Toprak Razgatlioglu breaks Bautista’s dominance after claiming Imola Superpole

Toprak Razgatlioglu breaks Bautista's dominance after claiming Imola Superpole

Toprak Razgatlioglu overcame Alvaro Bautista to claim his third victory of the 2023 season after securing Imola superpole marking one of his greatest victories in the WorldSBK Championship.

Razgatlioglu performed strongly for the first time this season to catch up to his rival in a thrilling finish in a race that appeared to see Bautista win a record-breaking 19th victory, breaking the previous mark of 18 victories in a season, a distinction he shares with Doug Polen and Jonathan Rea.

Razgatlioglu has in fact proven this season to be a more formidable opponent for Bautista in the ten-lap Superpole Races, where the shorter distance means that the Ducati Panigale V4 R’s superior tyre preservation is less of an advantage. However, Razgatlioglu’s path to victory at Imola was not ordinary.

The same could be said for Bautista, who appeared to be heading for the win after edging Razgatlioglu for second place at the Variante Bassa by the end of lap four. This was one of the very few times this season during which he felt compelled to use his Ducati’s straight-line advantage in order to progress.

After his quick defeat of the race’s early leader Andrea Locatelli, who had tenaciously maintained the lead for a few laps by outdueling his Pata Yamaha teammate, Bautista appeared destined to follow the established formula of utilising the open road in front of him to vanish from the rest of the grid.

Razgatlioglu’s on-limit attempt to pass Locatelli at Tosa was met with a large shake of displeasure from his Yamaha R1, he lost some time on lap four, which aided Bautista’s cause.

Later in the lap, Razgatlioglu defeated his teammate but with only three laps remaining, it appeared unlikely that he would be able to catch Bautista, something his bike has failed to do successfully so far this season.

Unfazed, Razgatlioglu put his head down and started attacking, ripping the Yamaha in an effort to close the gap between himself and his rival.

By the penultimate lap, Razgatlioglu was back on Bautista’s tail and refused to let him have time to recover from the shock of being overtaken. He immediately launched an instant attack and executed the maneuver while entering Piratella.

In pursuit once more, Bautista stepped up his performance to keep up with his rival, but Razgatlioglu’s daring move through the Variante Alta, where he has been notably quicker than everyone else this weekend, was enough to create a significant gap.

Despite Bautista catching up to Razgatlioglu once more on the final lap, the Yamaha rider maintained his composure to make a successful getaway out of the final corner and secure his third victory of the year.

The victory will provide the 2021 WorldSBK Champion some emotional relief even though it won’t significantly affect his chances of winning the championship because Bautista’s enormous advantage will remain at 98 points.

The potential to secure that record-breaking 19th victory rests with Bautista, who will compete in this afternoon’s longer Race 2 that is more favorable to Ducati.

Locatelli lost the lead fight shortly after being overtaken, but he still had enough to secure his sixth podium of the year after finishing third, as Jonathan Rea came in fourth.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi won the race of the Italian-driven Ducatis in fifth place ahead of Motocross’ Axel Bassani. Alex Lowes, Danilo Petrucci, and Scott Redding earned the final points and a guaranteed berth on the front three rows for Race 2.

2023 IMOLA WORLDSBK, ITALY – SUPERPOLE RACE RESULTS

POSRIDERNATTEAMTIME
1Toprak RazgatliogluTURPata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK10 Laps
2Alvaro BautistaSPAAruba.It Racing Ducati+0.244s
3Andrea LocatelliITAPata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK+1.720s
4Jonathan ReaGBRKawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK+1.969s
5Michael Ruben RinaldiITAAruba.It Racing Ducati+3.341s
6Axel BassaniITAMotocorsa Ducati+4.603s
7Alex LowesGBRKawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK+5.219s
8Danilo PetrucciITABarni Spark Racing Team+7.536s
9Scott ReddingGBRROKIT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team+9.407s
10Loris BazFRABonovo Action BMW+9.601s
11Remy GardnerAUSGYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team+13.464s
12Philipp OettlGERGoEleven Ducati+15.879s
13Iker LecuonaSPATeam HRC WorldSBK+16.173s
14Dominique AegerterSWIGYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team+16.337s
15Leon HaslamGBRROKIT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team+20.127s
16Bradley RayGBRMotoxracing Yamaha WorldSBK Team+22.585s
17Gabriele RuiuITABmax Racing BWM+23.420s
18Lorenzo BaldassarriITAGMT94 Yamaha+23.671s
19Xavi ViergeSPATeam HRC WorldSBK+31.024s
20Tito RabatSPAPuccetti Kawasaki+31.322s
21Roberto TamburiniITAPETRONAS MIE Racing HONDA Racing+37.676s
22Isaac VinalesSPATPR by Vinales Racing+38.011s
23Oliver KonigCZEOrelac Racing Kawasaki+38.359s
24Eric GranadoBRAPETRONAS MIE Racing HONDA Racing+43.253s
25Garrett GerloffUSABonovo Action BMWDNF

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