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WorldSBK Aragon: Rea rescues victory with last corner move

Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea faced 2019 flashbacks as he battled Alvaro Bautista for the entirety of the WorldSBK season opener.

The Aruba.it Ducati man was in touch until the final seconds as the pair crossed the line 0.09s apart with Pata Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu settling for an uncharacteristically distant third.

2022 Superbike World Championship race action roared to life in the Spanish mountains with reigning champion Razgatlioglu launching from pole ahead of the 18-lap contest. Four months of preseason testing coming to fruition as Bautista rejoined the Ducati squad from the front row alongside six-time title holder Rea.


The wind picked up as the race prepared despite the 28℃ track temperatures. The Pata Yamaha securing the holeshot as the lights went out with Rea quickly dispatching the Ducati for second. A strong start from Iker Lecuona found the Honda rookie through to fifth as he demoted Alex Lowes, Rea pushing through to the lead on the second KRT out front.

Michael Rinaldi held fourth on the Ducati as lap two began, Pata’s Andrea Locatelli heading Xavi Vierge on the second HRC machine from seventh and eight with Eugene Laverty and Ilya Mikhalchik rounding out the top ten.

The Rea/Razgatlioglu battle continued for the lead as the pair swapped positions throughout the second lap, the Northern Irishman enforcing his dominance through turn 11 and maintaining control as the Turk wrestled his R1 down the back straight.

Laverty advanced next time around as he made his way to eighth, Bonovo teammate Loris Baz running just adrift of the top ten with GRY Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff for close company.

Lowes dispatched Lecuona for fifth on lap four, with Locatelli narrowly behind as the trio battled hard. Scott Redding struggling with his BWM and down in 19th.

Razgatlioglu took charge as Bautista held tight to the bickering pair, just two-tenths separating the front fight with Rinaldi a second further back after five laps around the 5km layout.

Rea was back in the lead as the next lap began before the Spaniard made his move. The Ducati star squabbling hard with the Kawasaki throughout the next two laps before the more experienced man hit back at turn seven. Disaster striking Lowes as he crashed out of the fight for fifth.

Bautista commanded across mid race distance as he looked to break free of the group behind. Rea hitting back momentarily with the battle allowing Rinaldi to reel the trio in, over three seconds separating him from Locatelli in fifth.

Further back the Honda duo sat sixth and seventh with BMW locking out the back of the top ten as Mikhalchik headed his more experienced cohorts Baz and Laverty.


A major moment for Bautista down the home straight allowed Rea through as lap 11 began, Razgatlioglu patiently biding his time at the back of the battle with Rinaldi dropping further behind. Redding entering the points next time around.

Six to go and Rea was back in the lead after a heated couple of laps. The Kawasaki building a gap as he crossed the line half a second clear before Bautista regrouped and began to reel him in once again. A back straight move put the Spaniard back in charge on lap 13 before the pair swapped once again at turn seven.

The 2019 replay continued across the final laps as the pressure ramped up, Razgatlioglu settling for third as he circulated three seconds back with Rinaldi the same again in fourth.

Bautista hit back as the last lap concluded, Rea defending hard as he maintained command through the final corner to take the flag and the opening 25 points of the year.


Razgatlioglu consolidated the final podium position from Rinaldi and Locatelli as the trio concluded a fairly lonely race. HRC celebrating sixth and seventh as Lecuona and Vierge marked their arrival despite their debut pedigree, Ilya Mikhalchik doing likewise in eighth on his stand-in ride on the BMW for the injured Michael van der Mark.

Gerloff crossed the line ninth ahead of Laverty and Baz with Luca Bernardi, Philipp Oettl, Lucas Mahias and Redding collecting the final points.

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