Bautista battles back to take Race 2 victory at Mandalika, Vierge claims maiden WorldSBK podium

Sunday, 5 March 2023 07:07 GMT

Ducati rider Bautista made it five wins out of six in 2023 as he continued his incredible start to the 2023 season after battling with his teammate

The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s visit to the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit for the Motul Indonesian Round featured another dramatic race in Race 2 as Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) fought back to claim victory in Indonesia in a red-flagged Race 2 after battling with teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi. It was also a memorable race for Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) as he claimed his first WorldSBK podium after a strong Indonesian Round.

FIGHTING BACK: Bautista fights from tenth to first…

The original race was red flagged at the start of Lap 8 after an incident at Turn 11 involving Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) with both riders retiring from the race and unable to take the restart. Van der Mark was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash. The Dutchman was diagnosed with fractures to the base of the middle phalanx on his fourth and fifth fingers on his left hand. The starting grid for the restarted race was based on the last completed timing point for every rider and the race distanced reduced to 14 laps for the restarted race.

Rinaldi started the restarted race from pole position and, despite losing momentum at the start, was able to hold that throughout the opening laps of the 14-lap race. The Italian was able to take advantage of the battling behind him, including between teammate Alvaro Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) for second place. Bautista overtook Razgatlioglu on Lap 4 at Turn 15 to move into second place before setting his sights on his teammate.

The gap was at over one second at when Bautista passed Razgatlioglu before the reigning Champion started closing in on teammate. Bautista, who started the original race from tenth place after a Superpole Race crash and then fourth for the restarted race, lost time when he ran wide at Turn 1 when the gap was down to half-a-second, losing around one second, before he closed down the gap again. By Lap 11, Bautista had closed the gap back down to a tenth. Bautista made the move on his teammate on Lap 13 of 14 at Turn 10 to move into the lead of the race. Bautista had opted to switch tyres in the red flag period as he switched from the SCX tyre for the original race to the SC0 for the restarted race.

On the final lap, Rinaldi ran wide at Turn 10 and lost two positions to Razgatlioglu and Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) in third place with Vierge taking his first WorldSBK podium after claiming third place after he started the restarted race from third on the grid. He was running in the chasing group throughout Race 2 and was able to take advantage of Rinaldi running wide to move into the podium places behind Razgatlioglu, who had been fighting for the podium throughout the restarted race.

Bautista was able to claim his 37th victory in WorldSBK and his fifth out of six races in 2023, while it was also his 60th podium for Ducati. This number puts him level with Troy Corser in terms of podiums for the Italian manufacturer and he sits exactly 40 behind Carl Fogarty. Razgatlioglu’s second place moved him level with Aaron Slight on 87 WorldSBK podiums while Vierge became the 128th rider to take a podium in WorldSBK.

IN THE TOP SIX: six seconds separating the top six

Rinaldi ended up in fourth place and less than a second clear of Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) in fifth place with the two Italians separated by just 0.780s at the end of the race. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) continued his impressive Indonesian Round with sixth place with Petrucci less than a second behind Locatelli in sixth place. Locatelli had briefly led the original race but lost ground shortly afterwards, dropping him down the order on the grid for the restarted race.

IN THE TOP TEN: fighting from the back

Australian rookie Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) overcame illness to record his best WorldSBK result to date with seventh place despite starting the original race from last place after missing Saturday’s Tissot Superpole session. Gardner was 11th on the restarted grid and moved up the order to finish ahead of Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing). Bassani had been in the top four but was penalized for irresponsible riding in the original race and ordered to drop one place. As he looked to allow Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) through, Razgatlioglu was able to sneak through and Bassani lost two places. To take eighth place. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) was ninth in Race 2, ahead of Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team).

COMPLETING THE POINTS: leaving Indonesia with point

American star Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) finished directly behind Redding with 11th place and the pair were separated by only two tenths at the end of the race. Rookie Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) took 12th spot ahead of Lowes in 13th and Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) with the Italian bettering his previous best WorldSBK result set in Race 1. Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin (PETRONAS MIE MS Racing HONDA Team) rounded out the last of the classified riders and the points scorers with 15th place.

HOUSEKEEPING: to note from Race 2

Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) did not get underway when the lights went out after he had a technical issue on the grid, with the Czech rider retiring from the race. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) brought his bike into the pits after five laps and, as he was not classified when the red flag was shown, did not take to the restarted race. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) crashed out of the race after he crashed at Turn 7 with the six-time Champion taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash. Rea was diagnosed with a right distal thigh deep abrasion following his check-up.

The top six following WorldSBK Race 2, full results here:

1. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati)

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +1.218s

3. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) +3.050s

4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) +4.068s

5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +4.848

6. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +5.838s

Fastest lap: Alvaro Bautista, Ducati – 1’32.247

Championship standings

1. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) 112 points

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 75

3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 70

4. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 51

5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) 47

6. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 44

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