2023’S KEY MOMENTS – ROUND 11, PORTIMAO: Bautista denies Razgatlioglu in rollercoaster round

Wednesday, 27 December 2023 08:06 GMT

The season was coming into its final stages and the reigning World Champion was on a first match-point, although he’d have to fight fearlessly

Six races remained as we approached Portimao for the Portuguese Round in the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. After winning in Race 1, Sunday could have been the day which saw #TheDefence completed by Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati). A certain Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) had other ideas and was riding the best we’d ever seen, although ultimately it wouldn’t be enough for the glory of race victory. Enjoy Race 1 and Race 2 HERE, as well as the Superpole Race and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more cool content!

It started in the Tissot Superpole Race; Razgatlioglu led every lap and despite having a gap in the middle of the race, there was a Bautista-shaped shark closing in. On the last lap, the #1 was right with the #54 but Toprak held on down the front straight. Into the final corner, Bautista once again got close and this time, he was able to pounce, diving under Razgatlioglu on the exit to deny the Turk right at the close – similar to their battle at Estoril in 2022 from Race 1. Bautista led just one lap but it was the most important; Toprak smashed his screen and threw his gloves in anger and was out to prove a point in Race 2.

An instant classic and straight into the top five races of all-time, Razgatlioglu was relentless and Bautista battle-ready. From the start until the end, 35 passes for the lead between the two. The Ducati rider often leading down the straight, only for the Yamaha star to fight back into either Turn 1, Turn 5, Turn 11 or Turn 13. The 35th pass would be the most important; again, closing up to Toprak in the final corner but this time with a different strategy, Bautista was wise to Toprak’s tighter line on exit after his Superpole Race triumph and in-turn, adapted to go to the outside, blasting around the #54 to take the win. Elation for Bautista but even more frustration for Toprak, smashing the screen again, this time so hard that his own airbag had activated. Tears in Parc Ferme for the Turkish star whilst Bautista now needed two points at Jerez to take the title. Elsewhere in the weekend, more Ducati success as Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) took the WorldSSP crown and in WorldSSP300, MTM Kawasaki’s Jeffrey Buis became the first double Champion in the class.

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