and Toprak had put the hammer down, obviously with more tyre grip, and broken the ability of Bassani to remain in contact. Great race for Brad Ray who was now up to 6th, in contention for his best ever WorldSBK result. Behind was Baz 7th, Redding 8th, and Petrucci 9th.

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 2 – Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap and Toprak took the win to make it a double across the weekend. Bassani 2nd, Rea 3rd, Locatelli 4th, Rinaldi 5th, Ray 6th, Baz 7th, Redding 8th, Petrucci 9th, Lecuona 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
  2. Bassani (Motocorsa Racing)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  4. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
  5. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 391
  2. Razgatlioglu – 321
  3. Locatelli – 208

 

Round 5 WorldSBK Misano, Race 1

Back to Misano after the few weeks break for the riders, and it will be the first of two rounds in Italy this season, with a trip to Imola for round 7. Breaking news earlier in the week saw a major shake up in the grid with news Toprak Razgatlioglu would be leaving Yamaha at the end of the season, with a shock switch to BMW.

WorldSBK Misano Race 1 Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

The earlier Superpole saw Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) claim pole with a time of 1:33.017, sporting the new one off yellow livery for Ducati. Followed by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Prometeon Yamaha WorldSBK), and Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Conditions for race 1 were near enough perfect as the riders lined up on the grid.

Lights out then for the first race of the weekend, and it was Bautista with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by his team mate Rinaldi in 2nd, Toprak in 3rd, Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) 4th, Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 5th, Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 6th, and Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 7th.

Next lap of 20 laps, and Bassani cut under Rea in a high speed corner to take 5th, the Italian was looking aggressive early on. It was another Italian who set the new fastest lap, Rinaldi with a 1:34.136 in 2nd. It was a Ducati 1, 2 at the front, and Bautista extended his lead to 0.8s. Meanwhile further back Scott Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK) was in 11th, Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha WorldSBK) 12th, and Xavi Vierge (Honda HRC) 13th.

With 16 laps to go, Bautista had now increased his gap over Rinaldi to 0.9s. Meanwhile Bassani, continued his aggressive start and was all over the back of Petrucci and looking for the pass. The Brit Brad Ray (MotoxRacing Yamaha)  was down in 18th after stalling on the grid.

Next lap and Bautista had now extended his lead to 1.4s, and was slowly pulling away from Rinaldi. The Italian unable to match his pace, so too Toprak in 3rd was losing contact with both riders ahead of him. Meanwhile Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) made a charge moving initially past Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), and then through on Lecuona (Honda HRC) to take 8th. Moving up two places in a few corners. Meanwhile the gap to Aegerter in 7th was at 4.4s.

With 13 laps remaining, Rinaldi held a gap of 1.9s to Toprak in 3rd. Bassani in 5th held a gap of 1.1s to Rea in 6th. Meanwhile Domi Aegerter was all over the back of Rea and looking for the pass. Rea was not having a happy time on his Kawasaki, and wasn’t getting the drive, or stability he was hoping for.

WorldSBK Misano Race 1 Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

Nearing half race distance, and Petrucci, was having one of his best races of the season so far and was closing in on Toprak, reducing the gap to 0.5s.

Just over half race distance, and Toprak responded to the Petrucci charge by increasing the gap to 0.9s. Meanwhile out in the lead, Bautista looked ice cool as he had much of the season, and held a gap of 3.1s. Rinaldi held a gap of 2.9s.  Rinaldi was in 2nd, Toprak 3rd, Petrucci 4th, Bassani 5th, Rea 6th, Aegerter 7th.

With 7 laps to go both the factory BMW’s were struggling in 12th and 17th. Meanwhile Rea had his hands full defending his position from Aegerter in 6th. Brad Ray hadn’t made any headway and was still in 18th.

Next lap, and drama for Petrucci who crashed out of 4th place, he had been looking good all race until that point.

