Among errors, technical problems, and movie-like comebacks, the 10th round of the SBK World Championship at the Motorland in Aragon was definitely entertaining. What on paper was predicted to be a one-way race, turned out to be a weekend full of twists and turns, with a Yamaha like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a Ducati that was calling the shots, Bautista who wasn’t entirely impeccable, Rinaldi was renewed, and Petrucci in “remuntada” mode.
The GOOD - After two years without results, Michael Ruben Rinaldi is back on track. With Race 1, the native from Rimini reached a success he hasn’t experienced since his victory in Race 2 at Montmelò in 2021. Proof of the bond that unites Rinaldi and the Motorland, where Michael debuted in the SBK World Championship in 2018, and also the track where the 27-year-old rider won his first podium and his first victory in 2020.
The UGLY - In Spain, we were expecting Scott Redding to react to the Sunday nightmare at Magny-Cours. Instead, the British rider was evasive all weekend, ending with just 7 points: the result of three placings outside the top ten. We know that Scott doesn’t really like the Aragon track, but this isn’t enough to justify his performance, as he becomes increasingly anonymous on the BMW.
The BAD - Race 2 seemed destined to be Yamaha’s answer to the difficulties of the beginning of the weekend, with a combative Andrea Locatelli fighting for the place of honor with his garage mate, after having briefly dictated the pace at the head of the race. But what literally sent all the efforts of the rider from Bergamo up in smoke was the R1 #55, which betrayed its rider just as things were getting good.
The CONFIRMATION - Garrett Gerloff is increasingly the reference point for BMW in this season finale. With his best performance in the Bonovo team at Magny-Cours, the American rider had another good weekend in Spain, where he confirmed his progress on the M 1000 RR, with three top tens.
The DISAPPOINTMENT - We’ve gotten used to Dominique Aegerter being the leader in the GRT garage, but the 32-year-old Swiss rider took on the role as Remy Gardner’s assistant instead of the leader. Far from the top ten all weekend, Domi ended up with the Australian breathing down his neck, even in the championship standings, where only five points divide the two Yamaha rookies.
The ERROR - The one in Race 1 seemed like something we’ve already seen before, with Bautista fleeing from the early stages of the race. But here comes the twist in the 6th lap, when the reigning champion lost the front of his Ducati and fell when descending the corkscrew. A mistake that got the Spanish rider a zero, as he ended up back in the gravel during the last lap.
The SURPRISE - Since the first round in Australia, Phillip Oettl hasn’t been close to the top five. Sixth in Race 1, the Go Eleven team rider reached an 8th and 7th place in Sunday’s races and had one of his best weekends with the Piedmont team. Proof that he deserves a bike for 2024.
The OVERTAKE - If there’s one rider who hasn’t skimmed on overtakes in Aragon it’s Danilo Petrucci. Forced to make a comeback throughout the entire round from a fall in the Superpole, the rider from Terni showed his stuff in Race 1, passing as many as 19 riders and going from a 24th to a 5th position. A feat similar to the encore in the last long race in which the Barni team’s Panigale waved the white flag, ending Petrux’s comeback.
The ANECDOTE - With his double at the Motorland, Bautista has taken his SBK World Championship wins to 53, passing Troy Bayliss in 3rd place in the rankings of the most victorious riders of all time.
The I TOLD YOU SO - “We’re not ready to fight for the podium. We usually have something in our pockets, but we have nothing this time,” Toprak said on Friday, before pulling the ace out of his sleeve and his best result ever in Aragon.