Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista extended his Superbike World Championship lead with victory in the Superpole race at Barcelona, as Toprak Razgatlioglu missed out on the podium for a second consecutive race.
As was the case in Saturday’s opener, there was little polesitter Iker Lecuona could do to retain the lead as Bautista surged into the lead from the middle of the second row.
There was more drama for the Honda rider as he crashed out of the race on a frenetic first lap which also saw Andrea Locatelli retire from third place with a technical issue, leaving the Kawasaki duo Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea behind Bautista’s Ducati.
During the first part of the 10-lap event, Lowes and Rea kept the pressure on the Spaniard, trying to ensure he remained within striking distance for a late attack.
But Bautista slowly but surely started to pull away from the Kawasakis and by lap 6 he had built up a full second advantage.
It meant he could cruise to the finish line, claiming his second straight victory of the weekend from Barcelona by 1.185s.
After swapping places with teammate Lowes on the first lap, Rea was able to pass the 32-year-old at the start of the final tour to claim second place and limit the damage in the standings to runaway leader Bautista.
Razgatlioglu suffered a horrible start on his Yamaha from eighth on the grid and fell outside the top 10, leaving him a mountain to climb in the rest of the race.
Although he was able to knock out his rivals with relative ease, by the time he had passed Michael Ruben Rinaldi’s Ducati for fourth place on lap five, the top three had widened a gap of more than two seconds.
That meant he had no chance of salvaging a podium or booking a front-row grid spot for Sunday’s final full race, with the Turkish driver ultimately settling for fourth.
That puts Bautista 50 points clear of the defending champion with Barcelona’s final race and four more rounds to go, with Rea still four points behind his factory Kawasaki.
Fifth in the race went to Rinaldi, while GoEleven Ducati’s Philipp Oettl led a group of riders into sixth to secure the best result of his budding WSBK career.
Xaxi Vierge followed Oettl aboard the only surviving works Honda and was trailed by the works BMW of Scott Redding, while Bonovo rider Loris Baz snatched the all-important ninth position on the final corner from the GRT rider Yamaha Garrett Gerloff.
Axel Bassani finished outside the points in 16th after crashing at Turn 1 while being in the same driver group as Oettl, Vierge and Redding.
Redding’s teammate Michael van der Mark has joined Honda’s Lecuona on the retired list. The Dutchman was trying to avoid Eugene Laverty’s satellite BMW when he went straight at Turn 7, before dropping his BMW into the gravel trap.