The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship action concluded at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the Prosecco DOC Catalunya Round as Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed a Barcelona hat-trick to extend his Championship lead, while Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) pipped Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) on the line to deny Ducati a 1-2 finish in Spain.
HAT-TRICK HERO: a treble for Bautista on home soil
Bautista lost out initially as the lights went out but recovered heading into Turn 1 to retake the lead although Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) did briefly take the lead on the opening lap, although it did not last long as Bautista recovered the lead of the race before building out a gap over teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi in second place, with Rinaldi able to build a gap over Razgatlioglu in third in the first half of the race. Rinaldi overtook Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) at Turn 1 on Lap 5 to promote himself into second.
It had looked like Rinaldi would finish in second place to lead home a Ducati 1-2, but his final lap was around two seconds slower than Razgatlioglu and the 2021 Champion was able to overtake Rinaldi on the run to the line to take second place and secure Yamaha’s 400th WorldSBK podium, which demoted Rinaldi to third as he ended his Catalunya Round on the podium. As the race progressed, Razgatlioglu was able to pull out a gap over Lowes with the gap over a second by the start of Lap 17, allowing Razgatlioglu to claim his third podium of the weekend.
Bautista has 11 wins in the first 12 races this season, matching Neil Hodgson in 2003 and his own record from 2019 while it was his seventh consecutive win. It was a milestone win for Spain as Bautista claimed their 80th WorldSBK victory while Razgatlioglu moved onto 93 WorldSBK podiums with second place as well as taking Yamaha’s 400th podium. Rinaldi returned to the rostrum for the first time in 70 days as he took his 17th podium.
JUST MISSING OUT: finishing in the top six
As the laps ticked down, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who started tenth, closed in on his teammate in the fight for fourth place but Rea was unable to make a move on his teammate. The KRT pair finished in fourth and fifth after Rea battled back from tenth place; he started there as a result of his Tissot Superpole Race crash. While they were fighting ahead, Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) was behind and losing time to the chasing Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) with Vierge passing him on the brakes into Turn 1 on the final lap to promote Vierge to sixth place. Locatelli was able to take seventh place at the end of the race and, as a sign of how consistent he has been in 2023, seventh place is his worst finish of the year and his worst result since he was eighth in Race 2 in Argentina in 2022.
COMPLETING THE TOP TEN: dramatic battles throughout
Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) claimed eighth spot as he ended his Catalunya Round with a third top-ten finish after he battled with both Team HRC riders. He had looked at passing Vierge in the closing stages before the Spanish rider pulled away but he finished more than two seconds clear of Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) who finished in ninth. American star Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) finished inside the top ten for the third race in Barcelona as he took him top BMW honours.
TAKING HOME POINTS: finishing in the top 15
Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) was unable to repeat his comeback from Race 1 on Sunday and he finished in 11th place, almost two seconds down on a top-ten place. He had a similar margin behind him with Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) in 12th. Two rookies finished in the final points-paying positions with Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in 13th and Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) in 15th sandwiching Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) in 14th place. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) was 16th with Ivo Miguel Lopes (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) the last classified rider in 17th. The Portuguese rider was just 0.040s away from Baz at the end of the race.
HOUSEKEEPING: to note from WorldSBK Race 2
Hafizh Syahrin (PETRONAS MIE Racing HONDA Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) retired from the race after a Lap 1 crash at Turn 4, with Malaysian rider Syahrin taken to the medical centre for a checkup following the collision. Isaac Vinales (TPR by Vinales Racing) brought his machine into the pitlane and retired from the race in the first half of the 20-lap fight. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) also brought his bike into the pits and retired after he had a technical issue in Race 2.
The top six following WorldSBK Race 2:
1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +8.583s
3. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +8.643s
4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +11.366s
5. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +12.824s
6. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) +15.242s
Fastest Lap: Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) – 1’41.730s
1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 236 points
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 167
3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 133
4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 100
5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 91
6. Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) 73
- From WorldSBK.com