WSBK: Alvaro Bautista Wins Race One at Donington Park, Ducati’s First Victory in Twelve Years.
Alvaro Bautista wins his 15th race of the 2023 season, after a hectic start to the race.
It’s the Prosecco DOC UK round of the World Superbike championship at the iconic Midlands circuit of Donington Park. For Race One Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea was in pole position for the first time this season, reigning WSBK champion Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista lined up in second place on the grid, joining Jonathan and Alvaro on the front row for the first time this season was Barni Spark Racing’s Danilo Petrucci.
Lights out for the first WSBK race of the weekend as Alvaro lead the field of 24 riders into Redgate, disaster for Brad Ray as he crashed out at Redgate with Garrett Gerloff.
Alvaro was leading the way followed by Rea and Petrucci, Toprak was in fourth place just in front of Tom Sykes. Rinaldi looked to be having issues lower down the field.
It was all change at the front after two laps, Rea took the lead at the Foggy Esses, Toprak was putting the pressure on Alvaro for second place, the Turkish rider made the pass on the Ducati rider and was now chasing Rea. Alvaro just looked as though he didn’t just have the pace for the win for the first time this season!
The leading duo of Rea and Toprak were setting the pace at the front, Alex Lowes was in fourth place, with Petrucci in fifth place. Alvaro looked to have gathered himself and was coming back into play as he was catching the leaders.
Toprak slipped underneath Rea at the Melbourne Loop to take the lead, Rea retook the position at Starkys, there was now a three-way battle for the lead. Toprak passed Rea yet again at the Melbourne Loop a lap later.
With 16 laps to go there was now six riders in the hunt for the lead from Toprak to Bassanni. Alvaro was now in second place, pushing Rea to third place, just in front of his team-mate Lowes. A lap later at Coppice Alvaro made a move on Toprak for the lead.
Alvaro was getting into his rhythm putting in the fastest lap of the race with 14 laps remaining to the race, the Kawasaki’s just looked to be dropping off the pace in third and fourth place. Toprak was riding on the limit, leaving black lines behind him trying to catch Alvaro.
Both of the Honda riders looked to be struggling with pace down in twelfth and fourteenth place. Donington Park favourite Tom Sykes was in eighth place; top placed BMW rider, Scott Redding was in 11th.
Petrucci was putting Rea under pressure for third place, Lowes lost fifth place to Andrea Locatelli. Alvaro had a three second lead from Toprak. Iker Lecuona crashed out at The Old Hairpin with two laps remaining to the race.
Alvaro crossed the finish line to take the first Ducati victory in 12 years! Toprak was second, Rea held off Petrucci for third place.
Featured Images: Olithephoto.