Six-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea edged Alvaro Bautista by 0.101s in a nail-biting duel at Aragon to start his 2022 World Superbike campaign with a win.

In a duel that lasted until the penultimate bend of the final lap, the Kawasaki rider overtook defending champion Razgatlioglu and then outgunned Ducati returnee Bautista to win his 113th race in the production-based category.

Polesitter Razgatlioglu, Alvaro Bautista and Jonathan Rea who started the race from the front row were initially locked in a three-way duel for victory, with each enjoying moments at the front as they exploited their motorcycles’ abilities.

However, after both Rea and Bautista flew past Razgatlioglu while braking for Turn 1 on lap 6, the Yamaha rider had no further involvement in the race, resulting in a final-lap duel between the two leaders.

Bautista exploited his Ducati’s stronger grunt to grab the lead into Turn 16, which follows the long back-straight, after experimenting with this strategy in the final third of the race to mixed success.

However, the Ulsterman spotted what was coming and slammed his Kawasaki into Bautista’s Ducati at the next corner, ensuring he crossed the finish line first.

Later, Rea was able to hold off Bautista in the final laps, depriving Bautista his first win at Ducati by just over a tenth of a second in the season opener.

For the first 10 laps, Razgatlioglu stayed within striking distance of Rea and Bautista, but he didn’t have the speed to keep up with them as the race progressed, and he finished third, 1.5 seconds behind Rea and Bautista.

On his Ducati, Michael Ruben Rinaldi was circling at the tail of the leading trio at one time, but he too fell back in the closing stages of the race, finishing fourth 4.7 seconds behind the leaders.

Andrea Locatelli, running on a factory Yamaha, fell to seventh on the first lap of the race but rallied to finish fifth, nearly ten seconds behind race winner Rea.

Both Honda riders made significant inroads in the early parts of the 18-lap race, with Iker Lecuona finishing sixth and Xavi Vierge sprinting from 13th on the grid to finish seventh at the finish line.

Ilya Mikhalchik continued to impress while filling in for Michael van der Mark on the factory BMW, finishing seventh on his WSBK debut ahead of Bonovo MGM rider Loris Baz on the satellite M1000RR.

Garrett Gerloff of the GRT Yamaha rounded out the top ten. Scott Redding had a difficult day in his maiden race with BMW, finishing 15th after sliding to 17th in the early stages of the race.

Alex Lowes, who crashed his factory Kawasaki on lap 8 while running inside the top five, was the sole prominent retiree from the first race of 2022.

2022 WORLD SUPERBIKE ARAGON, SPAIN – RACE (1) RESULTS

POSRIDERNATTEAMTIME
1Jonathan ReaGBRKawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK18 Laps
2Alvaro BautistaSPAAruba.It Racing Ducati+0.090s
3Toprak RazgatliogluTURPATA Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK+5.416s
4Michael RinaldiITAAruba.It Racing Ducati+10.272s
5Andrea LocatelliITAPATA Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK+15.767s
6Iker LecuonaSPATeam HRC WorldSBK+18.670s
7Xavi ViergeSPATeam HRC WorldSBK+21.521s
8Ilya MykhalchykUKRBMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team+21.605s
9Garrett GerloffUSAGRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team+21.946s
10Eugene LavertyIRLBonovo Action BMW+25.346s
11Loris BazFRABonovo Action BMW+25.927s
12Luca BernardiSMBarni Spark Ducati Team+28.460s
13Philipp OettlGERGoEleven Ducati+28.728s
14Lucas MahiasFRAPuccetti Kawasaki+29.117s
15Scott ReddingGBRBMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team+29.637s
16Axel BassaniITAMotocorsa Ducati+30.861s
17Roberto TamburiniITAMotoxracing Yamaha WorldSBK Team+31.463s
18Kohta NozaneJPNGRT Yamaha+33.158s
19Christophe PonssonFRAGil Motor Sport Yamaha+53.223s
20Leandro MercadoARGMIE Honda Racing+56.013s
21Hafizh SyahrinMALMIE Honda Racing+58.063s
22Oliver KonigCZEOrelac Racing Kawasaki+1 Lap
23Loris CressonBELPedercini Kawasaki+1 Lap
24Alex LowesGBRKawasaki Racing Team WorldSBKDNF
25Gabriele RuiuITABmax RacingDNF

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