Separated by exactly 0.126 seconds, Alvaro Bautista stunned the crowd with a photo finish over Toprak Razgatlioglu in Race 1 of the World Superbike (WSBK) Championship race in Estoril.
This win marks Bautista’s fourth win since the 2022 WSBK season opened and his first victory at Estoril. Thanks to the win, Bautista further extends his championship lead over the rest of the competitors.
During the early laps of the race, Toprak Razgatlioglu had a good start leading into turn one. OBE awardee, Jonathan Rea, meanwhile, was behind him in second place, battling it out and jostling for the top spot. It was a heated battle between the two with multiple overtakes and even some contact that made for some intense action. While Razgatlioglu and Rea were fighting in front, Bautista crept up from behind them and waited for his chance to strike. An error on Rea’s part in the later parts of the race allowed Bautista to overtake Rea and have Razgatlioglu in his sights.
It was lap 16 where Rea ran wide trying to find an opening against Razgatlioglu. Because of his mistake, Rea dropped to third while Bautista moved within striking distance for the top spot. Bautista and Razgatlioglu continued to fight for the top spot all until the very last lap of the race where Bautista found an opening and secured the win with a last corner pass.
The win is Bautista’s 20th in total for his WSBK career, and his fourth in the 2022 WSBK season. Currently, the leader of the pack, Bautista extended his lead to 27 points over Rea and 50 over Razgatlioglu. The win was also Ducati’s 380th victory in the WSBK.
Race 2 saw Rea bounce back after his third-place finish in the first outing. It was still the same trio in the second race with Bautista, Razgatlioglu, and Rea leading the pack. Razgatlioglu dropped back from both Bautista and Rea and settled for third place. The fight between Rea and Bautista was hard-fought, and things heated up for both with either racer seeming like they’d win. Ultimately, Rea won the bout and now has a total of 117 WSBK wins to his name and 223 podiums, while Kawasaki inches closer to its 500-win milestone.