The gap in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship standing was cut by the maximum 25 points as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) took advantage of Alvaro Bautista’s (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) opening lap crash at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola. The 2021 Champion had to battle his way into the lead in the closing stages of Race 2 at the Prometeon Italian Round after Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) went hunting after a maiden win but was denied with a handful of laps to go.
A KEY MOMENT IN 2023: Bautista tumbles into the gravel, Razgatlioglu wins
Bautista got the holeshot in the shortened 15-lap race, but his race unravelled as soon as it started. He came off his Panigale V4 R at Turn 3 and into the gravel, ending his run of feature length wins in 2023. It allowed 2021 Champion Razgatlioglu to move into the lead as teammate Andrea Locatelli had to take avoiding action. While the Turkish star was in the lead, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) pulled off a mega move to go from fourth to second.
He took advantage of Locatelli running wide at the final chicane at the end of Lap 2 and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) being held up to blast past the pair on the run into the Tamburello chicane to take second. From there, he put in a series of fast laps to close the gap to the Yamaha rider. The gap was just over a tenth on Lap 7 with Rea in hot pursuit of the pair; less than half-a-second separating the top three.
On Lap 8, Bassani made his move on Razgatlioglu for first. He looked to overtake into the Villeneuve chicane first but that didn’t work out, before he went up the inside of his rival at the left-hand hairpin of Tosa. He initially pulled out a small gap, but Razgatlioglu kept in touch as the race entered the final third of the race. At the end of Lap 12, Razgatlioglu made his move into Rivazza 1 with the #47 aiming to cut back into Rivazza 2 although the #54 held on through the exit. On his first full lap with clear air, the Yamaha rider pulled out a six-tenths margin as he went on to claim his first feature-length race win of 2023.
Razgatlioglu was able to claim his 36th career win and his 102nd podium, while it was also Yamaha’s 410th rostrum in World Superbike. Bassani took his sixth podium in the Championship, and his second this season, as he equalled his best result. Rea took two feature-length race podiums in a single round for the first time in 2023. With Bassani taking the fastest lap, a 1’47.491s on Lap 5,, Bautista secured the Pirelli Best Lap Award for 2023.
CAREER-BEST RESULTS IN THE TOP SIX: Imola ends on a high
Locatelli was demoted to fourth when Rea overtook him at Turn 9 on Lap 3, and he remained there for the rest of the race to take P4 and end his home round in a good way following on from his Tissot Superpole Race podium. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was fifth ahead of a three-way scrap for sixth. Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) took a career-best sixth after fending off two BMW riders. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) and Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) were separated by just half-a-second at the line with Baz taking P7.
SCORING POINTS: fierce fights for the top 15
Rookie Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) was ninth, five seconds down on the fight ahead. He also had a decent margin on the riders behind as they battled it out for a place in the top ten. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) put Honda in the top ten for the first time this weekend as he, Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), teammate Dominique Aegerter, Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) and Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) battled it out.
The quintet was changing positions throughout the race with Gardner finishing 0.44s down on Lecuona in 11th while he was almost two seconds ahead of his teammate. Aegerter was 12th with Gerloff and Vierge directly behind; just 0.117s separated the trio. Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) was the final points scorer in 15th, with Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) narrowly missing out on a home point. Gabriele Ruiu (Bmax Racing), who started from the pitlane after exceeding the engine allocation, was 17th ahead of Roberto Tamburini (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) in 18th and his teammate, Eric Granado, completing the classified riders.
HOUSEKEEPING: the retirements from Race 2
Tito Rabat (Barni Spark Racing Team) crashed out of the race on Lap 5 at Turn 12, while Leon Haslam (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) retired after a trip across the gravel. It was a similar story for Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) while Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) crashed at Turn 12 on Lap 9. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had a tumble at Turn 7 on Lap 12 which ended his hopes of a top-six finish.
The top six following WorldSBK Race 2:
1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
2. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +1.996s
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +2.458s
4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometon WorldSBK) +6.111s
5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +11.154s
6. Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) +12.210s
Fastest Lap: Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) – 1’47.491s
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 391
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 321
3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 208
4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 201
5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 179
6. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 129
- From WorldSBK.com