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WorldSBK 2019 Aragon: Cloud nine for Bautista as home-hero takes treble & gives Ducati 350th win

8 April 2019

Cloud nine for Bautista as home-hero takes treble & gives Ducati 350th win

WorldSBK Championship standings after round 3:

1.    Alvaro Bautista – Ducati                 186 points

2.    Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki               147 points

3.    Alex Lowes – Yamaha                     100 points

4.    Michael van der Mark – Yamaha       79 points

5.    Leon Haslam – Kawasaki                  74 points

 

 

Sunday Race 2 report… Ninth win on trot as Bautista and Ducati dominate

 

Alvaro Bautista took his ninth consecutive race win in the final Aragon battle to equal 2003 WorldSBK champion Neil Hodgson in winning the opening nine races of the season, as well as giving Ducati their 350th WorldSBK win.

 

Bautista took the lead from pole position, seeing-off Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) into turn one. For the first time this weekend, every rider made it through the opening corners without drama. Chaz Davies was an early improver and up to third place, whilst Alex Lowes was a strong fourth despite dropping back. Tom Sykes wasn’t the fastest starter and dropped back, allowing a rapid-starting Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) and Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) to get in close proximity.

 

Davies made his move on lap two, to pass Rea and push the reigning four-time champion back into the jaws of the chasing pack. An action-packed second lap saw passes galore, with Tom Sykes making an error at turn 12 to allow Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Jordi Torres through – Torres now sixth from eighth on the grid, one of the strongest showings in WorldSBK by the Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki.

 

Alex Lowes was starting his comeback through the order, up to third position and ahead of Rea, who was starting to look vulnerable. Rea was now in fourth and his teammate, Leon Haslam and Eugene Laverty, were closing in.

 

On lap eight, Davies began to pull away and put some distance between himself and Lowes. Rea ran wide and took teammate Haslam with him; the Kawasaki riders were not looking like they were going to be able to mount a podium challenge. Lowes challenged Davies but was not able to make a pass. Further down the order, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) retired.

 

With Laverty dropping back from the battle for second and not able to initiate a challenge for the podium, Rea was starting his own resurgence, passing Lowes and pursuing Davies.

Two laps later, and Haslam made his way past Lowes at turn one, pursuing his teammate and Davies in second.

 

Whilst Rea looked set for a guaranteed podium, teammate Haslam had other ideas and got ahead of the Ulsterman, taking over as the leader in the Kawasaki challenge. A lap later, and Rea repaid the compliment in identical fashion.

 

The penultimate lap beckoned, and it was Rea and Davies who renewed their rivalry. Rea put his trademark passing move on Davies at turn 4, slicing under the Welshman, only for the 2011 WorldSSP champion to fight back at turn 5. Leon Haslam, after initially being dropped by half-a-second, was now right back in the battle for the podium.

 

On the final lap, a mistake by Davies at turn one allowed Rea to come straight through and put in the lap of his life to put distance into Davies. Haslam wasn’t able to capitalize on the mistake by Davies and whilst Davies was coming back towards Rea into the final corner, there was nothing he could do to get ahead.

 

Bautista took the win, ahead of Rea by another huge margin; the ninth time that those two have finished in that order in 2019.

 

Davies completed the podium for the second time at the Aragon Round, whilst Haslam and Lowes completed the top five. Laverty took sixth, ahead of Jordi Torres, Michael van der Mark, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) and Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK).

Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) was a dejected 11th, with Sykes right behind, having faded mid-race. Leon Camier (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) and teammate Kiyonari were 13th and 14th respectively, whilst Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) finally finished at MotorLand Aragon, with 15th.

 

Top six finishers in Race 2, full results here

1.    Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)

2.    Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)

3.    Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)

4.    Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)

5.    Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)

6.    Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven)

 

WORLD SBK  Sunday Sprint report…Bautista makes it eight straight wins in his Rookie WorldSBK season

 

The Tissot Superpole Race for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship provided exciting action from lights-out to the chequered flag. For an eighth successive race, it was Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) who took the win, becoming the first Ducati rider to win eight races since Troy Bayliss in 2006.

 

Off the line and Bautista was yet again the rider with the best start, leading into turn one. However, there was mayhem behind as Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) collided and crashed, ending the Dutchman’s 22-race streak of point-scoring positions. He finished 15th in the end, whilst Rinaldi went to the medical centre.

 

Bautista soon streaked away, leaving the battle for second to rage on. Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) was running second until Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) made his way ahead at turn 12. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) tried a similar move a lap later at turn 16 but couldn’t make the apex, running wide and dropping down to fifth – allowing rival Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) to make up a position.

 

Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) battled hard. Ahead of them, Sandro Cortese was starting to drop back as Lowes, Rea and Davies made their respective moves on the German Rookie.

 

With five laps to go, there was another retirement as Markus Reiterberger’s (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) miserable weekend continued, this time with mechanical gremlins. His teammate Tom Sykes was enjoying a much better race, having dropped down to seventh after the opening lap, he was now fifth and pushing hard for a second consecutive top five of the year.

 

The battle for second was starting to take place though, as Lowes slipstreamed his way passed Rea down the back straight, achieving the move at turn 16 with just five laps left to go. Two laps later, Rea almost hit the rear end of the Yamaha-man at turn one, allowing Chaz Davies to now get in on the action. A lap later, it was a shoot-out and Rea tried to get ahead of Lowes at turn one, but the Englishman fought back. At turn four, Rea finally fired his way through and despite Lowes looking to fight back, Rea held on. The final lap soon beckoned but no moves were made, despite Lowes’ best efforts.

 

However, it was the dominant Alvaro Bautista who took yet another win in his WorldSBK career, holding off Rea and Lowes. Chaz Davies was a solid fourth, whilst Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty completed the top six; the front two rows for the last race of the weekend.

 

Row three will see Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in seventh, after a fairly quiet weekend which has seen him absent from the front. Joining him on the third row will be Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) and Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) in eighth and ninth respectively.

 

Top five finishers, full results available here

1.    Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)

2.    Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)

3.    Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)

4.    Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)

5.    Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)

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