Tag Archives: WorldSBK

HOT HEADLINES FROM SEASON-OPENER: “The rules made by WorldSBK are helping everyone”

The dust has settled and it’s time to take stock of the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship after a sensational start to the new season. There was huge disappointment as well as unbridled joy as WorldSBK was literally turned on its head Down Under. We’ve put the hottest quotes in one place for you to digest together.

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK): “I’m probably a bit old to making moves like that at Lukey Heights!”

A fantastic Sunday double for Alex Lowes at Phillip Island sees him in the lead of the Championship: “I knew my speed was there but I’ve had a lot of injuries. We are there now; I don’t know for the rest of the year but I am going to enjoy the moment now because I’ve worked hard in the off-season. To get two wins today was fantastic and mixing it up there with the Ducatis makes me really happy. I’m probably a bit old to be making moves like that at Lukey Heights! I enjoyed having my brother here this weekend too, I didn’t want him to beat me so he gave me a kick up the arse. I had a good week after a good winter. When I’m in fifth or sixth gear, the bike is fast! We’ll see for the rest of the season but we are always fast here. Let’s see when we have the slow exit onto the straight.”

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati): “Maybe in normal conditions, I’d pass him on the straight”

Talking about being beaten in a last lap shootout, Alvaro Bautista said: “He had more tyre than me; in the first five laps, the tyre was good and in the second start, I thought I could push because in 11 laps, it’d be easy. I didn’t expect to use the tyre like I did and in the last three laps, it was impossible because the bike was jumping around on all the left corners so it was difficult to go full lean. I’m happy because about my performance, from Friday, it increased and I got better with the bike. Even if it’s not 100%, like before, I feel very positive after closing the gap. I didn’t know who was behind me but I knew they could pass me easily because I couldn’t lean or enter the corner fast. In the last corner, I tried to be close but I lost on entry and then to get the power on wasn’t easy. Maybe, in normal conditions, I could pass him on the straight.”

Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team): “The rules made by WorldSBK have been good and they’re helping everyone… one of the closest Championship’s I’ve ever been in!”

A podium in Race 2, Danilo Petrucci is a big fan of the rule changes: “WorldSBK is really crazy! I finished P15 but had the same bike as yesterday, it was difficult to ride and I was nervous. In Race 2, I was behind Toprak when the engine went and then behind Jonny when he had a massive crash. In the restart, I was there and I wanted to be top Independent but Rinaldi was far. Then, he started losing time and me and Iannone were coming through. With three to go, I was two seconds from the lead but then on the last lap, I was just one second. Maybe with two more laps, I could have fought for the win! As I predicted in WorldSBK, you can finish in P15 or P3. 15 riders can finish on the podium and it’s unbelievable how close it is. The rules made by WorldSBK have been good and they’re helping everyone. I think this is one of the closest Championships I’ve ever been in.”

Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati): “You can dream as much as you want…”

In shock after winning on Saturday, Nicolo Bulega became the first rider EVER to graduate to WorldSBK as WorldSSP Champion and win on his debut: “Maybe I still don’t realise but what can I say? It’s incredible. To win the first race and also take the lap record and pole position, it’s like last year when I was in WorldSSP but now, it’s in WorldSBK. I can’t say a lot because I still don’t realise, it’s a good sensation. In the last two laps, I was smiling a lot under my helmet when I saw my pit board with 3.5s advantage. You can dream as much as you want but when you have to do it, it’s different. It’s a dream come true and I’m happy to win the first race as I feel less pressure.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team): “I’m really sad… in Barcelona, we need to come back stronger”

A story of what could have been on his BMW debut for Toprak Razgatlioglu, although a podium in the Superpole Race showed the potential: “It’s not easy to say; I’m really sad because I didn’t expect the engine problem. In Race 2, I said, ‘this is the first time that I’m riding the bike’ because I’m always trying to save the rear tyre. I started and passed Lowes and started going forwards but then the engine problem came. This is racing and for the first weekend of the season, in general, I’m not really happy, 50/50. I had the podium but in Race 2, I was ready to fight for the win. I was just watching it instead but in Barcelona, we need to come back stronger.”

Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven): “I would’ve signed if you told me I’d finish P3 and P4; it’s unbelievable”

His first World Championship weekend in four years, Andrea Iannone got the holeshot twice and stepped on the podium in his first ever race: “On one hand, I’m angry because I made two mistakes, and I lost the race. In any case, it’s the best comeback possible. When I started and rode in first position for many laps, it was incredible. I’m not completely happy. It’s my first race after four years and I was first, the feeling and everything was good. I’m a little but stiff; I’m not at 100% and how I want to be. I think, in the past, when I was in MotoGP™ I was fighting a lot, but it’s a long time. I had a problem with the setting on engine braking. I remained with the maximum engine brake, and I wanted to reduce it. It was impossible to switch. I would have signed if you told me I’d finish P3 and P4; it’s unbelievable. But when you have a feeling that you could do a better result… this weekend was strange, something happened in every moment.”

Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha):Here, we’re in the middle of the shit”

Speaking on Saturday, Jonathan Rea was at a loss: “We’ve tried everything. At Yamaha, we’re an open catalogue. You can pick what you want but most riders are the same. Throughout testing, I’ve preferred some different chassis parts than ‘Loka’ but this weekend, we’ve started with what the team feel are the good for tyre consumption, grip and all the Phillip Island characters. I’m as confused as everyone in the box; we’re lost and it’s frustrating. At Jerez, the bike worked fantastic; in race rhythm with all riders, I could compete for a podium. At Portimao, not so much and we were floating around the top five. Here, we’re in the middle of the shit.”

Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha): “It was possible to win a race”

Charging into race-winning contention on the last lap, Andrea Locatelli fell at Turn 4 from a podium position which would have left him leading the Championship: “We need to check the data and understand what happened. We need to forget this one and look at what else we did. We were fast and able to win the race. I’m sorry, as it was possible to win a race and it’s a shame to not win one.

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Source: WorldSBK.com

UPS AND DOWNS: debuts to remember, returning to winning ways and a difficult round for some in Australia

The 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship kicked off in style at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, with the legendary circuit not disappointing. It’s a season-opener that’ll live long in the memory thanks to stunning overtakes, dream debuts and much, much more. With the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round now in the history books, let’s take a look at some of the ups and downs that emerged from Round 1 of 2024.

ALEX LOWES BACK ON TOP: first wins since 2020 for the Kawasaki star

With Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) effectively becoming KRT’s team leader, and switching crew chiefs to work with Pere Riba, all eyes were on the #22 to see how he’d fare in Australia. The answer? Almost perfectly. Third on the grid set him up nicely for Race 1, and he finished fourth, but Sunday he was back on top. Almost four years on from his last win, he won the Tissot Superpole Race and followed this up with victory in Race 2, moving into the lead on the final lap with an audacious move around the outside of Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) at Lukey Heights.

BULEGA’S BRILLIANCE: a debut pole and win

Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) came into the Australian Round full of confidence, after topping the majority of test days. The #11 put it on pole in the Tissot Superpole session with a 1’27.916s, the first sub-1’28s of Phillip Island. He was able to convert that into a Race 1 victory despite dropping back in the first half of the race, using his pace well around the mandatory pit stop window to fight for victory. He secured two more top-five finishes on Sunday, with ‘Bulegas’ showing he’ll be there or there abouts in 2024.

IANNONE’S BACK: like he’d never been away

After no competitive riding for four years, it’s possible to think someone may have lost their edge. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) hasn’t. Like Bulega, the Italian was quick through testing but, as the old adage goes, testing is testing and racing is racing. The round came, and Iannone’s pace was still there. He provisionally went pole position before taking P2 on the grid and secured a first podium in Race 1. An issue in the Superpole Race dropped him down the order, but in Race 2, he battled back to fourth.

WHAT COULD’VE BEEN: Locatelli, Razgatlioglu retire in Race 2

It had been a strong weekend for Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha), challenging for the win in all three races. However, attempting to pass Alex Lowes at Turn 4 on the final lap in Race 2, he ran wide and crashed from third. A disappointing end to a stunning weekend for ‘Loka’. His former teammate, Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), enjoyed a strong debut BMW weekend. A podium in the Superpole Race was the highlight but he was challenging for a rostrum in Race 2 before an engine issue forced him out of the race.

