Dosoli Debrief: Rollercoaster of Emotions in Portimão
Dosoli Debrief: Rollercoaster of Emotions in Portimão
Round 11 of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship took place in Portugal’s glorious late summer sunshine.
The Autodromo do Algarve’s spectacular ‘rollercoaster style’ layout suits many of Yamaha’s riders and plenty of success was seen across the classes, with memorable battles set to go down in the history books and emotions running high.
Andrea Dosoli, Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager, commented:
“It has been a great weekend for Yamaha with three victories and several podiums spread between the three classes. The late September sunshine brought a bumper crowd to Portimão and they witnessed one of the best races in modern motorsport history. It has been impressive to see over 50,000 spectators really involved in the fight between Alvaro and Toprak. In general, the R1 worked well in Portimão, with a very good performance on ‘flying laps’ and over the long races. It was a fantastic result in the Superpole Race with three R1s in the top four positions. This was thanks to the bike’s characteristics, as well as the hard work done by the crews, and especially by our riders. My congratulations go to Niccolò Bulega for securing the WorldSSP World Title, and to Ducati for the Manufacturers’ Championship in both WorldSSP and WorldSBK.”
Razgatlıoğlu Rides his Heart Out
Turkish star Toprak Razgatlıoğlu displayed his incredible riding style throughout the weekend in Portugal, but particularly in Race 2 where he battled corner-by-corner with title rival, Alvaro Bautista. Amazingly, there were 35 passes for the lead during the 20-lap contest and onlookers were kept on the edge of their seats. Despite riding the R1 to near-perfection, Razgatlıoğlu was beaten to the line at the last moment in both the Superpole Race and Race 2, leaving him feeling deflated and emotional. But on balance the total tally of three second place finishes must be considered a strong weekend.
A.D.: “Toprak gave it all for the whole weekend, especially on Sunday, and he should have no regrets. I feel that was the best riding we’ve ever seen from Toprak. He didn’t make any mistakes in any of the three races, he used the full potential of his R1 on every single lap, and he was clearly the best rider on the track. He missed out on the victory only due to the difficulties in Sector 4, mainly the corner speed and the acceleration out of it. Every single lap he succeeded in recovering the time lost in the last sector with an amazing performance in the other three sectors, every overtake was a masterclass! Race 2 was so intense for everybody and in parc fermè nobody could mask their emotions. Tears were seen on the faces of almost all the people in blue, rider included. We’ll never forget this race, for sure it was the best I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Locatelli Makes Rostrum Return
Andrea Locatelli also found form on his R1 around the Algarve track. He started the weekend off strongly by setting the third fastest time in Superpole – although a penalty from the previous round meant he was unable to take his grid spot. However, when it was time to race he proved his pace once again, making it up to ninth in Race 1. Then, in the Superpole Race he rode excellently to claim third place on the rostrum. In the final race of the weekend the Italian struggled a little more, but he still took a very solid fifth.
A.D.: “Andrea was impressive in Portugal, carrying on the form already seen from him in Aragon with another podium in Superpole Race to add to his tally. Overall, he did a great job, recovering a lot of positions in Race 1 and finishing in the Top 5 in Race 2. Well done to him and his crew.”
Remy Races to Best Finish Yet, Domi Improves
Australia’s Remy Gardner worked hard with his GYTR GRT team in Portimão, and he felt confident around the tricky track. In Race 1 he finished in a decent sixth place, before securing a best-ever WorldSBK finish with fourth in the Superpole Race. Unfortunately, a technical issue ruled him out of Race 2. On the other side of the garage, it was another improving weekend for Dominique Aegerter as he continues to recover from his arm issues. The Swiss rider celebrated his 33rd birthday over the race weekend and came away with a best result of eighth.
A.D.: “Another rider who is clearly growing is Remy, he’s closing the gap to the podium race by race. He put in a very positive performance in the Superpole Race where he finished fourth, and he showed great pace across the weekend, allowing him to achieve his best performance so far, and on a very challenging track. It is a shame that he was forced to pit in Race 2, when he was clearly starting to charge for another Top 5 or Top 6 position. It was more of a challenging weekend for Domi, a difficult start, maybe still a bit influenced by the problems experienced in Aragon. It was a relief to see him coming back to form in Race 2, when he managed to keep very good pace and drastically reduce the gap from the winner compared to Race 1 and the Superpole Race.”
WorldSSP600 – Ten Kate Triumphant
Ten Kate Racing had a highly successful weekend in Portugal with a double podium in Race 1 and a victory in Race 2. Jorge Navarro enjoyed his first ever rostrum visit in WorldSSP when he took third in the first race after a great performance, while Stefano Manzi stood one step ahead of him in second. In Race 2 Manzi mounted a fantastic challenge to celebrate his fourth victory of the season and secure second place in the championship standings. Ducati’s Nicolo Bulega was crowned 2023 WorldSSP Champion.
A.D.: “On a challenging track like Portimão, the R6 performed very well, thanks to its unbeaten chassis performance and also to the great effort done by the teams and riders. Ten Kate Racing worked very well to the point that they placed two bikes on the Race 1 podium, a result that has been wanted for a long time. Stefano did a great job in both races, but it was in Race 2 when he showed the best of his talent and motivation, the last lap fight was remarkable. It was very nice to finally see Jorge on the podium in Race 1, consolidation of the improvement seen during the last few races. It has not been an easy season for him: recovering from the injury and, at the same time, adapting to a new championship, bike, and tyre supplier has been a tough journey. I’m pleased to see him now regularly fighting for the top positions.”
WorldSSP300 – Gennai Ends on a High
The final round of the 2023 FIM WorldSSP300 season ended well for the boys in blue as Mirko Gennai took a double victory around one of his favourite circuits, and Marco Gaggi joined him on the Race 1 podium. The BrCorse pair have nine podiums between them this season, and their squad narrowly missed out on winning the Teams’ Award after an issue for Gaggi on Sunday. Gennai has shown great grit and determination throughout the season, and he closes the year with third in the Riders’ Championship. Matteo Vannucci has also had an impressive season with five podiums, and he finishes 2023 in fifth in the standings. While R3 bLUcRU graduate Humberto Maier took seventh overall. Kawasaki’s Jeffrey Buis was crowned the champion.
A.D.: “First of all, I’d like to congratulate Buis and Kawasaki for this new title. Congratulations also to Gennai and his team for a double win and the third place in the championship, it’s a really good way to finish the season. This year our Yamaha boys have won five races and they have been on the podium 18 times, these numbers have confirmed the potential of our R3, the professionalism of our teams and the talent of our riders, only a lack of consistency has prevented them from achieving even better results; an area to improve on for the coming season.”
R3 SuperFinale – Spain’s Gonzalo Sanchez Wins
The R3 SuperFinale took place at the Autodromo do Algarve with 22 young hopefuls from around the globe all keen to win a place in next year’s R3 bLUcRU European Championship season. Two excellent races showed plenty of talent among the field, but it was Spain’s Gonzalo Sanchez who came away with a double victory and was crowned the overall winner.
A.D.: “We saw a lot of potential among the R3 SuperFinale contenders this year, and Sanchez was certainly impressive. The 15-year-old even won the first race by six seconds, but he had to work a lot harder to defend the win in Race 2. I’d like to congratulate him, and everyone who took part. Brazil’s Mario Salles and Australia’s Cameron Swain were also stand out performers as they finished second and third overall. Sanchez will now graduate to the R3 bLUcRU European Championship for next season, just as Emiliano Ercolani did last year. It’s great to discover the stars of the future.”