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Ducati seals Manufacturers' Title with Bautista's Race 1 win in Portimao

Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) showcased his Championship mettle in an electrifying Race 1 at Portimao, sealing a hard-fought victory to extend his lead in the standings by five points. It was Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) who initially grabbed the lead, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) making a jaw-dropping recovery after a Turn 3 incident. However, Bautista's unwavering determination led him to overtake and secure his 22nd win of the season, closing in on the all-time Ducati record held by Carl Fogarty. Ducati also celebrated as Bautista's win guaranteed them the 2023 Manufacturers' Title.

In the fierce battle for fourth place, Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) emerged victorious ahead of Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team). Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) took the flag in seventh. The race also witnessed Andrea Locatelli's (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) strong charge from the back of the grid to ninth place, setting the stage for an intriguing Tissot Superpole Race.

With his Race 1 win, Bautista further solidified his standing atop the Championship, now leading by 52 points.
P1 | Alvaro Bautista | Racing – Ducati

"For sure, today has been a really good day for Ducati because they won the Manufacturers' Title. I'm so happy to be part of this success. Congratulations to all the Ducati family! I'm also happy from my side because today was a very difficult day for me. In the Superpole, we made a small change to the bike that didn't work, and I couldn't set a good lap time. But, in any case, I was confident for the race. Certainly, track conditions were tricky with the strong wind. The wind was different on every lap, and for me, it was difficult to understand and find reference points. At the beginning, I enjoyed the battle with Jonathan and Toprak. I took the lead. It was challenging for me to maintain the same pace as yesterday afternoon or this morning because the wind was too strong. Maybe it's because I'm light, and I feel it more, but I tried to understand it and not make any mistakes. Toprak was pushing hard, I was keeping an eye on the gap, and it remained constant. Congratulations to him because he made a big improvement between yesterday and today, and he was able to match my race pace. As for me, I tried not to make any mistakes, and today I could win again, so I'm very happy."


If Bautista wins both races on Sunday, Razgatlioglu must finish second to take the title fight to Jerez.
Currently third in the Championship, Rea added to his podium tally with a hard-fought third-place finish in Race 1.
Gerloff had an outstanding performance in Race 1 at Portimao, battling through the field to secure a fourth-place finish, .

WorldSBK Race 1 Results

1.Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +2.098s
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +6.790s
4. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) +12.093s
5. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +13.148s
6. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +13.714s

The Kawasaki Racing Team’s regular 2023 line-up of Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes came back together in Portugal with instant results both before and after the first 20-lap race of the weekend. Rea was finally third after some dramatic early laps, while Lowes ended up fifth after a long and successful battle for the first off-podium places.

At a warm and very windy Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal the last day of September started out in a strong fashion for both KRT riders, with each launching from a front row starting position.

In Tissot Superpole qualifying Jonathan Rea scored his 43rd career pole position, drawing himself level on the all-time statistics with second placed rider Troy Corser. With Lowes second on the grid it was an all-round strong performance from both sides of the KRT pitbox. Rea was just 0.010 seconds from equalling his existing track best record with his Superpole time of 1’39.620 today.

At the start of Race One Rea unavoidably tagged the rear tyre of Alvaro Bautista, the eventual winner, and was pushed wide. Jonathan lost places and dropped to sixth as he rejoined the leading group and got back into the podium battle.

A spectacular early few laps saw six riders fighting inside the leading group, with Rea eventually in third position with half race distance to go. He would remain there until the end of the race to claim his 17th rostrum of the year.

Lowes went from his long-time fourth position to fifth and then sixth, before he made up ground at the end and reclaimed fifth place. This was Alex’s comeback race after suffering a knee injury that required surgery just a few weeks ago.

With one more day of action at Portimao still to come for the WorldSBK riders, they will face a ten-lap Tissot Superpole race on Sunday, followed by a second 20-lap Race Two.


Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “It was so nice to take another Superpole. It was a good lap but so strange because it didn’t feel like a pole position lap because there were a few mistakes in there. At the back end of the session there were a lot of yellow flags so I got my time in early. It was so nice for Alex to be on the front row too, and good for the team. In the race I struggled at the very beginning because Alvaro cut back in T3 and he just picked me up a little bit. Fortunately I stayed on the bike and then I had to regain track position. I got right back there but then the pace, for me, was just too fast. I couldn’t do 1’40s laps. All weekend I have been doing low 1’41s. So the front two were just getting away, getting away - and then in the last half lasted the race I just struggled in corner exit. The rear tyre was spinning, the electronics were working too much and it was just a combination of things. So, there is room for improvement and hopefully tomorrow we can get a bit closer.”

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “I feel I’m not in my best shape, maybe because I lost out on a race in Motorland. We had the big break in the summer, then an injury, I had an operation on my arm, so I am a little bit behind on my fitness. I then had ten days recovering after my knee operation. It didn’t really give me any pain and I am definitely happy to be back. It is a lot more fun riding than watching! And I was second in Superpole. l was on a good qualifying lap, but then there was another yellow flag when someone crashed. I slowed down then went for another lap because it is so tight in WorldSBK now that if you miss a couple of tenths it can mean you are a couple of rows further back on the grid. Qualifying is almost more important than any other session because it can really change your weekend. I was happy to do my best lap ever here, especially after having some time off and two operations, so you can’t expect much more really.”
Razgatlıoğlu Delivers Impressive P2 in Portimão Race 1, Locatelli Surprises with Superpole P3

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu tried “more than 100%” to fight for the victory today in Race 1 at the Autodromo do Algarve (Portimão) but ultimately crossed the line in second place at the penultimate round of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship.

The “morning star” was Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK teammate Andrea Locatelli who surprised with a super strong third-fastest qualifying lap in Superpole. The Italian served a back-of-the-grid penalty in Race 1 (from an Aragon infringement), but was through to P15 in just two corners from 24th place and pushed on to recover to P9 by the chequered flag. He will be able to start from his well-earned front row position in the Superpole Race tomorrow morning.

Razgatlıoğlu qualified just behind “Loka” in fourth position – promoted to the front row for Race 1 in place of the #55 Yamaha R1 WorldSBK – and capitalised immediately to take the holeshot into Turn 1 and lead the opening lap. A tactic to settle in behind the Kawasaki of Alex Lowes on Lap 2 to preserve tyre life wouldn’t last for long, as a hectic four-way battle commenced with four-abreast braking into Turn 1 on Lap 4, forcing Razgatlıoğlu to push through to the front once more.

After a few laps of serious fighting, in the end it was a familiar story as Alvaro Bautista used the strengths of his package to full effect – utilising a drive advantage off the final corner onto the long main straight at the end of Lap 8 to take the lead and command the race, despite relentless pressure from Razgatlıoğlu and his R1.

With 52 points separating Razgatlıoğlu from the leader, there is still a mathematical chance to take the title fight to the final round in Jerez – as long as the deficit does not grow to 62 points or more at the end of tomorrow afternoon. The Teams’ Championship is also still open between Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK and Aruba Racing.

WorldSBK is back on track with Warm-Up at 9:00 BST (GMT+1) in the morning, Superpole Race at 11:10 and Race 2 at 14:00.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SP: P4 / Race 1: P2

“In qualifying, I did a good lap time but for me it’s not enough to start in P4 – but in the race also we started well and a little bit fighting with Alvaro but the pace was very strong. Every lap I keep pushing a lot, more than 100% to try for the best position – all corners I am coming step-by-step but it’s not easy. In the last laps I am feeling the rear grip drop and I was waiting for Alvaro’s rear tyre to drop as well to have a chance to attack, but it did not happen. Every lap I got closer but last corner and in the straight he is too strong. But, we understand something now and I think tomorrow in Superpole everyone will enjoy, I will push more than 100% again and try to win.”

