Alex Lowes (Kawasaki ZX-10RR) extended his contract with the Greens over the Donington weekend. In the early stages, he was one of the strongest on the track, when he was even able to attack the current World Championship leader Bautista, who was far superior to all other Pilots.

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.

Alvaro Bautista found himself in the gravel bed with his Ducati in his last attempt to set the best time in Superpole. Despite this, the world championship leader made it to second place on the grid with his previous time ahead of “Petrux”, for whom it was the first front row of the season with P3. Below is the Superpole standings at Donington Park on 1st July 2023.
After 2021 and 2022, Jonathan Rea took the third pole position in a row. However, due to the handicap imposed on Kawasaki by the FIM, this time it came as a bit of a surprise. Nevertheless, it was a highlight at the right moment for the Northern Irishman in what was perhaps the most difficult season of his career in front of his home crowd. First place on the grid for the world’s best Superbike pilot since Portugal, 2022.

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.

Going into Sunday, Kawasaki leads Ducati by 19 wins to 18 in the Donington stats. However, since the brand from Borgo Panigale near Bologna (Italy) turned the actual meaning of WorldSBK upside down with its MotoGP Replica 2019 and at the same time the sprint races were introduced, statistical figures in the Superbike World Championship have lost all substantive value.

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.

Kawasaki ace Jonathan Rea in the pits – the best Superbike rider of all time is still one of the best in his field. Slowed down by scandalous decisions by FIM and Dorna, however, he and his team currently definitely have no chance in the fight for the world championship. The Northern Irishman has to be happy if he makes it onto the podium, which he fortunately did at the start in Donington thanks to a strong performance, much to the delight of the local fans.

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.

Nicolo Bulega ( Racing Team) took a commanding win in WorldSSP 600 and, not coincidentally, with the same winning team as in WSBK, it was very reminiscent of Ducati’s dominance in the premier class of (more or less in the case of the reds) near-series motorcycles. This is how FIM and Dorna ultimately turn the Superbike and Supersport World Championships into a Ducati Cup and a sporting farce.

Unless otherwise stated, this applies to all images (© WorldSBK).