#AUSWorldSBK – Bautista kickstarts title defence with flawless weekend in Australia

With three wins out of three at Phillip Island, Bautista became the first ever WorldSBK rider to score two hat-trick at one track following his 2019 triple. It was also his eighth win at ‘The Island’, making him the most successful rider at the circuit.
The 2022 WorldSBK Champion leaves Phillip Island as the Championship leader with a 28-point advantage over second-placed Andrea Locatelli.

P1 | | Alvaro Bautista | Racing – Ducati
“I think it’s the best way to start the season. I’m happy because we were quite competitive in all three races with three different situations. Yesterday with the rain we were quick, and we could win the race. Today, in the morning, with not cold conditions but cooler than in the afternoon and the soft compound and with everybody pushing, we were competitive as well. In the afternoon, it was totally different. The track was hotter, and we had the hard compound on the rear. I’m happy because I can manage and adapt to the new situation, and I can be very consistent with my lap times. The feeling with the bike has been amazing this weekend in all conditions. Now, we have to enjoy the moment and just try to keep this feeling for the next one.”

It was a Ducati 1-2 in Race 2 as Michael Ruben Rinaldi claimed second place, finishing 6.191s behind his teammate and taking his second podium of Sunday after having finished second in the Tissot Superpole Race.

Andrea Locatelli was the lead Yamaha rider as he took third position in Race 2, claiming his first podium of 2023. His three top-five results from Australia mean he is second in the Riders’ Championship after the opening round.

Rea finished in eighth place, 14.753s behind the race winner, while Toprak Razgatlioglu retired from the race following an incident at Turn 4 on Lap 17 with Alex Lowes. They stand respectively in third and sixth place in the Championship standings.

Phillip Oettl (Team GoEleven) was fifth as the German rider claimed his best WorldSBK results in his second season in the class.

P8 | Jonathan Rea | Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK
“In Race 2, I saw Locatelli up the road, and I thought, ‘he’s my guy’ as he has good pace this week. I got to the front of the group and ‘Loka’ was in front and he was just going away! I realised that I was just fighting with this group and then all of a sudden, bang, I had no grip whatsoever. I was really conserving my tyre, using short lines and picking the bike up, not smashing into the traction control. We just need to put our heads together and understand why because a few months ago, I was able to compete and be much faster in the race for a longer distance. It’s a bit of a head scratcher to be honest. I don’t think this result reflects the true reality of where we are; I felt like in the off-season, we’ve really improved the bike, but it is true, a bad day right now in WorldSBK and you have to fight for these positions. We have to make sure we don’t suffer too many bad days from now on.”

“It’s tough, I’m not going to lie. When we have grip, we can make the difference; the rider can bite the screen a bit harder and take liberties. I felt like at Turn 1 today, I left nothing unturned every lap and that was just to be there. You can’t do that for 22 laps of a race here when you have to look after the tyre. I have to take some responsibility as well as my crew, as I have directed the setup this week and it’s clear that we didn’t get it bang on. We have to look ourselves as well. I really feel that whilst the competition is strong, the bike is much better than we showed this weekend.”

DNF | Toprak Razgatlioglu | Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK
“I was waiting until the last laps for the fight. I was trying to follow and tried to keep the rear tyre because, in the first laps, I felt no grip. This morning with the SC0 tyre I’m happier because the bike worked really well. In the afternoon, we used the hard tyre and the bike completely changed. We crashed with Alex. This was very bad luck. This is just the first round of the season, there are many races to go. I hope we are coming back again. It was a small crash, I’m okay. He crashed alone. We used different lines. For me, it was bad luck because I was on the outside and we crashed together.”

WorldSBK Race 2 Report

There was drama through Race 2 in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship during the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round at the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit as Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) made history with his fifth WorldSBK hat-trick ahead of his teammate, while Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK Team) could only manage eighth place as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) didn’t score points in Race 2.

Reigning Champion Bautista led from the start and he was able to bring teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi with him in the early stages of the 22-lap encounter with the pair separated by less than a second for the first few laps, before Bautista started pulling a gap to his teammate to win by more than six seconds ahead of his teammate for the second Ducati 1-2 of the day in WorldSBK following their Tissot Superpole Result.

Behind the two Ducati riders, Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) claimed his first podium of the season with third place after taking third spot which he claimed from the start of the race as the Italian pulled away from the chasing group.

The battle behind the podium trio was a 22-lap affair with Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) holding on for fourth after starting from ninth on the grid as he fended off a late challenge from Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) in fifth. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) was able to fight his way up to sixth place behind Oettl and Bassani.

Australian Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) ended the race in tenth despite a Long Lap Penalty for irresponsible riding in the Tissot Superpole Race after a crash with teammate Aegerter.