Despite having been demoted to fourth on the grid, Alvaro Bautista took the win in Race 1, finishing 3.148s ahead of Rea.
P1 | Alvaro Bautista | Aruba.it Racing – Ducati
“Today wasn’t as easy as people may think after yesterday’s practices. Because of the penalty, I started from the second row, and it was important to not lose a lot of positions at the start of the race and not be in the mix group taking some risks with other riders. I could make a good start and recover some positions. In the beginning, I fought a bit with Lowes, then when I was behind Toprak and Jonathan, I just was watching the track condition because today was a bit different from yesterday, so I had to understand how much I can push with this temperature and the wind was also different. After a few laps, I started to understand the track and I started to feel that I could push harder than the pace we had. I got to the lead and increased the pace by two tenths or something like that. Jonathan was there. I was surprised because in the practice he didn’t have this pace, but in the race he could stay with me. With six or five laps to go, I saw the gap was increasing a little bit, so I tried to make another push and get some advantage and, it worked. I’m so happy to win again.”
There was no shortage of thrilling action in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the iconic TT Circuit Assen in Race 1 during the Pirelli Dutch Round as Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed a hard-fought victory in the Netherlands. He overcame his rivals and a three-place grid drop to fight his way from fourth place on the grid to finish ahead of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in the 21-lap race.
Bautista was given a three-place grid drop for the Race 1 grid for slow riding on the racing line in the Tissot Superpole session, which dropped him from pole position to fourth place. He was into the top three from the start before chasing down Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) in second place.
Razgatlioglu looked to close down Rea to put a bike between him and Bautista but the reigning Champion overtook Razgatlioglu at the chicane on Lap 5 to move into second place, before moving into the lead on Lap 9 when he overtook Rea at Turn 6 to move into the lead. Although Rea tried to keep the pressure on Bautista, the Spanish rider pulled a gap on the six-time Champion with the trio setting into their respective positions.
Fourth place went to a charging Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) after he moved up the order. He had been running in seventh place, behind Lowes, Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) but, as the laps progressed, he made his way up the order.
Locatelli made a move on Lowes at Turn 5 on Lap 15 before following that up two laps later by overtaking Redding. He closed the gap to Bassani and overtook him on the last lap to claim fourth spot; continuing his record of not finishing outside the top five in 2023 and at the TT Circuit Assen. Bassani was fifth at the end of the race, ahead of Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), who passed Lowes and Redding in the closing stages, in sixth.
WorldSBK action resumes on Sunday from 09:00 (Local Time) with the Warm-Up, followed by Tissot Superpole Race at 11:00 and Race 2 at 14:00.
WorldSBK Race 1 Results
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +3.148s
3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +3.891s
4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +10.105s
5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +10.498s
6. Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +13.952s
WorldSBK Championship standings
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 137 points
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 91 points
3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 83 points