#CatalanWorldSBK Barcelona, Saturday roundup: World Superbike, World Supersport, World Supersport 300
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s opening race of the Prosecco DOC Catalunya Round at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was a dramatic affair as Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed his fourth consecutive win in Barcelona to extend his Championship lead in Race 1, while there was a fierce battle for second with several riders at different points. The race was run over a 17-lap distance following a red flag on Lap 4 of the initial race, with Bautista winning the shortened race by 8.8 seconds.
The race was red flagged on Lap 4 of 20 after an incident on the exit of Turn 11 and the entrance of Turn 12 involving Eric Granado (PETRONAS MIE Racing HONDA Team). The Brazilian rider was conscious and taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash. Granado was declared unfit following the crash with concussion and he was transported to hospital for further assessments. The riders took to the grid for the restarted race based on their positions at the last completed time-keeping point for each rider, meaning Bautista took the front row ahead of teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).
The new race was restarted over a 17-lap distance with Bautista able to once again stay ahead from the front while his rivals squabbled behind him. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) moved from fifth to third, and then ahead of Rinaldi into second, before the factory Ducati barged his way through at Turn 3. They were still side by side through Turn 10 and into Turn 11. The pair made contact with Rinaldi retiring from the race and Bassani continuing; the incident was investigated by the FIM WorldSBK Stewards. Bassani was given a Long Lap Penalty for his role in the incident which he took instantly on Lap 6, dropping him from second to fifth.
Bassani’s penalty promoted Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) into second and third place and the pair were battling it out for second place as Bautista pulled out a gap over Rea and Razgatlioglu. Razgatlioglu was consistently putting Rea under pressure but, despite the 2021 Champion looking to make a move into Turn 1, he made the move on the final lap at Turn 1 despite being massively out of shape in the braking zone.
WorldSBK action resumes on Sunday from 09:00 (Local Time) with the Warm-Up, followed by Tissot Superpole Race at 11:00 and Race 2 at 14:00.
The fight for all three podium places in the FIM Supersport World Championship in Race 1 for the Prosecco DOC Catalunya Round at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was a thrilling affair as Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) claimed his fifth win of the 2023 season while a familiar name returned to the podium. Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) put the Sofuoglu name back on the podium with a hard-fought third place after a scrap with his teammate as well as Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha).
Bulega initially dropped down at the start of the race and fell behind Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing) at the start before re-taking the lead in the opening laps. It had looked like he would pull away from the chasing pack, but it was a charging Sofuoglu (who took the lead on Lap 7 with a move at Turn 1 after a series of fast laps to close the gap. The pair switched positions which allowed the chasing group, led by Marcel Schroetter, to close the gap.
Schroetter pulled away from teammate Sofuoglu and Manzi as the pair fought hard for the podium with the pair side by side for almost the entire final lap with the fight for third decided right at the end of the race. Despite Schroetter closing the gap to Bulega he was unable to make the move for victory as he finished six tenths down on Bulega. Sofuoglu had taken third place on the run to the line, with the pair elbow to elbow trying to finish on the podium, but Manzi was given a three-second time penalty, in lieu of a Long Lap Penalty for taking a shortcut and not losing sufficient time, which dropped him to sixth place.
WorldSSP action resumes on Sunday from 09:25 (Local Time) with the Warm-Up, followed by Race 2 at 12:30.
World Supersport 300
There was action throughout the 12-lap Race 1 in the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship during the Prosecco DOC Catalunya Round at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with 2020 Champion Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki) claiming his first win since returning to the Championship this season. He finished just 0.052s ahead of the chasing group to take an emotional victory for both him and the MTM Kawasaki squad in Barcelona.
Buis initially got a good start when the lights went out and initially pulled out a gap of over a second on the first lap but the chasing pack soon closed that gap up over the next few laps and Buis first dropped out of the lead on Lap 4 as the lead group became a huge 21 riders. Buis remained in this group despite dropping down as low as eighth at one point and he re-gained the lead of the race on the final lap to win his first race since returning to WorldSSP300. He fended off Samuel Di Sora (ProDina Kawasaki Racing) on the final lap of the race by just 0.052s as the Frenchman looked for victory, while Mirko Gennai (Team BrCorse) rounded out the podium with third place after pulling off an epic comeback from 19th throughout the 12-lap race.
There were several comebacks throughout the race including Championship leader Petr Svoboda (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) as he finished in fourth place despite running outside of the points for the majority of the race. Humberto Maier (Yamaha MS Racing/AD78 Latin America Team) was fastest in the Tissot Superpole session but had to start from the back of the grid due to being sanctioned for irresponsible riding in FP1. Dirk Geiger (Freudenberg KTM – Paligo Racing) was sixth after leading the race for parts throughout.
WorldSSP300 action resumes on Sunday from 09:50 (Local Time) with the Warm-Up, followed by Race 2 at 15:15.