Bautista on Race 1 crash: "I braked hard, maybe I had more lean angle and I lost the front…"

Saturday, 16 July 2022 17:15 GMT

The Championship leader had been running in second place before a Lap 16 crash at Donington Park

It was a dramatic day in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship title race at Donington Park after Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) crashed out of the podium fight in the closing stages of Race 1 during the Prosecco DOC UK Round. It meant it was the first time the Spanish rider did not score a podium or points in the 2022 season and he saw his Championship lead slashed.

After starting Race 1 from fifth on the grid, Bautista made a good start from the middle of the second row to be in podium contention from the start of the 23-lap race. He then had an incredible battle with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) for second place as the pair looked to secure yet another podium finish in the 2022 campaign.

Bautista got ahead on Lap 14 at Turn 12 as he took advantage of a mistake from Rea into the final corner on the circuit, although Rea did not lose touch with his title rival. Two laps later, at the same corner, Bautista found himself sliding into the gravel after losing the front of his Panigale V4 R. He re-joined the race but returned to the pits a lap later and retired from Race 1.

Explaining the crash, Bautista said: “When I was in front, in the last corner it is always a bit tricky. It’s so bumpy and it’s not an easy corner. You can’t use the same line many times because it depends how you take the bump. You can enter one way or another, it’s a difficult corner. That time, I braked so hard and maybe I had a bit more lean angle and I lost the front when I touched the bump. I crashed. I think we have to be positive. We can be very competitive in the race at a track where we suffered a lot. We could be competitive today. I’m happy, I’m confident for tomorrow. This is racing. I’m happy with the performance. Let’s see tomorrow if we can keep this feeling.”

The results of Race 1, with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) claiming his first full-length race victory of the season and Rea finishing second, mean Bautista’s lead in the Championship is just 16 points to Rea and 54 to Razgatlioglu. The race was the first time Bautista had not stood on the WorldSBK rostrum in 2022 after securing 12 consecutive podiums to start his season in style.

Photo credit: John McKenzie

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