DUCATI DAZZLE AT IMOLA: Rinaldi heads Bautista in FP3, BMW strong with Redding and Gerloff

Saturday, 15 July 2023 07:50 GMT

Nine riders within a second and a mixed-up order right the way through, Imola is certainly back with a bang

The 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is another session closer to a sight we’ve been waiting for; racing at Imola! The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari’s FP3 for the Prometeon Italian Round was electric, and there were reasons for the Ducatisti to be celebrating with a Ducati 1-2 going into Tissot Superpole and the races, as home-hero Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) topped Saturday morning’s track action.

Times were straight down to business as Bautista launched in a new fastest time of the weekend, setting a 1’47.022 to elevate himself from yesterday’s difficulties. Bautista improved further but it was teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi who really made inroads with ten minutes to go, getting down to a 1’46.389. Bautista improved later on to consolidate second, with Ducati reigning supreme at Imola on Saturday morning. There was a big step by British rider Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), who set two fast laps with ten minutes to go, flying into as high as second position before settling for third with the SCQ tyre. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) continued as top Yamaha in fourth, whilst good form continued for Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW), who rounded out the top five. One of the fastest through the first sector, the American’s last lap was set to put him up in the top three before a final chicane misdemeanour.

Second in the Championship but sixth in FP3 and improving his time from Friday morning, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) will hope he can get back into the top three for Superpole. There was a big improvement coming from Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in P7, improving his time by 1.5s compared to FP2 yesterday. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) was P8 ahead of Kawasaki duo Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and teammate Alex Lowes, who completed the top ten but without improving his time. He just pipped a fast-improving Brad Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) by 0.005s. There was an improvement for Honda too, with Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) up to P12.

Top six after WorldSBK FP3 at Imola, full results here:

1. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) 1’46.389s

2. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) +0.073s

3. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.312s

4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.498s

5. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) +0.614s

6. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.704s

A breath-taking season is well underway, watch it all unfold with 50% off the WorldSBK VideoPass!