Aruba Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista bagged the second San Juan WorldSBK race win in Argentina and extended his championship lead over Toprak Razgatlioglu.
Bautista crossed the line with a three-second lead over the reigning champion while Jonathan Rea passed Alex Lowes for third with two laps left.
Bautista had to fight his way back through the field after a poor start, which dropped him down to fifth place, and he picked off his rivals in the early stages of the race.
On Lap 4, the Spanish rider made a move on second-placed Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) into Turn 8 before making a similar move on teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) a lap later. At the same time, Razgatlioglu who, like Bautista, lost out on the opening laps, was following Bautista through, with Razgatlioglu passing Lowes at Turn 10 on Lap 4 and then Rinaldi at Turn 1 on Lap 6.
Despite Razgatlioglu closing the gap throughout most of the lap to Bautista, the Spanish rider extended his lead down the long back straight and eventually pulled out a gap of around three seconds to the reigning Champion.
Bautista’s victory gave him his 14th of his 2022 campaign and the 30th in WorldSBK, while it was also his 54th podium in WorldSBK. It was also Ducati’s 390th victory in the Championship. Razgatlioglu took his 77th career podium with second place and the 24th of his career, with Razgatlioglu now 83 points back from Bautista.
The battle for the podium places was between Lowes and teammate Jonathan Rea after the six-time Champion ran wide a couple of times in the early stages. Rea looked to pass Rinaldi at Turn 9 on Lap 2, which allowed Lowes through, before he ran wide again at the next corner and dropped down to sixth place.
Rea battled his way past Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) at Turn 10 on Lap 6 to move into fifth before both Lowes and Rea passed Rinaldi on Lap 7. For the next 11 laps, Lowes was able to stay ahead of his teammate but Rea made the move at Turn 8 on Lap 18 to take third place for his 239th WorldSBK podium.
Lowes took fourth place, dropping around two seconds behind his teammate in the closing stages, although Lowes did have a four second margin to Rinaldi in fifth. Rinaldi was one rider who opted to use Pirelli’s SC0 tyre with most of the field using the SCX tyres.
Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) put four manufacturers inside the top six as he took sixth place, with Rinaldi, Vierge and Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) in a three-way fight for fifth place. Lecuona finished two tenths behind teammate Vierge, who was seven tenths behind Rinaldi.
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) leaves Argentina with eighth place after a battle with Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in ninth place; the pair were separated by just one second at the end of the race.
Redding led a trio of BMW riders as he finished in eighth place, with teammate Michael van der Mark in tenth, around one second down on teammate Redding, with Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) in 11th; Laverty was the highest-placed Independent rider.