Rea vs Bautista: a rivalry dating back to 2019 that re-ignited in 2022

Wednesday, 21 September 2022 10:46 GMT

After Rea was penalised for contact with Bautista at Magny-Cours, take a look back at some of their iconic fights and battles

The history of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is full of rivalries that have become focal points in different parts of the storytelling of the Championship, and Jonathan Rea’s (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) rivalry with Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) is no different. Starting in 2019 when the pair battled for the title, it has re-ignited this season with Bautista’s return to Ducati and the Spaniard now leading the title fight. Here, we take a look at some of their incredible battles from the 2022 season.

CONTACT: Rea penalised as Bautista falls in France

Starting with the drama from the French Round at Magny-Cours, which resulted in a non-finish for Bautista and a Long Lap Penalty for Rea. On Lap 2 of Race 2, Rea looked to make a move on the right-hander at Turn 13 to get ahead of Bautista, with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) out in front. The pair made contact with Bautista tumbling through the gravel, while Rea was able to finish fifth after serving a Long Lap Penalty. There were strong words from both Bautista and Rea after the race as they both looked to get their view of the crash across.

LAST LAP DECIDER: a thriller in Estoril

Round three of the 2022 season was an incredible affair with three last lap deciders, with all of the top three involved at some point. Rea and Bautista’s came in Race 2 at the iconic Portuguese venue with the six-time Champion able to get ahead of Bautista at Turn 9 on the final lap. Rea lost time at Turn 1 on the penultimate lap but spent the remainder of the race closing the gap, before making a move at Turn 7. Both riders were sliding out of the corner and into Turn 8, before Rea went up the inside of Bautista at the left-hand corner of Turn 9. Rea had a massive wobble through the final corner, but Bautista was not close enough to re-pass him and take victory.

STARTING AS THEY MEAN TO GO ON: Aragon hosts an epic opening round

The season started at MotorLand Aragon back in April, but it was a real taste of things to come with Rea and Bautista fighting it out in Race 1 with a last-lap decider. Bautista trailed heading into Lap 18 with Rea ahead but, using the very long back straight, Bautista was able to move ahead of Rea through the final corner. Rea, however, had other ideas as he used the cut back move on Bautista to just hold on to victory and start his season on the top step of the rostrum.

DUTCH DELIGHT: last-lap battles… again

It’s been a theme of the 2022 season with several last lap fights between the top three. At the TT Circuit Assen, in the shortened Tissot Superpole Race, Rea took the lead on the final lap of the race and withstood attacks from Bautista to take the win despite dropping down the order at the start. It was not only a last-lap fight between the pair but a battling victory for Rea after fighting his way past teammate Alex Lowes, Razgatlioglu and Bautista. There was some post-race drama at Assen too, with Bautista given a penalty for exceeding track limits on the final lap of the Superpole Race.

A FIERCE PODIUM FIGHT: Race 2 at Donington brings plenty of drama

Donington Park was a track where Bautista expected to struggle a bit with his Ducati compared to others, but the Spaniard was competitive throughout despite a Race 1 crash of his own accord. In Race 2, Bautista watched with the best view as Rea and Razgatlioglu battled hard before he was able to battle Rea for second place. Decided in the closing few laps of the race, Bautista made his move to respond from his Race 1 crash in style with second place and extend his Championship lead over Rea.

NOTEABLE MENTIONS: travelling back to 2019

The battles between Rea and Bautista started in Bautista’s rookie campaign in 2019, where the pair had some fierce duels as they fought for the title. Rea came out on top in the standings at the end of the year, but the battles along the way including in Race 1 at Buriram, the Superpole Race at Phillip Island and Portimao Race 2. You can read more from the best of Rea vs Bautista right here!

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