The six-time World Champion was on fine form but Bradley Ray’s fifth place after the opening session was one of the headlining names
The 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has kicked off at Donington Park and the Great British weather had its say from the start. A dry start to the session before rain flags were being waved, and although the rain did come down harder with 20 minutes to go, the track dried and fast laps came in, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on top.
Rea had a small technical issue at the start of the session and headed out before the bigger of the rain showers, before hitting the top with just over five minutes to go. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) was strong in second, after leading a large chunk of the session, whilst it was a mighty opening 45 minutes for Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven), who took third and was top Ducati. Fourth place honours went the way of Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), but it was Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) who stole the show with a strong fifth place, as he swept through the English countryside and even topped the sector times in the first intermediate.
Making it four British riders inside the top six, Tom Sykes (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was top BMW at his beloved Donington Park, whilst Championship leader Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was only seventh, ahead of teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) took ninth as he hopes to bounce back from a tricky home round at Misano, whilst Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) made it five manufacturers inside the top ten with tenth.
Top six after WorldSBK FP1 at Donington Park, full results here:
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’27.627s
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.052s
3. Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) +0.130s
4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.230s
5. Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) +0.430s
6. Tom Sykes (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.481s
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