Race 1 at the Estoril Round was decided on a drag race to the line as Bautista just beat Razgatlioglu
The winner of Race 1 for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship was decided on the last lap as Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing -Ducati) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) engaged in an epic fight to the line at the Circuito Estoril. The pair were separated by just 0.126s at the end of the 21-lap encounter as Bautista got a better exit out of the final corner to claim his fourth victory of 2022 after passing Razgatlioglu on a drag race to the finish line.
Bautista initially lost ground at the start of the race after an error at Turn 1 on Lap 1, but he soon gained time on both Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) after passing Razgatlioglu’s teammate, Andrea Locatelli, on Lap 5. After passing the Italian, Bautista was able to take advantage of Rea running wide at Turn 1 on Lap 16 to move into second place.
From there, Bautista gradually closed the gap on Razgatlioglu and occasionally looked to make the move at Turn 1 but saved the race-winning overtake until the last possible moment. After getting a good run out of the final corner, and with Razgatlioglu battling a slight wheelie on the exit, Bautista was able to out-drag the reigning Champion to claim victory and extend his Championship lead to 27 points over Rea and 50 over the Turk.
Discussing the epic last-lap battle, Bautista said: “I led the most important metres of the race! I tried to pass Toprak, but he was very strong at the braking points and the only point that I really matched him was on the exit of the last corner. My traction, especially in the last laps, was better and I gained a lot of distance there. I just played my card on the last lap. I tried to be very close to him at that point on the track. In the end, I can exit faster than him from the last corner.”
Razgatlioglu’s second place meant the 2021 Champion has now not won in the first seven races in 2022 and hasn’t won in 10 races since he claimed victory at the 2021 Argentinean Round in the Tissot Superpole Race; his longest winless run, from after his first victory, since the 2020 season when he won at the season-opening Australian Round in Race 1 and Race 1 at the season-ending Estoril Round. Razgatlioglu will take comfort from the fact that he did not record his first win of his title-winning campaign until the ninth race, Race 2 at Misano, something he can match or better on Sunday at Estoril.
Reacting to the sensational fight, Razgatlioglu said: “Today, I tried everything. I did everything in the race. I’m feeling in the race like I was riding how I did in 2021 because this year I did not start like the real Toprak. In the race, I am feeling like I rode the bike like the real Toprak. I’m happy about this. We are battling with Jonny and a little bit with Bautista, but his bike is incredible because on the last lap, on the straight, he passed me. I am happy because this race was the real Toprak. Tomorrow, I try more because maybe we’re working to keep the rear tyre a little bit more. It’s a long race and I need to save the rear tyre because in the last five laps, I felt a lot of spinning.”
Watch more incredible WorldSBK action from Estoril starting with Warm Up from 09:00 Local Time (GMT+1) on Sunday using the WorldSBK VideoPass!