WorldSBK Aragon Race 1 Results | Rea digs deep to hold off ballsy Bautista

Jonathan Rea keeps his cool to out-fox Alvaro Bautista's late lunge to secure victory in the opening race of the 2022 WorldSBK Championship in Aragon

Jonathan Rea - Kawasaki Racing Team

Jonathan Rea got his 2022 WorldSBK Championship campaign off to an energetic start with a well-judged win at Motorland Aragon after prevailing in an entertaining tussle with a feisty Alvaro Bautista that went right to the flag.

A race that picked up exactly where it left off from a memorable 2021 campaign, the opening race of the weekend certainly gave a tantalising preview for the season ahead as Bautista joined the fight to take on Rea and Razgatlioglu in his first race back at Ducati.

Leading to a gritty tug-of-war between Rea and Bautista that had the pair swapping positions right up to the final lap, it was Rea that would ultimately get the better of his rival by a mere 0.090s.

From pole position, Razgatligolu got away well to hold off a determined Bautista into the first turns before Rea warmed up for the afternoon with a swift pass into Turn 7.

With Razgatlioglu returning the favour with a pass at the start of lap two, the pair ebbed and flowed between first and second initially, until a firm block pass from Rea on Razgatlioglu at Turn 1 unsettled his rival enough to allow Bautista through into second.

The pass would ultimately prove decisive for Razgatlioglu as he found himself reduced to a watching brief for several laps before the defending world champion settled into a distant third by the flag.

Undeterred by spending two frustrating seasons muddling in the mid-pack with Honda, Bautista kept Rea on his toes up front, the duo engaging routine of Bautista using the Ducati’s superior power-to-weight ratio to persistently slipstream past the Kawasaki down the back straight, only to have Rea respond the following revolution through the more technical sections.

It was a ‘dance’ that would be repeated on five occasions during the closing stages before Rea appeared to have finally broken the tow as they entered the penultimate lapl. However, a renewed charge from Bautista on the final lap would see him reel the Kawasaki in again as they took to the back straight.

Tucking into the ZX-10RR’s slipstream, Bautista duly surged past Rea as they entered the long final corner left-hander. However, despite his attempts to wrestle the Ducati over to protect the inside line, a patient Rea kept his cool to pull the Kawasaki back beneath his rival before out-dragging him to the flag.

Continuing the Ulsterman’s superb record at Aragon, the success extends his record-breaking tally of now 113 WorldSBK wins, as well as being a 20th consecutive podium around the Spanish venue.

A fine return to form for Bautista in second, he held a five second advantage over Razgatlioglu in a distant third, while Michael Ruben Rinaldi ensured a strong start to the year for Ducati in fourth.

Andrea Locatelli ended up a lonely fifth at the flag on the second of the factory Yamahas, the Italian benefiting from Alex Lowes crashing out of the position on lap five.

Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge enjoyed a positive start to life in WorldSBK with a solid run to sixth and seventh on the HRC Hondas, while Ilya Mikhalchik made the most of his impressive qualifying effort to secure a top ten finish in his maiden WorldSBK outing on the factory BMW.

His eighth place finish was in stark contrast to the fortunes of team-mate Scott Redding though, who endured a nightmare debut on the BMW down in 15th having spent much of the race lapping outside the points.

Further up the order, Garrett Gerloff and Eugene Laverty completed the first top ten of the year as the best of the independent riders, ahead of Loris Baz, Luca Bernardi and Philipp Oettl - the latter rookies scoring points on their debuts in 12th and 13th - with Lucas Mahias in 14th.

2022 WorldSBK Championship | Motorland Aragon, Spain | Race 1 RESULTS 

2022 WorldSBK Championship | Motorland Aragon, Spain | Race 1 RESULTS | Round 1 / 12
PosRiderNat.WorldSBK TeamSuperbikeTiming
1Jonathan ReaGBRKawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR18 Laps
2Alvaro BautistaESPAruba Racing DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R+0.090
3Toprak RazgatliogluTURPata YamahaYamaha R1+5.416
4Michael Ruben RinaldiITAAruba Racing DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R+10.272
5Andrea LocatelliITAPata YamahaYamaha R1+15.767
6Iker LecuonaESPTeam HRCHonda CBR1000RR-R+18.760
7Xavi ViergeESPTeam HRCHonda CBR1000RR-R+21.521
8Ilya MikhalchikUKRBMW MotorradBMW M 1000 RR+21.605
9Garrett GerloffUSAGRT Yamaha TeamYamaha R1+21.946
10Eugene LavertyIRLBonovo Action BMWBMW M 1000 RR+25.346
11Loris BazFRABonovo Action BMWBMW M 1000 RR+25.927
12Luca BernardiSMRBarni Spark RacingDucati Panigale V4 R+28.460
13Philipp OettlGERTeam GoElevenDucati Panigale V4 R+28.728
14Lucas MahiasFRAPuccetti RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR+29.117
15Scott ReddingGBRBMW Motorrad BMW M 1000 RR+29.637
16Axel BassaniITAMotocorsa RacingDucati Panigale V4 R+30.861
17Roberto TamburiniITAMotoxracing TeamYamaha R1+31.463
18Kohta NozaneJPNGRT Yamaha TeamYamaha R1+33.158
19Christophe PonssonFRAGil Motor SportYamaha R1+53.223
20Leandro MercadoARGMIE Racing TeamHonda CBR1000RR-R+56.013
21Hafizh SyahrinMALMIE Racing TeamHonda CBR1000RR-R+58.036
22Oliver KonigCZEOrelac VerdNaturaKawasaki ZX-10RR+1m >
23Loris CressonBELTPR Pedercini RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR+1m >
DNFAlex LowesGBRKawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR 
DNFGabriele RuiuITABMax RacingBMW M 1000 RR