With only 4 laps remaining positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Rinaldi 3. Toprak 4. Bassani 5. Rea 6. Aegerter 7. Lowes 8. Lecuona 9. Gardner 10. Vierge. Redding, the best placed BMW rider, was all over the back of Vierge and looking for the pass.

Penultimate lap, and it was Bautista’s to lose.

WorldSBK Misano Race 1 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap and it was a Ducati 1, 2 in the yellow livery for the team’s home race, and Bautista’s 12th win of the season. Rinaldi 2nd, Toprak 3rd, Bassani 4th, Rea 5th, Aegerter 6th, Lowes 7th, Lecuona 8th, Gardner 9th, Vierge 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  2. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  3. Razgatlioglu (Pata Prometeon Yamaha WorldSBK)
  4. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati)
  5. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 261 pts
  2. Razgatlioglu – 183
  3. Locatelli – 137

 

Round 4 WorldSBK Catalunya, Spain, Race 2

The earlier Superpole race saw Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) claim yet another win, and make it 2/3 wins across the weekend so far. Could anyone break this Ducati dominance?

WorldSBK Catalunya, Spain, Round 4, Race 2. Picture courtesy of Honda Racing Corporation.

During the sighting lap rain began to fall, playing on the minds of the riders. Although it wasn’t enough to be declared a wet race.

Lights out then for race 2, and once again you guessed correct, it was Bautista with the holeshot into turn 1. Toprak (Pata Prometeon Yamaha WorldSBK) was in no mood to witness the Ducatis clear off into the distance again, and quickly launched an attack on both of them, getting through on Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati), before passing Bautista into turn 5 to briefly take the lead. It was now the factory Ducatis 2nd and 3rd, with Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team) in 4th, and Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha WorldSBK) in 5th.

Next lap of the 20 lap race, and Bautista blasted past Toprak down the long straight and back into the lead. The Yamaha R1 had no answer to the power of the Ducati V4. Next was Rinaldi to pass Toprak and retake 2nd. Positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Rinaldi 3. Lowes 4. Toprak 5. Locatelli 6. Vierge (Honda HRC) 7. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) 8. Lecuona (Honda HRC) 9. Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 10. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati). Drama for a deflated Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) yet again, who crashed out of the race alongside Malaysian rider Syahrin (Petronas MIE Racing Honda Team). Both their races were over.

Next lap and Alex Lowes, who had an impressive start to the race made a great pass on Rinaldi to take 2nd. Meanwhile Kawasaki team mate Jonny Rea, who had only started in 10th after a DNF in the Superpole race, moved through on Vierge to take 6th. The light rain had cleared off, and the race was perfectly dry.

With 17 laps remaining Bautista had a gap of 0.3s to Lowes in 2nd. Rinaldi was in 3rd. Swiss rider Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) was up to 10th after getting through on Bassani, who had opted for a harder SC0 front tyre which did not seem to be paying off. Further back Scott Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK) was also struggling and was down in 13th.

Next lap and Rinaldi blasted past Lowes down the straight to retake 2nd. Both Lowes and Rinaldi were having much better rides compared to race 1. Meanwhile Bautista extended his lead to 1.2s. Further back Rea was looking to catch the leaders, and was sizing up Locatelli ahead of him for a pass.

With 14 laps to go Toprak out braked Lowes into turn 1 to move into 3rd. Both of the Ducatis were now clearing off into the distance, with Bautista holding a gap of 1.5s to his team mate. Positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Rinaldi 3. Toprak 4. Lowes 5. Locatelli 6. Rea 7. Vierge 8. Lecuona 9. Gerloff 10. Aegerter.

With 12 laps remaining Bautista had now extended his lead to 2.3s. Rinaldi held a gap of 2.5s to Toprak in 3rd. Meanwhile Isaac Vinales (Team Perdercini) retires due to a mechanical issue. BSB current champion, Brad Ray (MotoxRacing Yamaha), was in 17th.

