WorldSBK: Alvaro Bautista claims victory in the opening race at Portimao
Alvaro Bautista is back on top once again after dominating the opening racer of the weekend at Portimao
Jonathan Rea claimed pole position this morning in Portugal ahead of team-mate, Alex Lowes, and Toprak Razgatlioglu with Alvaro Bautista down in fourth.
As the lights went out it was Toprak Razgatlioglu who grabbed the hole-shot into turn one, leaving the rest of the field behind. Bautista launched himself into third with Lowes in second place and Rea in seventh place.
Lowes sent a move for the lead as he passed Razgatlioglu on the brakes into turn one at the start of lap two. Rea had made his way back into the leading group up to fourth place as he passed Michael van der Mark.
At the start of lap three Bautista had a look at taking second off of Razgatlioglu but lost out. However, Rea ended up passing Bautista promoting himself into third and demoting the reigning Champion to fourth.
It was carnage at the start of lap four as Razgatlioglu took back the lead, Bautista launched himself into second, Rea stayed in third and Lowes dropped back to fifth. But Reemy Gardner was the one to watch as the Australian was setting blistering lap times.
The battle between Bautista and Razgatlioglu bubbled up on lap five as The Spaniard took the lead off of the Turkish rider, but Razgatlioglu snatched it back a matter of moments later.
With 13 laps to go Bautista was back in the lead after following Razgatlioglu for the last lap. The Spaniard then began to increase his advantage for the next 13 laps.
The battle in the top three had died down but the battle for fourth was heating up. Alex Lowes was fourth place but got passed by van der Mark with nine laps to go.
With seven laps to go Razgatlioglu was trying to pile pressure onto Bautista to see if he would crumble like he did in Aragon. But the Spaniard held strong and responded to the Turkish riders lap times and used his speed advantage on the start-finish straight to hold Razgatlioglu behind.
Bautista was predictably the first rider to take the chequered flag at Portimao as he dominated the race and no mistakes today to stamp his authority back on the Championship. As the Spaniard also wrapped up the Manufacturers Championship for Ducati.
Toprak Razgatlioglu crossed the line in second place with Jonathan Rea further back behind him in third place.