BAUTISTA COMPLETES SPANISH HAT-TRICK AT CATALUNYA ROUND 8
victory at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for Round 8 – Catalunya Round, further extending his advantage in the overall standings.
Alvaro Bautista was the stand-out rider at the Catalunya Round, becoming the first WorldSBK rider to cross the line with three wins in Barcelona, finishing Race 2 with an 8 second gap over his teammate Michael Rubin Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
Marking his first hat-trick since 2019, Bautista now has a healthy lead in the 2022 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship, with a 59-point lead of reigning World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK).
Alvaro Bautista: “It seems like an easy weekend but, in reality, there was nothing easy. I’m so happy to have won three races here, especially because I think the competition is so high and even more difficult than three years ago. Saturday and Sunday, in the long race, I tried to manage the tyres and keep the pace. I felt quite comfortable. In the end, I don’t like to think about the Championship. I didn’t think about it at the beginning and I don’t think about it now. For me, the important thing is that I’m enjoying the bike a lot. I’m enjoying every practice, every single lap, every single race. Let’s keep this mentality and see what happens at the end. I’m just trying to enjoy the moment, celebrate the victory, to reset when things come back and just race and enjoy.”
Finishing Race 2 in second place, Michael Ruben Rinaldi crossed the line ahead of Razgatlioglu making it a 1-2 for Ducati at Barcelona, with this result also marking Rinaldi’s 14th podium. Rinaldi remains in fourth overall with a 32-point advantage over Andrea Locatelli.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi: ““We knew yesterday that our expectation was the podium. But unfortunately, I made a mistake in qualifying, and I started tenth. Then the race was a bit compromised, but the speed was there. The strategy in the Superpole Race was to start Race 2 in the first two rows and I did it. Today, I really enjoyed the race because I started well. But Jonny and Axel pushed hard during the whole race. I had to battle hard but at the same time manage the tyre because we knew what happened yesterday. I did it and I’m happy because I had a good pace. I didn’t have the pace of Alvaro but in the end I’m really happy about this second place because it’s the second in a row.”
It was a difficult weekend for the reigning World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu, with a fifth-place finish in Race 1, and a needed podium finish in Race 2 crossing the chequered flag in third. Razgatlioglu remains second in the overall championship hunt, with an 8-point gap over Jonathan Rea.
Toprak Razgatlioglu: “Today, my plan was just follow Jonny and Bassani and Rinaldi, because I know Alvaro is very fast. Today, I wanted to keep the rear tyre because I understood that first position was not possible in this race. I focused on second and third position. I am very happy that we’re back on the podium. I am not focused on the Championship; I am just looking race by race. Portimao is a very good track for me and also Jonny is very strong, Alvaro is very strong. We are fighting again. Argentina will be a little bit difficult because of the very long straight, which is better for the Ducati, but I will keep fighting. I love Indonesia, and I think we are fighting for the win in Indonesia. Australia, I don’t know! We have many races and the Championship is not finished.”
Misfortune continues for Jonathan Rea at Round 8 for the Catalunya Round. It wasn’t the race win that Rea was hoping for, but he managed to finish on the podium in both Race 1 and Superpole in second place. But in Race 2 while Rea was fighting for a podium position, drama struck on lap 16 as he ran wide at Turn 7 in what Rea described as hitting neutral. Rea managed to ‘ram’ it back into gear and stay upright, and pass Bassani back to cross the line in fourth place.
Jonathan Rea: “The race was under control compared to our expectations until six laps to go. I was just behind Rinaldi, starting to plot how the end of the race would play out and I went into seven, found neutral but I was coming from fourth to third to second. But equally satisfied with our position. We had nothing for Alvaro this weekend. He was incredible, on a different level. But I felt like we got a lot from our bike, we even improved the settings of the bike at a circuit that is very difficult for us but we’ve still been able to fight.”
Rea now sits in third place in the standings with 327 points, leaving him 67-points behind leader Bautista.
P1 Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) 394 points
P2 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) 335 points
P3 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) 327 points
P4 Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Ducati) 205 points
P5 Andrea Locatelli (Yamaha) 173 points
P6 Axel Bassani (Ducati) 170 points
P7 Alex Lowes (Kawasaki) 161 points
P8 Iker Lecuona (Honda) 158 points
P9 Scott Redding (BMW) 147 points
P10 Xavi Vierge (Honda) 99 points