Round 11 WorldSBK Portimao, Portugal, Race 2

The earlier Superpole race saw Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) claim his 2nd win of the weekend, followed by Pata Yamaha Prometeon team mates of Toprak Razgatlioglu, and Andrea Locatelli in 2nd, and 3rd respectively.

Would Bautista be able to make it 3 wins from 3?

WorldSBK Portimao 01.10.2023 Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

Lights out for race 2, and Toprak aggressive as always from the off took the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Bautista, and Gardner (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) who cut up the inside of Locatelli to take 3rd. Meanwhile further back, drama for Xavi Vierge (Honda HRC), who went off line, taking both Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), and Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) off track along with him. All three riders however were able to rejoin.

Next lap of the 20 lap race, and Bautista attacked Toprak into turn 1, however he eased off the throttle and didn’t make the move stick. Positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Bautista 3. Gardner 4. Locatelli 5. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) 6. Lecuona (Honda HRC) 7. Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 8. Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 9. Vd Mark (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 10. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing).

With 18 laps left, Rinaldi was looking quick and stuffed his Ducati up the inside of an unsuspecting Gardner to take 3rd. Locatelli 4th, and Gardner dropped down to 5th.

As was the case in the earlier Superpole race, both Bautista, and Toprak had pulled away from the rest of the field, the others unable to match the blistering pace being set at the front. Rinaldi in 3rd was 1.6s behind his team mate.

With 16 laps remaining, Bautista was rehearsing his overtake on Toprak, getting ahead down the straight, before easing off into turn 1. Meanwhile further back it was 7. Gardner 8. Bassani 9. Petrucci 10. Aegerter (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team).

Next lap and Bautista made the move he rehearsed the previous few laps count. He eased into the lead down the straight and took the position into turn 1. Toprak however was having none of it, and stuffed his R1 under the Ducati into turn 5, rear sliding out as he retook the lead.

Meanwhile Garrett Gerloff put in the new fastest lap with a 1:40.829. Further back Rea was up to 14th, but was subsequently given a long lap penalty for dangerous riding. Rinaldi then put in the new fastest lap with a 1:40.738.

With 13 laps to go, it was the turn of Bautista to put in the new fastest lap with a 1:40.4, and extended his lead to 0.3s in the process. Meanwhile Rinaldi had a gap of 1.7s to Toprak.

Approaching the half way point of the race, and Toprak struck, slamming his R1 up the inside of Bautista’s Ducati into turn 13 with a perfect block pass. However, Bautista responded by blasting past the R1 down the straiight. As has been the story all season, the Yamaha had no answer to the outright speed of the Ducati. Toprak, late on the brakes into turn 1, somehow retook the lead. A real battle was unfolding.

Rinaldi in 3rd was struggling to match the pace at the front, and was losing contact, with the gap extended to 1.9s.

Just at the half way point of the race, and drama for the Aussie, Gardner who had a mechanical, and was forced to retire. Positions at the half way stage were as follows; 1. Bautista 2. Toprak 3. Rinaldi 4. Locatelli 5. Gerloff 6. Lecuona 7. Petrucci 8. Aegerter 9. Oettl 10. Bassani.

With 9 laps remaining, Toprak was back in front, the lead now swapping virtually every lap. The gap between them was only 0.2s, this would no doubt go down to the wire.

With 7 laps to go, Bautista again blasted past Toprak down the straight and back into the lead. Meanwhile further back, Rea was up to 13th, and Redding 14th. At the front Toprak cut under Bautista into turn 13, before Bautista retook the lead into turn 1 the next lap, however he ran wide and Toprak retook the lead. This was breathtaking racing!

With only 5 laps left, Gerloff was having another superb race, and was all over the back of Locatelli and looking for the pass. With the constant swapping of positions ahead of him, Rinaldi had managed to claw back ground, and was closing in. Toprak held a lead of 0.2s in front.

Next lap, and Bautista again retook the lead down the straight and into turn 1. Then into turn 13, a favourite for Toprak, he jammed it up the the inside of Bautista with a neat pass to retake the lead.

With 3 laps remaining, Bautista was back in front, powering down the straight and into the lead into turn 1. Toprak was in no mood to settle for 2nd and, stuffed it up the inside of Bautista into turn 5. The move caught the Spaniard out, and his bike jerked violently as he sat it upright briefly. This race was still anyone’s to call. Meanwhile further back Rea was up to 11th.

