BACK ON TOP: Bautista beats Bulega for first win of 2024, Razgatlioglu makes it three Barcelona podiums

Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) ended his short MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship win drought with a Race 2 victory at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after scrapping with teammate Nicolo Bulega. After starting from the front row for the first time during the Pirelli Catalunya Round, the #1 took full advantage for his 60th win in WorldSBK but his first of the season, with Bulega coming home in second.

THE FIGHT FOR VICTORY: Bautista vs Bulega, the fight that had been building…

A crash on the opening lap took riders out of contention. Axel Bassani (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) went down at Turn 4, with ‘Loka’ forced into the gravel although he was able to continue. The FIM Stewards opted to investigate the incident after the race. Out in front, Bautista got the holeshot into Turn 1 while teammate Bulega and Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) banged bars under braking for Turn 1.

Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) dropped down the order as lights went out but moved back into third on Lap 2. Bulega had to fight his way back into podium contention and did just that by first passing Iannone with a stunning overtake at Turn 9, before passing teammate Bautista at Turn 1 and immediately gapping the #1 by seventh tenths as he led the field. However, perhaps it was a case of too much, too soon for the #11 as, at the halfway mark, Bautista re-overtook Bulega at Turn 1 to re-claim first place.

Slowly but surely, the reigning Champion edged out a gap over his rookie teammate although ‘Bulegas’ didn’t allow Bautista to clear away, remaining within a few tenths off his more experienced rival to stay in contention. On Lap 15, Bautista lapped two tenths quicker to extend his lead back up six tenths before taking it to over a second with three laps to go. Behind the Ducati pair, Razgatlioglu came home in fourth place for his third podium of the weekend. It was Bautista’s 60th win in World Superbike, surpassing Carl Fogarty’s total of 59. For BMW, Razgatlioglu’s third place gave them their 50th race where they took a podium and already have four rostrums in six races, their best since 2021 when they had five across the whole season.

DRAMA OFF THE PODIUM: Iannone crashes, Petrucci top Independent rider

Iannone had been running a fairly comfortable fourth place but a crash at Turn 10 on Lap 13 forced him out of the race and promoting Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) into fourth. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) was fifth after he made a late race move on Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) at Turn 1 in the final few laps, with the #87 holding on to cross the line in sixth. However, he was given a once-place penalty for exceeding track limits at Turn 5 on the final lap. This promoted Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who had been chasing the #87 down, into P6 with Gardner in seventh.

REA’S FIRST YAMAHA POINTS: a top-ten finish for the #65

It’s taken six races, but Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) finally has points for Yamaha. Coming home in eighth after fighting former teammate Alex Lowes and his twin brother Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team), Rea was able to take P8 and a first top-ten on the R1. Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was ninth with Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) beating teammate Scott Redding into the top ten after they scrapped in the second half of the race.

BATTLING BACK, DROPPING DOWN: Sam Lowes loses ground, Locatelli scores points after Lap 1 incident

Despite a strong race, Sam Lowes dropped down the order and finished in 12th place, three seconds behind Redding. Locatelli battled back from his Lap 1 incident to score points and take 13th, passing Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) on the final lap and beating the #97 by a tenth. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was the final points scorer as he came home in 15th place on home soil, although he had been running towards the top ten in the first half of the 20-lap race. Philipp Oettl (GMT94 Yamaha), Tarran Mackenzie (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda) and Adam Norrodin were the final classified riders.

OVER BEFORE IT STARTED: Lecuona, Ray crash at Turn 1

It had been a difficult weekend for Honda, and that continued when Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) and Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) collided at Turn 1. Both were able to walk away from the crash, and the FIM Stewards said they’d look into the incident after the race.

The top six from WorldSBK Race 2, full results here:

1. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati)

2. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) +2.041s

3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +7.005s

4. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +12.452s

5. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +15.076s

6. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +15.285s

Fastest Lap: Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) 1’41.578s


Championship standings:

1. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) 87 points

2. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) 75

3. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 75

4. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 71

5. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) 51

6. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) 47

The ‘Cathedral of Speed’ is up next! Watch all the action from Assen next time out using the WorldSBK VideoPass!


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