More, from a press release issued by Dorna WorldSBK Press Office:
Bautista claimed a last-ditch victory over Razgatlioglu at the finish line to extend his Championship lead
It was a thrilling battle between Bautista, Rea and Razgatlioglu with the Spanish rider keeping his closest rivals at bay
Race 1 highlights – WorldSBK
P1 – Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
Bautista claimed his fourth win of 2022 at the Circuito Estoril. The Spanish rider made his winning overtake on the finish line, finishing ahead of Razgatlioglu by just 0.126s after getting a better run off the final Turn 13 corner. Race 1 victory means he extends his Championship lead to a 27-point advantage over Rea.
“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.”
P2 – Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
After battling with Rea in the early stages of the race, the pair having switched position eight times from Lap 6, Razgatlioglu was denied victory by Bautista on the finish line. Razgatlioglu’s second place means he has been on the podium of all his races at the Circuito Estoril.
“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.”
P3 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
Rea finished third in Race 1 after battling with Razgatlioglu throughout the race. He was overtaken by Bautista on Lap 16 and Rea has not been able to maintain Bautista and Razgatlioglu’s rhythm. Nevertheless, he claimed the new Estoril lap record of 1’36.204s.
To note: Rea had a different tyre strategy to the leaders as he used Pirelli’s SC0 standard rear tyre, while Bautista and Razgatlioglu used the SCX
“It’s always interesting battling with Toprak. Our bikes are so evenly matched, Yamaha and Kawasaki, with the lap time. We make the difference in some areas of the track. It was really close in some areas. I felt like at one point I had the better rhythm, in the first 10 laps. I was trying to go to the front to go away, I could see Alvaro was approaching but he would always be so deep on the brakes in Turn 1 so there was a point where I couldn’t do anymore. Then I made a huge mistake at Turn 1 with a braking issue, I couldn’t create the issue with the front brake. It came right back, I jumped on the rear brake to stop the bike. I blew the corner and Alvaro went past. From that point, I just lost a little bit of track position and then I couldn’t really close the gap. I was by myself. With two laps to go, I decided to consolidate the position.”
P4 – Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
Andrea Locatelli was in fourth place for his fourth consecutive top four finish this season. He had been racing on his own as he finished 12.244s behind Rea but 2.028s clear of Vierge.
“It wasn’t an easy race for me today. On the first lap, I needed to overtake a lot and I lost the possibility to stay with Jonny and Toprak. In the end, I tried to push the maximum. We improved a lot with the bike compared to last year on this track so I’m so happy about it. We have lots of data to try to prepare the bike for tomorrow. I really hope we’ll have dry conditions to try to try to close a little more the gap. We are here for the podium.”
P5 – Xavi Vierge (Team HRC)
Starting from 11th on the grid, Vierge pipped his teammate to claim his first WorldSBK top five. Only 0.108s separated him from Lecuona.
“I am really happy! This morning, the Superpole was not easy for us, we are still struggling to take profit with the SCQ tyre, but we worked well. We knew we had good pace for the race, made a good start and kept pushing until the final laps and overtake some people. For sure, this is really positive for us. I can get to Iker and study him! I saw the point I could get to pass him, and I tried to in the final lap. We need to improve a bit on the exit of the corner; we had a very good feeling with the front, but it is really important at this track that, if we want to close the gap to the top guys, to find a little bit on the exit of the corner.”
P6 – Iker Lecuona (Team HRC)
Lecuona claimed his fourth top six in a row with a sixth place in Race 1.
“In general, it’s a very good race. I am happy with P6 but it’s true that in the last five laps I struggled a lot with the front tyre. All the race, I had a good pace; Xavi was behind me by about a second and I could stay with Scott Redding all the race. That was my plan and to try and save some tyre to attack. I watched the gap with Andrea Locatelli, and we didn’t recover a lot, so I preferred to stay behind. I went to overtake Redding in the last seven laps, his front tyre dropped and mine dropped a bit later. I can stay in P6, but I saved a lot of crashes during the race. I am happy with P6 and for Xavi; everything happened on the last lap, and I could do nothing! It’s a positive to have Xavi in front as we have more data. We know very well what we need to improve for tomorrow, so that’s the plan!”
Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was the first BMW rider in eighth despite having started from fourth on the grid.
Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) has been declared unfit for the remainder of the Estoril Round. The American rider suffered a deep wound on his left knee following a big highside at Turn 1 in FP3.
WorldSBK action resumes on Sunday from 09:00 (Local Time), followed by Tissot Superpole Race at 11:00 and Race 2 at 14:00.