Barcelona WSBK: Redding recovers from P9 to win, Bassani stars
Scott Redding scored a remarkable victory in the opening World Superbike race of the weekend at Barcelona, recovering from ninth place in wet conditions to lead home an all-Ducati podium.
Redding looked to be in for a tough race after slipping from fourth on the grid to the lower reaches of the top 10 on the opening lap of the 20-lap contest on a soaking wet track, as title protagonists Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea vied for the lead in the early stages.
But as Razgatlioglu retired with a mechanical problem with six laps to go, and Rea couldn't keep the pace in the latter stages, it opened the door for a Ducati rider to take the win, with Axel Bassani leading for several laps in the latter stages on the privately-entered Motocorsa V4 R.
However, Bassani missed out on a fairytale first WSBK win by 1.577 seconds as Redding passed for the lead on lap 18 to score his sixth victory of the season and keep his faint title hopes alive.
Story of the race
With the entire field starting on wet tyres following a pre-race downpour, BMW rider Tom Sykes made a dreadful start from pole position, leaving Razgatlioglu alone at the head of the field as the pack entered Turn 1.
The championship leader initially led the way from teammate Andrea Locatelli and the lead Ducati of Michael Ruben Rinaldi, with Rea slipping behind a fast-starting Bassani into fifth.
But as a chaotic opening lap unfolded, Rea's Kawasaki surged ahead of Bassani, Rinaldi and Locatelli to take second, before passing Razgatlioglu at the Turn 10 hairpin for the lead.
Razgatlioglu responded by retaking the advantage at the start of the second lap, but Rea was back ahead into the long Turn 3 right-hander, and built a two-second lead as Razgatlioglu became embroiled in a fight with Bassani, who in turn had cleared Rinaldi and a fading Locatelli.
Rea's lead peaked at around 2.6s but by the end of lap 10 his margin over Razgatlioglu was down to less than a second. The gap was wiped out altogether next time round, with the Yamaha rider moving back into the lead at Turn 4 on lap 12.
Bassani, who spent several laps running ahead of Razgatlioglu in the battle for second, quickly moved ahead of Rea as well, and when the Turkish rider suddenly slowed with a mechanical problem on lap 15 Bassani found himself promoted into the lead ahead of Rea.
On the next lap however Rea fell victim to a resurgent Rinaldi, who had his works Ducati teammate Redding for company, and on the following tour the pair swapped positions as Redding forced his way by at Turn 4.
That left Redding only with Bassani ahead of him, and what was looking like an inevitable pass for the win came on lap 18 at Turn 5.
Nonetheless, Bassani was able to hang on to score his first WSBK podium (beating his previous career-best result of fifth), while Rinaldi completed a first Ducati 1-2-3 since 2012.
Rea survived a late onslaught from the BMW of Michael van der Mark for fourth place, giving him a six-point championship lead following Razgatlioglu's retirement. Redding meanwhile trails by 53 points.
Alex Lowes was sixth on the second Kawasaki ahead of Leon Haslam's Honda, a disappointing Sykes, Alvaro Bautista on the second Honda and Chaz Davies' Go Eleven Ducati.
Locatelli's long streak of top-five finishes came to an end as he slumped to a disastrous 12th place, one place behind Yamaha's top finisher Kohta Nozane on the satellite GRT machine.
Garett Gerloff was a non-starter after a sighting lap crash on the other GRT Yamaha.
|3||21||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||Ducati||20||2.326|
|5||60||Michael van der Mark||BMW||20||6.518|
|View full results|
Barcelona WSBK: Sykes grabs pole to snap Rea's streak
Redding says he was 'either finishing first or in the gravel'