Down to the penultimate lap, and Bautista again took the lead down the long straight, however as he had done before, he went wide, and Toprak went through the gap he left. This was edge of your seat racing, incredible stuff from two champions giving it absolutely everything.

Last lap, and as they had been for the past 20 laps, they were both still locked together in a bitter dog fight. Bautista took the lead again down the straight, before Toprak dived up the inside, nearly losing the front end in the process. Approaching the last few sets of corners, and Toprak was ahead, ringing the neck out of his R1, then onto the long right hander, Toprak still ahead, Bautista got the drive out of the last corner and powered past Toprak and across the line to take the win. Sensational racing, Toprak however was furious, and smashed his screen repeatedly. He had given everything, and yet it wasn’t enough to beat the flawless pairing of Bautista, and the Ducati.

WorldSBK Portimao 01.10.2023 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Rinaldi 3rd, Gerloff 4th, Locatelli 5th, Petrucci 6th, Lecuona 7th, Aegerter 8th, Oettl (GoEleven Racing) 9th, Rea 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team)
  3. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  4. Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW)
  5. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 566
  2. Razgatlioglu -506
  3. Rea – 350

The championship will go down to the final round in Jerez, Spain.

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 8 WorldSBK, Most, Czech Rep, Race 2

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

WorldSBK 30.07.2023 Most, Czech Rep. Picture courtesy of Honda Racing Corporation.

With warm and dry conditions for race 2, as well as the fact that it would be the last race before the summer break, it was all to play for.

Lights out then for race 2 and it was Bautista with the hole shot, closely followed by Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), who was aggressive from the off as always, Rea 3rd, and Toprak in 4th. Early drama yet again for Gerloff (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), who ran off into turn 1 going down into the gravel. He rejoined at the back of the field.

Next lap and it was Bassani who over shot into the tight turn 1, he managed to “motocross” his way back on track but lost several places. Positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Rea 3. Toprak 4. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) 5. Gardner (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 6. Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 7. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 8. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 9. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) 10. Vierge (Honda HRC). Drama for Eric Granado (Petronas MIE Racing Honda Team) who crashed out, his race was over.

With 19 laps of 22 remaining, Toprak dived up the inside of Rea into turn 1 to take 2nd. The poor weekend for Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) continued as he crashed yet again, this time into turn 1, and his race was over. Meanwhile further back it was 10th Vierge, 11th Aegerter (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), 12th Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBKTeam).

With 17 laps to go, it was Toprak with the new fastest lap a 1:31.951. Bautista was coming under increasing pressure from the Turkish rider, who was aiming for his 2nd win of the weekend. Further back in 5th place, Gardner held a gap of 2s to Locatelli in 6th.

Next lap, and after getting great drive out of the previous corner, Toprak blasts under Bautista into turn 13 to take the lead, Bautista had no response, super move. Meanwhile further back it was 12. Lecuona (Honda HRC) 13. Aegerter 14. Lowes.

With 15 laps left, local rider Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing Movisio) looked to have a mechanical issue and retired to the pits.

Next lap and in 3rd place, Rea had a gap of 1.0s to bridge across to Bautista. While he held a gap of 1.4s to Rinaldi in 4th. Gardner held a gap of 1.6s to Petrucci in 6th. At the front the Yamaha R1 looked good, and was right at home with the twisty flowing nature of the racetrack and Toprak was looking as determined as ever. Bautista had his work cut out for him, with the lap times between them very similar.

With 12 laps to go, Scott Redding got past Loris Baz up into 9th.

Next lap and Bautista attacked around the outside of Toprak, the Turkish rider defended his position. Absolutely nothing in it between these two, it was shaping up to be a cracking race.

Just over half race distance, and after his failed attempt to pass Toprak into the twisty sections of the track, the only real option left was the tight turn 1. Bautista got great drive down the straight and lined up a pass on the R1, only to have the door well and truly slammed in his face. Toprak a demon on the brakes as ever. Rea was just about hanging onto the back of these two in 3rd.

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Bautista 3. Rea 4. Rinaldi 5. Petrucci 6. Gardner 7. Bassani 8. Locatelli 9. Redding 10. Baz.

Then with only 6 laps remaining, massive drama as the race leader Toprak Razgatlioglu high sided out of the chicane, in a very uncharacteristic mistake. He flew over the handlebars, and into the gravel, with his bike narrowly missing him. He got to his feet, with his arms held outstretched in utter disbelief.

