It was an epic battle at the Circuito Estoril as Alvaro Bautista claimed his fourth win of the 2022 season
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship descended on the Circuito Estoril and it was a thriller in Portugal as Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed a stunning victory after an epic scrap between him, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) throughout the race. Bautista secured his first victory at Estoril during the Estoril Round as he extended his Championship lead.
A TITANTIC SCRAP: Bautista, Razgatlioglu and Rea battle it out for victory
Razgatlioglu got a good start from second on the grid to lead into Turn 1 with Rea in second and it was a precursor of what was to come during the 21-lap race. The pair consistently switched positions throughout the race with Turn 1 the overtaking hotspot between the two with eight overtakes at Turn 1 just between Rea and Razgatlioglu between Lap 6 and Lap 16. There was contact between the two on Lap 3 at Turn 6 with both able to continue, and from there the battle raged on. There were differing tyre strategies on the grid with Rea on Pirelli’s SC0 standard rear tyre and the SC1 development front while Razgatlioglu and Bautista both used the SCX standard rear tyre and SC1 standard front tyre.
With the duo running line astern, the rider in second often used the slipstream to get the run into Turn 1 to move into the lead with the pair swapping positions on multiple laps as they searched for victory in order to close the gap in the Championship standings to Bautista. The pair switched position, at Turn 1, eight times but it was an error on in the closing stages from Rea that allowed Bautista through.
On Lap 16, Bautista was able to take advantage of Rea running wide as he looked to move around the outside of Razgatlioglu, with Bautista moving up to second place and Rea dropping to third place. Rea lost time to the pair leaving Bautista and Razgatlioglu to fight it out. This battle went down to the final run to the line with Bautista just pipping Razgatlioglu by 0.126s after getting a better run off the final Turn 13 corner.
Victory for Bautista puts him on 20 wins for in his WorldSBK career and his fourth win of the 2022 season, extending his Championship lead to 27 points over Rea and 50 to Razgatlioglu. It was also Ducati’s 380th victory in WorldSBK. Razgatlioglu’s second place gave him his 59th podium in WorldSBK and keeps up his 100% podium record at Estoril; the only rider to have this stat. Rea’s third place gave him his 221st podium in WorldSBK and his 179th with Kawasaki.
BATTLING FOR FOURTH AND FIFTH: a scrap outside the top three
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) claimed fourth place after benefitting from Bautista running wide at Turn 1 on the opening lap, before battling with Bautista for third place. While Bautista was able to pass Locatelli on Lap 5 before Turn 1, using the power of the Ducati, the Italian rider was able to finish in fourth place ahead of Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) and teammate Iker Lecuona.
Vierge overtook Lecuona in the closing stages of the 21-lap race to claim his first top five result in WorldSBK, finishing just a tenth ahead of his teammate. The duo battled with Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), running a special yellow livery to celebrate the 50th anniversary of BMW’s M brand, in the early stages of the race before Redding dropped back behind both Honda riders and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK); Lowes finishing seventh and Redding in eighth.
TAKING HOME POINTS: closing out the points-paying positions
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) finished ninth after making late-race progress to move inside the top ten, finishing around one second behind his former teammate. He was also a second ahead of Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW), who rounded out the top ten and finished as the Best Independent Rider in Race 1.
After being called up at the last minute to replace the injured Philipp Oettl, Xavi Fores (Team Goeleven) finished in 11th place with a big gap both ahead and behind him, battling his way up from 15th place on the grid. Hr was around three seconds clear of Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in 12th place, while Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) battled up to 13th place, fending off Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) by just half-a-tenth at the line. Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) made it two Independent BMW riders inside the points with 15th place; just a tenth ahead of Marvin Fritz (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) as he substituted for Roberto Tamburini and just missed out on a point.
HOUSEKEEPING: to note from Race 1
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished in 17th place ahead of Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) in 18th. Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) was in 19th place ahead of Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in 20th and Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing). Vinales brought his Kawasaki ZX-10RR into the pits, and lost two laps, before re-joining the race and being classified in 21st place.
Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) retired from the race on the opening lap of the race after a Turn 7 crash. Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) did not race after being declared unfit following their respective crashes throughout the weekend.
The top six following WorldSBK Race 1, full results here:
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.126s
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +4.835s
4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +17.079s
5. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) +19.107s
6. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) +19.215
10. Best Independent, Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) +25.212
Fastest lap: Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki – 1’36.204s New Lap Record
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