Toprak Razgatlioglu has taken an authoritative second win of the 2023 WorldSBK Championship season after wearing down Jonathan Rea late on to secure success in the Donington Park Superpole Race.
Maintaining his strong record around the British venue, Razgatlioglu's win marks his sixth in the last eight races held at Donington Park, which in turn brought Alvaro Bautista's crushing run of 11 straight wins to an end.
Indeed, with victory in race one ticking off the last remaining circuit on the WorldSBK calendar he hadn't previously won on, Bautista once again looked ominously good in the 10-lap sprint, getting the jump on pole sitter Rea into Redgate.
However, a better exit would allow Rea through on the run down to Craner Curves, while Razgatlioglu sensed his opportunity to strike straight away by slipping up the inside of the Ducati coming into the Old Hairpin.
While Bautista lost touch initially as he worked to get heat into the tyres on a cool, blustery day in the Midlands, he was soon back onto the tail of the tandem up ahead as Rea focused on keeping his lines neat to fend off Razgatlioglu.
Unusually for Bautista, it was a tussle he couldn't nose into, with Rea and Razgatlioglu rediscovering some of their best form as they found the limit in their own personal battle.
Coming into the closing stages though it was Razgatlioglu that appeared to be biding his time behind an increasingly ragged Rea, so it perhaps wasn't surprising to see the Turk opt for a trademark hard-braking punt down the inside at the Melbourne hairpin to take the lead on the penultimate lap.
While Rea's valiant attempts to respond weren't enough to unsettle Razgatlioglu, they did do the Yamaha rider a favour by holding a looming Bautista at bay. Alas for Rea, he couldn't hold him to the flag, the Spaniard slithering up the inside at the Esses on the final lap.
He didn't have time to chase down Razgatlioglu, the Turk coming across the line to score a precious second win of the year, leaving Bautista to settle for an increasingly unfamiliar lower rung on the podium, with Rea third.
Adrift of the podium battle, Andrea Locatelli prevailed in an all-Italian fight with Danilo Petrucci for fourth place, with Alex Lowes completing the top six.
After his lap one fracas in race one, Garrett Gerloff recovered to seventh as the highest-placed BMW rider, while Axel Bassani and Scott Redding completed the top nine positions to assure their spots on the front three rows in race two.
|2023 British WorldSBK | Donington Park | Superpole Race Results | Round 6 of 12|
|1||Toprak Razgatlioglu||TUR||Pata Crescent Racing||Yamaha R1||10 Laps|
|2||Alvaro Bautista||ESP||Aruba Ducati||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+0.315|
|3||Jonathan Rea||GBR||Kawasaki Racing Team||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+0.537|
|4||Andrea Locatelli||ITA||Pata Crescent Racing||Yamaha R1||+4.247|
|5||Danilo Petrucci||ITA||Barni Spark Racing||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+5.018|
|6||Alex Lowes||GBR||Kawasaki Racing Team||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+5.350|
|7||Garrett Gerloff||USA||Bonovo Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||+5.629|
|8||Axel Bassani||ITA||Motocorsa Racing||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+6.884|
|9||Scott Redding||GBR||BMW Motorrad WorldSBK||BMW M 1000 RR||+9.047|
|10||Philipp Oettl||GER||Go Eleven||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+11.167|
|11||Dominique Aegerter||CHE||GYTR GRT||Yamaha R1||+12.125|
|12||Bradley Ray||GBR||Motoxracing||Yamaha R1||+13.346|
|13||Iker Lecuona||ESP||Team HRC||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+13,712|
|14||Xavi Vierge||ESP||Team HRC||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+14.295|
|15||Remy Gardner||AUS||GYTR GRT||Yamaha R1||+17.793|
|16||Lorenzo Baldassarri||ITA||GMT 94||Yamaha R1||+20.959|
|17||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||ITA||Aruba Ducati||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+22.256|
|18||Tom Sykes||GBR||BMW Motorrad WorldSBK||BMW M 1000 RR||+25.381|
|19||Hafizh Syahrin||MAL||MIE Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+28.550|
|20||Tito Rabat||ESP||Puccetti Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+28.954|
|21||Isaac Vinales||ESP||TPR by Vinales Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+29.146|
|22||Oliver Konig||CZE||Orelac Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+35.084|
|23||Loris Baz||FRA||Bonovo Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||+35.269|
|24||Eric Granado||BRA||MIE Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+36.476|