WorldSBK 30.07.2023 Most, Czech Rep. Picture courtesy of Honda Racing Corporation.

A grateful Bautista took over the lead with enough of a gap back to Rea to ensure he wouldn’t get any immediate attacks. It was Rea 2nd, Rinaldi 3rd, and Danilo Petrucci in 4th, again showing great late race pace, and was reeling in Rinaldi.

With only 3 laps left, Petrucci made his move on Rinaldi, and took 3rd. Rinaldi next had to deal with Bassani who was gaining on him.

Penultimate lap, and Bassani had now caught his fellow countryman, and moved through on him into 4th. Petrucci was flying, and was closing in on Rea, looking like he had more pace. Petrucci caught Rea and attacked, Rea however, was able to defend his position.

Last lap, and Petrucci got great drive out of the last corner to pip Rea to the line to take 2nd. However it was his 18th win of the season, and a new record in WorldSBK, and it went to Alvaro Bautista. Petrucci 2nd, Rea 3rd, Bassani 4th, Rinaldi 5th, Gardner 6th, Locatelli 7th, Redding 8th, Vierge 9th, Baz 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  2. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  4. Bassani (Motocorsa Racing Team)
  5. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 427
  2. Razgatlioglu – 353
  3. Rea – 251

 

 

Round 8 WorldSBK, Most, Czech Rep, Race 1

The earlier Superpole saw Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK), claim top spot with an unbeaten time of 1:30.801, followed by Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing), and Remi Gardner (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), in 2nd and 3rd respectively. A mix up for the Aruba.it Racing team saw both Rinaldi and Bautista penalised for passing under the yellow flag, riders were docked grid positions with Bautista dropping down to 14th and Rinaldi down to 8th.

WorldSBK Most, 29.07.2023 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

The usually blazing hot Most track was cool and wet for race 1, with a mixed prediction of weather across the weekend. With the race declared wet, riders would be free to change bikes at any stage during the race.

Lights out then for race 1 and it was Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), with a great start and the hole shot into the tight turn 1. Gardner was in 2nd, followed by Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 3rd, Toprak 4th, and Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team) 5th. Meanwhile with a blistering start Bautista was now up to 7th, and then swiftly took both Vierge (Honda HRC) and Rea to move into 3rd, making up 11 places on lap 1.

Next lap of the 22 lap race and positions were as follows: 1. Bassani 2. Gardner 3. Bautista 4. Vierge 5. Rea 6. Rinaldi 7. Vd Mark (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 8. Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 9. Out in front Bassani wasn’t hanging around, and had already increased his lead to 5.2s. In 2nd the Aussie had a gap of 2.2s to Bautista. Meanwhile Toprak, who had opted for intermediate tyres, was struggling for grip on the wet track and had dropped down to 13th.

With 20 laps remaining, Bassani had the bit between his teeth, and put in the new fastest lap with a 1:46.5, and extended the gap to 7.5s.

With 18 laps left, Rea who had also opted for the intermediates, took both Bautista, and Gardner to move into 2nd. The track was drying rapidly now, and combined with an abrasive surface, the wet tyres were getting shredded. It was now Bassani in the lead followed by Rea in 2nd, and Bautista in 3rd. Drama for Gerloff, the Texan crashed out into turn 15 and his race was over.

Next lap and it was Rea with the new fastest lap, a 1:40.3, and he was steadily reeling in Bassani, with the lead cut down to only 2.9s. Meanwhile the drying track was also helping Toprak who was up to 4th now, after carving through riders, most of whom were on full wet tyres. Bassani pulled into the pits for a change to slick tyres, and that meant Rea was the new race leader.

With 16 laps to go positions were as follows: 1. Rea 2. Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 3. Petrucci 4. Locatelli 5. Toprak 6. Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) 7. Lecuona (Honda HRC) 8. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 9. Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 10. Aegerter (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team).

Bassani exited pit lane and rejoined in 14th, while Bautista who did likewise ended up in 18th, with plenty of work ahead for both riders. Meanwhile Toprak got ahead of his team mate and was back to 4th.

With 15 laps left Rea had pulled out a massive gap of 13.3s. Redding was still behind in 2nd.

Bautista was clawing back time and put in the new fastest lap, a 1:34.925, and moved up to 11th ahead of Gardner in 12th. Meanwhile in 9th place Aegerter held a gap of 20.5s to Oettl (Team GoEleven) in 10th.

