The month of pause between the rounds of Assen and Estoril allowed the protagonists of the Superbike World Championship to prepare themselves as best as possible for Portugal. The first two appointments of the season have shown that this year they are the details make the difference and to actively play the victory you need do not miss (almost) anythingin a championship from the highest level ever.
In particular, they were Toprak Razgatlioglu and Yamaha to move to improve competitiveness: while the team worked on the R1, the world champion sought a change of mentality with the support of Kenan Sofuoglu. The three Portuguese races, however, saw alternating on the top step of the podium Jonathan Rea and Alvaro Bautista, with the Kawasaki rider who closed the gap in the standings from the Ducati rider. This and more in the Up & Down analysis of the Estoril round.
Jonathan Rea – In the weekend that makes it the second Longest-lived Superbike rider with three hundred and fifty startsNorthern Irish files two wins remedying a Race 1 which ended in sharp decline. While in Superpole Race it is Razgatlioglu’s mistake that (re) opens the doors to success for him, in the afternoon he makes a strategic masterpiece to put Bautista in line. In the standings, his delay is reduced by one point, down to seventeen. To underline his monstrous pole position, signed by lowering the track record by half a second.
Alvaro Bautista – There are two highlights of the weekend of the Spaniard: first of all the Race 1 victory, in which he bridged a gap of three seconds from the top by lapping at the crazy pace of 1’36 “up to two laps from the end; secondly, the tenacity with which in Race 2 it raises the level of aggression in hand-to-hand combat, making it difficult to beat and also attempting some overtaking in braking. The game with Rea is essentially a draw; it must also be said that Alvaro had never ridden on this track with a Ducati.
Iker Lecuona – He will not have repeated the podium in Assen, clearly obtained in lucky conditions, but the consistency of the young Honda rider deserves attention. In Race 1 he finishes sixth behind his teammate Xavi Vierge, but in the Superpole Race he mounts the intermediate tire at the front and finishes fourth. In Race 2 he climbs back to sixth place: between Assen and Estoril he has never done worse than this position.
Supersport, Aegerter solo
Honorable mention for Dominique Aegerter, absolute star of the Supersport class. After demolishing the previous track record in Superpole by trimming eight-tenths and a half to the nearest rival, the reigning world champion easily won Race 1 without pushing hard, then in Race 2 on slick tires in the wet he managed giving the tear at the right time. For Aegerter these are five wins (in a row) in six races: regardless of how this championship will end, not seeing him in Superbike in 2023 would be a scandal.
Toprak Razgatlioglu – The only goal of the weekend was to go back to winning, finding the right sensations and reversing the course of a world championship that started with some difficulties. He goes very close to it twice: in Race 1 the engine and traction of Bautista’s Ducati mock him right at the finish line, while in the Superpole Race he throws away an acquired success risking a crash on the last lap. Race 2 sees him give up in the middle of the race with a rear tire that is now gone. The right signals have arrived, there has been a lack of concretization.
Garrett Gerloff – In free practice he showed interesting things, setting the best time in FP1 and lapping with good pace. Unfortunately his Estoril ends with a fall in FP3 in which he sustains a deep wound in his left knee. It could have been an opportunity for redemption, but the Texan season still does not want to take off.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi – To analyze Michael’s position, it is not necessary to relate him to Bautista, an experienced driver with an important palmares. Perhaps it is more useful to make a comparison with Andrea Locatelli and Alex Lowes in a comparison between the second riders of Ducati, Yamaha and Kawasaki. If in Aragon it was precisely the Rimini to shine, in the last two rounds he has collected the least and in Portugal his tally is two eighths and one ninth place. The Misano stage must be the moment of the turnaround.