Alvaro Bautista restored a portion of his 2023 WorldSBK Championship points’ advantage with a timely second victory of the weekend at Motorland Aragon in Sunday’s final encounter.
The Spaniard found himself on the back foot coming into the second day of race action after throwing away the chance of a maximum points’ haul in Race 1 when he slid off while leading.
However, after thrashing out a satisfying victory during the Superpole Race earlier in the day, Bautista was back to his composed, meticulous best en route to a comfortable 21st WorldSBK win of the season in Race 2.
Closest title rival Toprak Razgatlioglu softened the impact of Bautista’s win by trailing home a distant second on the Pata Yamaha, meaning he ends the weekend closer to his rival in the championship battle than he started it.
However, with 47 points still splitting the pair, he is running out of time now over the final two rounds to prevent the Aruba Ducati rider from making it back-to-back titles.
Though Bautista would this time get away from pole position by virtue of his Superpole Race win, it was Jonathan Rea who’d make it three-from-three holeshots into Turn 1, with Andrea Locatelli getting the jump on team-mate Razgatlioglu through the first turn before calming a squirming Yamaha R1 just enough to make a move on Bautista stick for second.
Revelling in the momentum of his strong getaway, Locatelli chased on after Rea at the start of lap two, levering his rival wide enough to nose into the lead, with Bautista in hot pursuit. Wasting no time in cutting Locatelli’s party short out front, Bautista ducked through moments later at Turn 4.
From here Bautista got his head down to steadily eke out his advantage over his opposition, which soon comprised both Pata Yamahas, Razgatlioglu trailing Locatelli but pulling away from Rea.
With Rea fading into the clutches of Michael Ruben Rinaldi as the race hit the half-way mark, the Ducati rider’s ascension to fourth spurred him on to begin reeling in the Yamahas ahead, which in turn gave Razgatlioglu the hurry up to move ahead of his Italian counterpart.
Getting the move done on with eight laps to go, it would prove elementary anyway as the tell-tale signs of smoking emerging from Locatelli’s R1 soon escalated to a terminal technical issue, putting him out of the race.
Rinaldi picked up the pace but couldn’t make gains on Razgatlioglu, the Turk settling for a solid second around a circuit he is yet to win a race on during his WorldSBK career.
Rea ended a positive weekend with fourth on the factory Kawasaki, ahead of Axel Bassani, who enjoyed a more bountiful final race of the weekend to further his advantage in the independents’ standings, a task helped further by a DNF for closest rival Danilo Petrucci.
Honda’s strongest outing for some time concluded with Iker Lecuona in sixth and Xavi Vierge in eighth, the pair being split by Philipp Oettl in seventh, while Remy Gardner flew the flag for GRT Yamaha in ninth after Dominique Aegerter struggled with physical issues owing to crashes at Magny-Cours and in practice in Aragon.
Top BMW was again Garrett Gerloff in tenth position, leading home Michael van der Mark in 11th, with the hobbled Aegerter in 12th heading up two more M 1000 RRs, Loris Baz leading Scott Redding. The final point went the way of Florian Marino, his first and only digit of his deputy weekend for the injured Alex Lowes at the Kawasaki Racing Team.
|2023 Aragon WorldSBK | Motorland Aragon | Race 2 Results | Round 10 of 12|
|1||Alvaro Bautista||🇪🇸||Aruba Ducati||Ducati Panigale V4 R||18 Laps|
|2||Toprak Razgatlioglu||🇹🇷||Pata Crescent Racing||Yamaha R1||+4.064|
|3||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||🇮🇹||Aruba Ducati||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+7.109|
|4||Jonathan Rea||🇬🇧||Kawasaki Racing Team||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+14.007|
|5||Axel Bassani||🇮🇹||Motocorsa Racing||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+15.270|
|6||Iker Lecuona||🇪🇸||Team HRC||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+17.104|
|7||Philipp Oettl||🇩🇪||Go Eleven||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+18.152|
|8||Xavi Vierge||🇪🇸||Team HRC||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+18.574|
|9||Remy Gardner||🇦🇺||GYTR GRT||Yamaha R1||+19.940|
|10||Garrett Gerloff||🇺🇲||Bonovo Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||+22.509|
|11||Michael van der Mark||🇳🇱||BMW Motorrad WorldSBK||BMW M 1000 RR||+23.129|
|12||Dominique Aegerter||🇨🇭||GYTR GRT||Yamaha R1||+27.041|
|13||Loris Baz||🇫🇷||Bonovo Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||+27.818|
|14||Scott Redding||🇬🇧||BMW Motorrad WorldSBK||BMW M 1000 RR||+32.000|
|15||Florian Marino||🇫🇷||Kawasaki Racing Team||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+34.509|
|16||Lorenzo Baldassarri||🇮🇹||GMT 94||Yamaha R1||+34.821|
|17||Bradley Ray||🇬🇧||Motoxracing||Yamaha R1||+36.678|
|18||Tito Rabat||🇪🇸||Puccetti Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+42.804|
|19||Eric Granado||🇧🇷||MIE Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+51.427|
|20||Isaac Vinales||🇪🇸||TPR by Vinales Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+51.690|
|21||Oliver Konig||🇨🇿||Orelac Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+1m 06.208|
|DNF||Andrea Locatelli||🇮🇹||Pata Crescent Racing||Yamaha R1|
|DNF||Danilo Petrucci||🇮🇹||Barni Spark Racing||Ducati Panigale V4 R|
|DNF||Hafizh Syahrin||🇲🇾||MIE Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|DNF||Gabriele Ruiu||🇮🇹||B-Max Racing||BMW M 1000 RR|