The Spanish rider added to his Superpole Race victory with a win in Race 2 at MotorLand Aragon
With Race 2 at MotorLand Aragon came a second MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship win of the day for Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) at the Pirelli Aragon Round. After starting from first place following his Tissot Superpole Race victory, Bautista claimed victory by more than four seconds as he claimed a slender three-point lead in the Championship after the season-opening round.
A THRILLING BATTLE FOR VICTORY: victory for Bautista with battles galore
The fight for victory was another thrilling affair with Bautista doubling up for victories on Sunday with a win in Race 2 as he withstood early challenges from teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK). Bautista hit the front on Lap 3 of 18 before looking to pull away at the front of the field.
He was able to take advantage of Rea and Rinaldi battling over second place, including Rea running wide at Turn 1 on Lap 4 which allowed Rinaldi through to second place with Razgatlioglu third and Rea fourth. Two laps later and Rea outbraked Razgatlioglu at Turn 1 to move up to third, while on Lap 11 Rinaldi ran wide which allowed Rea back into second place.
Razgatlioglu initially dropped back but he then closed the gap to Rinaldi in the closing stages of the race, trying a move at Turn 16-17 where Rinaldi defended around the outside to maintain position. On the next lap, Lap 15, Razgatlioglu made his move into Turn 1 to move into third place before setting his eyes on Rea. Although he could close the gap across the final four laps, Rea held on for second place with Razgatlioglu third and Rinaldi fourth.
With victory, Bautista leads the Championship standings for the first time since Misano in 2019, a gap of 1022 days, as he claimed the 18th win of his WorldSBK career. Rea and Razgatlioglu claimed second and third respectively and for the first time the same three riders shared three podiums at the opening round of the season. Rea’s second place means he took his 175th podium with Kawasaki and the 218th in his career.
TAKING A STEP FORWARD: Independent riders shine
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished in fifth place as he bounced back from his Race 1 crash to claim a top-five finish as he led home Independent rider Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in sixth place after the Italian made a good start to jump up the order as he looks to continue his form from 2021 where he impressed as a rookie.
The battle for seventh featured four riders with Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW), Xavi Vierge (Team HRC), Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Iker Lecuona (Team HRC). Baz was able to get ahead at around the halfway distance of the race and stayed there as the lead BMW rider in Race 2. He was 0.865s clear of Spanish rookie Vierge who finished as the lead Honda rider, although he was just 0.616s ahead of Gerloff. Lecuona had been ahead of Gerloff until the last lap but found himself demoted to tenth on Lap 18 of the 18-lap encounter.
LEAVING RACE 2 WITH POINTS: a huge battle for points
French rider Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) came home in 11th place and only two seconds away from the battle for seventh on a strong comeback weekend for the Frenchman. Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) ensured both Bonovo BMW riders scored points in Race 2 as he claimed 12th place after a late-race battle with rookie Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) as Laverty’s WorldSBK experience helped him up the order.
Laverty and Oettl were both closely followed by rookie Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) after the Italian, who received a late call-up to race in the 2022 season, claimed 14th place on his first WorldSBK round. Another debutant, Illia Mykhalchyk (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), scored points with 15th place; the Ukrainian was the only factory BMW rider to score points in Race 2.
TO NOTE: WorldSBK housekeeping
Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) dropped down the order on the opening lap of the race but was able to battle back to claim 16th place although he was some 11 seconds away from claiming points. He was more than two seconds clear of wildcard Gabriele Ruiu (Bmax Racing) in 17th place who withstood the challenge from French rider Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) with just 0.615s between them.
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) was 19th after he had a crash at Turn 9 in the early stages of the race, but he battled back to finish four seconds clear Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) in 20th place. Locatelli had got a good launch as the lights went out although he dropped back to fifth at Turn 1. Syahrin’s teammate, Leandro Mercado, was 1.6s back in 21sth place with Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) and Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) rounding out the classified runners.
Kohta Nozane’s (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) race came to an end on Lap 14 when he had a crash on the exit of the Turn 7 right-hander. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was the only other rider not classified in the race. The British rider had a couple of off-track excursions before he brought his M 1000 RR machine into the pits after completing 11 laps.
The top six following WorldSBK Race 2, full results here:
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +4.393s
3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +6.223s
4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +8.817s
5. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +12.247s
6. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +15.775s
Fastest Lap: Alex Lowes, Kawasaki – 1’50.334s
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 57 points
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 54
3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 39
4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 32
5. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) 18
6. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) 18
9. Loris Baz, Best Independent (Bonovo Action BMW) 14
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