Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) had to fight hard for his Race 2 victory at Donington Park after a fierce fight with title rival Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) throughout the shortened and red-flagged race. It was also a day to remember for Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) as he stood on the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship podium for the first time since he arrived in the paddock after an incredible Prosecco DOC UK Round.
BRILLIANT BATTLE FOR THE WIN: Bautista overcomes Razgatlioglu’s pressure
The race was red flagged on the opening lap following a crash involving Tom Sykes (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) on the exit of Coppice. All riders were conscious following the crash. The race was restarted over a 22-lap distance, one shorter than the original distance, although it did not feature the three riders involved. The new race grid was based on the Tissot Superpole Race results. Sykes was diagnosed with a thoracic injury, rib fractures on his right-hand side and a left ankle injury; he was transported to Queen’s Medical Centre for further assessment. Rinaldi was diagnosed with a mild concussion and a right ankle injury.
As the lights went out for the new race, Bautista got the holeshot to take the lead before rival Rea attempted to move from third to first at Turn 4. At the Old Hairpin, he was able to pass Razgatlioglu but ran wide when overtaking the Championship leader and stayed second. However, in the same lap, Razgatlioglu made his move on Rea at Turn 11 to re-claim P2. A lap later and there was a thrilling fight as Razgatlioglu stood Bautista up at Turn 11 which allowed the six-time Champion through to demote the reigning Champion to third.
On Lap 7, Bautista made a small error at Turn 7 when he ran wide but he was able to recover without losing position and his pace allowed him to close back in on the leading duo by the end of the lap. The Spaniard ran wide a couple more times, but he soon promoted himself to second when he overtook his rival at Turn 9 on Lap 10. Rea’s pace dropped into the 1’27s while the top two remained in the 1’26s, allowing them to pull a gap over the Ulsterman.
The battle between the last two Champions reached a crescendo on Laps 13 and 14 as the duo switched positions on several occasions. Bautista had tried to move ahead on Lap 12, but the move came at Turn 1 the next lap before Razgatlioglu responded at Turn 4. Bautista repeated the Turn 1 move a lap later but was able to create a gap and resist Razgatlioglu’s pressure to claim his second victory at Donington with the Turkish star in second.
Bautista’s win means he is now only one shy of record victories in a season with 16 in 2023, with the all-time record standing at 17. He has also gone level with Colin Edwards and Marco Melandri with 75 podiums. Razgatlioglu is closing in on a century of podiums and now has 99, putting him level with Chaz Davies.
A MAIDEN PODIUM: Petrucci fights back for his first rostrum
With Rea dropping back from the lead pair, the battle for the podium heated up. Rea was initially under pressure from teammate Alex Lowes but, as the race progressed, other riders were joining the party. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) started from the second row but his pace, like in Race 1, allowed him to fight for the podium as he did in Race 1. He moved into fifth place by passing Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) on Lap 15 at Turn 11 before moving into fourth by overtaking Lowes at Turn 9 two laps later. The Italian rookie’s crucial move for the podium came on Lap 18 when he overtook Rea at Turn 4 before he pulled a gap to take his maiden WorldSBK rostrum and Barni Ducati’s first since Argentina 2018. He also became the 129th different rider to stand on the podium.
A BEST OF 2023: Redding powers into the top four
Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) enjoyed his best result of the season so far as he claimed fourth place after he passed both KRT riders in the closing stages. He overtook Lowes for fifth on Lap 18 at Turn 11 before a sensational fight with Rea over the next few laps. On Lap 19, Redding overtook Rea at Turn 11 before the pair switched positions on the penultimate lap although the BMW was able to hold on for his best result of the season. Rea took fifth on home soil after two podiums in three races at Donington, while Lowes finished sixth.
SIX RIDERS IN THE FIGHT: an unpredictable Race 2 at Donington
The fight for the top four featured six riders throughout the race. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) took seventh place as he showed impressive late-race pace to finish ahead of Locatelli. The Yamaha rider got off to a good start as he moved into the top four, and put pressure on the leading trio, but he dropped down the order to finish in seventh. It was a similar story for Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) who claimed ninth while German rider Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven), who had a strong weekend, rounded out the top ten.
IN THE POINTS: ending the weekend on a high
Swiss rookie Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) finished just outside the top ten with 11th place, six seconds clear of teammate Remy Gardner after what had been a trickier weekend than usual for the GRT Yamaha squad. Home hero Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) took 13th place as he, Gardner and Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) scrapped. Lecuona finished in 14th place with Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) securing the final points-paying position.
Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) narrowly missed out on a second points finish of the UK Round with 16th, just two seconds down on the Honda rider. Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO), Eric Granado (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) completed the last of the classified finishers. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) retired after bringing their machines into the pits.
The top six from WorldSBK Race 2:
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +2.650s
3. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +7.936
4. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +9.198s
5. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +9.506s
6. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +9.960s
Fastest lap: Alvaro Bautista, Ducati – 1’26.089s
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 357 points
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 264
3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 175
4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 163
5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 146
6. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 102
- From WorldSBK.com