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Axel Bassani shows factories what they’re missing with gritty Imola podium

Gold & Goose
Axel Bassani, Motocorsa Racing, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 2023 WorldSBK, Imola, action [credit - Gold & Goose]

Axel Bassani sent out an emphatic statement to manufacturers who might have overlooked him for a factory WorldSBK seat next season by very nearly becoming the first independent to win a race since 2020 at Imola.

On a particularly strong weekend for Bassani, though the Motocorsa Ducati man was competing at Imola for the first time in WorldSBK, it’s a venue he knows well from his domestic competition days.

As such, he was quickly up to speed in practice and might have gone on to claim his maiden WorldSBK pole position had he not slid off while distracted by slower traffic in Superpole. Ironically, with the yellow flags deployed for his accident going on to scupper several other fast laps, he started the first two races of the weekend from the front row.


Briefly leading in Race 1, an out-of-shape moment shortly after moving out front curtailed his momentum en route to seventh, while a distant sixth in the Superpole Race suggested he wasn’t in the running ahead of Race 2. 

>>> 2023 WorldSBK Championship Standings <<<

Axel Bassani, Motocorsa Racing, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 2023 WorldSBK, Imola, portrait [credit - Gold & Goose]

However, with the entire field benefiting from Alvaro Bautista’s turn one crash, Bassani sensed his opportunity to work his way up to second, before reeling in Toprak Razgatlioglu and wriggling into the lead on lap eight.

Unfortunately, a maiden WorldSBK win was not to be, Razgatlioglu regrouping with just over two laps to go and getting back in front of the home favourite.

Despite the near-miss, Bassani was delighted to get so close against a rider of Razgatlioglu’s calibre.

“I’m really happy with my second place. I finished behind Toprak, one of the best riders in the world. It’s an honour to battle with him. I tried to do my race and stay in front to do my pace. Here it’s really hot. You need some clear air. 

“I finished second, and the first Ducati, so I’m happy for my team. They did an incredible job. We need to grow up. We are very close and today we did a good job. We’ll look at the data to see if we can make a step. We will see at Most.”

Bassani’s performance consolidates his status as the leading independent rider in the standings, while the Italian holds down fifth overall too, just 29 points shy of third.


It comes as Bassani looks set to put pen to paper on a deal to keep him at Motocorsa Ducati for a fourth season having seemingly not done quite enough to impress Ducati, who are poised to place Nicolo Bulega in its factory seat alongside Bautista.

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