Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) was able to extend his Championship lead after Race 1 at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock gathered for the 2022 Catalunya round. Spaniard secured a convincing victory over eight seconds ahead of his rivals, extending his championship lead to 44 points over Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) after the defending champion finished in fifth place.

The day started with Bautista finishing fifth in the Tissot Superpole session and he lined up from the second row of the grid for Race 1. However, he got off to a flying start and was able to take the race lead at the turn. 1 and led every lap during the 20-lap race. He became the first rider to lead every lap from fifth or lower since Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) did so at Jerez from ninth in Race 2 in 2017.

Bautista’s pace was incredibly consistent throughout the race, running in the 1’41 or 1’42 bracket until lap 13 of 20 before dropping into the 1’43s. His only lap times slower than the 1’43 range came on laps 19 and 20, the latter including when he lifted the throttle to celebrate his home victory on the line; with a winning margin of more than eight seconds over Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who finished second.

Speaking about his Race 1 and his management, Bautista said: “I’m really happy to have won Race 1 here, especially after Race 2 at Magny-Cours which I couldn’t finish. To finish the race in first position was very special, to do it in front of my friends, my family and my fans was very nice. Today, the key was tire consumption. I didn’t have a good Superpole but in the end I was able to get a good start, so I took the lead in turn 1. At that point, it was difficult because I didn’t want to push too much to do not use or stress the rear tire. At the same time, I have to close the door so as not to let the other runners pass. It was a difficult situation. I had some contact with other riders behind me. In the end, I was able to manage, and I can take some advantage after a few laps. I started to ride more comfortably, more relaxed, and I can find my rhythm.

Bautista will have the chance to seek more glory at home on Sunday with the Tissot Superpole Race and Race 2, each of which has its own strategy. The championship leader explained how his approach to the 10-lap Superpole Race will differ from that of Race 1 as well as the changes he and his team will be looking to implement on the Ducati Panigale V4 R machine.

Bautista explained: “It’s totally different. Today, it was important to manage tire consumption. Tomorrow, in the Superpole Race, it doesn’t matter. You have to go out and refuel until the last lap. Of course, there will be more battles. Now we have to work a bit on the electronics and on the bike, because I think that today, especially in Superpole, I’m missing some improvements in the electronics. Because we worked on the race pace we missed something for Superpole and tomorrow we have to make a small change to make the Superpole race faster and more competitive and use the tire more.

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About Donnie R. Losey

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