WSB Assen: Alvaro Bautista secures Ducati's 400th win with sensational hat-trick

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Alvaro Bautista’s dominance in the World Superbike Championship continued at the weekend as the Spaniard completed the hat-trick and secured Ducati’s 400th WSB victory at Assen.

Whilst Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea were able to challenge in the early stages of each race, Bautista eventually broke free onboard his Racing Ducati V4 R. Victory in Race Two gave Bautista his 40th WSB race win, meaning he’s claimed 10% of Ducati’s WSB victories.

Ducati are the first manufacturer to record 400 victories in WSB, whilst the Italian brand now has 700 podiums. Bautista also claimed Ducati’s 350th win at Aragon in 2019.

17-time Assen race winner Rea finished second in both Race One and the Superpole Race, but crashed out of third spot at turn nine in the final race of the weekend. The six-time champion is 101 points behind Bautista after the opening three rounds, with Rea currently fifth in the standings.

Rea, Razgatlioglu and Bassani chase down Bautista at Assen

Razgatlioglu recorded two thirds and a second at Assen to remain Bautista’s closest challenger in the championship. However, the Yamaha man is still 56 points behind Bautista and will need to start taking points away from the reigning champion sooner rather than later.

Pata Prometeon Yamaha teammate Andrea Locatelli benefited from Rea’s crash to finish third in the final race. The Italian has finished inside the top five in each of the nine races held in 2023. Locatelli has already matched his 2021 podium tally (4) and doubled his rostrum count from last year. Locatelli is third in the championship, only 14 points behind Toprak.

Elsewhere, Axel Bassani secured three top six results onboard the Motocorsa Racing Ducati, whilst reigning World Supersport Champion Dominique Aegerter continued to impress on the GYTR GRT Yamaha R1.

Andrea Locatelli celebrates another podium at Assen

The Swiss rider was sixth in Race One, but improved to a stunning fourth place in Race Two after Bassani was demoted one position for exceeding track limits on the final lap. GRT Yamaha teammate, and fellow rookie, Remy Gardner also enjoyed his weekend at Assen, finishing sixth in the final race. The Aussie finished eighth in the first feature race.

Alex Lowes’s best result of the weekend was fourth in the sprint race on Sunday morning, but the 2023 BSB Champion had to start the final race from the back of the grid after taking a trip into the gravel on his sighting lap. The KRT team got him back on the grid in time, and the Brit fought his way through to ninth.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi had a tough weekend with technical problems limiting his track time on Friday. Wet weather during FP3 meant that he was unable to work on an ideal dry setting, leading to a best weekend result of 10th in Race Two.

Remy Gardner and Dominique Aegerter impress at Assen

Team HRC endured a nightmare weekend in the Netherlands. Iker Lecuona failed to score a single point after crashing out of both feature races and finishing 11th in the Superpole Race, whilst Vierge finished 11th in Race One and ninth in the Superpole Race, before crashing out of the finale at turn one.

It was an up and down weekend for ROKiT BMW Motorrad. Scott Redding’s best result of the weekend was seventh in Race Two, but teammate Michael van der Mark ended his home round in hospital with a broken left femur. The Dutchman suffered a huge highside at the Geert Timmer Chicane.

On his WSB debut, Bradley Ray finished 18th and 16th respectively in the opening two races, before crashing out of Race Two at turn nine. The 2022 BSB Champion was absent from the opening two rounds as the Motoxracing Yamaha team are only contesting European rounds in 2023.