With 13 laps remaining, Petrucci put in a hard move on Redding, diving up the inside of the BMW to take 2nd, Toprak did likewise and took 3rd. Redding lost two places and ended up in 4th.

At the halfway point of the race it was Bautista with another fastest lap, this time a 1:33.368, although he had dropped two positions after previously running wide into a corner, and was now in 13th. Meanwhile out in the lead, and commanding a comfortable lead of 11s, was the Northern Irishman, Jonathan Rea.

Just over half race distance now and the positions were as follows: 1. Rea 2. Toprak 3. Petrucci 4. Redding 5. Locatelli 6. Lecuona 7. Baz 8. Aegerter 9. Lowes 10. Bassani.

With 9 laps left Locatelli had caught Redding, and made a clean pass up the inside of the BMW into turn 20 to take 4th.

Next lap and in 9th position, Lowes held a gap of 16.3s to Bassani in 10th.

With 7 laps to go, Rea’s lead had been getting cut down lap by lap, although he still held a sizeable lead of 8.2s. In 3rd place Petrucci held a gap of 4.4s to Locatelli in 4th.

Next lap and the Swiss rider, Domi Aegerter, made a nice pass on the brakes into turn 1 to take Loris Baz, and move up into 7th. He now had to bridge a gap of 6.4s to Lecuona ahead in 6th. Meanwhile Redding responded to the earlier move, and retook 4th getting past Locatelli.

WorldSBK Most, 29.07.2023 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

With only 4 laps left, the stand in rider for Syahrin on the Petronas MIE Honda, Soomer, crashed out. Meanwhile at the front, Rea still held a lead of 6.3s. Bautista had moved up a position to 12th.

With 3 laps to go, Lecuona had now caught the group of Redding, and Locatelli ahead, and was looking like he had more pace. Bautista had not given up, and put in yet another fastest lap a 1:32.4, but you felt it was all too late for him.

Penultimate lap, and Lecuona took Locatelli down the straight after getting a good slip stream to move up into 5th.

Last lap and on his 399th start, Rea took his first win of the season. Toprak 2nd, Petrucci 3rd, Redding 4th, Lecuona 5th, Locatelli 6th, Bassani 7th, Aegerter 8th, Lowes 9th, Baz 10th, Bautista 12th.

Result top 5:

  1. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
  3. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team)
  4. Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
  5. Lecuona (Honda HRC)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 395
  2. Razgatlioglu – 341
  3. Rea – 226

 

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 3 WorldSBK, Assen, Race 2

The earlier Superpole race saw Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) claim his 2nd win of the weekend, and the question on everyone’s mind was, who could stop him claiming his 3rd win.

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had a crash on the sighting lap, and that meant he would have to start at the back of the grid for race 2, instead of 4th.

Round 2, World Superbikes, Assen. Picture courtesy of WSBK.

Lights out then for race 2, and it was Bautista with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Toprak (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 2nd, Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 3rd, Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 4th, Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 5th, Aegerter (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 6th, and Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 7th.

Next lap and drama for both Brad Ray (Motoxracing Yamaha) who crashed out,  and then local rider, Vd Mark (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), who had a massive high side into the chicane and landed with a gruesome looking injury to his leg. He got stretchered off into an ambulance, with later news confirming he had broken his leg. Vierge (Honda HRC) was next to crash, this time into turn 1. Neither Honda or BMW were having a good weekend, and it was now made a lot worse.

Next lap and Toprak made a move on Bautista, before Alvaro snapped straight back, also allowing Rea to come through into 2nd in the process.

With 18 laps of 21 remaining positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Rea 3. Toprak 4. Bassani 5. Locatelli 6. Aegerter 7. Redding 8. Lecuona. Meanwhile Rea, late on the brakes, dived into turn 9 briefly taking over the lead, before Bautista could unleash all of the Ducati power down the back straight to retake the lead. Toprak then repaid the favour to Rea and came through back into 2nd.

With 16 laps to go, and having to push so hard to make any ground on the leading Bautista, Rea lost the front end into turn 9 trail braking into the corner. The Kawasaki flew into the gravel, and a disconsolate Rea trudged back to the safety barriers, his race over.

Next lap and Toprak put in a new fastest lap a 1:34.304 to keep the pressure firmly on Bautista. The positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Toprak 3. Bassani 4. Locatelli 5. Aegerter 6. Redding 7. Lecuona 8. Gardner (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) 9. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing) 10. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati).

