News 8 May 2023

Bautista extends with Catalunya WorldSBK sweep

WorldSSP victories split by Bulega and Sofuoglu, Buis and Gennai win in WorldSSP300.

Image: Supplied.

Aruba.It Racing Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista has extended his 2023 Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) lead with another hat-trick of victories at Catalunya, as Nicolo Bulega and Bahattin Sofuoglu spilt Supersport World Championship victories in Spain, while Jeffrey Buis and Mirko Gennai took wins in WorldSSP300.

Bautista continued his winning ways in the opening encounter at Catalunya, storming to a 8.864s victory ahead of Pata Yamaha Prometeon’s Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) in third.

Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon) and Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha) completed the top five, as an incident between Michael Rinaldi (Aruba.It Racing Ducati) and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) saw the number 21 retire from the race while the latter received a long lap penalty.

Another commanding showing from Bautista saw him win the superpole race by 2.110s, with Yamaha pairing Razgatlioglu and Locatelli completing the top three. Team HRC’s Iker Lecuona – fresh from his MotoGP fill-in at Jerez – and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team) featured in fourth and fifth positions respectively. Notably, Rea did not finish the race after an incident at turn one.

Race two was ultimately another dominant showing from the reigning champion, taking the chequered flag with a 8.583s advantage in front of Razgatlioglu once more. Rinaldi narrowly missed out on the runner-up position in third, as Lowes and Rea completed the top five.

Australia’s Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha) notched a 10th-place finish in race one, and following a DNF in the superpole race he concluded the weekend with a P13 finish in race two.

In terms of the WorldSBK standings, Bautista leads on 236, with Razgatlioglu (167) second and Locatelli (133) third.

Image: Supplied.

WorldSSP victories were split by Bulega and Sofuoglu, with a technical DNF ultimately ruling the Italian out of the fight in race two at the fourth round.

Bulega (Aruba.It Racing Ducati) won the opening encounter by six-tenths ahead of MV Agusta Reparto Corse’s Marcel Schroetter, while the German’s teammate Sofuoglu charged to third, 3.996s from the leads.

Race two was a multi-rider battle for the win throughout much of the outing, with Sofuoglu emerging on top to secure his first-ever WorldSSP win. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) crossed the line second but was demoted to third due to a penalty for exceeding track limits, meaning Schroetter finished P2 once more. Bulega retired while running fourth in the closing stages, still in contention at that point.

Australia’s Tom Edwards (Yart Yamaha) qualified a strong P4 and notched 14-11 finishes, his result in race two seeing him as the leading WorldSSP Challenge rider.

Meanwhile, Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing Team) completed the event with a 17-DNF scorecard, as Luke Power (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) banked 25-26 results.

Four rounds into the 2023 season, Bulega leads the WorldSSP standings on 152 points, with Schroetter (119) second and Manzi third, just three points behind the MV Agusta rider.

Image: Supplied.

As usual, the WorldSSP300 class produced close and exciting racing, with Buis (MTM Kawasaki) and Gennai (Team BrCorse) ultimately sharing the victory spoils.

Featuring on the podium behind the Kawasaki rider in the opening encounter were Samuel Di Sora (ProDina Kawasaki Racing) and Gennai, while Matteo Vannucci (AG Motorsport Italia Yamaha) and Buis completed the top three in race two.

Looking at the WorldSSP300 Championship standings, Kawasaki-mounted Petr Svoboda leads by 12 points ahead of Gennai, with Di Sora in third and a further seven points back.

Round five of the 2023 Superbike World Championship will take at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli between 2-4 June.

Detailed results