Bautista triumphs in World Superbike Portimao Opener, extends championship lead
Posted : 30 September 2023
In the opening race of the weekend at Portimao in the World Superbike series, Jonathan Rea secured a third-place finish while Alvaro Bautista claimed victory, further strengthening his lead in the championship.
Riding his Ducati, the Spanish racer maintained a two-second advantage over the early race leader, Toprak Razgatlioglu, as they crossed the chequered flag. Jonathan Rea, on his Kawasaki, followed 4.5 seconds behind Bautista.
Defending champion Alvaro Bautista has now extended his lead over Razgatlioglu in the championship standings, amassing a 52-point advantage. The Portimao round in Portugal marks the penultimate event of the season.
The weekend's schedule in Portugal includes the Superpole sprint race and race two on Sunday, with the final series of three races scheduled for Jerez, Spain, on October 28-29.
Bautista's victory in this race, his 22nd of the season, also secured the manufacturers' title for Ducati, establishing their dominance in the championship.
The early stages of the race saw Razgatlioglu leading on his Pata Yamaha, while Rea's teammate, Alex Lowes, also enjoyed some time at the front. However, Rea, who started from pole position, had to regain ground after a collision with Bautista on the opening lap.
As the race progressed, Bautista asserted his dominance at the front, with Razgatlioglu and Rea in close pursuit. The two front-runners swapped positions, but Bautista made a decisive move at the start of the eighth lap.
Jonathan Rea, the Northern Irishman and a 13-time winner at Portimao, secured his spot on the podium, making it 10 podium finishes out of 11 races this season.
The top six also included American rider Garrett Gerloff, Britain's Alex Lowes, and Dutchman Michael van der Mark.