Titanic Trio surge to the top at Donington Park in FP3, Bautista pips Razgatlioglu

Saturday, 1 July 2023 08:48 GMT

What better place to return to their best than the place where WorldSBK started? We’ll have another battle royale come the races if things stay the same

The 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship took to a mixed-condition Donington Park on Saturday morning for FP3. Even though the rain had finally abated, the track itself was still wet in places and making work tricky for the riders. Having negotiated the wetter opening part of the session, Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) got back out in the final moments of the session to remind everyone why he is Championship leader and defending World Champion.

As the times tumbled right until the end of the session, it was a case of the last rider across the line would have the best track conditions. Leaving it until his penultimate flying lap, Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) rocketed up the order to set his fastest lap time of the weekend thus far. He had to fend off Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) though, quite literally after the Turkish rider tried a tight pass at the final corner, perhaps a sign of things to come. He took second, ahead of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who spent plenty of time at the top of the timesheets along with his newly re-signed teammate Alex Lowes, with both of them on track together. With the ‘titanic trio’ back to the top, it was a late lap from Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) who got into P4, with Lowes completing the top five.

Top Independent rider and having laughed off the British weather on Friday in his debrief, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) was sixth ahead of home heroes Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and his teammate Tom Sykes, as they chase BMW’s first podium of the season at the track where it was achieved in 2022. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) is the top BMW in the Championship standings and was ninth after FP3, ahead of Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven), with the Friday revelation rounding out the top ten.

Outside of the top ten, there were factory riders to keep an eye, with Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) the best Honda in 13th, one place ahead of Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team), whilst Lecuona’s teammate Xavi Vierge was only 16th. He was one place ahead of Brad Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) who had a great Friday, whilst it was a horrible opening Saturday session for Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) in P21. One crasher in the session and unfortunately, it was a big tumble; Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) fell at Craner Curves and whilst he rolled over after the crash had stopped, it was clearly a big fall for the Czech rider.

Top six of WorldSBK FP3 at Donington Park, full results here:

1. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) 1’27.636s

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.144s

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.617s

4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.730s

5. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.819s

6. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +1.188s

Watch all of the 2023 Superbike season take-shape round-by-round with the WorldSBK VideoPass!