Rea wins Superpole with surprising front row
After not risking much on day one, Alvaro Bautista set the best time in FP3 on Saturday morning as the track dried out. However, the Spaniard on his Ducati was a bit slower than Kawasaki ace Jonathan Rea the day before. With Toprak Razgatlioglu completing his final season with Yamaha in 3rd place on the combined timesheets, there was no surprise at the top of free practice. But behind Oettl (4th place), Bassani (both Ducati) and Lowes on the second-best Kawasaki with Bradley Ray (Yamaha) on P7 and Tom Sykes (BMW) two local heroes, who were not expected to be in the top ten, shone to the delight of the many British fans. The two then had a very different result in Superpole. While Ray had to be content with P16, Sykes, as the best BMW driver, made it into 8th place on the grid. However, for the first time this season, record world champion Rea was the best with a new absolute lap record ahead of Bautista, Petrucci, Toprak, Lowes, Aegerter and Locatelli.
The first run on Saturday – another sporting farce
How superior MotoGP Ducati has been due to their preference by FIM and Dorna since 2023 can best be deduced from Bautista’s superiority from the fight for 3rd place. It was only with the last effort and thanks to his outstanding driving skills that six-time record world champion Jonathan Rea on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR was able to leave behind private pilot Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) on the second-best Ducati. Without urgently needed intervention by the FIM, the WSBK will go down in the history books again after 2022 as a competition in two classes and completely falsify the statistics of the Superbike World Championship. In view of the course of the first race at Donington, it was once again clear that Alvaro Bautista could stay ahead of the competition by a long way without taking too much risk. Below is our summary of race 1 on Saturday in numbers.
Mixed feelings for BMW after the first race at Donington
With his first corner crash, Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) lost the chance to continue his positive results from the previous two laps. It was the turn of van der Mark’s replacements Tom Sykes and Scott Redding, while technical issues sidelined Loris Baz as the Texan’s teammate. No manufacturer fails as often as the blue and white from Germany, and this season there is a dramatic lack of performance. In the end, however, Redding and Sykes were less than two seconds behind Andrea Locatelli (Yamaha) in fifth place. The 2013 World Champion and 2019 pole sitter for BMW started out in 5th place before being successively conceded by Kawasaki ace Alex Lowes, Axel Bassani (Ducati) and Locatelli. On the final lap, Sykes was also overtaken by teammate Redding. Still, the man from Huddersfield can be pleased with his top ten result compared to his start of the season for Puccetti Kawasaki. He only got one point for this group, because Puccetti apparently invests more effort in huge hospitality and VIP care than in the serious preparation of their motorcycles.
Saturday’s tops and flops in England
In addition to Danilo Petrucci with grid position 3 and rank 4 just behind Johnny Rea, as well as fifth Andrea Locatelli, Alex Lowes (Kawasaki, P6), Axel Bassani (Ducati, P7), and the Moto2 World Champion of 2021, Remy Gardner (Yamaha) were particularly convincing. in 10th place. His teammate Dominique Aegerter, on the other hand, made one of his rare driving errors and missed out on the top ten at the finish. On the other hand, Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven Ducati Panigale V4R) had to give up on the penultimate lap with a technical problem. Before that, the fast man from Bad Reichenhall in Bavaria had a safe result in the top ten in mind. Factory Honda rider Iker Lecuona was P13 before retiring after a crash. Local hero and BSB Champion Bradley Ray didn’t get as far, as he was pushed into the gravel bed immediately after the start by Gerloff’s ride in the first corner and had to retire. Below is the result of the middle class, which obviously also escalates into a less exciting championship due to the preference given to Ducati.
Unless otherwise stated, this applies to all images (© WorldSBK).