WEEKENDS TO FORGET: difficulty Down Under for several…

Jonathan Rea’s switch to the Pata Prometeon Yamaha team and his debut was much anticipated, but it turned into a bit of a damp squib. He took 11th in Superpole and in the Superpole Race, but that was as good as it got. Race 2 came to an end when he crashed at Turn 11, with the six-time Champion providing an update following the crash. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) celebrated his birthday on track, but that was really as good as it got for the home hero aside from P7 in Superpole. He retired from Race 1 but was sixth in the Superpole Race, before taking 12th in Race 2; he was last on the grid for the restarted race after making contact with Rea’s bike during his crash, before fighting back. Elsewhere, Honda’s struggles continued with Team HRC and Xavi Vierge, with the Spaniard taking a best of tenth in the flag-to-flag Race 1, while Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) left Australia as the lowest-placed BMW rider in the standings.

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Source: WorldSBK.com

Bautista on Alex Lowes’ sensational pass: “I expected it at easier points… that corner, around the outside, no!”

After coming into the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round on the backfoot after carrying an injury and adjusting to new weight rules, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) ended the visit to Australian with a rostrum after a last-lap fight with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). The pair were battling until the very end, with just 0.048s separating them, as the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship kicked off in style.

Bautista had suffered throughout testing with a neck injury that he sustained in a crash at Jerez last year, in the first winter test leading into 2024. He commented during the Official Test at Phillip Island that he was feeling better with the injury, and he was getting closer and closer to the fatsest times as each test concluded. During the round, the #1 could only manage ninth in Superpole before a crash in Race 1 dropped him out of contention, eventually coming home in 15th and taking a solitary point while teammate Nicolo Bulega won.

In the Tissot Superpole Race, the Bautista was able to claim fourth place, directly ahead of Bulega, and only two seconds away from race winner Lowes. Bautista and Lowes battled it out for victory on the last lap of Race 2, along with Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) until he crashed at Turn 4. The race was ultimately decided at Lukey Heights, when the #22 swept around the outside of Bautista at Turn 9 to take the lead and victory by just 0.048s.

Discussing the last lap fight, Bautista said: “I’m happy, I think second place today was the maximum I could achieve. It was a really tricky race and with the red flag, it was very complicated. I managed the situation very well and, in the end, I tried to push to my maximum in the race. I had some tyre problems in the last three laps. It was difficult for me to enter the corner, lean and open the gas. I didn’t expect to have the problem I had. It was difficult to lean and go fast in the corners. I didn’t know which rider was behind me. I expected that they could pass me easily. In that corner, around the outside… no! I expected it at easier points. I tried to be close through the last corner but through the left turns, I always had a lot of problems. I couldn’t carry the speed mid-corner so it was really difficult.”

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Source: WorldSBK.com

“Great race and great battle” for Petrucci after first rostrum of 2024

Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) added to his MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship podium tally with a thrilling third place in Race 2 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. After finishing 15th in the Tissot Superpole Race, ‘Petrux’ was able to bounce back in style just a few hours later as he took his first WorldSBK podium at the legendary circuit, bringing his total to four after claiming three in his rookie campaign.

Petrucci is now in his second season in WorldSBK and started his sophomore campaign off strongly, with a third-place podium in Race 2 after a fierce fight with compatriot Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven). In 2023, ‘Petrux’ had to wait until round six, at Donington Park, but Petrucci has enjoyed instant success in 2024 despite finishing eighth in Race 1 and 15th in the Tissot Superpole Race. The Italian will be hoping this continues throughout 2024 as he looks to make history and claim a win in World Superbike.

Discussing his podium, Petrucci said: “It was amazing to finish on the podium. It was a great race and great battle. In Race 1, we were fighting for the podium, but we had a problem with the pit stop and I couldn’t fight with the top guys. On Sunday morning, I didn’t feel good with the bike and didn’t know why, so I was a little bit nervous in Race 2. I was in the leading group before the red flag. First of all, I hope Jonny is okay because I was just behind him, and his crash was massive. 

“After the red flag, we were always there. I wanted to be the top Independent. I tried to pass Iannone and then Rinaldi, but in the last lap, Iannone came back at me. I said, ‘okay, I need to be at least top Independent’ and when I went to overtake him, I saw Locatelli crash; I hope he’s okay too. I said ‘come on Danilo, just half a lap’. This is a good result. I’ve always been quite unlucky around Phillip Island. I love this track and place, but for one reason or another, I always left this place without a smile. Today, I’m really happy.”

