News 24 Apr 2023

Dominant Bautista completes Assen WorldSBK hat-trick

Bulega and Svoboda sweep WorldSSP, WorldSSP300 at Dutch round.

Image: Supplied.

The dominant Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) form of Alvaro Bautista continued in the third round of the 2023 season at Assen, with the Racing Ducati rider winning race one, the Superpole race and race two. Meanwhile, in the Supersport World Championship (WorldSSP), Italian Nicolo Bulega was victorious in both bouts as Petr Svoboda started the Supersport 300 World Championship (WorldSSP300) in the best possible way with two race wins.

Bautista ultimately took a commanding 3.148s victory in race one after a three-place grid drop penalty, ahead of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) in P2 who led throughout the first half of the race. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon) completed the top three, seven-tenths adrift from Rea come race-end.

Making it two Pata Yamaha’s inside the top five, Andrea Locatelli was fourth in front of leading Independent team rider Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing).

The strong form of Bautista continued in the Superpole race, taking a 0.916s win ahead of Rea and Razgatlioglu once more. Rounding out the top five in this encounter were Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Locatelli.

Despite an early battle with Razgatlioglu and Rea, Bautista was able to get the job done once again in race two, taking the chequered flag 3.915s clear of the Turkish rider, marking Ducat’s 400th win in the Superbike World Championship.

Locatelli finished third in the final bout, ahead of Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha) and Bassani inside the top five. Notably, Rea did not finish the outing after crashing out at turn nine from a podium position, and Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad) sustained a fractured left femur after a sizeable high side during the race.

Australia’s Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha) finished race one in P8, before opening Sunday with a P12 finish in the Superpole race. The number 87 then concluded the weekend with a season-best sixth-place result in race two.

In terms of the WorldSBK championship standings, Bautista leads on 174 ahead of Razgatlioglu (118) and Locatelli (104). Rea is fifth with 73 points, 101 down on the lead after three rounds.

Image: Supplied. Racing Ducati’s Nicolo Bulega swept both WorldSSP races in Assen, the event also marking the first stop of the European-based WorldSSP Challenge.

Bulega ultimately took a dominant 4.017s victory in the first encounter, with Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) emerging in second in what was a hotly contested multi-rider battle for the runner-up position.

Crossing the line third in race one and just over a tenth from Schroetter was Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team).

It was another victory of over four seconds for Bulega in race two, ahead of Ten Kate Racing Yamaha’s Stefano Manzi in second who narrowly edged Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) for the silver position.

Australians Tom Edwards (YART-Yamaha WorldSSP Team) and Luke Power (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) started their 2023 WorldSSP Challenge campaigns at Assen, with Edwards scoring a point with P15 in race two while Power, unfortunately, DNF’d in both outings.

Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing Team) was unable to complete the weekend after a crash in FP1 left him with a left toe fracture. He attempted to complete race one but pulled in after 10 laps, struggling to change gears safely, and did not compete in race two.

Looking at the WorldSSP standings after three rounds, Bulega leads on 127, with Manzi second (90) and Schroetter third (79).

Image: Supplied.

Assen was the opening round of the 2023 Supersport 300 World Championship, with Czech rider Petr Svoboda (Fusport-RT Motorsport by SKM-Kawasaki) taking both wins.

Completing the podium in race one were Samuel Di Sora (ProDina Kawasaki Racing) and Dirk Geiger (Freudenberg KTM) while Humberto Maier (Yamaha MS Racing/ AD78 Latin America Team) and Matteo Vannucci rounded out the top three in race two.

Australian Jayden Martin was also competing at Assen, notching a 13-12 scorecard in what was the first round of the 2023 R3 bLU cRU cup.

Detailed results