Bautista came out on top with Razgatlioglu stating: “I did everything to win, we finished P2, but I don’t care”
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) could not be separated on Sunday during the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s visit to the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. The pair crossed the line just 0.126s apart during the Pirelli Portuguese Round with an incredible 35 passes between the pair in Race 2 alone; a battle which followed on from a stunning Tissot Superpole Race scrap earlier on in the day.
RACE STORY: battle of the heavyweights from lights out
In the Superpole Race, the pair were separated by 0.142s at the line as Bautista made a last-lap, last-corner move to pass the #54 on the run to the line, claiming his second win of the weekend and closing in on a second consecutive Riders’ Championship. The pair traded positions consistently throughout the 10-lap race before restarting the battle in Race 2 a few hours later as they duelled it out for victory.
The theme was similar throughout: Bautista would get the jump on Razgatlioglu on the run into Turn 1, before the Yamaha star responded on the brakes. However, on several occasions, the battle changed. Sometimes, the #1 would cut back through Turn 1 and Turn 2 before Razgatlioglu responded into Turn 3, or sometimes the 2021 Champion would outbrake his rival into the Turn 5 hairpin. On at least one occasion, the Yamaha rider made his move at Turns 10 and 11, or even into 13 as he tried to disrupt his rival’s run through the final sector.
However, Bautista was able to pull off the same move twice on the final lap as he beat Razgatlioglu on the run to the line in shades of Estoril 2022 when Bautista beat him off the final corner. In fact, Razgatlioglu has lost 12 races by less than 0.5 seconds with two of them this weekend. Bautista’s win meant he surpassed Carl Fogarty’s 55 wins for Ducati as he moved onto 56 while he’s now also only two points away from a second title in as many years.
“I’M SO PROUD TO FIGHT WITH HIM!” – Bautista commends irrepressible Razgatlioglu
Reflecting on the epic fight, Bautista said: “It was amazing! It was a great battle between Toprak and me and I’m so proud to fight with him. He did his best and he had nothing to lose, so he tried every time, everywhere. It didn’t matter which corner or how he tried the pass. I’m proud to fight with him. I also tried my best. I tried to overtake him and close the corners, but he always tried. We were very close to touching many, many times! For me, it was a very enjoyable race. In the end, at the last corner because I was strong there, I tried to pass him but he learnt about the pass after the morning overtake and he closed the last part of the corner. At the moment, I thought if I couldn’t go inside, go outside because it’s the only chance you have. I opened the gas, the bike started to accelerate, and I went to the kerb. I could pass him. I think it was a great move! It was like instinct.”
“WE FINISHED SECOND, I DON’T CARE FOR THIS” – Razgatlioglu had eyes on the big prize only
Giving his point of view of the scrap, Razgatlioglu added: “We kept fighting in the race because I’m just focused on winning because I was very angry after the Superpole Race. I saw Alvaro wasn’t very strong and I was better in the last corner than in the Superpole Race but in the race, I fought with him. I said ‘this race is mine’ because he wasn’t very strong and whilst I was on the limit, it was easier to attack. I said, ‘I need to win’ and, especially on the last lap, the feeling was good, and every corner was better than before. At the last corner, I tried something different, but it didn’t work; when I picked up the bike, there’s no acceleration and this was the biggest problem. Alvaro went outside but I don’t understand how his rear tyre grips better than me, but his bike’s acceleration is unbelievable, and it was possible to come back. I’m really angry and I did everything to win. Anyway, we finished second, but I don’t care for this; we lost, and I’m just focused on winning.”
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