WSB

Bautista back on top with formidable Portimao WorldSBK victory 

Alvaro Bautista scores victory in the final WorldSBK race of the weekend in Portugal, his first since Misano in June; Jonathan Rea leads standings by 91 points

Alvaro Bautista notched up his 15th World Superbike Championship win of the season, but his first since June’s Misano round, with a confidence-boosting performance in race two at Portimao.

The Spaniard – who began the 2019 WorldSBK season with 11 wins in a row – came into Round 10 of 13 facing an 81-point deficit to Jonathan Rea in the standings having failed to out-score him in any of the last seven races.

However, despite making things difficult for himself with a poor start from the front row, Bautista benefitted from a slow race pace to work his way into contention, he superior straight line speed advantage on the Ducati Panigale V4 R allowing him to slipstream into lead on lap seven.

From here, Bautista controlled the advantage over an unusually out-of-sorts Rea, the Kawasaki man only getting close in the final stages as the ex-MotoGP rider suffered with tyre wear out front. With a final 0.1s gap across the line flattering to deceive somewhat, Bautista reeled off the win – his first in nine races.

Despite this, Rea’s win in the first two races of the weekend means he leaves Portugal with an increased 91-points lead with three rounds and nine races remaining. 

Toprak Razgatlioglu closed the gap on Leon Haslam in the fight for fifth overall with his eighth podium of the year, ahead of Alex Lowes and Haslam himself. Loris Baz got the better of Michael van der Mark on the line to grab sixth as Marco Melandri, Tom Sykes and Sandro Cortese rounded out the top ten.

Chaz Davies finished 16th after suffering issues on his Ducati, while Panigale counterpart Eugene Laverty was down in 14th place.  

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