WorldSBK Portimao - Race Results (2)

Alvaro Bautista scored his first World Superbike Championship win since June’s Misano round with a battling performance in the final race of the weekend at Portimao, his 15th victory of the season but his first in four events.

A positive end to a rollercoaster weekend for the Spaniard, who came into the weekend needing to make significant in-roads into Jonathan Rea’s erstwhile 81-points WorldSBK lead, though the Ulsterman defeated him in race one and the Superpole race, race two provided a confidence-boosting return to form for Bautista.

Starting on the front row after finishing second to Rea in the Superpole Race, Bautista nonetheless undid a lot of his hard work with a poor getaway that dropped him to sixth, but quickly made gains back up the order.

His cause was helped by Rea – who held the lead from pole position – being unable to break away, the Kawasaki rider’s pace significantly slower than in the opening races. As such, it bunched the lead pack, which included Toprak Razgatlioglu, Leon Haslam and Alex Lowes, and made them easy prey down the home straight as Bautista’s top speed advantage repeatedly carried him past long before the first corner.

Indeed, Bautista even took the lead with a ‘double bubble’ on both Rea and Razgatlioglu, and while the Turk got the advantage back with a late-braking move into turn one, he couldn’t resist the Spaniard on the following lap.

From here the ex-MotoGP rider managed his advantage, using the speed to pull gaps before being reeled in through the slower sections but leaving no room to attempt an overtake.

As such, though Rea got close in the very final stages as Bautista visibly suffered with tyre wear, he couldn’t get the drive out of the final corner to get the better of his rival.

Remarkably, the result marks Bautista’s 15th win of the year, despite it being his first since Misano, which was also the last time he has finished ahead of Rea in a race. Despite the result though, Rea leaves Portugal having swelled his lead over Bautista to 91-points with now only nine races remaining.

Razgatlioglu completed the podium – his eighth of the year – while Lowes and Haslam took their fight right down to the wire after several laps in which the latter overtook his rival into turn one, only to run wide and allow the Yamaha man back ahead.

Behind them, Loris Baz impressively defeated factory counterpart Michael van der Mark on the run to the line for sixth, while Marco Melandri, Tom Sykes and Sandro Cortese rounded out the top ten.

After such a bright start to the weekend, Chaz Davies’ Portimao ended on a sour note when issues with his Ducati dropped him down the order to 16th at the chequered and out of the points.