At half race distance there was a 4 way battle for 8th between Lecuona 8th, Aegerter 9th, Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing) 10th, and Gerloff 11th. Meanwhile at the front Bautista had extended his lead to 3.9s, while Rinaldi had a gap of 3.5s. Lowes held a gap of 1.0s to Locatelli in 5th.

With 7 laps remaining, Bautista was once again clear into the distance, out in front with an unassailable lead. Rea finally made his move on Locatelli to move into 5th. The day got worse for Scott Redding, as he was forced to retire due to a mechanical issue. Locatelli hadn’t given up his place lying down, and the young Italian was trying to put pressure back on Rea.

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Rinaldi 3. Toprak 4. Lowes 5. Rea 6. Locatelli 7. Vierge 8. Lecuona 9. Aegerter 10. Gerloff.

With 4 laps left Bautista now had a commanding lead of 6.7s, while Rinaldi in 2nd had a gap of 3.2s.

WorldSBK Catalunya, Spain, Round 4, Race 2. Picture courtesy of Honda Racing Corporation.

Penultimate lap and Aegerter was all over the back of Vierge, and looking for a pass into 7th place. Further back Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) was in a disappointing 13th, after a good race 1 yesterday.

Last lap and it was Vierge who got through on Locatelli into 6th. Meanwhile Bautista crossed the line to make it 3/3 wins across the weekend, as well as his second clean sweep of wins in Catalunya. Toprak pipped Rinaldi to the line to take 2nd, driving up the inside of the last corner with much better traction, Rinaldi had lost massive time on the last lap, and his tyres were cooked. The race finished: 1. Bautista 2. Toprak 3. Rinaldi 4. Lowes 5. Rea 6. Vierge 7. Locatelli 8. Aegerter 9. Lecuona 10. Gerloff.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Prometeon Yamaha WorldSBK)
  3. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  4. Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team)
  5. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 236 pts
  2. Razgatlioglu – 167
  3. Locatelli – 133

 

 

WorldSBK Round 2 Mandalika Race 1

Scorching hot temperatures on track for the Superpole of 60 degrees Celsius. And it was the factory Yamahas of team mates, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team), and Andrea Locatelli who claimed a 1, 2. Toprak claimed top spot with an unbeaten time of 1:32.037, and rounding out the front row was Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) in 3rd.

WorldSBK Round 2 Mandalika Race 1 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

It was still blazing hot for the start of race 1, and the infamous Lombok thunderstorms, were yet to make an appearance to the relief of the grid. Most of the riders went for a harder rear tyre, the SC0, while the Ducatis gambled on the softer SCX, would the gamble pay off? Unfortunately both Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), and Granado (Petronas MIE Racing Honda Team) were declared unfit to start due to illness.

Lights out then for race 1, and it was Toprak with the hole shot into turn 1. Drama on the first corner for Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati), who over cooked it and ran into the rear of Bassani (Motocorsa Racing Ducati), sending Rinaldi down and out of the race.

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Bautista 3. Bassani 4. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Ducati) 5. Locatelli 6. Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 7. Vierge (Honda HRC) 8. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 9. Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 10. Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW).

With 19 of 21 laps remaining it was Locatelli with the fastest lap of 1:33.7.

With 17 laps to go, and after a poor start Rea was steadily making progress in 6th, and then cut under Petrucci to take 5th. Meanwhile further ahead, Bautista had enough of sitting behind Toprak and cut up the inside of the former champion into turn 15, to take the lead for the first time. It was a Ducati 1, 2 followed by the Yamaha team mates of Toprak and Locatelli, and then the Kawasaki team mates of Rea and Lowes.

With 15 laps remaining Bautista was slowly extending his lead with the gap at 0.6s. Meanwhile further back Vd Mark (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was up to 9th, ahead of team mate Redding 10th, and Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) was 11th.

Next lap and it was Bautista with the new fastest lap, a 1:33.1. Would Toprak, who was unbeaten here last year, be able to respond?

