BOUNCING BACK: Bautista buries Race 1 blunder with brilliant Sunday double

Sunday, 24 September 2023 13:14 GMT

The Spaniard moved into the top three in the all-time winners’ list with his second victory on Sunday; Razgatlioglu P2 after thrilling fight with Locatelli

Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) responded in the perfect style from his Saturday mistakes at MotorLand Aragon as he claimed Race 2 victory during the Tissot Aragon Round. The Spaniard was under early pressure but took his 53rd MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship win to write his name into the history books. Behind him, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) finished second as Bautista extended his Championship lead to 47 points with two rounds to go.

FIGHTING FOR THE WIN: Bautista adds history, Locatelli and Razgatlioglu fight

The holeshot belonged to Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) as the lights went out but Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) was the big mover as he stormed into second place behind his future teammate. On Lap 2 at Turn 1, ‘Loka’ passed the six-time Champion under braking to move into the lead, albeit briefly as Bautista came through at Turns 4 and 5. Despite the Italian’s best efforts, Bautista started pulling out a gap to claim victory and bounce back from his Saturday disaster.

With the #1 extending his lead over Locatelli, it turned into a three-way fight between Locatelli, Razgatlioglu and Rea although Race 1 winner Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) did close in on the trio. The #65 started losing ground to the two Yamahas directly ahead, leaving them to fight for second and third, before the #21 overtook Rea at Turn 16 to move into fourth. The Italian was then able to leave Rea in his wake as he closed on the Yamaha duo ahead.

Razgatlioglu got ahead of his teammate on Lap 15 before the #55 was forced to bring his bike into the pits after a technical issue with this Yamaha YZF-R1 machine, dropping the Italian out of contention after a strong performance to keep his teammate behind. This promoted Rinaldi to the third and final podium spot, although he did lose time to Razgatlioglu and was unable to close the gap to the 2021 Champion. Locatelli received the black flag with orange disc when the problem became apparent but returned his bike to the pitlane. For not respecting the flag when it was first shown earlier in the lap, the FIM Stewards penalised him with a back of the grid start for his next race.

Bautista’s victory means he is now on 53 in WorldSBK and moves into third in the all-time winners’ list, going ahead of Troy Bayliss. It was also the 90th Spanish win and his 83rd podium, while Razgatlioglu has 110 career podiums. With 28 podiums to his name this season, he’s only one shy of his personal best tally in a single season. For Rinaldi, his eighth podium of the year means he’s now scored the most in one season – one better than his previous best of seven.

IN THE TOP SIX: securing a good finish to the Aragon Round

Locatelli’s technical issue promoted Rea back into fourth place although he was some 14 seconds down on Bautista and seven behind Rinaldi after losing ground after the Italian passed him. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) salvaged fifth on Sunday. He got off to a good start to gain places and, despite his pace dropping off in the closing stages, the #47 was able to finish just a second behind Rea and almost two seconds clear of Iker Lecuona (Team HRC). The Honda rider had shown rapid pace all weekend and converted that into a top six finish.

BEST RESULT SINCE ASSEN: van der Mark impresses at Aragon

Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) concluded his Aragon weekend with another top-ten finish as the German finished P7, four tenths clear of Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) in eighth. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was another who had a good weekend as he took ninth, finishing as the second Yamaha rider, while Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) made a late-race move on Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) to claim tenth. The two BMW stars were separated by just six tenths at the end of the race.

RETURNING TO THE POINTS: heading to Portimao full of confidence

The Dutchman finished four tenths clear of Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in 12th with the #77 fending off Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW). Baz took 13th as he responded from not taking part in the Sunday morning Superpole Race. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was 14th as he finished four seconds behind Baz. The #45 was in a French sandwich with Florian Marino (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) completing the points-paying positions with 15th. Marino, standing in for the injured Alex Lowes, overtook Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) in the closing stages to secure his first point since San Juan Race 1 2018.

Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) was two seconds away from the points but he was able to finish six seconds clear of Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in 18th. Eric Granado (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) and Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) battled it out for 19th place with the Brazilian coming out on top by just under three tenths, while Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) was the last classified rider in 21st.

HOUSEKEEPING: technical issues prevent comebacks

Gabriele Ruiu (Bmax Racing) was the first retirement when he brought his BMW M1000RR machine into the pits on Lap 5, with Hafizh Syahrin (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) following shortly after. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) had been making progress from the back of the grid but a technical issue when he was closing in on another strong comeback forced him out of the race.

The top six from WorldSBK Race 2, full results here:

1. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati)

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +4.064s

3. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) +7.109s

4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +14.007s

5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +15.270s

6. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) +17.104s

Fastest Lap: Alvaro Bautista, Ducati – 1’50.206s

Championship standings

1. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) 504 points            

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 457

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 328

4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 275

5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 237

6. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) 213

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