Ducati accustomed us to unchallenged domination in MotoGP last season and it seems that this is also reflected in Superbike. At Phillip Island, the Borgo Panigale manufacturer concluded the first round on a high note, celebrating the third consecutive victory for Alvaro Bautista, the second one-two of the day and all the Ducati riders in the top 10, with no less than four bikes in the top five.
The reigning world champion is relentless and, having started from the first box for the victory of the Superpole Race, he immediately sets the pace making a clear difference over all his pursuers, first of which is teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi. Six seconds separate the two Aruba standard-bearers at the finish line, giving Ducati its second one-two finish of the weekend. Bautista signs success number 35 and becomes the fifth most successful driver in history, overtaking Tom Sykes.
After the misstep in Race 1, Rinaldi smiled and conquered the second consecutive place in Race 2 which rounds off a weekend that started a little quietly. There is a lot of Italy on the podium, with an equally brilliant Andrea Locatelli, excellent third with the only surviving official Yamaha. Among other things, the Bergamo native is the only non-Ducati rider in the top 5 and thus interrupts the undisputed dominance of Borgo Panigale.
In fact, at the foot of the podium we find an excellent Axel Bassani, combative and competitive who takes the fourth position at the checkered flag. The Motocorsa team rider has an incredible Philipp Oettl behind him, author of a solid start to the season. The GoEleven team rider demonstrates the great work done during the winter and passes under the checkered flag in fifth position. Bassani is the best independent in Race 2, but the two complete the Ducati domination, which sees four bikes in the top five positions.
Bassani and Oettl got the better of the large group that set Race 2 on fire in the fight for fourth place. The two Kawasakis led the group, followed by Toprak Razgatlioglu, the two independent Ducatis and Iker Lecuona’s Honda, but as the laps went by, the group fell apart. In fact, a few laps from the end, the loss of the front of the ZX-10RR number 22 led Lowes to crash, involving an innocent Toprak in the crash who ends his weekend in the gravel. Heavy zero right from the start for the Turkish rider, who already sees the gap in the standings increase by 28 points.
We see a submissive Rea in the final laps and, after passing by Bassani and Oettl, he struggles to keep Iker Lecuona behind him. The Spaniard from Honda passes him without delay and takes sixth position, leaving him in the clutches of Dominique Aegerter. The Kawasaki rider can do nothing against the aggressiveness of the GRT rookie, who at Turn 10 puts the wheels of his Yamaha in front of the number 65 ZX-100RR. The Swiss thus passes under the checkered flag in seventh position, relegating Rea to eighth . Even for the six-time world champion, the gap in the standings is already wide and he pays 31 points behind Bautista.
Danilo Petrucci concludes Race 2 with a top 10: the rider from Terni of the Barni team completes the Ducati dominance, which thus boasts all its riders in the top ten positions. The rookie can be satisfied with his first weekend in Superbike, and is keeping up with the second Honda of Xavi Vierge, tenth. Great suffering instead for BMW, which seems to be the only team that hasn’t had any growth. None of its drivers is in the top 10 and the best of the Monaco manufacturer’s drivers is Michael van der Mark, 12th and at the helm of the BMW group. Lorenzo Baldassarri is also struggling a lot, concluding his first weekend as a Superbike rider in 16th position.