With 13 of 21 laps remaining, Bautista again put in another fastest lap of a 1:32.975. Meanwhile further back, Baz got though on Redding to move into 10th. The Kawasaki’s were not having a good start to the weekend, and both were now losing contact with the 4 riders ahead.

Next lap and it was the 6 times world champion who was holding his team mate up, Lowes eventually had enough and got past Rea to move into 5th. Meanwhile at the front Bautista held a gap of 0.8s.

With 11 laps to go, Locatelli who was having a great start to his season, got through on fellow Italian Bassani into turn 10, to move up into 3rd. Meanwhile Rea was still dropping like a stone, and had former MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci all over the back of him now.

Just over half race distance, and Bautista was managing the softer rear tyre to perfection and had now pulled the gap out to 1.1s. Disaster again for poor Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who has to retire once again due to a mechanical issue. Meanwhile Lowes was having a second wind, and cut up the inside of Bassani into turn twelve to take 4th briefly, before the fiery Italian snapped back to retake the position. A bad day for Scott Redding who comes into pit lane visible seething, smashing his screen off, before storming back into the BMW garage, having to retire due to a mechanical issue.

WorldSBK Round 2 Mandalika Race 1 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

With 8 laps to go, Bautista was showing no signs of grip loss, and put in another fastest lap of a 1:32.803. Meanwhile Petrucci used all of his racing experience and got through on Rea to move into 6th. A struggling Rea had to continue to defend as he had Xavi Vierge all over him now.

With 6 laps to go Vierge finally made his move on Rea getting by to move into 7th. The six times world champion was now in 8th, and it wasn’t going well. Petrucci continued to make up places, and then went through on Lowes to move back into 5th. Excellent ride for the former MotoGP rider considering he’d never been to this track before. The defending continued for Rea, and next up it was Vd Mark eyeing up a sorry looking Kawasaki. Meanwhile at the front, Toprak held a gap of 1 second to his team mate behind in 3rd.

With 4 laps left, Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was finding great late race pace, and was now up to 10th, and gaining on the riders ahead of him. The Dutchman Vd Mark eventually got past Rea to move into 8th, and now the Swiss rider Aegerter was all over the back of Rea. A terrible day for both Kawasaki’s as Vierge also went through on Lowes to move into 6th.

With only 3 laps to go positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Toprak 3. Locatelli 4. Bassani 5. Petrucci 6. Vierge 7. Lowes 8. Vd Mark 9. Rea 10. Aegerter.

Next lap and Vd Mark was having a great ride, and moved first past Lowes and then past Vierge and up into 6th.

Last lap and Domi Aegerter in a fantastic move, took both Kawasaki’s into turn two to move into 8th. Safe to say a disaster for factory Kawasaki with Rea in 9th and Lowes in 10th. However the same could not be said for Alvaro Bautista, who came across the line to take the win, unbeaten so far this season with 4 out of 4 wins. Toprak 2nd, Locatelli 3rd, Bassani 4th, Petrucci 5th, Vd Mark 6th, Vierge 7th, Aegerter 8th, Rea 9th, Lowes 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team)
  3. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team)
  4. Bassani (Motocorsa Racing Ducati)
  5. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 87 pts
  2. Locatelli – 50
  3. Razgatlioglu – 43

 

 

Round 11 WorldSBK Mandalika, Indonesia, Race 2

The Superpole race saw Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) claim his 2nd win of the weekend, followed by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki KRT), and Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha).

WorldSBK Indonesia 15.11.2022 Jonathan Rea Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati) would need a podium finish to claim his first championship, and Ducati’s first championship for 11 years. Could Toprak stand in his way?

Lights out and it was Toprak with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Rea, who quickly sensed an opportunity and made a quick pass to take over the lead, followed by Locatelli and Bautista. Redding (BMW Motorrad) was in 5th.

