WorldSBK Catalunya: Bautista dominates the opening race of the weekend
After qualifying on pole and setting the pace nearly all weekend Bautista claims the opening victory of the weekend in Race One
Alvaro Bautista started the opening race of the weekend from Pole Position on his Aruba.it Racing – Ducati. Alongside the Spaniard on the front row was Dominique Aegerter in second on board the GRT Yamaha, and Jonathan Rea in third on his factory Kawasaki.
As the lights went out it was Bautista who grabbed the holeshot and led the race into Turn One on the first lap of the race. Following closely behind was Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Rea. The big movers at the start of the race was the two Factory Yamaha bikes of Andrea Locatelli and Toprak Razgatlioglu, both riders jumped up the order to fourth and fifth.
The start of Lap Two saw the Pata Yamaha’s battling it out for fourth as Razgatlioglu passed Locatelli into Turn One. After a grid penalty Scott Redding launched from 16th on the grid to 11th on Lap Two.
On Lap Four of the race Eric Granado crashed out of the race and bought out a Red Flag to bring the race to a halt. Granado was stretchered away from the circuit to an ambulance but was moving and talking to medical staff.
Race One was restarted with a new distance of 17 laps. At the restart it was Bautista who started from pole with Rinaldi and Rea lining up alongside him on the front row.
At the second start it was Bautista who claimed the holeshot once again as he led a Ducati 1-2-3. Tucked in behind the Championship Leader was Rinaldi and Axel Bassani.
The opening lap of the restart saw Scott Redding and Lorenzo Baldassarri crash out of the race.
Bassani and Rinaldi began a war between each other on the second lap. The battle between the two Italians is personal as Bassani wants Rinaldi’s bike for the 2024 season. Later in the lap Bassani took Rinaldi out of the race after contact between the pair.
Lap Five of the race saw Bautista checking out at the front as he disappeared from the view of second place man, Bassani. Rea was sat in third with Razgatlioglu hot on his heels.
Bassani was given a Long Lap Penalty at the start of Lap Six for his incident with Rinaldi and took his penalty at the start of the lap and rejoined in fifth place.
On Lap Seven a battle between Rea and Razgatlioglu was bubbling away as the Yamaha rider was hot on the heels of the Kawasaki man and was lining up his opportunity. Bassani passed Locatelli for fourth place further behind the second and third place runners.
Further back the battle for ninth was the major battle on track with eight laps to go. Remy Gardner on the Yamaha, Xavi Vierge on the Honda and Garrett Gerloff on the BMW were battling hard for ninth, tenth and eleventh.
Lap 11 saw Alex Lowes crash out of the race, a week after his brother Sam Lowes took victory in Moto2 in Jerez, the other Lowes brother has not had the same fortunes in World Superbikes.
The battles late on the race were all occurring off the podium with Locatelli, Aegerter and Bassani battling it out for fourth place. Then even further back Vierge, Gardner, Gerloff and Danilo Petrucci were all scrapping for eighth.
On the Last Lap of the race Razgatlioglu got passed Rea into Turn One. Rea was not going to give the position away to the Turkish rider and was desperately searching for a way passed the Yamaha.
Bautista crossed the line eight seconds ahead of the riders behind and claimed an outstanding victory. Razgatioglu and Rea both stood on the podium once again as they finished second and third place.