There was plenty of celebration for Bautista as he took a fifth win of 2022 to extend his Championship lead
It was an opening race day to remember for Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” in Italy, as he stormed to victory in Race 1. The Spaniard, who led the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship standings coming into the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round, extended his lead to 22 points over nearest rival Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) after battling through to lead the race before clearing off into the distance.
Having topped Friday Free Practice running, Saturday morning’s Free Practice 3 and taken a first pole for three years in Tissot Superpole, which was also Ducati’s first Misano pole since 2009, Bautista was a favourite going into the first race. Opting for an all-development compound of tyre selection with the SC1 development A0674 and the SCXB tyre spec, Bautista got beaten to the holeshot by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and was down to third when Jonathan Rea came through.
However, soon, both were ahead of Razgatlioglu, and it was a head-to-head fight. Bautista made it through on Rea with a stunning pass at Curvone, Turn 11, before pushing clear, whilst behind it was disaster for Razgatlioglu, who retired at the end of Lap 14 with mechanical problems. Bautista crossed the line for victory on the last lap by over five seconds, with Rea second and teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi in third. In what was Bautista’s 21st win, Ducati’s 381st and Spain’s 58th, meaning the country can move onto 60 wins on Sunday.
Speaking about his incredible race winning overtake, Bautista commented: “I know that it is probably not the best place to overtake riders because the speed is so high! You take it in fifth gear at over 280km/h! I didn’t have many places to overtake Jonathan so one of them was there! I tried, I did it and I didn’t make a mistake! Everything was under control!
“Today, the track was hotter than practice, so it was important to understand how much grip the track had and where the limit was. At the beginning, I stayed calm, battled a bit with Jonathan and Toprak and I could see that Toprak was struggling a bit into the corners and Jonathan had a better pace. I tried to stay behind Jonny, as I saw his pace was good, so I followed him to not use the tyre a lot.
“When I saw Jonathan started to be a bit slower, I tried to get the lead and to put my pace. I started to go faster, so I’m so happy because in every moment, I was under my limit. The feeling with the bike was good and if I went faster, it was because I felt I could go faster, not because I was risking more!”
The Championship leader also stated his joy about reigning victorious in Italy for Ducati at home at Misano: “To win is always special but to win here at Misano, Ducati’s home, is very special! After two years of suffering a lot, I am enjoying a lot! With all the fans coming into the paddock to celebrate the victory with! It’s fantastic to have all of them here supporting us and I hope to give them another two races of show tomorrow!”
Can Bautista repeat his success on Sunday? Find out in style with the WorldSBK VideoPass!