Petrucci’s made his position clear since moving to the WorldSBK paddock, in that he wants to add his name to the list of riders who have won in both WorldSBK and MotoGP™, plus the #9 has already had success in MotoAmerica, STK1000 and the Dakar Rally. It would be a huge achievement for the Italian to add a WorldSBK win to his name, given his success so far in everything else he has competed in as well as the competition he faces this year.

Discussing WorldSBK in 2024, Petrucci said: “In this Championship, especially this year, you can finish 15th or third. I was so upset but as I’ve said many times in pre-season, I think there are 12-15 riders who can stand on the podium, and this is really good for the Championship. It’s really exciting and fun to watch, but for us, it’s really tough because we are so close!”

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Source: WorldSBK.com

LAST-LAP PASS: Lowes secures red-flagged Race 2 victory with ASTONISHING Turn 9 pass on Bautista, Rea crashes out

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) doubled up on MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship victories on Sunday as he won a red-flagged Race 2 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. The race-winning move came on the final lap at Turn 9 when the #22 stormed around the outside of Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) at Lukey Heights as he started the 2024 season in stunning fashion during the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round.

EARLY RED FLAG: Rea crashes at Turn 11

Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) got the holeshot as he went in search of a first race win. He maintained his lead despite a challenge from Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), although the latter made his way into first at the start of Lap 4. On Lap 3, Razgatlioglu’s charge came to an end. A technical issue on his M 1000 RR at Turn 9 forced the 2021 Champion to retire and caused chaos behind, with Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) surging up to fourth. However, Rea crashed at the end of Lap 3 at Turn 11 with the race red flagged on Lap 4. Rea was seen being taken away on the stretcher, but he was conscious and taken to the medical centre for a check-up. The race was restarted over an 11-lap race which took out the mandatory pit stop.

ON A MISSION: Rinaldi flies from lights out

The grid for the restarted race was based on the last completed timing point for each rider, with Bautista lining from the front row alongside Locatelli and Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven), who surged up the order in the first three laps including an incredible double move on Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) and Rea. Bautista maintained the lead, but the big mover was Rinaldi who went from P6 to second and challenging Bautista for the lead as they pulled away from the chasing back.

Rinaldi stayed within half-a-second of his former teammate, although, despite looking like he was attempting a move into Turn 1 on several occasions, he didn’t make a move on the #1. Behind, Lowes was closing in on Rinaldi with the #22 passing the Italian for second at Turn 1 at the start of Lap 8. The trio had pulled away from Iannone, who ran wide on a couple of occasions, while Locatelli was fighting back after dropping down the order when the race started.

LIKE LONDON BUSES: you wait four years for a win…

On Lap 9, Locatelli passed Rinaldi on the exit of Turn 10 as his fight back continued although it came to an end on the final lap at Turn 4 when Locatelli crashed while trying to pass Alex Lowes and retired from the race after what had been an incredible performance all weekend. It allowed Bautista and the #22 to fight for victory, and the Brit secured his second win of the day in an almost unbelievable move. He went around the outside of Bautista at Lukey Heights on the final lap. Bautista tried to re-pass the Kawasaki rider, but he was unable with the duo separated by just 0.048s. Locatelli’s crash promoted Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) into P4, after he battled Iannone on the final lap with less than a tenth separating the two Italians. It completes a superb weekend for Barni Ducati, following Yari Montella’s double in WorldSSP.

It was Lowes’ fourth win in WorldSBK, with three of them coming at the legendary Australian circuit. It was also the Brit’s 36th podium, while he claimed Kawasaki’s 180th victory. It means Lowes leads the Championship for the first time since Australian 2020. Bautista’s second place was his 90th in WorldSBK, while Petrucci’s third place was his fourth rostrum.

FIGHTING BACK: Bulega, Aegerter climb through the field

Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) recovered from a poor start in the original race to take fifth, finishing ahead of Rinaldi. The #21’s challenge lasted around half the race before he dropped down the order but was still able to claim a top six. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) climbed through the order to take eighth, while Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was ninth. The Swiss rider, in all three races, dropped down the order in the opening stages but was able to fight back for another top ten finish, with Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) completing the top ten.

ENDING WITH POINTS: a strong finish to Australia for Bassani

Axel Bassani (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) enjoyed a strong end to his first round with Kawasaki, showing strong pace throughout Sunday that culminated in 11th place and just over five seconds away from teammate Lowes. In the fight for ninth, Aegerter, van der Mark and Bassani were separated by just 0.031s. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) had to start the restarted race from last, after he made contact with Rea’s bike following the Ulsterman’s crash which dropped him to last. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) was 13th ahead of Philipp Oettl (GMT94 Yamaha) and Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team); the Brit scoring a point on his first visit to Phillip Island.