Andrea Locatelli ­– SP: P3 / Race 1: P9

“It was for sure a difficult Race 1! Especially in the first couple of laps, with the slipstream and the wind pushing on the braking point in Turn 1, it was not easy to stop the bike. So, I think we lost a little bit the opportunity to fight with the front group and potentially to finish in the top five. The rhythm was not so bad though! Now we look forward to another two chances tomorrow because we did a really good job in the qualifying and will start from P3 in the Superpole Race. We need to be proud of this and look forward. We’re working a lot from Friday and today to improve the bike, and now I have a really good feeling with my R1. I am really happy and feeling confident from my ability to fight with the front group for qualifying, so let’s see what we can do tomorrow – especially in the long race.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:

“Honestly, winning is always the target – which is why all the top teams and manufacturers are here – but today, Toprak and his R1’s performance simply has to be applauded. Absolutely nothing was left out on the track in his quest to beat the Bautista and Ducati package, and he kept him under an incredible amount of pressure and nearly made it happen. Kudos to Toprak and his team for a fantastic performance. Loka’s race was always going to be difficult from last place on the grid following the Aragon penalty, but from 24th to 15th on the first lap set him up nicely for a well-judged comeback to ninth. Tomorrow he starts from his brilliant qualifying result of third and we expect him to be in the mix with the fastest guys.”
Double top ten for Team HRC in race 1 at Portimão

Team HRC riders Xavi Vierge and Iker Lecuona were on track at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve today for the first of the races making up round eleven of the 2023 Superbike World Championship

A constructive final morning practice saw both riders continue to work with their respective technicians. Both Lecuona and Vierge were able to improve by almost a second on their best time of yesterday and both riders were feeling confident as to their chances as they prepared for the subsequent Superpole.

Said Superpole session ran according to schedule and again in dry, sunny conditions. Lecuona and Vierge wasted no time, with both immediately able to improve on their practice times. Iker ultimately placed a strong fifth with a time of 1’40.133, securing a very useful and positive second row start for race 1. With two minutes to go, team-mate Vierge unfortunately suffered a crash through turn 13. Though unhurt, the incident meant he had no time to further improve on his time, thus qualifying in thirteenth position thanks to a 1’40.453 set earlier in the session.

The Team HRC riders were back out in the early afternoon for the first of the weekend’s 20-lap Superbike races. From fifth on the grid, Lecuona was lying eighth one lap in, while Vierge maintained his starting position, placing thirteenth through the opening stages. Each quickly gained a position while working to get into their rhythm around the technical Portuguese track. Lying eighth and tenth respectively at the mid-race point, Iker and Xavi maintained consistent pace very similar to that of the riders they were fighting against, which therefore meant that they were unable to progress further in terms of their positions. Lecuona nevertheless crossed the line a solid eighth, closely followed by Vierge, tenth.

Lecuona and Vierge will return to work tomorrow, lining up for the 10-lap Superpole race and the second and final Superbike race.

Iker Lecuona 7

“All in all, we’ve had a good day, to be honest. A good qualifying, in which we were a little on the limit, but ultimately just half a second down on Johnny’s pole time. So we’re happy with our performance there. As for the race, well, conditions were a bit crazy, I mean, trickier than at Aragón, with a lot of wind and also very high temperatures. We normally suffer a lot in the heat but today I was very surprised with how strong our race pace was. I didn’t make the best start perhaps but was comfortably sticking with the guys ahead when, on lap three, Rinaldi made an aggressive pass through turn eight and I lost almost a second and a half there. Lapping with very similar pace to the riders in my group, I basically wasn’t able to progress too much in terms of position. But I’m happy with how the race went, with the pace we were able to keep, and with the work we’ve completed in the garage because it’s the first time I’ve been able to maintain strong pace until the end of the race in hot conditions, which is a good step for us.”

Iker Lecuona

Xavi Vierge 97

“We can’t be happy with a tenth place finish of course, but we kind of “saved” the day. Right from the first session on Friday it seems as if everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. But we worked well as a team, keeping our concentration and maintaining a cool head. In this way, we were able to make the right decisions and overcome the difficulties. And the feeling on the bike in today’s race wasn’t so bad in the end, we were missing a little something perhaps but not so much. I also want to thank the team because they repaired the bike extremely quickly after the crash in qualifying and everything was perfect for the race. We will work this afternoon to try and find this little something we are missing in order to run better races tomorrow.”
— ends —
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