WorldSBK: Alvaro Bautista Takes Victory in the Opening Race in Assen
Alvaro Bautista wins his sixth World Superbike race of the 2023 season
Jonathan Rea started from pole position after Alvaro Bautista was penalised in qualifying and was demoted from pole position to fourth. Toprak Razgatlioglu and Alex Lowes sat on the front row with Rea.
Rea led the way into the first turn, with the usual suspects of Razgatlioglu and Bautista sat in behind the six time World Superbike Champion. Lowes, Andrea Locatelli, Scott Redding and Axel Bassani made up the second group of riders.
Tom Sykes’ luck went from bad to worse as he had technical issues on the fourth lap of the race continuing his poor 2023 season.
Bautista made a lunge passed Razgatlioglu on lap five of the race to take second place off the Turkish rider. With Rea still leading the way the reigning champion had his sights set on the Northern Irishman.
With 14 laps to go British Superbike Champion, Bradley Ray, found himself sat in 15th position and battling with Garrett Gerloff and Peter Oettl.
On lap nine Bautista finally managed to get his Ducati passed Rea’s Kawasaki. Despite the small Spaniard reaching the front the Northern Irishman was keeping Bautista and his Ducati honest as he kept the gap down to two tenths of a second.
BMW rider Scott Redding was having better fortunes than he has had this season as he was in the battle for fourth, whereas the other BMW riders were battling for low end points. However, after running well for so long Redding dropped back in the latter stages of the race and could only manage a tenth place finish.
With three laps to go Bautista really had the hammer down towards the end of the race and opened the gap opening up to 3.1 seconds over Rea. Razgatlioglu had dropped off the front two and was a whole five seconds back behind Bautista.
Bautista crossed the line to win his sixth race of the season with a 3 second lead over both Rea and Razgatlioglu. After leading the first half of the race Rea managed to claim his second podium of the season as he finished second ahead of Razgatlioglu who crossed the line in third.