HOUSEKEEPING: narrowly missing out

Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 16th and missed out on points by more than five seconds, and he was four seconds clear of Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) in 17th. PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team duo Tarran Mackenzie and Adam Norrodin were the last classified riders in 18th and 29th.

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

1. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)

2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 0.048s

3. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +1.178s

4. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) +1.275s

5. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +2.346s

6. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) +2.913s

Championship standings

1. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 50 points
2. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 41
3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) 29
4. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) 29
5. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 27
6. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) 24

Barcelona calling! Round 2 comes from Catalunya, make sure you watch all the action using the WorldSBK VideoPass!

 

Source: WorldSBK.com

Rea declared unfit after Race 2 crash, provides injury update

Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) crashed out of Race 2 for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship after surging up the order, which brought out the red flags. The six-time Champion was taken to the medical centre at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit and declared unfit with multiple contusions and abrasions, but he swiftly returned to his box following his check and provided an update on how he’s feeling, as well what he believes caused the crash.

Rea had endured a difficult weekend on his Yamaha debut, finishing Race 1 and the Tissot Superpole Race outside the points, after qualifying only 11th in Saturday’s Tissot Superpole session. In Race 2, after starting from 11th, the #65 moved up the order and took advantage of Toprak Razgatlioglu’s (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) engine problem to run as high as fourth at one point. However, on Lap 3 at Turn 11, Rea came off his Yamaha R1, bringing out the red flags. He was seen being stretchered away and taken to the medical centre, where he was declared unfit with multiple contusions and abrasions.

Speaking to Yamaha after the race, Rea said: “First and foremost, physically I’m okay apart from I hit my hip quite hard in the crash but no further injuries from Tuesday. I had two big crashes this week, but I’m in one piece. Really frustrated because the crash came as a big surprise. It was as I was building my confidence on the bike and feeling quite good. I took some profit when Toprak’s engine had troubles and I found myself in a good place in the race. As soon as I started to feel confident, I crashed. I just have to rebuild from zero, look into the crash, and try to improve the feeling for me. You can see from how competitive ‘Loka’ is that we can get there. I want to go home now, regroup, and reset and come back stronger in Barcelona.”

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Source: WorldSBK.com

Razgatlioglu’s “50/50” BMW debut: podium pace and a plume of smoke on Sunday

It was a return to the podium for BMW and 2021 World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), as he stormed to P3 in the Tissot Superpole Race at Phillip Island. However, Race 2 didn’t bring the same triumph as he suffered an engine issue on Lap 3, with his BMW M 1000 RR coming to rest in a huge cloud of smoke.

The Superpole Race was a fierce battle and with just ten laps and no mandatory pit-stop, it was going to be a corker from lights out until the end. Fighting hard in the podium positions, ‘El Turco’ came up against Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), his main title rival over the last two seasons, on the final lap but had track position. Unlike in the Sunday races at Portimao last season when the Turkish star led out of the final corner only to be pipped on the run to the line by the power of the Ducati, he held on with the BMW M 1000 RR holding its own against a 6kg-heavier Ducati, with the irony not lost for either. Race 2 didn’t replicate the success though as Razgatlioglu suffered a massive engine failure with a plume of smoke billowing from his machine on Lap 3 at Turn 9. He was OK and able to park his bike safely but it was a costly result.

“It’s not easy to say; I’m really sad because I didn’t expect the engine problem,” said Razgatlioglu, with BMW having experienced numerous technical issues across the last two seasons. “In Race 2, I said, ‘this is the first time that I’m riding the bike’ because I’m always trying to save the rear tyre. I started and passed Lowes and started going forwards but then the engine problem came. This is racing and for the first weekend of the season, in general, I’m not really happy, 50/50. I had the podium but in Race 2, I was ready to fight for the win. I was just watching it instead but in Barcelona, we need to comeback stronger.”

In his first-ever test for BMW back in December at Portimao, the 27-year-old managed three laps on the bike on his first run before a similar engine issue occurred, with a big cloud of smoking likewise being seen. However, despite this, a return to the podium ends BMW’s 533-day wait for a top three placing in WorldSBK. Two top five finishes and a DNF leave him eighth in the standings on 18 points.