Next lap and Remy Gardner got through on Lecuona to take 7th, the Aussie had only started from 14th on the grid. Further ahead Locatelli got past Bassani to take 3rd. At the front Bautista held a gap of 0.9s to Toprak behind, and then put in a new fastest lap a 1:34.1 to respond to the pressure from the Yamaha.

With 12 laps to go Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) went down into turn 15, he had only just recovered from a fractured ankle. Meanwhile Bautista was upping the tempo and now held a gap of 1.8s to Toprak. Lowes had made a massive recovery after having started at the back of the grid, and was now up to 10th, with Rinaldi behind in 11th.

With just over half race distance covered, Bassani had fought back to Locatelli and was looking for the pass into 3rd. Meanwhile the poor weekend for Honda continued as Lecuona crashed into turn 4, he briefly rejoined before retiring into the pits. After all the crashes there were now only 19 riders left.

Round 2, World Superbikes, Assen. Picture courtesy of WSBK.

With 8 laps to go former Moto2 rider Gardner was having a great race, and was now all over the back of Redding.

Next lap and Bautista was firmly in line to take Ducati’s 400th WorldSBK win. Behind it was Toprak in 2nd, Locatelli 3rd, and Bassani in 4th.

With 3 laps to go Aegerter, like his team mate, was also having great late race pace, and was catching Bassani ahead in 4th, with the gap cut down to 0.7s. Meanwhile further back Lowes was up into 9th, Rinaldi 10th, and Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 12th.

Last lap and Bautista made no mistake to claim his 3rd win of the weekend, also his 40th career win, and Ducati’s 400th win. Toprak 2nd, Locatelli 3rd, Aegerter 4th, Bassani 5th, Gardner 6th, Redding 7th, Petrucci 8th, Lowes 9th, and Rinaldi 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
  3. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
  4. Bassani (Motocorsa Racing)
  5. Aegerter (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 174 pts
  2. Razgatlioglu – 118
  3. Locatelli – 104

Moto2: Acosta Takes the Win In Exciting Race

Celestino Vietti was not able to convert pole position to a win as Pedro Acosta battled alongside Tony Arbolino for almost the whole duration of the race to come out on top.

Pedro Acosta – Moto 2 picture courtesy of MotoGP

Following Jake Dixon’s crash on the warm-up lap, 28 riders started the 16 lap pursuit to the finish.

Acosta had a blistering start, taking over the race lead but had to defend from Alonso Lopez into the second and third corners but Lopez was able to take over the lead. Acosta was able to get past Lopez at the back of the circuit.

Arbolino started the race in eighth position but was able to get past Lopez at the final corner to cross the start-finish line in second place at the end of the first lap.

Joe Roberts was another rider who really enjoyed the first lap, gaining six positions on the first tour of the circuit.

Aron Canet joined in the battle for the top four in lap two, fighting with Arbolino throughout the entire lap.

At turn 12 on the third lap, Acosta accidentally put the bike into neutral rather than first gear and went wide, losing three places in the process. However, he was able to gain one of these places back at turn one on the following lap, overtaking Canet.

Albert Arenas went onto the paint on the back straight and Lorenzo Dalla Porta crashed at turn 18, also on the fourth lap.

During the fifth lap, Arbolino was able to pass Lopez and make it stick before they, and Acosta, began to break away from the chasing pack. Acosta gained the lead back on the brakes into turn one on lap six. The chasing group slowly began to catch up to the front three, bringing the gap down to 0.4 seconds.

Lopez continued to drop down the field to sixth by the end of lap seven. Barry Baltus was riding in fifth place, setting fastest laps at the same time.

However, Baltus crashed the following lap at turn nine, after rising through the field from twelfth on the grid. Lap eight was also not good for Lopez, as he went wide at turn 12, dropping to seventh.

Arbolino and Acosta continued to drive away from the rest of the field with a margin of 2.427 seconds into lap 10.

Marcos Ramirez and Sergio Garcia both retired on lap ten.

Acosta continued to look for a move on Arbolino for laps eleven, twelve and thirteen, even if he was a little wabble on lap twelve. Bo Bendsneyder was able to capitalise on the chasing pack fighting between each other on lap thirteen to pass Lopez for seventh.

