UPS AND DOWNS: Razgatlioglu kickstarts his title challenge as Kawasaki struggle again

Monday, 6 March 2023 09:08 GMT

There were twists and turns everywhere you looked in Indonesia as WorldSBK visited Lombok for round two of 2023


As with every MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship round, there was drama throughout, and the Motul Indonesian Round was no exception at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit. Crashes, first wins of 2023 and much more featured in Indonesia as the second round of the 2023 concluded and here we take a look at some of the ups and downs throughout the Indonesian Round, from the first-time winners in 2023, new podium finishers and struggles for some.

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) kickstarted his title challenge with victory in the Tissot Superpole Race, while he was on the podium in both Race 1 and Race 2 as he closed the gap on Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) in the title fight and moved into second place in the Championship standings ahead of teammate Andrea Locatelli. Razgatlioglu fought for the win in the early stages of Race 1 but dropped to second before responding in Sunday’s shortened Superpole Race and then taking second again in Race 2.

Race 2 also featured a new face on the podium in WorldSBK as Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) climbed onto the rostrum with third place, benefitting from an error from Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) on the final lap of the restarted race. Vierge became the 128th rider to claim a podium in WorldSBK history with his third-place finish and it was also Honda’s first since teammate Iker Lecuona claimed third at Assen in 2022. Vierge’s podium means four manufacturers – Ducati, Yamaha, Honda and Kawasaki – all stood on the podium for the first time since 2021.

Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) enjoyed his best WorldSBK round so far as he claimed his first top-five finish in Race 1 on Saturday and he backed that up with sixth place in Race 2, where he also claimed top Independent honours  Although he was tenth in the Superpole Race, it means Petrucci has record four-top ten finishes in his four full-length races so far in WorldSBK as he looks to fight for podiums and wins in his maiden campaign.

Despite a massive Race 2 crash, Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) enjoyed a strong weekend. The Dutch rider claimed sixth in Race 1 and eighth in the Superpole Race after starting from tenth on the grid after he qualified as the fastest BMW rider. In Race 2, he was fighting to be in the top ten once again but had a huge highside coming out of Turn 11 which ended his race.

In terms of downs, it was another tough weekend for Kawasaki and riders Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and teammate Alex Lowes. Although Lowes scored their only podium of the weekend, he was involved in a Superpole Race crash with Petrucci and Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW). Later in the restarted Superpole Race, Lowes came together with Baz although Lowes could continue on his way to the podium. For Rea, he had an accident at Turn 2 in the Superpole Race which brought out the red flags while he also crashed at Turn 7 in Race 2. Also, in the Tissot Superpole session, Rea was given a three-place grid penalty for slow riding.

It was also a mixed weekend for Rinaldi during the weekend. He showed strong pace throughout but he was hampered by crashes at Turn 1 in Race 1, where he made contact with Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) and in Warm Up on Sunday morning. He was on course for second place in Race 2 but an error on the last lap meant he ran wide and dropped two positions to leave him in fourth place.

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