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WorldSBK riders reflect on the many ups and downs of Mandalika

2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship

Round Two – Mandalika, Indonesia


Alvaro Bautista

“It was an incredible day. Everything happened, first in the Superpole Race then in Race 2. I crashed in the morning because after Jonathan overtook me I went on the dirty part of the track. The start from tenth position in Race-2 was not easy also because this is a circuit that doesn’t offer many points to attack. Then, after the red flag, I thought I could not catch Rinaldi who had a very fast pace. In the end, though I got closer and I was able to take the first position. We have a lot of confidence and we want to continue to prove that we are competitive”.

Alvaro Bautista
Jonathan Rea

“It has been a very difficult weekend, with not so many positives. We, step-by-step, found a better direction. The track here in Mandalika has been quite inconsistent from Friday, when the grip level was really low, but we understood on raceday that the grip level was incredibly high. So, we never nailed the set-up perfectly, but I felt that we got better. In the races I felt my rhythm was OK but unfortunately in the Superpole Race I found some traffic in front of me and it was very difficult to pass. But I felt my pace was quite good. In Race Two I lost the front. Not exactly quite sure why, but it is quite windy in that area. I think the wind just picked the front up. I am frustrated and I found it very difficult to pass anyone on acceleration or on the brakes. I was riding over my head sometimes on the brakes and in the corners trying to stay with the group. But, we have to accept this tough weekend, try to learn from it and then put it behind us when we head back to Europe. We will have much more information now. So even as we are disappointed, we need to keep our heads up and keep fighting. I feel Assen is a great track to come back to with some strong results.”

Jonathan Rea
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu

“This weekend for me was not so easy, because I am not starting strong. We try to find the best set-up but anyway, in the last race I am feeling the bike is much better than yesterday. In the Superpole Race I just try my best and finally win – this season I take first win in Mandalika! My focus was on the second race, because important for the points – just a bit unlucky with the red flag. If no red flag, maybe I am possible winning again because I already saw Rinaldi’s tyre start to drop. Sometimes you understand the limit, you think – this position is good – but sometimes you have a chance to fight. Today, I understand Bautista was strong at the end of the Race 2 after restart, I tried to catch him but not possible. In the end, we finished on the podium and I am happy. We will keep fighting for the podium and for the win – this year, all riders really strong but we have many races.”

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu
Andrea Locatelli

“It was another great weekend because in the end we were on the podium twice. Unfortunately we lost another opportunity in Race 2 because of the red flag, I restarted further back after I went wide at Turn 12, but in general I am really happy because we were fast – we showed our speed in qualifying and the races and got a lot of good results, so I think we can be proud. We worked really well during the weekend as a team and my crew gave me a good bike to keep pushing and stay in front, no mistakes, so we are happy! Looking forward we need to try and improve a little bit more and I need to learn something about this weekend and also from Phillip Island. It’s just the second weekend, but we have started in a really good way so we will see what will happen during the season – but for sure we are ready to fight again.”

Andrea Locatelli
Michael Rinaldi

“I’m disappointed and that’s inevitable. The start in Race 2 was strong, the feeling in the first laps was excellent and I even managed to take the lead by a good margin. Then I saw the red flag: the most important thing is that no one got hurt, but it’s clear that I came back to the box disappointed because I felt I had all the cards to win the race. After the second start, I held the lead until the front drop allowed me to maintain an acceptable pace and at the end, I almost crashed. However, we have to look at the good things we have done and from these, we will have to restart in Europe”.

