All on the line for Razgatlioglu and Rea at Portimao
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) has a target on his back in Portimao ahead of Round 9 of the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. The Spanish rider heads into this round with a (somewhat) comfortable 59 point advantage over six-time World Champion Jonathan Rea, and Reigning World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu, who will both be fighting to redeem valuable lost points.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) will be looking at striking back at a circuit that has been one of his strongest in past years, and a circuit where Rea is deemed the most successful rider in terms of victories. In the back of his mind, Rea will know that this may be his last chance at taking big points out of Bautista’s Championship campaign, with hopes of a final round show down come Phillip Island in November.
Rea holds fond memories at Portimao, a circuit at which Rea has won at some 13 times, with a further eight podiums and nine poles. Rea is a ‘machine’ at Portimao, with his debut coming all the way back in 2008 when the circuit was first inaugurated by WorldSBK.
However, Rea’s current form in 2022 suggests that it won’t be a walk in the park, with no race wins to his name since the Championship’s last visit to Portugal at Estoril and he is keen to put an end to that. Despite his current race win drought, Rea has still shown that the pace is there to fight for the victory, but he’s not quite got the bike under him in the same way that Razgatlioglu and Bautista have had, and this could be his missing link of the winless puzzle.
Jonathan Rea: “Portimao is a great circuit, one that has a lot of special memories. The first ever WorldSBK race there in 2008, I was lucky enough to take part in my rookie Superbike race so it’s special memories. The circuit is very challenging. It has a lot of different characteristics from slow corners, fast corners, blinds apexes. There is a lot of rider input required.”
For Razgatlioglu, he will also be looking to clench back championship points against Bautista at a circuit that he too has fond memories at. A winner in the STK600 back in 2015, he repeated his success in 2017 in the STK1000 class. That year, he had a WorldSBK test at the circuit, where he was mentored on the day by Rea himself.
Then, in 2021, Razgatlioglu was a winner in the WorldSBK class in Race 1 in what was one of the best races of the season. Crashing out of contention in Race 2, the reigning World Champion knows that like Rea, he needs a good points haul in Portugal this season.
The Pirelli Portuguese Round will be one not to miss as the Championship contests their final European round.
2022 WorldSBK Current Championship Standings:
- Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) 394 points
- Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) 335 points
- Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) 327 points
- Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Ducati) 205 points
- Andrea Locatelli (Yamaha) 173 points
- Axel Bassani (Ducati) 170 points
- Alex Lowes (Kawasaki) 161 points
- Iker Lecuona (Honda) 158 points
- Scott Redding (BMW) 147 points
- Xavi Vierge (Honda) 99 points