Continuing the theme of Aragon and Assen, race one at Estoril produced yet another WorldSBK classic between Bautista, Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea. 

After an enthralling battle between Razgatlioglu and Rea to begin the 21-lap race, a fight that involved even more contact between the pair as Rea ran into the rear of the Yamaha rider at turn six, a late charge saw Bautista recover close to three seconds before taking victory. 

When Bautista eventually caught the top two, a mistake from Rea proved to be the turning point as it allowed Bautista to get through without trying an overtake. 

Throughout the race it was clear that Razgatlioglu and Rea had an advantage on the brakes, making an overtake for Bautista difficult under normal circumstances, however, Rea running wide was just what Bautista needed, but not Razgatlioglu. 

The gap between Razgatlioglu and Bautista remained stable for three laps, but with tyre degradation beginning to kick in, it wasn’t long before Bautista started to reel in the Turkish star. 

Bautista used the Ducati Panigale V4 R’s incredible top speed to gain four tenths on the start-finish straight, before starting the final lap just one tenth away. 

The Yamaha rider seemed to have put the perfect last lap together, but as he struggled for drive on the exit of turn 13, Bautista came steaming past moments before the finish line.

Stuck behind Andrea Locatelli during the opening few laps, Bautista’s win looked a near impossible task, however, ‘I never gave up’ stressed the Spaniard. 

"Yamaha is very strong in this track and it’s very difficult to pass them. They have good braking and good timing especially when the tyre is new," said Bautista.

"Behind him [Locatelli] I cannot make my lines and so I lost a little bit. At that moment Toprak [Razgatlioglu] and Johnny [Rea] were too far and I didn’t think it was possible to catch them and I was happy to be third after I made a mistake in the first corner.

"I was happy to be third but I never gave up. I was close to the limit, but never over the limit. In the last laps I was a bit stronger than them and my pace was consistent. With Toprak, he was very, very strong on the brakes. 

"The only place I saw where I was a bit stronger than him was the exit of the last corner because my traction was a bit better. I decided to stay behind him and be as close as possible in that corner and then on acceleration try to overtake him. I played my card and I won. I’m so happy. I led the most important metres of the race!"

‘I really did an effort’ - Sector four was crucial to Bautista’s attempt at claiming victory

Although Bautista was faster on the straight, the Ducati rider only managed to get alongside Razgatlioglu once before the final lap. 

So with that in mind, making sure he stuck with the Yamaha rider who typically was faster in sectors three and four was vital.

Bautista added: "I really did an effort there! I was close to him in the last two laps and I saw that before the distance was quite big and could not catch him a lot and be ahead at the start-finish line. 

"So I thought ‘okay, I will try to catch him’ and finally I could pass him before the finish line. I think it’s the combination of the bike and me. I can push all I can."

While it was a sensational ride by Bautista, the same could be said for Razgatlioglu despite missing out on victory. The Yamaha man is now 50 points adrift of the former MotoGP rider, but signs were there that Razgatlioglu is back to ‘the real Toprak’. 

"Yeah I tried everything I had in the race," said Razgatlioglu. "I tried really hard braking, tried to keep a good line and I was trying to save the rear tyre. The last five laps I tried everything. 

"I’m feeling in the race like I was riding how I did in 2021 because this year I did not start like the real Toprak. In the race, I am feeling like I rode the bike like the real Toprak."

Razgatlioglu and Rea make contact again during Estoril WorldSBK race one

Before the scrap with Bautista, Razgatlioglu and Rea continued their epic duel from Assen.

Included in that was another dicey moment as the two came together at turn six. The reigning world champion was extremely late on the brakes and ran slightly wide, however, Rea misjudged his speed mid-corner and subsequently hit the rear of Razgatlioglu. 

Luckily both riders remained aboard their machines: "I felt it a little bit [contact], but I didn’t know which rider it was - Johnny [Rea] or Alvaro [Bautista], but yeah I felt it a little bit," said Razgatlioglu. 

"When we started fighting with Jonny I saw he was coming and I tried to go, but the problem was that Johnny passed me in the first corner and then I closed gas because I needed to save the tyre. 

"On one lap Johnny went wide and I tried to push again but Alvaro was coming. It was a good race but tomorrow I need to improve."