Toprak Takes his Ninth Victory to Close in on Championship Leader Alvaro Bautista.
It’s round nine of the World Superbike Championship from Portimao. Jonathan Rea was in pole position for the fifth time of the 2022 season, Toprak Razgatlioglu qualified in second place, with Alex Lowes qualifying in the third place. Alvaro Bautista had his lap time cancelled due to a yellow flag infringement; the Spaniard ended Superpole in ninth position; however, all yellow flagged laps were reinstated, and that meant Bautista started from fourth place.
Race one was reduced to 14 laps due to a delay in the schedule, the Supersport 300 class race was red flagged due to an incident involving Victor Steeman and Jose Luis Perez Gonzalez.
Jonathan Rea lead the field of 26 riders into turn one, Lowes was on the back wheel of Toprak, Lowes made his move for second place at turn five and made the move stick, just what Rea needed from his team-mate.
Axel Bassani was up to fourth place and on the move, Toprak took second place from Lowes; Bassani then took the third-place position from the British rider Lowes. Alex was losing momentum as he was then passed by Alvaro Bautista.
Eleven laps remaining to the race and Toprak was just 0.4s behind the race leader Rea. Locatelli and Scott Redding were dicing for sixth place. Bassani started to catch the leading duo and was bringing Bautista with him.
Toprak took the lead at turn one on lap six, the Turkish rider did his usual late breaking maneuver to gain the lead of the race. Alvaro made a move on Bassani for third place at turn three on lap eight, Bassani fought to keep the third-place position, but Alvaro won the battle.
With six laps to go the front group consisted of five riders from Toprak to Alex Lowes. Bautista was on the move and had second Rea’s second place in his sight, with a gap of 0.1s between the two riders. Bautista took the second place on the start finish straight but ran wide at turn one giving Rea the second place back.
Bautista made the same move on Rea a lap later and made the pass stick and held on to second place. There was a 1.5s gap from Toprak to Bautista, did Alvaro have enough in the tank to catch the Yamaha rider? Bassani and Lowes were battling for fourth place enabling Rea to get away and secure his third-place finish.
Toprak crossed the finish line to take his ninth victory of the season, Bautista finished in second place with Rea third, Bassani won the battle for fourth place, Lowes was fifth. Scott Redding crashed at turn five on the final lap.
There are 54 points between Bautista and Toprak now in the championship standings, Rea is in third place on 343 points.
Featured Images: Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WSBK, WSBK.com.