HAT-TRICK HERO: Bautista’s Misano masterpiece hands him victory, Rinaldi crashes from third

Sunday, 4 June 2023 13:13 GMT

The Spanish rider dropped back to third to start with, but he was able to fight back to claim victory, while his teammate clashed with Toprak Razgatlioglu when fighting for a podium

There were fights up and down the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship grid during Race 2 at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” during the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round as Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) claimed a stunning win to take a Misano hat-trick wearing a special yellow livery for Ducati, while his teammate, Michael Ruben Rinaldi, crashed out from third place when fighting for the podium.

FIGHTING FOR THE PODIUM: late-race drama…

As the lights went out, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) got the holeshot into Turn 1 before Rinaldi battled his way through on his teammate at Turn 4 to move into second. However, it did not take long for Bautista to head to the front of the field as he overtook his teammate and then went through on Razgatlioglu at Turn 8 on Lap 2. From there, he was able to build a gap to Razgatlioglu behind him as the Turkish star found himself under pressure from Rinaldi.

That pressure soon told for Razgatlioglu as the pair battled it out for second place before Rinaldi overtook the 2021 Champion heading into Turn 8 on Lap 3. Despite Rinaldi pulling away, Razgatlioglu started closing the gap but, by the halfway point of the race, the Italian had stabilised the gap slightly to around three tenths. On Lap 13, the 2021 Champion again closed the gap on his rival as he looked to take second place from the home hero. Razgatlioglu made his overtake on Rinaldi at Turn 8 on Lap 15 to move into second, but Rinaldi kept the pressure on. Their battle came to a premature conclusion when Rinaldi misjudged his braking into Turn 1 and made contact with the rear of his adversary’s Yamaha YZF R1 machine; the four-time race winner’s hopes of another home podium ended in the gravel as he retired.

Originally a battle for fourth but turning into a podium fight after Rinaldi’s crash, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) went head to head with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). Rea got ahead in the early stages before Bassani responded on Lap 3 to move ahead of Rea to claim what turned into third place and his first podium on home soil. It was also his first of the 2023 campaign as he pulled out a gap over Rea behind him.

Bautista’s victory gave him his 46th win in WorldSBK and is now on a streak of 10 consecutive wins in WorldSBK, while he also has 14 wins in 15 races as he claimed his fourth hat-trick of the season. It means he is the first rider to win 14 victories in the first 15 races of the season. Razgatlioglu is now even closer to 100 podiums, with 96 to his name following his Race 2 second place, while it is also Yamaha’s best ever streak of podiums at 15 races. Bassani claimed his fifth podium in WorldSBK, his first since San Juan last year.

FENDING OFF RIVALS: a tense battle for sixth

Rea claimed fourth place, the first time since joining Kawasaki he didn’t finish on the podium at Misano, after losing touch with Bassani as the race progressed, but he was able to finish more than two seconds clear of Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) in fifth place as he enjoyed a strong Emilia-Romagna Round. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) came home in sixth place after fending off Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) in the closing stages of the race, finishing a second behind Vierge and 0.245s clear of Petrucci in seventh after he bounced back from two incidents in the Tissot Superpole Race.

MIXED EMOTIONS: Gerloff shines, GRT Yamahas scrap

Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) claimed eighth place and finished as the top BMW rider in Race 2 after a race-long battle with Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven), with the American coming through on the final lap to take eighth place. Oettl was ninth at the end of the race, only 0.350s down on Gerloff, while Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and teammate Dominique Aegerter had a fight for 10th place; the Australian having the better of Aegerter after they were involved in a crash in the Superpole Race.

TAKING HOME POINTS: a nightmare for Redding

Aegerter had a nine second advantage over Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) who claimed 12th place despite having to start from the back of the grid. On the sighting lap, Baz had a technical issue with his M1000RR machine, and he was able to bring it back to the pits. He was able to take the race start, albeit from the back of the grid. Baz was at the front of a trio of BMW riders with Tom Sykes (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in 13th with the 2013 Champion finishing ahead of teammate Scott Redding in 14th. Redding had been fighting in the top ten in the early stages of the race, but he dropped down the order as the race progressed, finishing 14 seconds behind Sykes. Hafizh Syahrin (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) was the final points scorer with 15th place, while Isaac Vinales (TPR by Vinales Racing) was the last classified rider in 16th place.

HOUSEKEEPING: the other riders who retired

Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was the first retirement of the race when he had a technical problem at Turn 8 on the opening lap. On Lap 3, Ryo Mizuno (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) crashed out of the race at Turn 4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was running in the top six during the first third of the race, but a Turn 4 crash put him out of contention. Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) retired after a crash at the Turn 1-2 chicane when fighting for a strong points position, while Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) brought his bike into the pits at the end of Lap 19. Gabriele Ruiu (Bmax Racing) did not race in Race 2.

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

1. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati)

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +8.446s

3. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +18.368s

4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +20.174s

5. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) +22.344s

6. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +23.307s

Fastest Lap: Alvaro Bautista, Ducati – 1’33.936s

Championship standings

1. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) 298 points

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 212

3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 150

4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 129

5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 126

6. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) 99

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