It was a mixed weekend for the WorldSBK field as some riders enjoyed an unforgettable weekend while others had a round to forget
The 2023 Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship was a dramatic affair with plenty of ups and downs across the grid at the iconic Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed a stunning hat-trick while there were impressive results for Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) and Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW). It was also a difficult weekend for some riders despite having impressive pace at times during the round.
LEAVING ITALY ON A HIGH: hat-tricks and podiums…
The undoubted high belongs to Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) after he took a hat-trick at Misano. Using a special yellow livery that represented Ducati’s past, Bautista won all three races despite the best efforts of teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi and rival Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK). He’s now 86 points clear of Razgatlioglu in the Championship standings while on a run of 10 consecutive victories. Can he match his own run of 11 from 2019, which was also set by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in 2018?
Independent riders also enjoyed the Emilia-Romagna Round with Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) claiming his first WorldSBK podium of the season with third place in Race 2 after showing impressive pace throughout the weekend. It capped off a memorable weekend for Bassani who secured two fourth-place finishes in Race 1 and the Tissot Superpole Race but ended the weekend on the rostrum, his fifth WorldSBK podium. It was also a strong weekend for Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) who ended the round as BMW’s highest scorer. 13th in Race 1 was his lowest result of the weekend after he claimed ninth in the Superpole Race and eighth in Race 2.
MIXED EMOTIONS: two podiums but missing out on a third
It had looked like Rinaldi would claim three podiums at his home round for one of his strongest rounds of the season, and he claimed second in Race 1 and third in the Tissot Superpole Race. In Race 2, he was battling with Razgatlioglu for second place with Rinaldi ahead of the 2021 Champion for the majority of the race. Razgatlioglu got through on Rinaldi on Lap 15 and then, at Lap 16, Rinaldi tried to pass him at Turn 1 but made contact with Razgatlioglu, with Rinaldi tumbling into the gravel and out of the race. A case of what might have been for the Italian.
HOPING TO BOUNCE BACK: a difficult weekend
A few riders had weekends to forget at Misano despite show potential at various points, including Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) who, in terms of pace, had his best weekend of the season. He took fourth in Saturday’s Superpole session, only four tenths down on Bautista, and was running in that position in Race 1 before he crashed out on his own at Turn 8. In the Superpole Race, Petrucci was given a Long Lap Penalty for causing a collision with GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team duo Remy Gardner and Dominique Aegerter, which dropped him down to tenth, and as he was fighting with Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) to take ninth, the pair collided with both retiring from the race.
For the second round in a row, it was a difficult weekend for Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) as he tumbled down the order in Race 2 on Sunday. 12th in Superpole was backed up with 11th in Race 1 and in the Tissot Superpole Race, but Race 2 would prove to be the low point of the weekend for Redding. The British rider finished 14 seconds behind teammate Tom Sykes on his return to BMW after struggling with inconsistencies with his engine brake and he was 52 seconds down on race winner Bautista, although with several retirements in the race he was able to pick up two points with 14th place.
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