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Rachit Thukral

Barcelona WSBK: Bautista leads Kawasaki duo in Superpole race

As was the case in Saturday’s opening contest, there was little polesitter Iker Lecuona could do little to hold on the lead as Bautista rocketed to the front from the middle of the second row.

There was more drama for the Honda rider as he crashed out from the race on a frantic opening lap that also saw Andrea Locatelli retire from third with a technical issue, leaving Kawasaki duo Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea behind Bautista’s Ducati.

For the first part of the 10-lap event, Lowes and Rea kept the pressure up on the Spaniard, trying to make sure he remained within striking distance for a late attack.

But Bautista slowly but steadily started pulling away from the Kawasakis and by lap 6 he had built up an advantage of a full one second.

This meant that he could cruise to the finish line, securing his second consecutive victory of the Barcelona weekend by 1.185s.

Having swapped places with teammate Lowes on the opening lap, Rea was able to repass the 32-year-old at the start of the final tour to claim second and limit the damage in the standings to runaway leader Bautista.

Razgatlioglu suffered a horror start on his Yamaha from eighth on the grid and dropped outside of the top 10, leaving him with a mountain to climb in the rest of the race.

Although he was able to dispatch his rivals with relative ease, by the time he had passed Michael Ruben Rinaldi’s Ducati for fourth on lap five the top three had pulled out a gap of over two seconds.

That meant he had no chances to salvage a podium or book a spot on the front row of the grid for Sunday’s final full-distance race, the Turkish rider eventually settling for fourth position.

It puts Bautista a full 50 points clear of the reigning champion with the final Barcelona race and four more rounds still to run, with Rea another four points adrift on his works Kawasaki.

Fifth place in the race went to Rinaldi, while GoEleven Ducati’s Philipp Oettl led a pack of riders in sixth to secure the best result of his fledgling WSBK career.

Xaxi Vierge shadowed Oettl aboard the sole surviving works Honda and was followed by the factory BMW of Scott Redding, while Bonovo rider Loris Baz snatched the all-important ninth position on the final turn from GRT Yamaha rider Garrett Gerloff.

Axel Bassani finished outside the points in 16th after running off the track at Turn 1 while being part of the same group of riders as Oettl, Vierge and Redding.

Redding’s teammate Michael van der Mark joined Honda’s Lecuona in the list of retirees. The Dutchman was trying to avoid the satellite BMW of Eugene Laverty when he went straight at Turn 7, before dropping his BMW in the gravel trap.

Race results:

Cla # Rider Bike Gap
1 19 Spain Alvaro Bautista Ducati  
2 65 United Kingdom Jonathan Rea Kawasaki 1.185
3 22 United Kingdom Alex Lowes Kawasaki 1.377
4 1 Turkey Toprak Razgatlioglu Yamaha 5.088
5 21 Italy Michael Ruben Rinaldi Ducati 9.016
6 5 Germany Philipp Oettli Ducati 10.506
7 97 Spain Xavi Vierge Honda 10.637
8 45 United Kingdom Scott Redding BMW 10.947
9 76 France Loris Baz BMW 14.575
10 31 United States Garrett Gerloff Yamaha 14.601
11 44 France Lucas Mahias Kawasaki 17.326
12 29 San Marino Luca Bernardi Ducati 17.644
13 3 Japan Kohta Nozane Yamaha 19.942
14 50 Ireland Eugene Laverty BMW 20.672
15 2 Italy Roberto Tamburini Yamaha 20.723
16 47 Italy Axel Bassani Ducati 20.886
17 23 France Christophe Ponsson Yamaha 23.918
18 99 Oscar Gutierrez Kawasaki 25.744
19 36 Argentina Leandro Mercado Honda 25.759
20 52 Czech Republic Oliver Konig Kawasaki 37.666
21 55 Italy Andrea Locatelli Yamaha 45.370
  60 Netherlands Michael van der Mark BMW  
  7 Spain Iker Lecuona Honda  
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