Defending World Champion Alvaro Bautista took one more step closer to capturing the 2023 Superbike World Championship with a victory in Race One Saturday at Algarve International Circuit, in Portimao, Portugal. Riding his Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale V4 R, Bautista won the 20-lap race by 2.098 seconds.
Toprak Razgatlioglu was the runner-up on his Pata Yamaha Prometeon YZF-R1, and Jonathan Rea placed third on his factory Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR.
American Garrett Gerloff started the race 12th on his Bonovo Action BMW M 1000 RR and pushed forward to finish fourth overall, top BMW rider, and Top Independent rider.
More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
Ducati seals Manufacturers’ Title with Bautista’s Race 1 win in Portimao
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) showcased his Championship mettle in an electrifying Race 1 at Portimao, sealing a hard-fought victory to extend his lead in the standings by five points. It was Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) who initially grabbed the lead, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) making a jaw-dropping recovery after a Turn 3 incident. However, Bautista’s unwavering determination led him to overtake and secure his 22nd win of the season, closing in on the all-time Ducati record held by Carl Fogarty. Ducati also celebrated as Bautista’s win guaranteed them the 2023 Manufacturers’ Title.
In the fierce battle for fourth place, Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) emerged victorious ahead of Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team). Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) took the flag in seventh. The race also witnessed Andrea Locatelli’s (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) strong charge from the back of the grid to ninth place, setting the stage for an intriguing Tissot Superpole Race.
With his Race 1 win, Bautista further solidified his standing atop the Championship, now leading by 52 points.
P1 | Alvaro Bautista | Aruba.it Racing – Ducati
“For sure, today has been a really good day for Ducati because they won the Manufacturers’ Title. I’m so happy to be part of this success. Congratulations to all the Ducati family! I’m also happy from my side because today was a very difficult day for me. In the Superpole, we made a small change to the bike that didn’t work, and I couldn’t set a good lap time. But, in any case, I was confident for the race. Certainly, track conditions were tricky with the strong wind. The wind was different on every lap, and for me, it was difficult to understand and find reference points. At the beginning, I enjoyed the battle with Jonathan and Toprak. I took the lead. It was challenging for me to maintain the same pace as yesterday afternoon or this morning because the wind was too strong. Maybe it’s because I’m light, and I feel it more, but I tried to understand it and not make any mistakes. Toprak was pushing hard, I was keeping an eye on the gap, and it remained constant. Congratulations to him because he made a big improvement between yesterday and today, and he was able to match my race pace. As for me, I tried not to make any mistakes, and today I could win again, so I’m very happy.”
If Bautista wins both races on Sunday, Razgatlioglu must finish second to take the title fight to Jerez.
Currently third in the Championship, Rea added to his podium tally with a hard-fought third-place finish in Race 1.
Gerloff had an outstanding performance in Race 1 at Portimao, battling through the field to secure a fourth-place finish.