Alvaro Bautista was back to his best on the Aruba.it Ducati as he dominated Sunday’s Superpole race at Motorland Aragon by over five seconds.
The Spaniard claimed his first WorldSBK victory in over two years in determined style on home soil as the three-rider podium battle behind remained fierce to the last. Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea maintained his early lead in the championship standings with a hard-fought second with Pata Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu stealing third in the dying seconds from the second factory Ducati of Michael Rinaldi.
The sprint race fired up with Saturday’s podium sitters commanding the grid, but in reverse order. The Honda’s opting for the new SCQ tyre with the front two rows on hard option Pirelli rubber.
Razgatlioglu launched from pole as the lights went out, maintaining the holeshot advantage as the trio remained in qualifying order through the opening corners before Bautista took charge. KRT’s Alex Lowes held tight to the front group as he battled the second Ducati and Yamaha machines of Rinaldi and Andrea Locatelli before a mistake sent him wide and down to sixth.
Bautista pulled a half second gap after two frantic laps, Rea on the wheels of Razgatlioglu with Rinaldi the same again further back in fourth. Lowes and Locatelli one second adrift in the battle for fifth.
Rinaldi struck for the final podium position with seven laps to go before Rea hit back. Bautista now pushing towards a two second advantage out front as the trio behind continued the fight. Rea back to second next time around as Ilya Mikhalchik’s strong weekend came undone from outside the top ten with a crash at turn five.
Razgatlioglu ran second with Rinaldi bettering Rea for third before the Northern Irishman hit back at mid race distance. The Ducati now three seconds clear out front as he emulated his 2019 dominance once more.
Further back Locatelli continued to hold off Lowes with Axel Bassani heading the pair of Hondas. Iker Lecuona leading his teammate Xavi Vierge in the all-important top nine. Garett Gerloff completing the top ten from Eugene Laverty, who headed a trio of BMW’s.
Handbags with three laps to go saw Rinaldi through on Rea for second as Ducati locked out the front of the race. Razgatlioglu regrouping in fourth as Lowes dispatched Locatelli for fifth, albeit six seconds adrift of the podium fight.
Rea returned to second on the penultimate lap, as Locatelli did likewise for top five honours. Bautista meeting the flag with a five second advantage as Rea secured second to maintain his championship lead. A last corner move denied Rinaldi the podium as Razgatlioglu claimed third, Locatelli beating Lowes to the line by a mere 0.091s.
Bassani sat seventh as the Superpole race concluded with Lecuona and Vierge completing the qualifying top nine from Gerloff, Laverty, Scott Redding and Loris Baz.