On the opening day of the Pirelli Portuguese Round at Portimao, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) left no room for doubt about his title aspirations, topping the combined timesheets with a commanding performance.

The Ducati rider’s dominance was evident as he led the pack by over a quarter of a second, setting a strong pace for the weekend. While Bautista shone, his main Championship rival, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK), faced challenges and finished in ninth place in the combined standings.

Bautista asserted his title ambitions with authority by clocking a lap time of 1’40.476. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) shone brightly among the Independent riders, taking second place. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was another Ducati standout, securing third.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished the day in fourth place, demonstrating his intent to add to his impressive Portimao record. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) clinched fifth place.

In sixth place, it was Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) who impressed. Van der Mark’s consistent pace in sixth position bodes well for the upcoming races, as he aims to capitalize on his strong start in Portimao.

P1 | Alvaro Bautista | Aruba.it Racing – Ducati
“I’m so happy with Friday because already from this morning, I felt so good on the bike. In the morning, I was using the SC2 tire in the front, and it’s a tire that I usually don’t like. But in FP1, we normally use the tire a bit less, so the feeling wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t like with the SC1, especially in the long corner. I missed the line, and it wasn’t easy. Anyway, the feeling was good, and I was able to keep a consistent pace. Then in the afternoon, with more temperature out on track, we put the SC1 in front, and I felt much better. I could work on the race pace, and I did more than the race distance with the tire, and the pace was quite consistent. I didn’t drop a lap, and the feeling with the bike was good from the first to the last lap. It’s been a really positive day, and we didn’t need to change much on the bike. To have a matchpoint or not isn’t my target right now. I think it’s more important to enjoy the moment and try to give my best, and then we’ll see.”

WorldSBK Combined Results after FP2

1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’40.476s
2. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) +0.287s
3. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.351s
4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.542s
5. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +0.546s
6. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.771s

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