LAST-LAP FIGHT: Bautista moves from third to first on the final lap after Titanic Trio battle

Sunday, 24 September 2023 09:50 GMT

The race was decided at the final corner on the final lap with Bautista bouncing back from his two Race 1 crashes to claim victory

Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) went from third to first on the final lap of the Tissot Superpole Race as he bounced back in perfect fashion in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. The reigning Champion attacked Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on the last lap as he led only one corner throughout the race at MotorLand Aragon.

TITANIC TRIO FIGHT: last corner decides the race

Rea got the holeshot for the 10-lap race and kept the lead throughout the first half of the race ahead of Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK). At the start of Lap 6, Bautista had his first look at race leader Rea at Turn 1 but the six-time Champion defended under braking. A lap later and Bautista tried the same move, but Rea defended around the outside to give him the inside line for Turn 2. This allowed Rea to retain the lead and Razgatlioglu, using the SCQ tyre, to pass the reigning Champion through Turn 3. The trio remained nose-to-tail, but Bautista put in a stunning last lap to move from third to first, passing the #54 at Turn 5 before overtaking Rea at Turn 16 after the #65 ran slightly wide at Turn 12.

The results mean Bautista’s claimed his 52nd WorldSBK win, and he also took the 200th podium for Spain, while Rea took his 26th podium in 26 races at Aragon; a new all-time record for a single track. Razgatlioglu took his 109th rostrum which moves him level with four-time Champion Carl Fogarty. In terms of the Championship, it means Bautista gained five points on Razgatlioglu to extend his lead back up to 42 points.

ROW TWO FOR RACE 2: three riders in two seconds

In the early stages, Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) was remaining around a second away from the ‘Titanic Trio’ but dropped five seconds back to claim fourth for the second race in this year’s Aragon Round. He was exactly one second ahead of Race 1 winner Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) in fifth while Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) took sixth place. Locatelli, Rinaldi and Lecuona were separated by two seconds at the flag and will make up the second row for this afternoon’s Race 2.

JUST MISSING OUT: a closely-fought battle for the third row

Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) narrowly missed out on a second row start with seventh, finishing 1.568s behind his teammate, with the riders on row three this afternoon separated by just over a second. The #97 was eight tenths clear of Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) who put in another strong performance. He was just 0.356s ahead of Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) as the American secured a third-row start for Race 2, and finishing as the lead BMW rider.

HOUSEKEEPING: Petrucci outside the top nine, three retirements

Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) couldn’t repeat his Race 1 heroics as he battled his way from the back of the grid to 12th. Despite climbing up the order, he’ll start Race 2 from last after not setting a time in the Tissot Superpole session. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) started from inside the top nine but ran wide at the opening corner and dropped down the order. He finished in 15th. Eric Granado (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team), Gabriele Ruiu (Bmax Racing) and Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) all retired from the race.

The top nine from WorldSBK’s Tissot Superpole Race, full results here:

1. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati)

2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.179s

3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.296s

4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +5.013s

5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) +6.013s

6. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) +7.024s

7. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) +8.592s

8. Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) +9.384s

9. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) +9.740s

Fastest lap: Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) – 1’49.028s, new lap record

Who will come out on top in Race 2? Find out at 14:00 Local Time (GMT+2) using the WorldSBK VideoPass – now only €9.99!