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Rea 2. Toprak 3. Locatelli 4. Bautista 5. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 6. Redding 7. Lowes (Kawasaki KRT) 8. Vierge (Honda HRC) 9. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) 10. Vd Mark (BMW Motorrad).

With 19 laps to go the lead group of 4 were already pulling away from the rest. It was Locatelli with the fastest lap a 1:33.2. Meanwhile further back it was 11. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 12. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) 15. Nozane (GRT Yamaha).

With 17 of 21 laps to go, it was Bassani with the fastest lap a 1:32.9. Bautista then came through on Locatelli to take 3rd. Bassani had now caught up with the lead group, now made up of 5 riders. The Italian was looking aggressive and barged through on his fellow countryman Locatelli, to take 4th.

Next lap and Toprak made his move on Rea into the hairpin corner at turn 10 taking the lead. Redding meanwhile dropped down to 10th, allowing both Gerloff and Rinaldi through.

Next lap and Rea ran wide, allowing a grateful Bautista to come through into 2nd. Toprak held a gap of 0.4s at the front.

With 14 laps to go Bassani came through on Rea, the Ducati’s acceleration proving too much for the ZX 10-RR, which couldn’t match it in the high track temperatures, which were nearing 70 degrees Celsius.

Coming up to half race distance, and Rea fought back taking Bassani with a neat pass up the inside into turn 12 to move back into 3rd. Meanwhile a miserable season for Nozane (GRT Yamaha) got worse with him crashing out into turn 11, and his race was over. At the front Bautista was right on Toprak and looking for the win to cap his impressive season off.

With 9 laps to go, Redding came through on Lowes to take 7th. Meanwhile Gerloff lost places and dropped down to 10th. Then as we’ve seen a number of times this season, Bautista used the power and speed of the “red missile” to blast past Toprak, and fire himself into the lead into turn 1. Toprak however, was up for the fight and snapped straight back a few corners later to retake the lead, and again Alvaro would again take the lead. This was a becoming a good scrap.

With 6 laps to go Bautista was still out in front. Meanwhile Toprak held a gap of 0.5s to Rea behind in 3rd. As was also the case for much of the season, these three were away, and clear from the rest of the field. Rea in 3rd held a gap of 2.5s to Bassani 4th, Locatelli 5th held a gap of 4.2s to Vierge in 6th.

Next lap and Toprak wasn’t going to let the win go without a fight, and he passed Bautista once again to take the lead.

With 4 laps to go Toprak continued his late race charge, and set a new fastest lap of 1:32.846 in the process, increasing the gap to Bautista behind to 0.6s. Meanwhile Bassani and Locatelli were battling it out for 4th.

Next lap and Toprak continued to widen the gap, now at 1.1s. Bautista looked content to take 2nd. Meanwhile Gerloff had fought back to 8th behind Vierge in 7th.

WorldSBK Indonesia 15.11.2022 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap and Toprak crossed the line to take his 3rd win of the weekend, but it was Alvaro Bautista who claimed the championship coming over in 2nd, Rea in 3rd, Locatelli 4th, Bassani 5th, Redding 6th, Vierge 7th, Gerloff 8th, Lowes 9th, Rinaldi 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  2. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki KRT)
  4. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha)
  5. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 553 pts
  2. Razgatlioglu – 487
  3. Rea – 450

Round 10 WorldSBK San Juan, Argentina, Race 2

The earlier superpole race was won by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha), followed by Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati), and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki KRT).

Track temperature was a lot higher compared to race 1, which meant it would start to feel greasy for the riders, and tyre management would surely be a big factor for the race.

Lights out for race 2 then, and it was Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) with a great start, followed by the Kawasaki team mates of Rea and Lowes in 2nd and 3rd, Bautista 4th, and Toprak in 5th. An unhappy Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW), got a shove from Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati), which sent the Frenchman ploughing into the gravel, and his race was over. Bassani would no doubt receive a penalty for that incident.

