After numerous battles in 2021 and even before, Alvaro Bautista wasn’t completely surprised that Razgatlioglu and Rea’s battling eventually ended in the gravel
The 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has exploded into life after a dramatic Motul Dutch Round saw arch-rivals Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) clash and take each other out in a heated Race 2. With a front row seat of it all, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) avoided the chaos and whilst he was briefly back to second, went on to dominate the remainder of the race for a third win of 2022.
At the start of Lap 6, Razgatlioglu went deep on the brakes into Turn 1, slightly missing the apex but running wide onto the kerb. Jonathan Rea saw the opportunity but remained on his racing line. As Toprak came back on track, the two lines converged, spelling the end of the race for both of them. Both riders gave strong, differing versions of events in the following fallout, whilst Alvaro Bautista, who had a clear view of it all, gave his version.
“For me, it seems like Toprak went a bit out,” began the Spaniard, Championship leader by 18 points, in his media debrief on Sunday. “He went to the kerb but not off track, just on the kerb. Jonathan was inside but behind and then was fast, looking for the normal line. Toprak was on that line, so they stayed together in the same place at the same moment and there wasn’t space for two riders.
“They touched. They’ve touched in the past, but this time it happened what didn’t happen in the past! One time, it had to happen; we see many fights with them in the past. I was behind and I was so lucky. I was braking. I had no space because I have Jonathan’s bike, Toprak’s bike and I was here. When I came back, Lecuona on my right and bam, he hit me on the side. Then I go into Turn 3, and when I go in, I felt a big impact on my ribs. I was so lucky.”
Bautista took a third win of the year, the #19’s 19th victory – all of which have come with Ducati. A second-place behind Rea in Race 1 and third – after a final lap track limits penalty – in the Tissot Superpole Race see both with the same number of wins at three each, but the costly DNF for Rea means Bautista sports an 18-point lead heading to Estoril, a circuit he’s not raced at with Ducati. For reigning World Champion Razgatlioglu, he’s now 45 behind after the Race 2 DNF at Assen, but heads to a track where he took two victories in 2020 and three podiums in 2021.
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