More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
WorldSBK Champion Alvaro Bautista triumphs in rain affected Race 1
Bautista won the first race of the 2023 season ahead of Rea and Razgatlioglu
The 2022 WorldSBK Champion claimed his first victory of the 2023 season in wet conditions.
P1 | | Alvaro Bautista | Aruba.it Racing Team
“I’m really blessed to win races like this one. Last year we raced here as well, but we didn’t race too much in those conditions, so it was new for everybody. I just tried to understand how the track was to get the maximum. In the Warm Up lap, I saw behind the riders I had a lot of water spray, and I couldn’t see anything, so the idea was to make a good start and try to get the lead to not have these issues. I did it and then Jonathan went a bit faster in the first lap so I just tried to stay calm and understand how much I could push and where was the limit. After a few laps, my pace was similar to Jonathan’s but behind him I couldn’t see anything due to the spray, so I just tried to overtake him and stay in front. After mid-race, the track started to be more slippery and it was very difficult, especially on the rear. In the end, I could get some gap with Jonathan and win the race. I’m really happy.”
Jonathan Rea claimed second place took as he took his 378th WorldSBK start in Race 1 – beating Troy Corser’s record.
P2 | Jonathan Rea | Kawasaki Racing Team
“I feel great! Honestly, physically, I’m in a great moment. I feel experienced. I started this journey in 2008 in WorldSSP and then WorldSBK in 2009, so I feel blessed to have this job. Really fortunate to work with great people. I’ve met so many friends in this journey. I owe WorldSBK a lot and I’ve contributed to it as well.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu completed the podium, 6.128s behind Bautista.
Rookie Danilo Petrucci crossed the line in 7th but was demoted to 8th place due to irresponsible riding after a last lap incident with Xavi Vierge.
Australian Remy Gardner finished in 12th place for his WorldSBK debut on home soil.
WorldSBK Race 1 Report
A delayed start to Race 1 in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship provided plenty of drama as rain came down before the start of the race at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round. Reigning Champion Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed a stunning victory in difficult conditions after an incredible overtake on rival Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).
Bautista started from second place but got the holeshot at the start of the race before being passed by Rea at Turn 10 on the opening lap of the race. On Lap 10, Bautista made his move at Stoner Corner, the high-speed left-hand corner to take the lead of the race and he remained there for the final 12 laps of the race. Bautista had a huge slide through Turn 8 a couple of laps after passing Rea but, although the Ulsterman closed in, Bautista once again pulled away to take victory by more than three seconds at the end of the race.
Behind the leading duo, it was a bit of a lonely race for polesitter Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) as he finished in third place but six seconds down on Bautista and 10 seconds ahead of teammate Andrea Locatelli as the factory Yamaha duo finished in third and fourth respectively.
Italian rider Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) battled his way up from 14th to fifth at the end of the 22-lap race. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) was the lead Honda rider in sixth as he gained positions from 11th on the grid on his first WorldSBK race at Phillip Island.