WSBK: Alvaro Bautista Wins the 2023 World Superbike Season Opening Race at the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round.

Published on February 25, 2023
By Dawn Hammersley

Alvaro Bautista Makes the perfect start to the 2023 season, winning race one at Phillip Island.

The wait is over for the World Superbike championship as round one at the picturesque circuit of Phillip Island has begun. The championship has five new faces lining-up on the grid, all hoping to get in the mix and make their mark on the WSBK championship. There is a new tyre option available for the 2023 season; the SC0 front tyre.

Toprak Razgatlioglu took pole position for the opening race of the season, Alvaro Bautista qualified in second place with rookie Dominique Aegerter taking the last spot on the front row of the grid. It was declared a wet race as the Australian weather took a turn for the worst after the Superpole session.

Lights out for first time this season with Alvaro Bautista getting the holeshot into a very dicey turn one. Jonathan Rea got into third place, Aegerter dropped down to fifth place. Alex Lowes made a confident start getting up up fourth place.

Rea takes the lead at MG Hairpin, Lowes was in third place, the Kawasaki duo made a strong start to race one! Michael Van De Mark crashed at the Hayshed on lap two, the Dutch rider was in eighth place before he crashed out of the race.

Team-mates Aegerter and Remy Gardner were in seventh and eighth respectively. 19 laps to go and Rea was leading the pack around the Australian circuit, Rea had just over a second lead from Bautista. Toprak was putting pressure on Lowes for third place.

Toprak made his usual late breaking maneuver on Lowes at turn one for third place. Tom Sykes retired from the race with 18 laps to go, not what the British rider wanted on his return to the WSBK championship!

Scott Redding was the top BMW in 10th place, fellow BMW rider Baz was in 15th place. Michael Ruben Rinaldi was down in 14th place just behind Garret Gerloff.

Bautista was catching Rea with 15 laps to go, Danilo Petrucci was the highest rookie rider in eighth place. Toprak was closing in the leading duo, Bautista took the lead at Stoner Corner with 13 laps remaining to the race, Rea looked to have an issue with his quick shifter, causing a distraction for the Kawasaki rider, as a result of this Toprak was closing in and was looking to take second place.

Rea settled down and started to regain composure and was once again closing in on the reigning WSBK champion. Alex Lowes crashed out at the Southern Loop with eight laps to go, the Brit was up but looked to be in discomfort! The crash promoted Yamaha’s Andrea Locatelli into fourth place. Redding was now up to sixth place just behind Axel Bassanni.

With four laps to go Redding was losing positions and was now down in ninth place, Petrucci was still the highest placed rookie in seventh place. Bautista was now over two seconds in front of Rea with three laps to go, Toprak was in third place, the Turkish rider was out of contention for second place.

Bautista crossed the line to take the first victory of the 2023 season as the reigning World Champion, Rea finished in second place, Toprak was third, Locatelli was fourth with Bassanni finishing in fifth place.

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