Continuing to talk about his first weekend of racing in comparison to extensive testing, Razgatlioglu said: “Testing and race weekends are totally different and the grip changes. In the races, we learnt a lot as we got race data and it’s good for work. Phillip Island is different to the ones in Europe. It’s not possible to say if we’re learning 100% but we’ll see in Barcelona but it’s a hard track like here. We’ll start at Assen and other circuits but we’re not bad. Every race weekend, we’re coming step-by-step. I am focussed on the second round, working a lot and I am sure the team are too. I am focussed on race pace and rear tyres get worn like here. We need a good setup for the long-distance race but it’s not possible to say before we ride. We’ll see in Catalunya.”

THE NEW ERA IS UNDERWAY: follow it all LIVE and UNINTERRUPTED with the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

“Unbelievable day!” – Lowes joyous after Sunday double at Phillip Island

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had waited a long time for victory in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. Almost four years on from his last win, the #22 returned to the top step at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit as he took a stunning win in the Tissot Superpole Race and also in Race 2 after an audacious last lap pass during the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round, and his emotions were visible for all to see as he celebrated his first and second victories of the season.

Lowes had been quick throughout testing, at Jerez, Portimao and Phillip Island, and converted that to third on the grid. He narrowly missed out on a rostrum in Race 1 but battled brilliantly against Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) in the 10-lap Superpole Race to earn victory, his first win in three years, 11 months and 24 days, and Kawasaki’s first dry win since the 2022 Superpole Race at Assen. He celebrated on his in-lap with twin brother Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) as well as in parc ferme, with Sam taking a top-ten finish.

Immediately after the race in parc ferme, Alex said: “Honestly, it’s been a long time since that last win, and I’ve been working. I was dead emotional; I was crying on the in lap. The guys have done a fantastic job all weekend. I’m really, really, really happy.”

Race 2 was a thrilling affair with Alex Lowes able to win again, despite trailing heading into the last lap. It had been a three-way fight between Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), himself and Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) on the final lap of a red-flagged and shortened race, but Locatelli dropped out of contention at Turn 4. The #55 was attempting to make a move on Lowes but ran wide and then had a highside crash which took him out of the race. Lowes was second behind Bautista, but an almost unbelievable move around the outside of Turn 9 gave the Brit the lead which he held onto by just 0.048s.

Reacting to his Sunday double, and that incredible last lap, Alex explained: “It was an unbelievable day! The second race was chaos from the start. It was a little bit delayed, and in the first part of the race Toprak’s bike blew up. I was nearly off track, I did well to stay on. Then, Jonathan had a big crash, so I hope he’s okay. I was dropping back a little bit, but just before the red flag, I had a couple of good sectors to get back on my brother. I had some good speed, and the temperature was down a little bit. My focus in the restart was to make a good start, put myself in the first three or four positions. I knew Toprak wasn’t there, and when he is, you have to ride a little bit more defensively because he’s always going to have a pass. Once I got settled into the race, I was struggling to stay with Bautista a little bit and Michael.

“Locatelli passed me at Turn 4. He was going to hit the back of Bautista, so he went wide and then I managed to stay on the line, stay close to Alvaro because, in my head, I was thinking he was struggling to enter the corner because the grip was going. I knew I could be really fast through Turn 8 and into Turn 9. This was my chance to pass him and try to stop the bike into Turn 10 and 11. I had a little plan, and it went quite well. In the end, I had a lot more grip than Alvaro which allowed me to make this pass.”

Can Lowes continue his imperious form into Barcelona? Find out using the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

2024 WorldSBK Championship Standings – Round 1: Phillip Island, Australia

Extraordinary. Majestic. Hectic. Frantic. The 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s new era lived up to expectation after a mesmerising season-opening Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round at Phillip Island. In a chaotic weekend, it was a sweet debut for Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) on Saturday with pole and a stunning win, whilst on Sunday, Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) made it a double with Superpole Race glory and an exceptional final lap attack in Race 2. Elsewhere, Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) was second in the first two races but crashed out of victory contention in a last lap thriller in Race 2. That promoted Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) on the podium, just behind Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). The other podium finishers throughout the round were rookie Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) in Race 1 and Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in the Superpole Race, taking his first rostrum with BMW.

