The Spanish rider claimed victory in Race 2 at Assen after Rea and Razgatlioglu crashed in the early stages of the race, five manufacturers in the top five
Drama was never far away in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the TT Circuit Assen with Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) romping away to claim victory during the Motul Dutch Round, as rivals Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing WorldSBK Team) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) came to blows at Turn 1 in the early part of the 21-lap race.
EARLY RUNNING: the leaders collide
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) got a good start from second on the grid and moved into the lead of the race ahead of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). The pair, also running with Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Honda), battled it out for the lead of the race in the early stages of the race. With the trio swapping places throughout, the battle came to a premature conclusion at Turn 1 on Lap 6.
Razgatlioglu ran wide at the right-hander, but remained on track, with Rea making his way through Turn 1 shortly after. The pair collided on the exit of the corner with both riders being forced to retire from the race. The incident was placed under investigation by the FIM WorldSBK Stewards, with the investigation taking place after the race.
The incident allowed Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) to move into the lead of the race ahead of Bautista, although the Ducati rider soon made his move on the rookie to move into the lead of the race. From there, Bautista was able to pull away at the front of the field to win by 8.7 seconds ahead of Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) after Locatelli passed Lecuona on Lap 18 at Turn 5. Bautista’s victory is his 19th win in WorldSBK, running the #19 plate, and now the only rider to finish on the podium in all six races run so far.
Second for Locatelli means he has now scored his best WorldSBK result to date, and his fifth podium so far. Lecuona’s podium means Honda have claimed a podium finish for the first time at Assen since 2016 when Michael van der Mark (now BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) claimed third. It also means Spain now has 150 podiums in WorldSBK, and Honda have now featured on the podium in 340 races. Lecuona also became the first Spaniard on a Honda on the podium at Assen since Carlos Checa in 2008, with third in Race 2. Checa was also a rookie in that season and also with the #7.
LOWES BOUNCES BACK, REDDING IN THE TOP FIVE: surprises in the field
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished in fourth place as he bounced back from two technical issues in Race 1 and the Superpole Race to record fourth place after a mega battle with Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing). Redding finished in fifth place, his best finish since switching to BMW, after Bassani was given a three-second time penalty for repeatedly exceeding track limits throughout the race.
ROUNDING OUT THE TOP TEN: scoring big points in Race 2
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) finished in seventh place to end a difficult weekend for the Italian rider, finishing five seconds clear of Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in eighth place. Van der Mark was making his first appearance of the 2022 season and is still recovering from his leg fracture but will take home a top eight finish for his efforts in front of his home fans. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) claimed ninth place with two Hondas inside the top ten, while Frenchman Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) rounded out the top ten.
TAKING HOME POINTS: completing the top 15
Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) claimed his best WorldSBK result to date with 11th place, finishing just 0.004s clear of Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) who claimed 12th place. Leon Haslam (TPR Team Pedercini Racing), making his WorldSBK return, took the team’s first points of the season as he finished in 13th place. Sammarinese rider Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) claimed two more points in his debut campaign with 14th place, with Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) in 15th and rounding out the points.
HOUSEKEEPING: notes from WorldSBK Race 2
Wildcard Gabriele Ruiu (Bmax Racing) was 10 seconds away from scoring points at Assen, although he had to fend off a challenge from Malaysian rookie Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) with just a tenth between them at the end of the race. Rookie Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) rounded out the classified runners.
Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) crashed out of the race on the opening lap at Turn 1, after contact with Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW), with the Japanese rider taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash. Nozane was diagnosed with a fracture of the right fifth metatarsal bone. On the same lap, Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) made contact with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) at Turn 5, with the American rider not finishing the race after sustaining damage to his bike. Baz crashed out of the race on Lap 2 at Turn 8, while Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) was out of the race with a technical issue on the same lap.
The top six following WorldSBK Race 2, full results here:
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +8.770s
3. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) +11.580s
4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +13.329s
5. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +14.672s
6. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +17.490s
Fastest Lap – Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki: 1’34.093s
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 109 points
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 91
3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 64
4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 55
5. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) 50
6. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 43
7. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), Best Independent 30
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