Alvaro Bautista seals the title at Mandalika

Yamaha rider Razgatlioglu scored a hat-trick of victories at the Indonesian venue, but in that situation Bautista only needed to finish third to seal the crown ahead of the Phillip Island final next weekend.

Second place behind the incumbent champion was enough for Bautista to take an insurmountable 66 point advantage over Razgatlioglu, giving the Spaniard his first world championship since winning the 125cc crown in 2006.

For Ducati, 11 years of waiting for a WSBK riders’ champion since Carlos Checa’s success ended in 2011, just a week after his historic MotoGP triumph in Valencia with Francesco Bagnaia.

“Today before [the Superpole race] I started to feel pressure,” Bautista said. “It was difficult to deal with this situation. I knew I had more races, but this was the first match point I had in my hands, without depending on other drivers.

“There was more pressure on me, so I just tried not to make any mistakes. I’m so happy because even with the championship pressure we were able to do a good job and win the championship.”

History of the race

With track temperatures approaching 70 degrees Celsius on the freshly loose asphalt, Kawasaki man Jonathan Rea was the early leader for the Yamahas of Razgatlioglu and Andrea Locatelli, as Bautista settled into fourth after running wide on a slightly nervous first lap.

It looked like Bautista would also face the threat of new independent champion Axel Bassani, but the factory Ducati man held on before returning to attack against Locatelli.

A power pass over Locatelli at the long 15-16 right on Lap 4 of 21 put Bautista back in a title-winning position, as Razgatlioglu harassed his 2021 title opponent Rea for the race lead.

On lap 6, Razgatllioglu was able to make the move under braking into the right-hander of turn 10, and on the next lap, Rea made a small mistake at turn 9 and allowed Bautista to move into second.

Although the title was on the line, Bautista seemed in no mood to settle for second place as Razgatlioglu failed to escape, with the Ducati rider closing in as the race reached halfway.

Bautista was able to dive past Razgatlioglu as they approached Turn 1 at the start of lap 14, but Razgatlioglu stayed close to the tail of the Ducati and regained the lead as they entered Turn 10.

Moments later, Bautista responded with another move at turn 15-16, but like Razgatlioglu a few laps earlier, he was unable to take the lead, allowing the Turkish driver to come back for the lead at the turn 10 on lap 16.

Once back in the lead, Razgatlioglu immediately set a new fastest lap and was eventually able to build a one-second lead, eventually earning his 14th win of the season by a margin of 1.2 seconds.

Bautista then had to spend the final laps protecting second from a resurgent Rea, who briefly fell behind Bassani before dropping back to third.

Bassani lost another place in the closing stages to Locatelli, who had their best weekend since Assen in April.

Scott Redding delivered a major blow in the fight to avoid last place in the constructors’ standings for BMW by beating Xavi Vierge’s sole works Honda to sixth place.

Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha), Alex Lowes (Kawasaki) and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Ducati) complete the top 10.

Kohta Nozane (GRT) and Kyle Smith (Puccetti Kawasaki) both dropped out of the race with crashes, while Philipp Oettl (Go Eleven Ducati) was a non-runner after being diagnosed with a suspected concussion.

Mandalika World Superbike – Race 2 Results:

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