All the emotions were shown after a race that will live long in the memory as Bautista and Razgatlioglu battled hard on Sunday
The Autodromo Internacional do Algarve hosted one of the best MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship races ever on Sunday. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) were inseparable in Race 2 in the Pirelli Portuguese Round as they traded first place for 20 laps, overtaking each other left, right and centre as they fought for victory. The reigning Champion came out on top by just over a tenth as he edged closer to a second title, with Razgatlioglu’s emotions on full display following the race. Speaking after, Ducati’s and Yamaha’s respective bosses gave their thoughts on the epic scrap.
RACE OF THE YEAR: sensational duel between two heavyweights
There were at least 30 passes for the lead during Race 2 as the #1 and #54 fought tooth and nail for victory. Bautista started from pole but was immediately demoted to second through Turn 1 as the #54 outbraked his rival. The move into Turn 1 was a familiar theme as Bautista got the run onto the main straight, before the Yamaha star responded under braking, or waiting until the Turn 5 left-hand hairpin to make his move. On at least one occasion, the #54 made his move into Turns 10 and 11 when he got up the inside of his rival, as well as at the left-hander of Turn 13.
After the race, both Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team Principal, Paul Denning, and Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Team Manager, Serafino Foti, discussed the incredible fight which they described as “an amazing show” and “incredible. The race will surely go down in as one of the best head-to-head showdowns after non-stop action between the pair in search of glory.
“HE WAS DEVASTATED, IN TEARS BECAUSE HE GOT BEAT” – Denning on Razgatlioglu emotions
Giving his view on the race, Yamaha’s Denning said: “Stout defence and incredible attack if you consider the moves into Turn 5; down the hill and off-camber. Into Turn 13, taking the bike from a lot of bank angle and just throwing it to the inside. The defence and re-passes into Turn 1 at the end of the straight were thrilling to watch. As the race went on, I started to believe a little bit it might happen. It was just a relentless sense of never, ever, ever giving up and trying to make it happen. There was this cloud of inevitability, let’s say, that the performance of Alvaro and the package in the last corner and the acceleration up the hill and onto the straight, almost whatever Toprak did was going to create that final result. Toprak rides aggressively but he’s so respectful. It was a fabulous race.
“To hold that pace over 20 laps, in those temperatures, with the performance deficit and weight disadvantage that’s clearly there on acceleration and also it makes it more difficult to stop the bike as well. It was pretty incredible and an amazing show. Toprak’s all in and the only thing that would’ve made him happy was winning. To get beat by a tenth in the last corner in the Superpole Race and then for that to be repeated after everything he achieved in the 20 laps was frustrating to say the least. We lost a windscreen after the Superpole Race. Honestly, I’ve never seen Toprak as he was after Race 2. He was devastated. He was in tears because he got beat. I think, when you leave that much out there, and you ride probably your best race of your life on the best package we could ever have given him, and you still get beat, his emotions came through then.”
“MY HEART WAS 1000bpm EVERY CORNER” – Ducati boss Foti on beyond-the-limits battle
Ducati were able to celebrate three titles in Portugal. Bautista’s Race 1 victory secured Ducati their 19th WorldSBK Manufacturers’ Championship while his stunning Race 2 win meant he moved ahead of Carl Fogarty’s tally of 55 wins for the Italian manufacturer. In WorldSSP, they secured their first Riders’ and Manufacturers’ Championships courtesy of Nicolo Bulega’s (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) win. It was a weekend to remember for the Bologna-based brand including Bautista`s incredible Race 2.
Looking back on the epic showdown, Foti said: “It was an amazing race, incredible! To be honest, my heart was at 1000bpm every corner! For the people in the stands, it was one of the best races of the year. Toprak, this year, has been so strong. We have a lot of respect for him and to the Pata Yamaha team. Sometimes we lost in some areas on the track, sometimes they lost in other areas. The combination between rider, team and bike is so important. The positive point of Alvaro was the final corner especially. We checked the data and compared to other riders; he was unbelievably fast. The strong point of Toprak is braking. Some parts of the track, Toprak is favourite and others Alvaro is. The combination is the same because they finished so close!”
Watch everything from Portimao and gear up for Jerez with the WorldSBK VideoPass for only €9.99!