Michael Rinaldi
Xavi Vierge

“I want to thank the team for giving me an amazing bike that allowed me to be competitive. You can’t believe how happy I am, as we’ve been working so hard since last year but have somehow never quite been able to reach the podium. The start of the season has been very difficult, but the team has supported me so well and, here in Indonesia, they provided me with a bike that allowed me to find good feeling and speed. We continued to make progress over the weekend and now here we are. It wasn’t an easy day though, with two races and two red flags. But we managed to move up from thirteenth to sixth this morning so that I could start from the second row in race 2. Then this afternoon we were in third place with good pace and speed when they stopped the race. The team once again supported me and I had faith, giving it everything until the last laps. It’s true that Rinaldi ran wide, but we also were on the limit with our tyres and didn’t make a mistake. This podium is our reward. We’re improving race by race and will now do our best to continue on this path during the next rounds.”

Xavi Vierge
Alex Lowes

“Hard work and a chaotic day. The Superpole Race was good, in terms of having a good pace, grip and the bike felt good. I felt a little bit stronger than Locatelli in the last couple of laps. I felt strong on the bike with soft SCX tyre in the rear. The temperature was down a little bit, which helps our bike. It is always tough in those short action packed races. So to get up off the ground, go out on the spare bike and commit to a race like that, I am really happy. But, the main thing is to say get well soon to Loris Baz. There was an incident where I went to pass him but I hit his leg. His leg came out and I couldn’t really avoid it once I had committed to try to pass him. It was a real shame. In the long race, I felt quite good, I got up to second position, feeling OK, then I started to have some inconsistency with the brakes. It caused me to run wide a little bit. Then we had the red flag. In the Superpole race, during the red flagged race, the bike was quite badly damaged. I was not able to use the tyres from the Superpole red flag crash, as they were too badly damaged as well. I had to use the tyres from the start of the second race, and I had a few more laps on them than some of the other guys had on theirs. I thought the best game plan was to sit behind the group, look after the tyres and try to come forward at the end. But I struggled a lot with front grip. When the grip is not there, we cannot ride the bike on the front. This is tough because I feel I am riding a lot better than our position shows. But that is racing and we will try again in Assen.”

Alex Lowes
Danilo Petrucci

“I’m finally back in parc fermé even if it’s ‘only as the best independent rider. It’s a nice confidence boost for me and the team, who definitely deserve it after all their hard work during this first part of the season.  We haven’t yet reached our goal, which is the podium, but what should have been our toughest race turned out to be our best yet, so we can only be happy with that. It was a pity about the Superpole Race, it was like bumper cars – I don’t understand the behaviour of some riders, but that obviously how it goes.”

Bit of a size difference between Danilo Petrucci and Alvaro Bautistia…
Remy Gardner

“Honestly, I wasn’t sure I could race today, but we made it! We tried our best in the Tissot Superpole Race, managing to recover eight positions. Afterwards, in Race 2, we also showed great speed, starting once again from last. We must take the positives and look forward to the next rounds; we saw we have the speed, we’ll keep working. Let’s focus on some rest now, use the time to recover fully, and then we’ll think about what’s next for us.”

Remy Gardner
Iker Lecuona

“It has not been an easy day and it rounds out what has been a very challenging weekend, but I want to first thank my team because they worked hard to repair the bike after three crashes, and in a very short space of time. We had ups and downs during every session and in the end, we just weren’t able to put it all together. My congratulations go to the entire team and my team-mate Xavi on scoring his first Superbike podium. Hopefully there will be more to come, for both of us, but for today congratulations to Xavi – this is his day.”

Iker Lecuona
Michael van der Mark

“I think today was not so bad. In this morning’s sprint race, my first start was okay but my second start wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. It is difficult to pass on this circuit. To finish eighth in the Superpole race wasn’t that bad because our main target was to gain some positions for the grid of race two. I had a good start but experienced some issues when I tried to shift so I lost some positions. I tried to stay calm and started to go forward step by step. I had a good rhythm but I knew that with the tyre I chose, I would get better towards the end of the race. Unfortunately then in turn 11, I just entered, lost the rear and had a massive highside. It was a shame because I think we could have done a good job again, especially towards the end of the race. But it’s like that.  I am quite okay, I just have a small fracture in my finger.”

