Barcelona WSBK: Bautista dominates, Gerloff grabs podium

Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista extended his World Superbike championship lead with a dominant display in the opening race at Barcelona for his ninth win of the season.

Barcelona WSBK: Bautista dominates, Gerloff grabs podium
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From the middle of the second row, Bautista immediately rocketed into a lead he would never relinquish for the duration of the 20-lap contest, eventually beating nearest rival Jonathan Rea by 8.6 seconds.

The Spaniard now enjoys an enhanced 44-point lead at the head of the standings ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu, who could only manage fifth.

It was reigning champion Razgatlioglu who provided Bautista's closest opposition for most of the race, as a rapid getaway for the Yamaha rider propelled him from eighth on the grid into an early second place.

Front-row starter Alex Lowes settled into third as his Kawasaki teammate Rea slipped to seventh, behind the second Ducati of Michael Ruben Rinaldi, poleman Iker Lecuona and Axel Bassani.

Rea gained a place at the start of the third lap as Rinaldi ran wide at Turn 1, dropping himself down the order, but spent numerous laps holed up behind the satellite Motocorsa Racing Ducati of Bassani.

It took until the ninth lap for Rea to finally make his way by Bassani for fifth place, by which time Lowes had slipped behind the Honda of Lecuona in the fight for third.

With the two Kawasaki riders now lying astern, Rea eased his way by Lowes for fourth on lap 14 and passed Lecuona for third next time by.

By this stage second-placed Razgatlioglu was struggling for pace, having allowed Bautista to escape at the head of the field to the tune of five seconds, and was quickly reeled in by Rea.

The inevitable pass for second came on lap 17, and Razgatlioglu then found himself coming under pressure from surprise package Garrett Gerloff, who had cleared Lowes and Lecuona with a double overtake at Turn 1.

Next time by, GRT Yamaha rider Gerloff passed Razgatlioglu and held on for third place to score his first podium finish since last year's Donington Park round.

Razgatlioglu would lose one more place in the closing laps to a resurgent Rinaldi, who came back from ninth after his early mistake to finish fourth.

Polesitter Lecuona had to be content with sixth place ahead of Lowes, while Bassani eventually made it home eighth.

Completing the top 10 were Andrea Locatelli (Yamaha), whose race never recovered from running wide at Turn 1 on the opening lap, and Eugene Laverty, who was best of the BMW runners in 10th to match his best finish of the season so far.

Xavi Vierge was a disappointing 12th on the second Honda behind the second Bonovo BMW of Loris Baz.

Neither of the works BMW riders finished, with Scott Redding crashing out at Turn 1 on the third lap and Michael van der Mark succumbing to technical issues.

Barcelona WSBK - Race 1 results:

Cla # Rider Bike Time
1 19 Spain Alvaro Bautista Ducati -
2 65 United Kingdom Jonathan Rea Kawasaki 8.665
3 31 United States Garrett Gerloff Yamaha 9.289
4 21 Italy Michael Ruben Rinaldi Ducati 10.783
5 1 Turkey Toprak Razgatlioglu Yamaha 13.568
6 7 Spain Iker Lecuona Honda 13.655
7 22 United Kingdom Alex Lowes Kawasaki 14.013
8 47 Italy Axel Bassani Ducati 14.839
9 55 Italy Andrea Locatelli Yamaha 29.775
10 50 Ireland Eugene Laverty BMW 30.094
11 76 France Loris Baz BMW 30.390
12 97 Spain Xavi Vierge Honda 31.755
13 2 Italy Roberto Tamburini Yamaha 33.055
14 44 France Lucas Mahias Kawasaki 35.962
15 23 France Christophe Ponsson Yamaha 37.498
16 3 Japan Kohta Nozane Yamaha 45.108
17 99 Oscar Gutierrez Kawasaki 46.958
18 36 Argentina Leandro Mercado Honda 55.315
19 52 Czech Republic Oliver Konig Kawasaki 57.534
  60 Netherlands Michael van der Mark BMW  
  45 United Kingdom Scott Redding BMW  
  29 San Marino Luca Bernardi Ducati  
  5 Germany Philipp Oettli Ducati  
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