The Spaniard extended his standings lead to 52 points with victory as Ducati secured their 19th Manufacturers’ Championship title
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed a hard-fought victory in Race 1 at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve as he extended his MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship lead over Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) by five points. The reigning Champion initially dropped during the opening race of the Pirelli Portuguese Round back but fought his rivals hard to move ahead and take his 22nd win of the year as he closes in on a second title
BATTLING HARD: the ‘Titanic Trio’ are joined by two more competitors
The holeshot belonged to Razgatlioglu as he stormed into the lead while polesitter Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) dropped to fourth through Turn 1, before looking to respond at Turn 3. On the entry into the tight hairpin, Rea made contact with the back of Bautista’s Panigale V4 R. Both stayed on their bike, but Rea dropped to seventh before fighting his way back into the top four on Lap 3. On the same lap, the six-time Champion swept up the inside of Bautista to move into third.
At the start of Lap 4, Rea got a good run and moved into second ahead of Lowes when it all kicked off. Bautista thought he’d got ahead of Razgatlioglu but the #54 responded into Turn 2 and 3 to claim the lead, while Rea left the corner third with Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) fourth – the Dutchman staying with the lead group before him and Lowes had a battle for fourth. The reigning Champion used his advantage down the straight to briefly get ahead of Razgatlioglu but the 2021 Champion responded under braking into Turn 1 to defend his lead on Lap 5.
On Lap 6, Bautista was able to take the lead and hold it through the first four turns before Razgatlioglu responded into the Turn 5, left-hand hairpin under braking. The #1 repeated the move a lap later but was able to defend his position despite Razgatlioglu’s best efforts. With a clear lap, the Spaniard posted a 1’40.489s, close to lap record pace, to extend his lead to almost a second. Despite initially pulling a gap, it remained within a second with Razgatlioglu aiming to keep the pressure on his rival.
At the end of Lap 15, the gap was back up to a second despite the Yamaha star closing in on the #1 in the first half of the lap, and the Spaniard took his 54th win in WorldSBK – closing in on Carl Fogarty’s record of 55 wins for Ducati – as well as his 22nd of the season. Razgatlioglu moved onto 29 podiums for the year, equalling his tally from his title-winning campaign, while Rea was around four seconds down on Razgatlioglu in third. It was the Ulsterman’s 262nd WorldSBK rostrum. With Bautista winning, Ducati were able to secure the 2023 Manufacturers’ Championship standings.
BMW RIDERS BATTLE: Gerloff comes out on top against van der Mark
Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) came out on top in an epic four-way scrap for P4. He worked his way up through the field, including a stunning battle with van der Mark at one point. On Lap 16, the American tried to come through on the #60 through Turns 11 and 12 but the Dutchman defended around the outside. A lap later and Gerloff tried the same move, fighting hard with his BMW stablemate, to take P4. This allowed Lowes and Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) to stay with the pair, with both coming through to finish fifth and sixth respectively. Van der Mark finished seventh despite his valiant efforts.
A FIGHT THROUGH THE FIELD: Locatelli in the top ten despite starting at the back
Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) took eighth as he secured yet another top-ten result, finishing just over a second back from van der Mark. He was ahead of Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) in ninth. The #55 was sanctioned after ignoring the black flag with orange disc flag in Race 2 at Aragon with a back of the grid start for this race and ‘Loka’ made consistent progress throughout the field. He was able to finish in ninth, giving him optimism for tomorrow’s Tissot Superpole Race where he will line up from the front row. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) completed the top ten, 3.4 seconds down on Locatelli.
SCORING POINTS: a mixed Saturday for Petrucci
Despite showing strong pace during the weekend, Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) finished Race 1 in 11th although he narrowly missed out on a top ten by just half-a-second. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) dropped down the order compared to his starting position, finishing 12th after starting from seventh. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) was 13th with Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) completing the points-paying positions. The Brit dropped down the order in the latter stages of the race but was able to take a point in Portugal.
JUST MISSING OUT: narrowly missing out on points
Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) was four seconds away from a point but he finished 2.5 seconds clear of fellow rookie Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team). Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) was 18th after a pit lane start for exceeding the engine allocation rules and he’ll have to do this again in Sunday’s Race 2. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Hafizh Syahrin (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) were the last riders inside the top 20, with Syahrin’s teammate, Eric Granado, Gabriele Ruiu (Bmax Racing) and Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) the last classified riders.
HOUSEKEEPING: another bout of bad luck for Rinaldi
Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) brought his Kawasaki machine into the pits and retired in the early stages, while Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) had more misfortune while in the top ten. The #21 was forced to bring his bike into the pits with a technical issue.
The top six from WorldSBK Race 1, full results here:
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +2.098s
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +6.790s
4. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) +12.093s
5. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +13.148s
6. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +13.714s
Fastest lap: Alvaro Bautista, Ducati – 1’40.489
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