News 26 Feb 2023

Untouchable Bautista stands tall with Phillip Island sweep

Italian Bulega makes it two from two to commence 2023 WorldSSP.

Image: Supplied. Racing Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista delivered another clinical performance to win race three of the 2023 Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) and make it a Phillip Island sweep, with Nicolo Bulega securing double Supersport World Championship victories to commence the season.

In what was a relatively spaced-out encounter for the top three, the final race of the weekend saw Bautista sprint to an early lead and control his advantage out front, ultimately crossing the line 6.191s ahead of teammate Michael Rinaldi as Andrea Locatelli completed the podium another three seconds back.

There was multi-rider battle for fourth throughout the bout, with Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) and Philipp Oettl (Team Go Eleven) able to edge away, Bassani taking the chequered flag P4 ahead of the German rider.

Leading Honda racer Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) completed race three in sixth, leading GYTR GRT Yamaha’s Dominique Aegerter and Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea.

Former MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing) landed ninth, ahead of Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha) in 10th, the Australian having to serve a long lap penalty following the incident with teammate Dominique Aegerter in the superpole race.

Notably, Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team) brought Toprak Razgatlioglu down with five laps to go at turn four, ruling both riders out of the race.

Image: Supplied.

Bulega made it a perfect points haul at Phillip Island to commence his 2023 Supersport World Championship (WorldSSP) title-bid, with wildlife causing a red flag to end the bout.

Geese on the circuit caused the race to stop with five laps go, and since two-thirds race distance had been completed Bulega officially won the race with full points awarded.

It was shaping up to be a thrilling conclusion to the outing, with pole-setter Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) then Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in hot pursuit of the number 11, all within six-tenths of a second on the lap in which the results were awarded.

In fourth was Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) ahead of Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) and Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha), with Raffaele De Rosa (Orelec Racing), Valentin Debise (GMT 94 Yamaha), Niki Tuuli (Dynavolt Triumph) and Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing) completing the top 10. The charge of Bayliss was limited in the closing stages when he had to run off the track at turn two to take evasive action and avoid the slowing machine of Federico Caricasulo.

Bulega’s perfect weekend points-wise sees him leave Phillip Island with an advantage of 20-point advantage ahead of Manzi, with Schroetter third a further eight points adrift.

Detailed resultsĀ