Next lap and Rea ran wide losing positions and ended up in 6th. Lowes was having a great start to the race, and was attacking Bautista, the two of them fighting for 2nd. Toprak was now up to 4th.

With 19 laps to go positions were as follows; 1. Rinaldi 2. Lowes 3. Bautista 4. Toprak 5. Vierge (Honda HRC) 6. Rea. It was the Northern Irishman who then put in the new fastest lap with a 1:38.3.

Next lap and Bautista was finding his rhythm and came through on Lowes to move into 2nd. Toprak was next to come through Lowes, and moved into 3rd. Meanwhile further back it was Redding (BMW Motorrad) 10th, Laverty (Bonovo Action Ducati) 11th, and Vd Mark (BMW Motorrad) 12th.

With 16 laps to go, it was Lecuona (Honda HRC), who set the new fastest lap with a 1:38.2, impressive from the ex-MotoGP rider, as it was his first visit to San Juan. Bautista took over the lead from his team mate, and Toprak wasn’t about to let Bautista clear away, and moved through on Rinaldi into 2nd. Further back it was the Kawasaki team mates of Lowes and Rea, in 4th and 5th respectively. Bautista held a gap of 0.2s to Toprak.

Next lap and Toprak put in the new fastest lap of the race with a 1:37.923. The leading two of Bautista, and Toprak were pulling away from the rest, and had pulled out a significant gap. Rinaldi then ran wide allowing both of the Kawasaki team mates through. Positions were as follows; 1. Bautista 2. Toprak 3. Lowes 4. Rea 5. Rinaldi.

With 13 laps remaining, Bautista had increased his lead to 0.5s. Toprak was doing all he could to stay with the Ducati, and set a new fastest lap of 1:37.890. Would we see team orders come into play, forcing Lowes to let Rea through? The GRT Yamaha team mates, Gerloff and Nozane, were having a disappointing weekend and found themselves way down in 16th and 17th.

With 11 laps remaining, Bautista was once again ramping up the pace and set the new fastest lap of the race with a 1:37.789. He now held a gap of 0.8s to Toprak, who was doing everything he could to keep in contact. Meanwhile further back Locatelli (Pata Yamaha), came through on Redding into 9th. Bassani had caught the Honda team mates of Vierge, and Lecuona in 6th, and 7th respectively.

Over half distance now, and Bautista had increased his lead to 0.9s to Toprak. Bautista then put in the new fastest lap of the race with a 1:37.660.

With 7 laps to go positions were as follows; 1. Bautista 2. Toprak 3. Lowes 4. Rea 5. Rinaldi.

With only 4 laps to go, Rea did come through on Lowes into 3rd, Lowes didn’t try to respond, knowing his team mate needed the extra points. Rea wouldn’t be able to catch Toprak who was well away. There was then a three-way battle for 5th between Rinaldi, Vierge, and Lecuona. Meanwhile, Bassani was given a long lap penalty for his earlier incident with Baz, which he failed to take, and was subsequently given an additional long lap penalty. He rejoined the race down in 20th.

Last lap and Bautista crossed the line to claim his second win of the weekend, followed by Toprak 2nd. Rea 3rd, Lowes 4th, Rinaldi 5th, Vierge 6th, Lecuona 7th, Locatelli 8th, Redding 9th, Vd Mark 10th.

It has been an amazingly dominant season for Bautista, who has now finished on the podium in 27 of 30 races so far.

Next stop is Round 11 in Mandalika, Indonesia, and Bautista will be the World Champion if he outscores Toprak by 18 points, and Rea by a single point.

Result top 5:
  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki KRT)
  4. Lowes (Kawasaki KRT)
  5. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati)
Championship top 3:
  1. Bautista – 507 points
  2. Razgatlioglu – 425 points
  3. Rea – 409 points

Feature Image Credit: WorldSBK.com 

©2017 The Pitcrewonline