There was a little bit of familiarity at the very top of the standings but a few new names are hot on the pace for the podium after a tricky first day of running
After drizzle at the start of the day, the heavens really opened for Friday afternoon of the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s first day of the Prosecco DOC UK Round at Donington Park. Whilst it was Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) led Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) at the head of the field, Jonathan Rea’s (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) remained fastest from the morning session.
FP2 ROUND-UP: seven riders brave the conditions, Razgatlioglu and Bassani improve
Razgatlioglu and Bassani lapped together on the circuit, with the #54 ahead of Bassani, giving the Italian a look at his style around his ‘second home’ of Donington Park. Both riders improved in comparison to their morning time but dry running was curtailed by a big rain shower. After nearly 20 minutes in the box with nobody on the circuit, track action reignited with Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) heading out into the rain with Hafizh Syahrin (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) also venturing out. Both completed lap times good enough for the top four in FP2, whilst it was Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) in fifth. Only two other riders hit the track, with Eric Granado (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) returning to action and Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in behind him.
BRITS SHINE OVERALL: Rea at the front, Ray in contention?
Taking advantage of the difficult weather for everyone, Jonathan Rea was the rider in fine form and at the head of the field on the overall timesheets. Rea set a 1’27.627 and stayed in the pits for FP2, albeit finishing just 0.012s clear of Razgatlioglu. Teammate Alex Lowes was fifth overall, ahead of fellow countryman and day one headline-grabber Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team), with the #28 looking good at a circuit he had good history on. Tom Sykes (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was seventh overall and top BMW, as teammate Scott Redding took 13th and didn’t head out in the afternoon, one place behind Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) and two places ahead of Gerloff’s teammate, Loris Baz.
BAUTISTA RESERVED ON DAY 1: thinking of the long game?
Championship leader Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) would have surely preferred stable weather running at what has been a bit of a bogey circuit for him and Ducati in recent years. Teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi headed out too but was ninth on the combined times. However, the top Ducati effort was courtesy of German rider Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven), who took third and looked competitive in the morning, even in the tricky conditions. Completing the day for Ducati, Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) was 14th on his return to Donington Park.
HONDA LIKEWISE QUIET: Lecuona and Vierge get through Day 1
Whilst the Independent Hondas of Syahrin and Granado ventured out in the wet FP2, it was only dry running for the likes of Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) and teammate Xavi Vierge, as they set 17 laps each in the morning. In far from ideal conditions, they finished the day in 11th and 17th respectively, but without any conclusions to draw with the weather playing havoc.
NOTEWORTHY MENTIONS: Gardner crashes as rain plays havoc
Other bits of housekeeping include a crash for Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) at the final corner this morning and he was only 16th at the end of the day, two places higher than teammate Dominique Aegerter. Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) was 19th but felt the anger of Iker Lecuona in FP1, after getting in his countryman’s way at the Foggy Esses. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 21st and Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) was 24th.
Top six after day one at Donington Park in WorldSBK, full results here:
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’27.627s
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.012s
3. Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) +0.130s
4. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +0.154s
5. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.230s
5. Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) +0.430s
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