Misano WorldSBK: Bautista heads double Ducati podium

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Alvaro Bautista secured his fifth win of the 2022 season on Aruba.it Ducati’s home soil after a dominant performance at Misano World Circuit.

The Spaniard completed his pole, circuit record and victory set with the fastest race lap record on the 18th of 21 around the 4.2km on his way to a five-second win. Teammate Michael Rinaldi continued the team’s celebrations with the final podium position, three seconds behind KRT’s Jonathan Rea.

Bautista commanded the WorldSBK grid for the first time since Argentina 2019, firmly cementing his successful return to the Ducati fold at the manufacturer’s only home round this season. Pata Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu and Rea completed the front row with the second riders from the top three teams locking out the row behind, headed by Alex Lowes.

Track temperatures of 45℃ greeted the pack as the lights released, Razgatlioglu grabbing the holeshot from Bautista and Rea with Lowes maintaining his fourth position ahead of a trio of Italians. Rinaldi was through on the second KRT machine for fourth as the lap unfolded with Motocorsa’s Axel Bassani doing likewise shortly after, the top trio battling hard from the off.

The reigning champion held fast at the front as lap two began, Lowes dropping to eighth after Andrea Locatelli pushed him wide and Xavi Vierge swept through to capitalise. GRT Yamaha’s Garett Gerloff and Bonovo BMW’s Loris Baz completed the top ten after two laps of action.

Rea took charge with an aggressive move up the inside at turn nine next time around. The leading group holding seven riders as Bassani got his claws into the front runners. Bautista struck for second through Curvone with Bassani now just a tenth off Razgatlioglu in the battle for third.

Philipp Oettl’s strong showing ended early with an off at La Quercia after five laps dispatched. Bassani unable to match the pace at the front with the Yamaha also beginning to fade. Bautista, however, ramping up and looking to hassle the Kawasaki for overall dominance.

The leading duo was inseparable at one-third distance as Rea continued to answer any moves from the hounding Ducati. Razgatlioglu regrouped on the wheels of the battle and was firmly clear of the Italian train behind with Lowes looking to find a way through on Vierge for seventh. The Honda finally dispatched as lap nine counted down.

BMax BMW’s Gabriele Ruiu was the next to succumb to the Adriatic circuit as Rea pulled a gap out front. Bassani falling under threat from a hard-charging Rinaldi with Locatelli finding Lowes for company at the halfway stage.

The leading pair were two abreast down the home straight before the Kawasaki held the advantage at turn one, Rinaldi making a move stick on Bassani for fourth as Lowes took another look at Locatelli.

Bautista braved a move through the fastest corner on the circuit to take control, the Ducati pushing hard to build a gap with Rea digging deep to remain in touch. Razgatlioglu retiring his Yamaha out of the action with a technical at turn 16 with seven laps to go.

The duo was released out front as Bautista maintained his advantage. Rinaldi collecting the final podium position and setting personal best laps but with a five-second deficit, further progression looked limited.

Bautista set a new fastest lap with five to go as Rea faded to nearly a second adrift of the Panigale. Lowes capturing fifth over his former steed, with Gerloff battling Lecuona for eighth further back. Scott Redding ran tenth as the race counted down from fellow BMW rider Baz, albeit with a seven-second buffer either side. The Frenchman’s Bonovo teammate Eugene Laverty holding 14th with Hafizh Syahrin in the final points position.

Two to go and Bautista’s lead was a dominant four seconds as Ducati prepared to celebrate a home victory just an hour away from HQ. Laverty bettering his teammate for 13th with Luca Bernardi moving into the points as the final lap fired up.

The Spaniard met the flag five seconds clear of the six-time champion, adding victory to his pole position and circuit record for the successful Saturday set. Rinaldi rounded out the podium from Bassani, Lowes and Locatelli with Vierge, Gerloff, Lecuona and Redding completing the top ten.

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