#IDNWorldSBK – Saturday roundup, World Superbike
Race 1 in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship during the Motul Indonesian Round was a dramatic affair at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit as Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) made it four wins in a row in the 2023 season after a fighting victory in Indonesia. Bautista went head-to-head with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) in the early stages of the race at a circuit where Razgatlioglu has been so successful at since it joined the calendar in 2021.
Bautista was initially behind Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) in the opening five laps of the race as the pair led the first group. The reigning Champion applied pressure to Razgatlioglu in the early stages but did make his move until Lap 5 as he caught Razgatlioglu by surprise through Turn 15 to move into the lead of the race. Razgatlioglu attempted to fight back but Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) was able to pass him a lap later at Turn 10 before the 2021 Champion responded a lap later.
Bautista’s fourth win in the 2023 season means he is now on a winning run of six races that stretches back to Phillip Island in 2022, while he also claimed his and Ducati’s first victory at Mandalika. Ducati are also edging closer to a milestone win as the Italian manufacturer now have 396 wins in WorldSBK. Bautista’s fourth consecutive means he becomes the first rider to have two consecutive streaks of four wins to start a campaign.
From there, Razgatlioglu was able to pull away from Bassani to claim second place behind Bautista as the past two WorldSBK Champions took first and second in Race 1 at Mandalika, the venue both were crowned Champions in 2021 and 2022. Razgatlioglu took his 85th podium in WorldSBK with second spot, almost five seconds down on Bautista, while it was also Yamaha’s 340th race on the podium.
Bassani then started to drop back off the top two and into the clutches of Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) who started from second place. Locatelli was able to make the move on Bassani on Lap 11 at Turn 10 to move into third place for his second podium of the 2023 season. Locatelli’s third place means he now has eight podiums in WorldSBK and he remains second in the Championship standings behind Bautista.
With Bassani dropping back from the podium fight, he ended up battling with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) for fourth spot with the pair exchanging positions on several occasions. Lowes passed Bassani at Turn 12 on Lap 12 before Bassani responded at Turn 16 to re-gain fourth place and, after that, Lowes found himself dropping down the order. He was overtaken by Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) around halfway through the race with the rookie taking his best WorldSBK finish to date with fifth. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) charged through the field in the closing stages of the race to take sixth spot in Race 1, including some incredible fights with his rivals.
Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) was seventh after losing out to van der Mark on Lap 20 at Turn 16 with BMW finishing as the third manufacturer. The Dutchman’s pace was strong throughout the closing stages with his personal best lap being set on the final lap of the race and was just a couple of tenths down on the fastest lap of the race. Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) claimed eighth spot after taking advantage of a Kawasaki squabble on the final lap at Turn 1 to pass both Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and teammate Alex Lowes who finished ninth and tenth respectively.
Rea had taken fifth in the Tissot Superpole session but was demoted three places on the grid which forced him to start from eighth. Although he looked to make progress in the early stages, the six-time Champion dropped down the order to finish ninth after a last-lap scrap with his teammate. Rea made a move at Turn 1 on the final lap to try and move ahead, but Aegerter was able to swoop past both of them to claim eighth spot.
Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) did close up on the group inside the top ten but dropped down the order to claim 11th spot, with the Frenchman holding off a late charge from Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) who claimed 12th spot. Lecuona was ten seconds clear of German rider Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) while Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) in 14th and Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) in 15th as Baldassarri claimed his first points finish in WorldSBK.
Hafizh Syahrin (PETRONAS MIE Racing HONDA Team) took 16th spot while Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) was 17th. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was classified in 18th spot but four laps down as visited the pit lane during the race.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was the first retirement of the race after he was involved in a Turn 1 crash on the opening lap, after a collision with Bassani. Rinaldi retired from the race but Bassani was able to continue. Rinaldi went to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash. He will be reassessed ahead of Warm Up on Sunday morning after being diagnosed with a minimal head injury but no signs of concussion have been detected currently. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) brought his machine into the pits after completing 12 laps with the British rider retiring from the race.
Ahead of the race, both Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Eric Granado (PETRONAS MIE Racing HONDA Team) were declared unfit for Saturday’s action through illness.