P 6 in Superpole Race, P 5 in Race 2 at the end of a great battle; a weekend ended (almost) in the best possible way for the German rider on his Ducati. Fluid, fast, regular and able to close races with a comeback, managing the tyres perfectly! Best result in WorldSBK for Philipp and best result ever for Go Eleven at Phillip Island; so, why that “almost” perfect? Because the Best Independent narrowly escaped, and in Race 2 the potential to dream the podium was there, but we lost some time in the battle at the start of the race!
Even on Phillip Island Sunday, the weather alarmed everyone in the morning. During the Warm Up, the rain bothered the riders, especially in the first and fourth sector, forcing the protagonists to keep a safety margin, in order to avoid damage just before the races.
P 1 A. Bautista 1.29.798
P 2 T. Razgatlioglu + 0.322
P 3 A. Locatelli + 0.768
P 6 Philipp Oettl + 1.160
In the Superpole Race Philipp looked rather tense before the start, aware that he had a good race pace, but also nervous because for the first time he found himself battling with the big names of the category. Everybody with softer tyres, the German rider has a good start, then in turn two he collides with Lowes and is forced to lose a couple of positions. However, the pace is that of the best, so lap after lap he closes the gap with the group battling for fourth place. Once in the game, he tries to get his claws out, inserting himself in a couple of overtakings; in front of him Gardner and Aegerter crash in a contact at Turn 4, the famous slow corner scene of many contacts. Behind Philipp, an aggressive Rea tries to recover, but the Go Eleven rider doesn’t concede anything, not even in the closing laps. Compared to the 6 times world champion, he really gains in fast turns, then loses a bit in changes of direction. Sixth place conquered, second row defended and head to Race 2. Ah, 1.2 seconds from the podium, after ten laps!
P 1 A. Bautista 15’14.958
P 2 M. Rinaldi + 2.462
P 3 T. Razgatlioglu + 3.060
P 6 P. Oettl + 4.215
Race 2 was exceptional, ten riders, all fighting for positions close to the podium, with constant overtaking, contacts, plot twists of the standing. In all of this, Locatelli was able to take advantage of the fights and creates a bit of gap, getting himself out of “trouble”. Philipp has a not exactly perfect start, losing a couple of positions, then the race gets complicated by staying behind Petrucci, a really tough rider in the battle. In turn 1, developing a lot of speed out of the last two on the left, Oettl goes inside, passes two of them, avoiding contact with Aegerter by millimetres. From that moment on he is one of the fastest riders on the track, easily closing in on the group made up of the two factory Kawasakis, by Toprak, Axel and Lecuona. Thanks to a contact between the last two, he passes them both; Lowes and Toprak touch and go down, leaving Rea pursued by Bassani and Philipp. The Italian manages to free himself a moment earlier and takes a second advantage, the number 5 passes the Northern Irishman in turn 1, and launches into a desperate comeback to fight for the Best Independent. He comes close, to a few tenths, but perhaps one lap is missing to really ignite the battle. Fifth position, an amazing race, but a bitter taste remains in the mouth; both because the podium was really close at hand, and because we could fight for the Best Independent. In any case, if you regret a fifth place, it really means that the potential is there and expectations are high!
P 1 A. Bautista 33’40.779
P 2 M. Rinaldi + 6.191
P 3 A. Locatelli + 9.099
P 4 A. Bassani + 11.680
P 5 P. Oettl + 12.020
After a thrilling Sunday, both in front of the TV and in the box, where tension was high, the WorldSBK circus moves to Indonesia, the Mandalika International Circuit. Last year Philipp proved to be competitive and really fast starting on Friday, only to end the weekend prematurely in the hospital due to the heavy crash in race 1. Now we’re back there, but awareness of the potential available and motivation will be completely different!
Philipp Oettl (Rider):“I am super happy with both Races today, we took a P 5 and a P 6, that’s my best results ever! Probably in race 2 I had a little bit more pace, but in the end we had a great battle, I fought against the Top Riders and bikes all day, and I could bring home so many points. I enjoyed it a lot! Let’s see what Mandalika will bring, I am happy for the Team, too, they did a great job and the bike was fantastic. I re-paid them with a good result! For the next week, it’s a track I really like, but last year we went to the hospital. Now let’s take a small break, and then we will refocus on the Race there!“
Denis Sacchetti (Team Manager): “Two strong races today! Seeing Philipp fight to overtake Rea and Toprak is a satisfaction you don’t experience every day! I think predicting a better start to the Championship would have been difficult for us. Analyzing Race 2, if we hadn’t lost all that time behind Petrucci, and in the fight with Toprak, we could also aspire to something better, because we were faster than the final result obtained, maybe we could have fought with Locatelli. Now the important thing is to confirm ourselves also in the next races, and to be constant in all circuits. See you in a few days in Indonesia, even more motivated!”