Aruba.it Racing – Ducati 1-2 in FP2, Independent riders charge to the front
The first day of the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round has come to a close and it was the reigning World Champion who leads the way on Day 1, but it was the Independent riders who were truly on the charge.
Just as we thought the track temperatures were soaring during World Supersport, conditions were even more challenging for our World Superbike riders ahead of Free Practice 2. Track temperatures reached a staggering 48 degrees as the lights went green for the 45-minute session.
The reigning World Champion Alvaro Bautista [Aruba.it Racing – Ducati] was the first rider to fire into the 1m30s bracket, making an early charge in his first run to cross the start/finish line with a 1:30.927.
Bautista further extended his advantage when crossing the line in his second stint, to a 1:30.623 on his second run of the session; half a second clear from his teammate in second.
Making it an Aruba.it Racing – Ducati 1-2, Michael Ruben Rinaldi had a difficult start to his second run of the session. An unfortunate bike failure saw Rinaldi have to push his Panigale V4 R up pit lane to return to the box. What must have been a minor issue, Rinaldi was able to rejoin the session for his final stint, setting his fastest lap of the day of 1:31.157.
Following closely behind Rinaldi was a charging pack of Independent riders. Philipp Oettl [Team GoEleven], Danilo Petrucci [Barni Spark Racing Team], Garrett Gerloff [Bonovo Action BMW] and Dominique Aegerter [GYTR GRT WorldSBK Yamaha] all fired their way into the top five standings of Free Practice two in the closing laps.
Philipp Oettl was consistently lapping in the low 1:32’s during his first stint, but managed to pull that little bit extra out of his Ducati on his 21st lap, firing out a 1:31.449. His best time of the day placed him comfortably in third for FP2.
The Yamaha package is clearly working quite well on the 4.445km circuit under the management of Andrea Locatelli [Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK]. While he was pipped by the double World Supersport Champion Aegerter in Free Practice 2, his time set earlier this morning still places him second in the overall times. A small crash from the Italian rider with five-minutes remaining meant he was unable to push for a time in those closing laps.
Behind Locatelli in seventh saw Sam Lowes [Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK], Iker Lecuona [Team HRC] – a notable mention to Lecuona who finished third in Friday’s combined times; and Australia’s Remy Gardner [GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK] rounded out the top 10.