Top 10 in WorldSBK Championship standings, full standings here:

1 Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 50

2. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 41

3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) 29

4. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) 29

5. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 27

6. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) 24

7. Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 20

8. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 18

9. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 15

10. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 15

THE NEW ERA IS UNDERWAY: follow it all LIVE and UNINTERRUPTED with the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

DOUBLE DOWN UNDER: Montella fends off Schroetter for WorldSSP Race 2 victory

Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) made it two from two at the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit as he resisted Marcel Schroetter’s (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) late-race challenge for his second win in two days. Taking a maximum 50-point haul from the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round, the #55 heads back to Europe full of confidence after his Australian masterclass in the FIM Supersport World Championship.

TWO FROM TWO: Montella unbeatable, Manzi crashes twice

Due to track conditions and oil needing to be cleared from a substantial portion of the track after an oil spill in a domestic championship race, there was a lengthy delay. As a consequence, the race was reduced to nine laps, and, because of this, the mandatory pit stop was removed. When the lights did go out, Race 1 winner Montella immediately pulled out a gap of around eight tenths over his rivals before expanding that to more than a second on Lap 2.

While Montella managed the lead out in front, Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Stefano Manzi (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) battled for second third but, as the race hit the halfway mark, the gap started to reduce. A series of fast laps from Schroetter allowed him to bring Manzi and Adrian Huertas (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team), who had surged from tenth on the grid to the podium fight. On Lap 6, Manzi had a lowside crash at Turn 4 and dropped out of contention, re-joining the race in 15th place. However, he took a second crash when he tried to climb through the field, on Lap 7 at Turn 10 before he brought his bike into the pits.

This promoted Huertas to third while Schroetter set his sights on Montella out in front, with the gap around half-a-second on Lap 7 before it came down to four tenths on the start of the final lap. Montella managed to withstand Schroetter’s challenge for his second consecutive win, his first WorldSSP double and his third win – all have come at Phillip Island. Schroetter’s ninth podium means he’s now two away from the record of rostrums without a victory, while Huertas claimed his first WorldSSP podium.

A STRONG START: consistency the key?

Federico Caricasulo (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) claimed another fourth position as his career on the F3 800 RR machine started in style, with ‘Carica’ around five seconds down on Montella. He was just 0.265s behind Valentin Debise (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) in fifth, who had been in the early podium fight before dropping back. Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) ended his weekend with his second consecutive P6, after finishing there in Race 1, although he didn’t have to fight from the back of the grid in Race 2 like he did in Race 1.

LOCAL HERO IN THE TOP TEN: Bayliss ends home round in style

Lucas Mahias (GMT94 Yamaha) was seventh and just eight tenths away from the top six, with the Frenchman the last of the lead group. He had a five-second margin over John McPhee (WRP-RT Motorsport by SKM-Triumph) in eighth. McPhee finished as the lead Triumph rider as his new adventure started strongly, with Lorenzo Baldassarri (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in ninth and Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing WorldSSP Team) completed the top ten on home soil.

TAKING POINTS HOME: a strong end to the opening round

Yeray Ruiz (VFT Racing Yamaha) was 11th and just a tenth away from the top ten, with the Spaniard leading home two Triumph riders. Jorge Navarro (WRP-RT Motorsport by SKM-Kawasaki) was 12th ahead of Tom Booth-Amos (PTR Triumph), the rider Manzi was trying to overtake when he crashed for a second time, in 13th. Niki Tuuli (EAB Racing Team) and Anupab Sarmoon (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team) completed the points.

TO NOTE: Oncu misses out on points, van Straalen penalised

Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) missed out on points as he took 16th place, ahead of rookie Niccolo Antonelli (Ecosantagata Althea Racing Team), wildcard Tom Toparis (Stop & Seal Racing) and Ondrej Vostatek (PTR Triumph). Glenn van Straalen (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) was 20th after he had to serve a Long Lap Penalty. The Dutchman was penalised for a crash in Race 1 with Oncu, which he took in the early stages of Sunday’s race.

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

1. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team)

2. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +0.203s

3. Adrian Huertas (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) +1.658s

4. Federico Caricasulo (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) +5.289s

5. Valentin Debise (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Racing Team) +5.554s

6. Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +5.677s

Championship standings

1. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) 50 points

2. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 36

3. Federico Caricasulo (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) 26

4. Stefano Manzi (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) 20

5. Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 20

6. Oliver Bayliss (D34G Racing WorldSSP Team) 17

Next up, Catalunya! Watch all the action from Barcelona using the comprehensive WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com