WorldSBK Catalunya: Bautista completes perfect set at home

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Aruba.it Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista celebrated a perfect treble on home soil with a commanding victory in Sunday’s final WorldSBK race at Barcelona.

While the Spaniard claimed his first clean sweep since 2019, the party continued for the Bologna factory as Michael Rinaldi completed the set in second. Pata Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu taking his first podium of the weekend, in third.

The final feature race of the Catalan weekend kicked off with Bautista in pole position following his Superpole victory earlier in the day. Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes back on the front row but in reverse order compared to the previous clash with reigning champion Razgatlioglu behind in fourth.

Lights out and Bautista maintained control from his hard-charging teammate as Rinaldi arrived in second. Rea and Razgatlioglu battling for third as Lowes dropped to fifth with Honda’s Xavi Vierge behind in sixth.

Lowes’ successful weekend came to an early conclusion as the Brit slid out at turn ten, Scott Redding down on the BMW four corners later - and sent to the medical centre for checks on his bruised chest.

Ducati locked out the lead as Bautista held a second’s advantage over Rinaldi with Rea advancing hard on the Aruba’s wheels. Motocorsa’s Axel Bassani picking off Razgatlioglu for fourth as the second Pata Yamaha of Andrea Locatelli led Honda’s Iker Lecuona, GoEleven’s Philipp Oettl and Bonovo’s Loris Baz in the top ten.

Rea was into second as lap three began. Rinaldi hitting back at turn four as Locatelli became the next victim of the hot Barcelona circuit, from seventh.

Bassani was in podium contention as he dispatched the Kawasaki into the path of his title-rival. The Honda duo narrowly behind with second to nine covered by just two seconds.

Bautista’s lead was up to 2.6s after five laps of action. An all-Italian battle playing out for second as Bassani made the pass stick at turn five. Rinaldi ran wide as Rea took a look at the Panigale with the number 21 recovering in time to protect the order. The quartet breaking away from the pack as they gapped the Hondas by two seconds on lap seven.

The podium was finally in Rea’s grasp next time around before once again Rinaldi struck back. Bautista a dominant five seconds out front as the second half of the race approached. Bassani losing then regaining second as the lap concluded with positions switching again down the straight.

Razgatlioglu was through to fourth as Rea found himself in fifth after an ambitions turn one move. The Northern Irishman regrouping from a half-second deficit as the trio ahead pulled away.

Disappointment for GRT Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff found Saturday’s podium sitter crashing out with nine to go. The American losing out at turn one from the edge of the top ten. Luca Bernardi promoted into the position with BMW’s Michael van der Mark and Puccetti Kawasaki’s Lucas Mahias four seconds behind.

Razgatlioglu was on a podium charge as the race counted down. The Pata Yamaha up to third on Bassani before Rea bettered them both with a fifth to third move at turn one.

Six to go and the lead was seven seconds clear, as Bautista continued his domination on home soil. The Ducati rider pulling another second next time around as the podium battle cooled behind.

A mistake for Rea dropped Rea back to fifth as Razgatlioglu and Bassani capitalised. The KRT rider back through on the Ducati but with a two-second deficit to his rival left to bridge.

The penultimate lap unfolded with 9.3s between Bautista and his teammate. Razgatlioglu a further half a second behind with Rea failing to recover from the earlier deficit as he settled for fourth in the closing stages.

A triple victory was secured by an incredible near-ten second lead before the Spaniard rolled off in his celebrations. Rinaldi crossing the line eight-second back with Razgatlioglu completing the podium in third. Rea headed Bassani and Vierge as Oettl split the Hondas in seventh. Lecuona, Baz and Roberto Tamburini completed the top ten with Bernardi, Mahias, van der Mark, Eugene Laverty and Kohta Nozane finishing in the final points positions.

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