Michael van der Mark
Dominique Aegerter

“In the Tissot Superpole Race, we wanted to make progress to have a better grid starting position for Race 2. Unfortunately, the red flag didn’t help us at all. So, we had to start again from P12 in the last feature race, but unluckily I felt a bit worse than yesterday, and we struggled a bit more with the tyres. Once again, another red flag wasn’t exactly the best. Anyway, let’s move on; we take the good things from the last two rounds. We proved to be fast, and now we’ll enjoy some rest before coming back in action to be ready for the next rounds.”

Dominique Aegerter
Scott Redding

“In the last race, I was quite happy with the performance. I made one mistake in the first corner which cost me a couple of positions. I was a bit upset about it but the conditions were really tricky. It was again also a bit unfortunate because I crashed when there was the red flag and then they didn’t go back one complete lap so I went from eighth and I had to start from 14th. You know that from there it is already hard. I made a good start, I came up through the field a bit. But the field is so tight at the moment that it is really hard to make a difference. The lap times are very similar so I finished tenth. I was happy to finish the race; it was the first time that I felt more comfortable on the bike this year. I hope now that we can build on that for the rest of the season.”

Scott Redding
Garrett Gerloff

“It was a red flag kind of day! We made some big changes to the bike today. It felt a bit weird this morning in the Superpole race, but I could tell it was quite good. It just took me some time adapting to get used to it. The Superpole race was quite ok, but we weren’t really able to improve our starting position. We went out in the first part of the second race with the hardest set of tyres, front and rear and it just didn’t feel fantastic compared to everybody else. Luckily or unluckily the race got red flagged and we were able to change tyres to the softer compounds front and rear. It just transformed the bike and everything felt just so much better. It was so nice to ride with Scott and a couple of the other guys. Again, it’s not as far up as I obviously want to be, but considering where we finished race one and how race two went, I’m really happy with the improvement. It’s going to take some time to be consistently out on top, but I don’t think we are super far away so I’m happy about that! Yet I feel super bad for my teammate Loris. I saw the video and that definitely didn’t look nice but I saw he was in good spirits and I hope he heals up as fast as possible and comes back to Assen to race with us. I obviously also hope Michael is ok after his highside. It was a shame to see him go down.”

Garrett Gerloff
Loris Baz

“I have left the hospital after some CT scans. I know that there is a fracture in my ankle and fibula. We were just super unlucky today. We didn’t have enough tyres for Warm Up, so we didn’t really use this session. I was really confident going into the Superpole race. I had a decent starting position and had a good start. Unfortunately, going into turn two, someone hit me in the back and I ended up in the gravel with Alex. Alex told me that Danilo took both of us out. It was a really big one and I was lucky that Alex’s bike didn’t hit me. Then there was oil on track. We tried to tell the marshals that they have to red flag the race, but it was a bit of a misunderstanding and nobody did anything. Then Johnny crashed on the oil. When I saw the red flags, I jumped on my bike again and went back to the box. The guys did an amazing job to enable me to restart. I felt really lucky in that moment to be able to restart. I did a good start again, was fifth or sixth, really confident with the bike and I felt much better than yesterday. The changes, the guys made were really good. Unfortunately, going into turn 10 on lap two, I just felt a massive impact on my leg. Alex was trying to overtake me and just ran into my leg. I felt straight away that something was wrong and broken. I went back to the garage. It was really painful, but luckily now it’s a bit better. I am luckily able to fly back home tomorrow to get the job done with the doctors at home to be ready and fit for Assen. A huge thank you to my guys, we had bad luck again. But we saw improvements and we have to keep this in mind. Thanks to everyone again, also to Eugene for being here with me.”

Loris Baz
Hafizh Syahrin

“Today’s races were not so easy. Although we were able to improve our overall package a little, I was still too far from the pack, only able to stick with them in the early stages really. I continue to lose speed and time out of the corners but I hope we can take a step during the next race weekends. We’ve scored two points, which is better than nothing, but I’m a little disappointed that I can’t be there fighting. I hope we can do so in the next races, and we’ll keep working towards that goal.”