Arbolino ran wide at turn one on lap fourteen and Acosta was able to get past but Arbolino kept close to the young Spaniard. Acosta rode deep into turn twelve and the Italian was able to get through, retaking the lead.

Arbolino rode defensive for the entire of lap fifteen, even with the pressure being applied from behind from Acosta but went into the final lap with the lead of the race. Fermín Aldeguer, Jeremy Arcoba and Canet were all fighting for third place.

As always, the final lap of the race was a delight to watch. Once again, Acosta tried the move into turn one but Arbolino had placed his bike in the ideal spot to defend. Into turn 12, Acosta was able to make the move on Arbolino, immediately moving to defend the lead of the race. Arbolino started to line up to make a move into the final corner but was unable to beat Acosta to the line.

The battle for the final podium position was hectic as Bensneyder rose from sixth at the start of lap sixteen to third across the line, beating Alcoba and Filip Salac through a drag race. Aldeguer finished in sixth, ahead of early leader Lopez. Caner, Vietti and Manuel Gonzalez rounded out the top ten.

2023 AMERICAS MOTO2 GRAND PRIX, AUSTIN – RACE RESULTS
POS RIDER NAT TEAM BIKE TIME
1 Pedro Acosta SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) 34m 42.879s
2 Tony Arbolino ITA Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 34m 43.025s
3 Bo Bendsneyder NED Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team (Kalex) 34m 48.730s
4 Jeremy Alcoba SPA QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 34m 48.928s
5 Filip Salac CZE QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 34m 50.341s
6 Fermín Aldeguer SPA Beta Tools SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 34m 50.547s
7 Alonso Lopez SPA Beta Tools SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 34m 50.594s
8 Aron Canet SPA Pons Wegow Los40 (Kalex) 34m 50.957s
9 Celestino Vietti ITA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 34m 53.993s
10 Manuel Gonzalez SPA Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 (Kalex) 34m 55.440s
11 Somkiat Chantra THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 34m 56.486s
12 Albert Arenas SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) 34m 56.880s
13 Sam Lowes GBR Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 35m 2.933s
14 Dennis Foggia ITA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 35m 5.869s
15 Ai Ogura JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 35m 11.699s
16 Joe Roberts USA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 35m 14.772s
17 Zonta Vd Goorbergh NED Fieten Olie Racing GP (Kalex) 35m 17.613s
18 Sean Dylan Kelly USA American Racing (Kalex) 35m 17.813s
19 Rory Skinner GBR American Racing (Kalex) 35m 25.419s
20 Borja Gomez SPA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 35m 32.852s
21 Izan Guevara SPA Asterius GASGAS Aspar M2 (Kalex) 35m 34.349s
22 David Sanchis SPA Forward Team (Forward) 35m 48.103s
23 Soichiro Minamimoto JPN Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 (Kalex) 36m 27.326s
  Sergio Garcia SPA Pons Wegow Los40 (Kalex) DNF
  Marcos Ramirez SPA Forward Team (Forward) DNF
  Barry Baltus BEL Fieten Olie Racing GP (Kalex) DNF
  Lorenzo Dalla Porta ITA Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team (Kalex) DNF
  Lukas Tulovic GER Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (Kalex) DNF
  Jake Dixon GBR Asterius GASGAS Aspar M2 (Kalex) DNS

 

Round 2 WorldSBK, Mandalika, Indonesia, Race 2

Mandalika always seems to throw plenty of drama, and talking points into the mix, and Sunday was no exception, with drama from start to finish.

WorldSBK Mandalika, Round 2, Race 2 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

The earlier Superpole race was full of incidents, and it was Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team) who was able to avoid them all and secure the win, followed by fellow team mate Andrea Locatelli in 2nd, with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in 3rd rounding out the podium. Championship leader Alvaro Bautista crashed out for his 1st DNF of the season.

Before the start of race 2, Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) was declared unfit to start, due to suffering a fractured leg in contact with Lowes in the superpole race. Remi Gardener (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) however was able to start after his illness.

Lights out then for race 2, and it was Toprak with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Yamaha team mate Locatelli in 2nd, Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 3rd, Bassani (Motocorsa Racing Ducati) 4th, Lowes 5th and Vierge (Honda HRC) 6th. Lowes made a move on Bassani briefly taking 4th, before the Italian was able to snap back to retake the position. Bautista was down in 8th.

