Alvaro Bautista has been crowned 2023 WorldSBK Champion after fending off Toprak Razgatlioglu to claim his 26th victory in the opening race of the Jerez season finale.
In a year that has seen the Aruba.it Ducati rider largely dominate proceedings with an extraordinary 25 victories coming into his season concluding home race, Bautista resisted the early attentions of a charging Toprak Razgatlioglu to comfortably secure the points he needed to make the championship a formality.
It is his second successive WorldSBK Championship Riders' title after clinching his maiden crown last season with the Aruba.it Racing team.
Indeed, while the scant two points he needed from any one of the three races this weekend made Bautista a strong champion-elect coming into the opening encounter, it is credit to the Spaniard for being able to do so in style with a lights-to-flag success.
He was made to work hard for it initially, however, Razgatlioglu dismissing his third row starting position to quickly get himself up to fourth by the end of the opening lap before shimmying past both factory Kawasaki riders for third and then second just a few corners later.
From here, the Turk set his sights on Bautista but save for being quicker than his rival through the twisty, difficult to pass sections, he couldn’t get close enough to attempt an overtake.
As the race wore on, Razgatlioglu’s challenge faded, releasing Bautista through to complete the win and the 2023 WorldSBK riders’ title. It ensures a clean sweep for Aruba.it Racing and Ducati of the riders’, teams’, manufacturers’ and WorldSSP titles.
Behind Razgatlioglu, Andrea Locatelli worked his way up the order from tenth on the grid to complete the podium, the Italian getting the better of a fading Kawasaki contingent mid-way through the race.
Rea held on for fourth place, escaping from a mighty scrap for fifth place between Philipp Oettl and Danilo Petrucci, the two satellite Ducati riders proving the quickest on track during the closing stages.
In the end it was Petrucci who’d nab the position in the closing stages from Oettl and Alex Lowes o add another top five result to his tally and strengthen his hopes in the battle for the independents’ title, particularly after a costly DNF for main rival Axel Bassani [see below].
In a chastening race for some of the leading contenders, Michael Ruben Rinaldi was forced to settle for eighth after being given a long lap penalty for a run-in with Axel Bassani, his rival for fifth in the overall standings.
The Italian made light contact with his countryman and bitter rival at Turn 9, forcing an angry Bassani into a rare DNF and closing things up considerably between them in the fight for fifth.
With GYTR GRT Yamaha riders Remy Gardner and Dominique Aegerter out of the running having qualified inside the top five - the former with a crash, the latter a technical issue - and Garrett Gerloff crashing out of tenth, Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge completed the top ten for Honda.
In a tough year that has seen it crack the points on just two occasions in 2023, Puccetti Kawasaki - utilising a factory-spec Kawasaki ZX-10RR this weekend - scored its best result of the year in 11th with Tito Rabat, while Lorenzo Baldassarri also landed a personal best finish of 12th on the GMT94 Yamaha.
Loris Baz, the recovering Garrett Gerloff and Hafizh Syahrin picked up the remaining points’ paying positions down to 15th.
|2023 Spain WorldSBK | Jerez | Race 1 Results | Round 12 of 12|
|1||Alvaro Bautista||🇪🇸||Aruba Ducati||Ducati Panigale V4 R||20 Laps|
|2||Toprak Razgatlioglu||🇹🇷||Pata Crescent Racing||Yamaha R1||+1.195|
|3||Andrea Locatelli||🇮🇹||Pata Crescent Racing||Yamaha R1||+9.071|
|4||Jonathan Rea||🇬🇧||Kawasaki Racing Team||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+10.065|
|5||Danilo Petrucci||🇮🇹||Barni Spark Racing||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+10.661|
|6||Philipp Oettl||🇩🇪||Go Eleven||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+11.538|
|7||Alex Lowes||🇬🇧||Kawasaki Racing Team||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+12.152|
|8||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||🇮🇹||Aruba Ducati||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+18.148|
|9||Iker Lecuona||🇪🇸||Team HRC||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+20.639|
|10||Xavi Vierge||🇪🇸||Team HRC||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+23.671|
|11||Tito Rabat||🇪🇸||Puccetti Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+24.827|
|12||Lorenzo Baldassarri||🇮🇹||GMT 94||Yamaha R1||+27.061|
|13||Loris Baz||🇫🇷||Bonovo Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||+39.299|
|14||Garrett Gerloff||🇺🇲||Bonovo Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||+39.983|
|15||Hafizh Syahrin||🇲🇾||Petronas MIE Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+56.614|
|16||Oliver Konig||🇨🇿||Orelac Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+56.658|
|17||Leandro Mercado||🇦🇷||Petronas MIE Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+58.075|
|18||Dominique Aegerter||🇨🇭||GYTR GRT||Yamaha R1||+58.924|
|19||Florian Alt||🇩🇪||Holzhauer Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+1m >|
|DNF||Axel Bassani||🇮🇹||Motocorsa Racing||Ducati Panigale V4 R|
|DNF||Gabriele Ruiu||🇮🇹||B-Max Racing||BMW M 1000 RR|
|DNF||Michael van der Mark||🇳🇱||BMW Motorrad WorldSBK||BMW M 1000 RR|
|DNF||Scott Redding||🇬🇧||BMW Motorrad WorldSBK||BMW M 1000 RR|
|DNF||Remy Gardner||🇦🇺||GYTR GRT||Yamaha R1|