Paul Denning – Pata Yamaha Prometeon Team Principal

“It’s been a good day ‘at the office’ for the team! Following up the 1-2 in qualifying, Toprak and Loka’s first ever 1-2 as teammates in the Superpole Race was superb. Race 2 was a hectic affair for everyone involved. As a team, we wish the best to Loris Baz and all the other riders that crashed today, but it was a very positive way to end the weekend on Toprak’s side. The team significantly improved the turning of his R1 through the fast section of the track and if the race hadn’t been stopped, given that we were forced to restart on used tyres, we feel there was a chance to be able to get closer to Alvaro. Loka didn’t have great track position at the restart, but made really good passes and had solid pace to continue his excellent start to the championship with another strong ride. We have a two-day test at Barcelona at the end of March, which will be very important to take another step in our performance if we’re going to challenge the championship leader.”

Andrea Locatelli and Toprak Razgatlıoğlu
Marc Bongers – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director

“That was a weekend of ups and downs. Everyone struggled on Friday because the track was not in such good condition. However, that soon improved and we were able to build on our performance here last year. Loris performed very well in Superpole. Michael and Scott also both had very good laps, but they were cancelled due to yellow flags. Garrett was still struggling with the set-up. Race one was an unlucky one for Scott. His tyre did not work, then he had a technical issue. Michael gave a very strong and solid performance to climb into sixth place. Loris had to avoid a crash at the start, but battled back to finish eleventh. Luck was definitely not on our side on Sunday. Loris started the Superpole race from towards the front of the grid, but crashed through no fault of his own after the first start. His team did an outstanding job to get his bike ready again so quickly. After the restart, Loris was really unlucky to be hit on his leg and suffered fractures. We hope he makes a speedy recovery! Scott and Michael had a really good race and lined up eighth and ninth in the second main race. Unfortunately, Michael was forced off the racing line and had a highside when he opened the throttle again. He injured his fingers in the process. Get well soon, Mickey! Everyone had to be on used tyres when the race resumed, and we were unfortunately no longer able to build on our performance. Scott and Garrett had a battle and came home tenth and eleventh. In summary, there were some high points, but the weekend ended in disappointment with two injured riders. Both now have a few weeks to recover, and we hope they will be able to attend the Barcelona test. However, we will keep our heads up, prepare well, and look forward to the European season.”

BMW will be glad to put that one behind them…

World Superbike Championship Points

Pos Rider Points
 1  Alvaro Bautista  112
 2  Toprak Razgatlioglu  75
 3  Andrea Locatelli  70
 4  Axel Bassani  51
 5  Michael Ruben Rinaldi  47
 6  Jonathan Rea  44
 7  Xavi Vierge  43
 8  Danilo Petrucci  36
 9  Iker Lecuona  33
 10  Dominique Aegerter  24
 11  Philipp Oettl  23
 12  Alex Lowes  22
 13  Remy Gardner  19
 14  Scott Redding  17
 15  Michael Van Der Mark  16
 16  Garrett Gerloff  15
 17  Loris Baz  6
 18  Lorenzo Baldassarri  3
 19  Hafizh Syahrin  2

2023 FIM Superbike World Championship Calendar

Date Circuit WSBK WSSP600 WSSP300
24-26 Feb Phillip Island X X
3-5 Mar Mandalika X X
21-23 Apr Assen X X X
5-7 May Catalunya X X X
2-4 Jun Misano X X X
30 Jun-02 Jul Donington Park X X
14-16 Jul  Imola X X X
28-30 Jul Autodrom Most X X X
8-10 Sep Magny-Cours X X X
22-24 Sep Aragón X X X
29-Sep-01 Oct Algarve X X X
13-15 Oct San Juan Villicum X X


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