Reigning Champion Alvaro Bautista was on the verge of a new record but Toprak Razgatlioglu struck back in the Tissot Superpole Race
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) claimed his second victory of the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship campaign after a hard-fought battle between the ‘Titanic Trio’ at Donington Park. The 2021 Champion ended Alvaro Bautista’s (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) winning streak on 11 races as the Turk denied the reigning Champion a piece of WorldSBK history during the Prosecco DOC UK Round.
MISSING OUT ON HISTORY: Razgatlioglu stops Bautista’s winning run
Bautista got the holeshot but six-time Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) responded immediately to take the lead at Turn 2. Bautista was soon demoted to third as Razgatlioglu went through at the Old Hairpin to move up the order before the trio battled it out for victory. The Ulsterman tried to stretch his legs and got the gap up to half a second before the 2021 Champion brought the gap back down to just over a tenth at the halfway stage.
The Spaniard remained in touch as he posted several lap records, including a 1’25.896s on Lap 6 to bring the gap across the top three to 0.5s. As the 10-lap encounter progressed, Bautista closed in on his rivals and he made a last-lap pass at Turn 9 to move into second and soon set his sights on Razgatlioglu but, with two corners left, the Turkish star was able to hold on to claim his second win of the season and ended the Championship leader’s winning streak.
Razgatlioglu’s victory means he ends Bautista’s run at 11 races with the Spaniard unable to break the all-time run, while Razgatlioglu took his 34th career win. It is the first time Bautista has finished a race and not won in 2023, while Rea moved on to 251 WorldSBK podiums and he also took Kawasaki’s 530th rostrum in the World Championship. The trio will start alongside each other on the front row in Race 2. It was also the closest podium finish of the season.
BATTLING THROUGHOUT: securing a second row start for Race 2
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) will start Race 2 from fourth place after he made a move on Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) on Lap 4, with Petrucci joining him on the second row. Home hero Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) will be alongside them for Race 2 as he took sixth in the Superpole Race. In the early stages of the encounter, Lowes moved into fourth after passing Petrucci but dropped back in the closing stages.
MOVING ON UP: battling up the field for a place in the top nine
American star Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) will be the highest-placed BMW rider on the Race 2 grid as he took seventh, narrowly missing out on a spot on the second row by just three tenths. Italy’s Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) took eighth, moving up the order from his starting position, to secure a third row start this afternoon with Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) completing that row in Race 2.
DRAMA FOR BAZ, SYKES AND RINALDI: a difficult Superpole Race
Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) was an early crasher when he went down at Turn 12 on the opening lap, although he re-joined the race to finish in 23rd. Tom Sykes (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) had been in the top nine when he crashed at the same corner on the penultimate lap, which it was another difficult race for Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). He ran wide on the opening lap at Turn 11, and into the gravel, which dropped him to the back of the field. The Italian was able to battle back for 17th.
The top nine following the Tissot Superpole Race, full results here:
1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.315s
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) `0.537s
4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +4.247s
5. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +5.018s
6. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +5.330s
7. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) +5.629s
8. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +6.884s
9. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +9.047s
Fastest lap: Alvaro Bautista, Ducati – 1'25.896 (New Lap Record)
Watch Race 2 from Donington at 16:00 Local Time (GMT+1) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!