Alvaro Bautista was the protagonist of a fantastic Race-1 at Portimão characterised by an intense fight with Rea (Kawasaki) and Razgatlioglu (Yamaha). The Turkish rider managed to hold off the reigning World Champion until the seventh lap, then Bautista's pace became uncatchable and allowed him to win Saturday's race by a comfortable margin. Conditioned by a yellow flag that forced him to start from thirteenth position after having taken second place on the track, Michael Ruben Rinaldi made a great comeback in the early laps, managing to move up to seventh position. On lap eight, however, a technical problem forced him to retire.
At the chequered flag the Ducati party got underway. The results of Race-1, in fact, officially hand the Borgo Panigale Company the WorldSBK Manufacturers' Title for 2023. Ducati thus confirms the World Title won in 2022 and brings the total number of championship victories in the category reserved for manufacturers to 19, an outright record in the Superbike World Championship. This is a further chapter of a legendary journey that began in 1991 with the three consecutive successes achieved with the Ducati 888 and which has been characterized by some memorable achievements, such as the three World Titles won one after the other with the Ducati 916 between 1994 and 1996 and the seven triumphs between 1998 and 2004 with the 916, 996, 998 and 999 models. Ducati was able to confirm itself in the Manufacturers' category also in the 2008 and 2009 seasons with the 1098 and 1198 models.
Today it is the Panigale V4 R that again brings joy to all Ducatisti, through a dominance that tells of at least one triumph in every Round of the 2023 World Superbike season for a total of 23 victories in 31 races. Reigning World Champion Alvaro Bautista took 22 victories with 25 podium finishes, while Michael Ruben Rinaldi's recent Race-1 triumph at Aragon adds to another seven podium finishes this season. In total the podiums obtained by Ducati riders in WorldSBK are 39, thanks also to the contributions of Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Team) at Most (Race-1 and Race-2) and Donington (Race-2) and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing Team) at Misano and Imola (both in Race-2).
On Saturday in Portugal, Team Aruba.it Racing WSSP and Ducati also celebrate the newly-crowned Supersport World Champion Nicolò Bulega and the Manufacturers' World Title in the WorldSSP category. Race details and images of the celebrations will be available in a dedicated press release.
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“Today is a really important day for us. For the second consecutive year, Ducati is the best manufacturer in Superbike with the Panigale V4 R, but not only that. The Aruba.it Racing WSSP team rider Nicolò Bulega was crowned WorldSSP World Champion and for the first time we are also Manufacturers' World Champions in Supersport with the Panigale V2, which made its debut in the championship last year. We are extremely proud of these results, a sign of the great commitment we have always put into the production-based world championship. I thank all the men and women at Ducati Corse who, with passion, did their job impeccably. Congratulations to Nicolò and his team for this incredible success and a special thank you to our Superbike and Supersport riders, who with their results have allowed us to reach these goals. Now we just have to stay focussed: the Superbike riders' title is still open, and we will do our utmost to defend the title obtained by Alvaro last year."
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #1)
"I am very happy for this victory, which also gives Ducati its second consecutive Manufacturers' World Title. It is an important result for the Borgo Panigale family and I am very pleased to have made a real contribution. Even during the race there were many emotions with exciting duels and a strong wind that made things difficult. The feeling on the bike was not the same as this morning and I couldn't push as I wanted, so I thought about not making mistakes."