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Imola WorldSBK Superpole | Razgatlioglu dodges deleted lap dramas as Redding, Ray star

Gold & Goose
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Pata Yamaha, Yamaha R1, 2023 WorldSBK, Imola, action [credit - Gold & Goose]

Toprak Razgatlioglu took the top spot in qualifying for Round 7 of the 2023 WorldSBK Championship at Imola, albeit after Alvaro Bautista saw his pole-winning effort deleted after some deliberation.

The Turk had a fast time set earlier in the session to thank for ending up at the summit of the timesheets as yellow flags shook up the final order post-session. He heads up a front row of Axel Bassani and Alvaro Bautista, while Scott Redding and Bradley Ray produced standout performances in fifth and sixth respectively.

Indeed, it was a contentious conclusion to the Superpole session, Bautista had looked to have done enough to secure the top spot after a scintillating effort of 1m 45.871secs with just over two minutes remaining.


However, it was a lap achieved just as marshals were clearing the Motocorsa Ducati of Axel Bassani following a low-side at Rivazza.

Even so, the lap stood for some time afterwards as stewards seemingly determined whether Bautista had breached the yellow flag zone on the long run downhill to the double left-hander. 

>>> 2023 WorldSBK Championship Standings <<<

The decision came just as the flag was about to fall, with Bautista’s demotion triggering a flurry of deleted lap times, a frustration that was then compounded by Iker Lecuona crashing his Honda coming out of the final corner so as to scupper any fast final laps coming up behind him.

Once the leaderboard had rearranged itself, it left Razgatlioglu on top, the 2021 WorldSBK Champion taking over from Bautista for his third pole position of the season, his first since Round 2 in Indonesia.

Ironically, Razgatlioglu was one of those riders to lose a fast time due to yellow flags but had a rapid earlier lap to fall back on. The same couldn’t be said for Andrea Locatelli, who along with Bradley Ray, was circulating with the Turk and held second at the flag before being shaken down to fourth.

Alongside Razgatlioglu, Bassani will get underway from a career-best second on the grid, even if his tumble at Rivazza with three minutes remaining was responsible for much of the late leaderboard drama.

To his credit, Bassani could have come away with a maiden pole position, the Italian having built up a rapid momentum as he entered the final stages of the lap. However, though he was able to squeeze between two slower riders at the crest of the hill that leads to the left-hander without losing time, the loss of concentration led to his Ducati washing out into the gravel trap.


However, in a twist of fate, with his crash affecting those coming up from behind, Bassani would find himself creeping back up the timesheets again, eventually leaving him in second.

Though it wasn't pole position, Bautista still remains a threat in third place, while Locatelli in fourth is also well placed to show his evident pace on the second of the Pata Yamahas.

Bradley Ray, Motoxracing, Yamaha R1, 2023 WorldSBK, Imola, action [credit - Gold & Goose]

Redding, Ray shine to secure second row starts

Another big beneficiary was Scott Redding, the ROKiT BMW rider scoring his and the manufacturer's best grid position of the season, an achievement bettered by rookie Bradley Ray, who scored a huge personal best for both himself and the Motoxracing Yamaha team in sixth.

The Briton, who has looked strong all weekend despite it being his first visit to Imola, made the most of tracking the Pata Yamahas to haul himself up the order. It might have been fifth place but for him getting his best time deleted, but sixth is a big improvement on his previous best of 15th.


Jonathan Rea finds himself with work to do from seventh on the grid, ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi, the Italian unable to build on his top time in FP2 and FP3 to go any better than eighth.

Loris Baz enjoyed one of his best Superpoles of the year in ninth, while Danilo Petrucci rounds out the top ten.

Of the remaining Brits, Alex Lowes finds himself somewhat out of position in 11th place, while Leon Haslam starts 14th for his first BMW WorldSBK outing since 2012.

2023 Italian WorldSBK | Imola | Superpole Qualifying Results | Round 7 of 12
1Toprak RazgatliogluTURPata Crescent RacingYamaha R11m 45.959
2Axel BassaniITAMotocorsa RacingDucati Panigale V4 R1m 46.062
3Alvaro BautistaESPAruba DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R1m 46.145
4Andrea LocatelliITAPata Crescent RacingYamaha R11m 46.340
5Scott ReddingGBRBMW Motorrad WorldSBKBMW M 1000 RR1m 46.497
6Bradley RayGBRMotoxracingYamaha R11m 46.595
7Jonathan ReaGBRKawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR1m 46.635
8Michael Ruben RinaldiITAAruba DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R1m 46.636
9Loris BazFRABonovo RacingBMW M 1000 RR1m 46.646
10Danilo PetrucciITABarni Spark RacingDucati Panigale V4 R1m 46.862
11Alex LowesGBRKawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR1m 46.945
12Dominique AegerterCHEGYTR GRTYamaha R11m 46.973
13Xavi ViergeESPTeam HRCHonda CBR1000RR-R1m 47.163
14Leon HaslamGBRBMW Motorrad WorldSBKBMW M 1000 RR1m 47.220
15Garrett GerloffUSABonovo RacingBMW M 1000 RR1m 47.241
16Remy GardnerAUSGYTR GRTYamaha R11m 47.296
17Iker LecuonaESPTeam HRCHonda CBR1000RR-R1m 47.360
18Philipp OettlGERGo ElevenDucati Panigale V4 R1m 47.681
20Gabriele RuiuITAB-Max RacingBMW M 1000 RR1m 47.767
21Lorenzo BaldassarriITAGMT 94Yamaha R11m 48.111
21Tito RabatESPPuccetti RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR1m 48.516
22Roberto TamburiniITAMIE RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R1m 48.718
23Eric GranadoBRAMIE RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R1m 48.803
24Isaac VinalesESPTPR by Vinales RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR1m 49.410
25Oliver KonigCZEOrelac RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR1m 49.855

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