On lap 19 of the 21, Bassani who had an incredible start and was looking very aggressive, was now in 2nd, and blasted past Locatelli to take the lead. Toprak however had been mugged, and now found himself down in 5th. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) also had a great start and was moving through the field. Positions were as follows: 1. Bassani 2. Rinaldi 3. Rea 4. Lowes 5. Toprak 6. Vierge 7. Locatelli 8. Bautista 9. Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 10. Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team).

Next lap and Rinaldi continued his forward advance, and now got through on Bassani to take over the lead for the first time. Lowes also went through on Rea into 3rd.

With 17 laps remaining Bautista was now up to 7th, after getting through on Locatelli who was in 8th. Toprak dived under Rea into turn 10 to take 4th. Meanwhile Bassani was instructed to drop 1 position for dangerous riding.

Next lap and it was Rinaldi with the new fastest lap time a 1:33.0, and he held a gap of 0.8s to Bassani. Bassani then eased off the throttle to allow Lowes through, however Toprak snapped up the chance also coming through. Bassani lost 2 places and was in 4th.

WorldSBK Mandalika, Round 2, Race 2 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

With 15 laps of 21 remaining Rinaldi was looking at ease in front, and set another fastest lap this time a 1:32.668. Meanwhile further back however, it was utter carnage, with firstly Lowes running off track, then both Rokit BMW’s crashed, and Oettl (GoEleven Racing Ducati). The German collided into the back of Vd Mark, sending the Dutchman high siding with a nasty crash, both were out, then Redding lost his BMW into a corner and he was down. It was absolute mayhem! Meanwhile Bautista had got through on Rea, and was up to 4th.

Then with 14 laps left, and unsurprisingly, the race was red flagged. The new race distance after the restart would be 14 laps with Rinaldi in pole position, Toprak 2nd, Vierge 3rd, Bautista 4th, and Rea 5th. Both Lowes and Redding were able to restart.

Lights out for the 2nd time in the race, and Rinaldi got the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Toprak 2nd, Bautista 3rd, Vierge 4th, Rea 5th, Bassani 6th, Locatelli 7th, Redding 10th, and Lowes 14th.

With 12 laps left, it was the other Ducati setting the fastest lap, this time it was Bautista with a 1:32.5, and he was all over the back of Toprak looking for the pass. Rinaldi held a gap of 0.8s out in front.

Next lap and not to be outdone by his team mate, it was Rinaldi with the fastest lap a 1:32.3, and was pulling away from Toprak behind, the gap now at 1.3s. Bautista then made his move on Toprak with a super move into turn 15, slicing under the Yamaha R1 to take 2nd. Bassani then got through on Rea into turn 1 to take 5th, Rea now in 6th.

Just over half race distance, and positions were as follows: 1. Rinaldi 2. Bautista 3. Toprak 4. Vierge 5. Bassani 6. Rea 7. Locatelli 8. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Ducati)9. Lecuona (Honda HRC) 10. Gardner.

With 8 laps to go, Rinaldi held a gap of 1.1s to Bautista. Bautista in turn held a gap of 1.2s to Toprak behind in 3rd.

Next lap and Rea cut under Bassani into the penultimate corner to take back 5th. Then drama for the 6 times world champion a few corners later, as he lost the front end into the high speed turn 7, sliding out, and his race was over. Another disappointing race for Kawasaki, as Lowes was down in 14th and not looking comfortable.

With only 5 laps remaining positions were as follows: 1. Rinaldi 2. Bautista 3. Toprak 4. Vierge 5. Locatelli 6. Bassani 7. Petrucci 8. Lecuona 9. Gardner 10. Redding.

Last 3 laps and Bautista had now caught his team mate, looking like he had a lot more tyre grip than Rinaldi. Toprak was still in 3rd, but out of contact for the race win.

Next lap and Bautista took Rinaldi into turn 10, and was looking good for the win.

Last lap and Rinaldi had lost his race rhythm, he overshot turn 10 going wide and lost places. However his team mate would make no mistake, and crossed the line to make it 5 wins out of 6 races this season. Toprak 2nd, Vierge 3rd, Rinaldi 4th, Locatelli 5th, Petrucci 6th, Gardner 7th, Bassani 8th, Lecuona 9th, Redding 10th.

WorldSBK Mandalika, Round 2, Race 2 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team)
  3. Vierge (Honda HRC)
  4. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  5. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 112 pts
  2. Razgatlioglu – 75
  3. Locatelli – 70
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