Round 11 WorldSBK Portimao, Portugal, Race 2

The earlier Superpole race saw Alvaro Bautista ( Racing Ducati) claim his 2nd win of the weekend, followed by Pata Yamaha Prometeon team mates of Toprak Razgatlioglu, and Andrea Locatelli in 2nd, and 3rd respectively.

Would Bautista be able to make it 3 wins from 3?

WorldSBK Portimao 01.10.2023 Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

Lights out for race 2, and Toprak aggressive as always from the off took the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Bautista, and Gardner (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) who cut up the inside of Locatelli to take 3rd. Meanwhile further back, drama for Xavi Vierge (Honda HRC), who went off line, taking both Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), and Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) off track along with him. All three riders however were able to rejoin.

Next lap of the 20 lap race, and Bautista attacked Toprak into turn 1, however he eased off the throttle and didn’t make the move stick. Positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Bautista 3. Gardner 4. Locatelli 5. Rinaldi ( Racing Ducati) 6. Lecuona (Honda HRC) 7. Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 8. Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 9. Vd Mark (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 10. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing).

With 18 laps left, Rinaldi was looking quick and stuffed his Ducati up the inside of an unsuspecting Gardner to take 3rd. Locatelli 4th, and Gardner dropped down to 5th.

As was the case in the earlier Superpole race, both Bautista, and Toprak had pulled away from the rest of the field, the others unable to match the blistering pace being set at the front. Rinaldi in 3rd was 1.6s behind his team mate.

With 16 laps remaining, Bautista was rehearsing his overtake on Toprak, getting ahead down the straight, before easing off into turn 1. Meanwhile further back it was 7. Gardner 8. Bassani 9. Petrucci 10. Aegerter (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team).

Next lap and Bautista made the move he rehearsed the previous few laps count. He eased into the lead down the straight and took the position into turn 1. Toprak however was having none of it, and stuffed his R1 under the Ducati into turn 5, rear sliding out as he retook the lead.

Meanwhile Garrett Gerloff put in the new fastest lap with a 1:40.829. Further back Rea was up to 14th, but was subsequently given a long lap penalty for dangerous riding. Rinaldi then put in the new fastest lap with a 1:40.738.

With 13 laps to go, it was the turn of Bautista to put in the new fastest lap with a 1:40.4, and extended his lead to 0.3s in the process. Meanwhile Rinaldi had a gap of 1.7s to Toprak.

Approaching the half way point of the race, and Toprak struck, slamming his R1 up the inside of Bautista’s Ducati into turn 13 with a perfect block pass. However, Bautista responded by blasting past the R1 down the straiight. As has been the story all season, the Yamaha had no answer to the outright speed of the Ducati. Toprak, late on the brakes into turn 1, somehow retook the lead. A real battle was unfolding.

Rinaldi in 3rd was struggling to match the pace at the front, and was losing contact, with the gap extended to 1.9s.

Just at the half way point of the race, and drama for the Aussie, Gardner who had a mechanical, and was forced to retire. Positions at the half way stage were as follows; 1. Bautista 2. Toprak 3. Rinaldi 4. Locatelli 5. Gerloff 6. Lecuona 7. Petrucci 8. Aegerter 9. Oettl 10. Bassani.

With 9 laps remaining, Toprak was back in front, the lead now swapping virtually every lap. The gap between them was only 0.2s, this would no doubt go down to the wire.

With 7 laps to go, Bautista again blasted past Toprak down the straight and back into the lead. Meanwhile further back, Rea was up to 13th, and Redding 14th. At the front Toprak cut under Bautista into turn 13, before Bautista retook the lead into turn 1 the next lap, however he ran wide and Toprak retook the lead. This was breathtaking racing!

With only 5 laps left, Gerloff was having another superb race, and was all over the back of Locatelli and looking for the pass. With the constant swapping of positions ahead of him, Rinaldi had managed to claw back ground, and was closing in. Toprak held a lead of 0.2s in front.

Next lap, and Bautista again retook the lead down the straight and into turn 1. Then into turn 13, a favourite for Toprak, he jammed it up the the inside of Bautista with a neat pass to retake the lead.

With 3 laps remaining, Bautista was back in front, powering down the straight and into the lead into turn 1. Toprak was in no mood to settle for 2nd and, stuffed it up the inside of Bautista into turn 5. The move caught the Spaniard out, and his bike jerked violently as he sat it upright briefly. This race was still anyone’s to call. Meanwhile further back Rea was up to 11th.

Down to the penultimate lap, and Bautista again took the lead down the long straight, however as he had done before, he went wide, and Toprak went through the gap he left. This was edge of your seat racing, incredible stuff from two champions giving it absolutely everything.

Last lap, and as they had been for the past 20 laps, they were both still locked together in a bitter dog fight. Bautista took the lead again down the straight, before Toprak dived up the inside, nearly losing the front end in the process. Approaching the last few sets of corners, and Toprak was ahead, ringing the neck out of his R1, then onto the long right hander, Toprak still ahead, Bautista got the drive out of the last corner and powered past Toprak and across the line to take the win. Sensational racing, Toprak however was furious, and smashed his screen repeatedly. He had given everything, and yet it wasn’t enough to beat the flawless pairing of Bautista, and the Ducati.

WorldSBK Portimao 01.10.2023 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Rinaldi 3rd, Gerloff 4th, Locatelli 5th, Petrucci 6th, Lecuona 7th, Aegerter 8th, Oettl (GoEleven Racing) 9th, Rea 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista ( Racing Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team)
  3. Rinaldi ( Racing Ducati)
  4. Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW)
  5. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 566
  2. Razgatlioglu -506
  3. Rea – 350

The championship will go down to the final round in Jerez, Spain.

Share the passion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

©2014-2024 ThePitCrewOnline