The Catalunya WorldSBK Round concluded its third edition today with some results to remember. Álvaro Bautista, the leader of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, signed his first hat-trick of the year after winning both rounds today, which, added to yesterday’s victory, makes him the rider with the best chance of winning the crown at the end of the year. The Ducati rider was already leading heading into his home race, but at the Circuit he was able to accumulate some more points at the top of the standings. Moreover, he did so in front of 29,898 spectators throughout the weekend, from Friday to Sunday.
This morning, the WorldSBK leader did his job perfectly and was put to the test in the Tissot Superpole Race, the qualifying format race that is so characteristic of the event and sets it apart from many others. In this sprint race, Álvaro Bautista once again shone on home soil, securing the top spot on the grid for the second race of the weekend. Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK riders Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea duelled it out in a battle that was won by Rea in second, followed by Lowes in third. The other heavyweight, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) took fourth.
In Race 2, Bautista once again took centre stage, holding the lead from the start until the chequered flag. In the early stages, two of the best-placed riders crashed out. In particular it was Scott Redding, who leaves the memory of his victory at the Circuit last year far behind him, and Alex Lowes, who started from the front row of the grid. With Bautista working on his advantage, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing-Ducati), Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu were fighting for the remaining podium positions.
Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) also wanted to join the fight and did so for a few laps, even overtaking Razgatlioglu and Rea. As the laps went by, Rinaldi, the other Ducati rider, was consolidating his position in second place, demonstrating the Italian brand’s devastating pace. Rea wanted to follow in his wake, but went wide on two occasions. These mistakes favoured Toprak Razgatlioglu, who ended up taking the bronze, squeezing Rinaldi in the final stages. Rea, in the end, finished fourth, seeing Bautista slip a little further away from him in the fight for the World Championship.
Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) was very close to this group throughout the race. The Catalan, who was running in fifth, took a well-deserved sixth position on home soil. His teammate Iker Lecuona, the rider who took pole position on Saturday, made up for a bad start today and was able to hold on to eighth place. Oscar Gutierrez, the other Catalan rider who was making his debut this weekend as a replacement for Leon Haslam, was unfortunately unable to finish the race.
Aegerter takes another Supersport victory
Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) has confirmed that his status as favourite is more than deserved. His time in Barcelona has allowed the championship leader to increase his lead over Baldassarri after taking two victories on Catalan soil. Yesterday he was on the top step of the podium, and today he has repeated the feat, proving that there is no setback that can stand in his way.
And indeed, there have been setbacks. In the second Supersport race of the weekend, Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) took the lead at first, with Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) behind him. The pair swapped the top two positions until Aegerter joined the fray. Baldassarri was the one who seemed to have everything under control, especially after Aegerter went wide in one of the corners at the Circuit.
Despite his small excursion, the WorldSSP leader, who joined the track in fourth position, with Stefano Manzi (Dynavolt Triumph) snatching the podium from him, was determined to make up for lost positions. And he did it with flying colours, as he saw the chequered flag from the position of honour. Can Oncu followed him, in second position, and a skilful Manzi was third. Baldassarri finally missed out on the podium.
Steeman wins and Díaz is left without the WorldSSP 300 title
Álvaro Díaz, who could have been proclaimed champion at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with the last race to go, has had to say goodbye, for the moment, to that title. The Arco Motor University Team rider was just one point away from the title. The Spaniard finished fourth and his main rival, Victor Steeman (MTM Kawasaki) took the gold.
Steeman was the rider who was more than five seconds ahead in one of the tightest categories in motorcycling. The key was to stay in the leading position from the start. Behind him, virtually all his rivals were absorbed by an endless line that never ceased to surprise.
Hugo de Cancellis (Prodina Racing WorldSSP300) and Mirko Gennai (Team BrCorse) were able to manage perfectly in this large group. De Cancellis finished third on the tarmac, with Gennai second, but on paper the positions were swapped due to a one-place penalty for Gennai for crossing the track limits on the last lap.
Fans enjoy a unique day
Those present at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya today had the opportunity to enjoy the Paddock Show once again, where all the podiums were celebrated with the protagonists of the weekend. Moreover, some of the fans took part in the second and last Pit Walk of the event, filling the Pit Lane of the Catalan facilities with smiles, photos and memories.
Next event: Barcelona Speed Festival
After an intense weekend of motorcycling, the Circuit is getting ready to host one more year the Barcelona Speed Festival-María de Villota Legacy, an event that brings together some of the best competitions in the world of motor racing, such as the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS. Tickets available at www.circuitcat.com