MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship: Razgatlioglu Claims 100th Podium, while Bautista Crashes Out of Race 2
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship Race 1 at Imola saw a fierce battle for victory as the reigning champion, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), fought hard to secure his 17th victory of the 2023 season. The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola was witness to an intense showdown, with Bautista emerging as the triumphant rider. Notably, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) achieved a significant milestone in his career by clinching his 100th podium as he finished in second position.
The race commenced with a sensational fight amongst the Italian riders, with Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) taking the holeshot and leading until Lap 2’s final chicane. However, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) made an impressive move to overtake Locatelli and briefly led the race. On Lap 3, the 2021 Champion, Toprak Razgatlioglu, showcased his skills with a remarkable overtake around the outside of Bautista at the Variante Alta, securing the second position behind Locatelli.
The thrilling battle ensued at the front as Locatelli, Razgatlioglu, and Bautista engaged in fierce competition for the lead. Razgatlioglu managed to overtake Locatelli on the run into Turn 1, taking advantage of a slight mistake by the Italian rider at the final chicane. However, Bautista was relentless in his pursuit and swiftly demoted Locatelli to third on the following lap with an impressive overtake at the Variante Alta.
Throughout the first two-thirds of the race, Razgatlioglu and Bautista pulled ahead of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) to battle for the victory. Although Bautista briefly lost his second position to Rea after a heart-stopping moment at the Variante Alta on Lap 8, he quickly regained the position. In the final stages of the race, a small error by Razgatlioglu allowed Bautista to pass him on the run down to Rivazza 1, ultimately leading him to claim his 49th WorldSBK victory.
Bautista’s remarkable win marked his 17th victory of the season, equalling the record for the most wins in a single campaign, shared with Doug Polen (1991) and Jonathan Rea (2018 and 2019). On the other hand, Razgatlioglu celebrated his 100th WorldSBK podium and secured his 16th consecutive rostrum finish, cementing his place among the sport’s elite. Meanwhile, Jonathan Rea achieved his 252nd podium, and both Razgatlioglu and Rea have now shared the podium an impressive 75 times together.
The remaining positions in Race 1 saw Andrea Locatelli claim fourth place, holding off Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in a hard-fought battle. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) finished in sixth place, while Bassani fought fiercely to retain his seventh position.
RACE 2 RECAP:
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship Race 2 at Imola delivered yet another thrilling spectacle, with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) capitalizing on Alvaro Bautista’s (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) opening lap crash to claim victory. The shortened 15-lap race at the Prometeon Italian Round witnessed an intense battle, as Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) pursued an emotional maiden victory but was ultimately denied in the closing stages.
The race commenced with Bautista taking the holeshot, but his dreams of another feature-length win in 2023 came to a swift halt when he crashed out at Turn 3, falling into the gravel. This incident allowed the 2021 Champion, Razgatlioglu, to seize the lead as his teammate, Andrea Locatelli, had to take avoiding action. Meanwhile, Axel Bassani delivered a spectacular performance, charging from fourth to second place.
Explaining the crash, Bautista said: “We decided to make the race shorter… and I made it even shorter! I made a mistake. I had a good start and kept a good line, but I just touched the inside white line at Turn 3. Maybe in other laps I touched it without problems but perhaps, on the first laps, the tyres were not 100%, I made a mistake. Next time, I have to be more careful. A pity because we were quite competitive this weekend. We were quite strong in Race 1 and in the Superpole Race. We had a nice battle with Toprak. we were stronger than I expected this weekend. I have to be positive, look forward and try to learn from the mistake.”
He added: “I think it’s important to not make mistakes. It’s what I’m working towards day by day. Today, I think, the combination of Imola being a difficult track for us before we got here, then I felt good on the bike, during the weekend I started to feel like I could fight for wins. If you put all this together, with small details on track, in these difficult conditions like today, it’s easy to crash or make a mistake. It’s good to know and it’s good to learn and not repeat this mistake. Let’s try to keep the mentality. We have to keep working this way and not make mistakes. It’s important to finish all the races. It doesn’t matter if it’s first, second or whatever. We have to finish all the races doing our best but without making mistakes.
Bassani’s impressive move saw him take advantage of Locatelli running wide at the final chicane on Lap 2 and capitalized on the opportunity to overtake both Locatelli and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on the run into the Tamburello chicane. The top three riders were separated by less than half a second on Lap 7, intensifying the battle at the front.
On Lap 8, Bassani made a daring move on Razgatlioglu for the lead. His attempts to overtake at the Villeneuve chicane initially failed, but he swiftly regained his momentum, going up the inside of Razgatlioglu at the left-hand hairpin of Tosa. This move allowed him to create a small gap, but Razgatlioglu stayed determined and kept the pressure on during the final third of the race.
However, on Lap 12, Razgatlioglu made a crucial move into Turn 1, aiming to cut back into Turn 2. He managed to pull out a six-tenths margin on the first full lap with clear air, securing his first feature-length race win of 2023.
Razgatlioglu’s victory marked his 36th career win and 102nd podium, also adding to Yamaha’s impressive tally of 410 rostrum finishes in World Superbike. Bassani showcased an outstanding performance, securing his sixth podium in the Championship and matching his best result so far this season. Jonathan Rea, with two feature-length race podiums in a single round for the first time in 2023, also proved his mettle on the track.
With Bautista’s crash, Razgatlioglu seized the opportunity to gain 25 points in the Championship standings, significantly closing the gap between him and the current leader. The intense battle amongst the riders throughout the race showcased the true spirit of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship.
In the final positions, Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) fought valiantly to secure 11th place after a fierce fight with multiple riders. The Australian rider managed to hold off Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) and Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) in a closely contested battle.
- Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 391
- Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 321
- Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 208
- Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 201
- Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 179
- Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 129