Bautista leads Ducati 1-2 with Superpole Race victory, Rea seventh as GRT Yamaha teammates collide
The Spaniard claimed his second win of the round with a superb ride in the Superpole Race, while Jonathan Rea finished seventh
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s Tissot Superpole Race was 10 laps of drama no matter where you looked at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed victory for his second race win of the weekend as he finished ahead of teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi, while there was drama in the top six as teammates collided from a strong position.
THE TOP THREE: starting Race 2 from the front row
Bautista got the holeshot at the start of the race but was passed by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) at Turn 4 on the opening lap, before Bautista passed him at the start of Lap 2 down the Gardner Straight. From there, Bautista was able to hold on to take his 34th WorldSBK win, putting him level with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and his 60th WorldSBK podium. He was ahead of Rinaldi in second who secured second place with a move on Razgatlioglu on Lap 4 at Turn 1, with Razgatlioglu taking third spot.
Another SUPERB PERFORMANCE from @19Bautista TO WIN the #WorldSBK Superpole Race #AUSWorldSBK pic.twitter.com/LiJ6NhGEPv— WorldSBK (@WorldSBK) February 26, 2023
ON THE SECOND ROW: a solid starting position secured
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was the lead Kawasaki rider in fourth place. Lowes had been running in the podium places in the early stages of the race but dropped down as he was passed by Rinaldi and then Razgatlioglu around the halfway stage of the race. Lowes was able to resist pressure from Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) to take fourth spot and Locatelli in fifth, ahead of Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) in sixth to secure a second row start for Race 2.
THIRD ROW START: the top nine in the Superpole Race
Six-time Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) took seventh spot after he lost time and positions on the opening lap after he was forced wide by Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) at Turn 4, with Rea unable to make moves back through the order. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) finished eighth and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) took ninth to take a third row start in Race 2. Bassani had a late-race battle with Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) with the pair separated by half-a-second at the end of the race.
HOUSEKEEPING: to note from the Superpole Race
It was a disastrous outcome for the GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team when Remy Gardner attacked teammate Dominique Aegerter on Lap 6 at Turn 4. The pair made contact and both riders retired from the race. It means Aegerter will start Race 2 from 10th place and Gardner in 11th when they were running in the top six in the Superpole Race. The incident was placed under investigation by the FIM WorldSBK Stewards who decided to look at the incident after the race, with Gardner given a Long Lap Penalty for Race 2 for irresponsible riding.
The top nine from the Tissot Superpole Race, full results here:
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +2.462s
3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +3.060s
4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +3.833s
5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +3.893s
6. Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) +4.215s
7. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +4.952s
8. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) +7.140s
9. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +11.295s
Fastest lap: Dominique Aegerter, Yamaha – 1’30.374s
Watch WorldSBK Race 2 from 16:00 Local Time (GMT+11) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!