Alvaro Bautista’s domination in WorldSBK continued at the Pirelli Thai Round at the Chang International Circuit, taking three wins from three races, to maintain his 100% unbeaten record since joining the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship.
The Spanish rider had his work cut-out in race one before moving through to take the lead and eventual win with 12 laps to go, whilst in the Tissot Superpole Race, a small battle soon saw Bautista pull away before a red flag. In race two, it was a lights-to-flag victory like those we saw in Australia, emphasising his outright pace in all scenarios.
The 34-year-old championship leader said:
“I think it has been the perfect weekend! Before we came here, we knew that this weekend would not be like in Australia. With Kawasaki winning seven out of the last eight races, we were coming to Kawasaki territory! For us, it is not easy because the bike is new and every track we visit, we have everything to discover!”
With his sixth win, he surpasses the likes of Davide Tardozzi and Leon Haslam in the all-time win rankings. A seventh win will put him level with American, Ben Bostrom.
And Jonathan Rea…
Jonathan Rea may have failed to take a win in Thailand for the first time since the country became part of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship calendar, but his super consistency means he was able to still be the best of the rest.
Having led at sporadic points throughout the race weekend, Jonathan Rea is still only in a 26-point deficit to Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), a margin that Rea himself has often left Thailand with, for other riders to try and overcome. A challenging weekend but an intriguing one also, Rea knows he will have to come back stronger at MotorLand Aragon.
The reigning quadruple WorldSBK Champion said:
“I am happy with the way we are extracting the best out of the ZX 10RR every weekend, as well as working well with the guys. The package was strong, and I felt like I could ride on the limit. As soon as I lost Alvaro’s slipstream, I was kind of gone and I just managed my own race.”
Looking for his fifth consecutive WorldSBK title this season, Rea continued:
“It just seems that the competition now is a step in front, so it is motivating to keep working. Mentally, it is a little bit of a different situation for me, I won the last 11 races of last season, so I’m slowly getting used to there being a faster guy on track right now!”
WorldSBK Race One: Bautista battles to win in Buriram after on-track clash with Rea
The opening race of the Pirelli Thai Round in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship saw Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) clash on track early, but Bautista was able to get the better of the reigning champion to take his fourth WorldSBK win.
An action-packed start saw Bautista originally get a flying start but Buriram specialist Jonathan Rea got ahead of the Spaniard through turn one with Alex Lowes in behind (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team). The GRT Yamaha WorldSBK riders of Sandro Cortese and Marco Melandri ran wide at the same turn, with Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) slicing under them and into fourth. At the end of lap one, the top four were covered by 1.1s. A lightening start from Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) saw him elevate from 10th on the grid to fifth by the end of the opening lap.
On lap three, Jonathan Rea led by a narrow margin ahead of championship leader Bautista, who has topped every session so far in Thailand this year. At turn three, Bautista made his move, only for Rea to cut back underneath him, colliding with his rival. Bautista made a miraculous save and whilst Alex Lowes came through, Bautista shook his head in disgust at Rea’s aggressive pass.
Whilst Rea led, towards the end of lap three, Bautista made a pass on Lowes at the final corner, only to run wide and Lowes to pass him back down the front straight. Soon enough though, on the fourth lap at turn one, Bautista made his way through on Lowes and then set off in his pursuit of the four-time champion.
Behind the leaders, the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team riders started to battle to form a battle for the final podium position. Van der Mark couldn’t make a move however and Lowes would maintain a strong pace right through the race. Behind them, Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was keeping a watching brief, whilst Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) began to reel in the battle for the podium.
With 12 laps to go, Bautista had regained the ground on Rea and set about trying to find a way ahead of the Kawasaki-mounted rider. On the run to the turn three, Bautista got ahead and this time, he was able to make the move stick and Jonathan Rea couldn’t fight back straight away. The two continued to romp away from the rest of the pack and whilst Rea didn’t lose too much time on Bautista initially, lap after lap, Bautista’s metronomic pace soon saw him break clear. That is how it would stay until the end of the race.
With the third place battle seemingly a stalemate between the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team riders, Leon Haslam was starting to feel the pressure of Marco Melandri. Melandri made his way ahead on lap 11, but the battle was far from over. With just five laps to go, a rough lap from Melandri allowed Haslam to close up and make a move at the final corner. Haslam ran wide and the wily Italian cut back under him, clashing on the start and finish straight. Yet another Kawasaki in a collision, but this time, eventually, Haslam would win the fight.
At the line, Bautista took the win by 8.2s ahead of Rea, whilst Lowes held on ahead of Michael van der Mark by 0.4s to take his third Buriram podium. In fifth position, Leon Haslam clinched the place over Melandri, whilst Sandro Cortese took seventh after a late battle with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team). Sykes was ninth after being pushed back due to his top speed deficit, with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) coming from 13th to 10th
WorldSBK Race 1 Results: 1. Alvaro Bautista – ARUBA.IT Racing Ducati 2. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK 3. Alex Lowes – Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team
WorldSBK Sprint Race: Red flag sees early end to the Tissot Superpole Race, with Bautista, Rea and Lowes all back on the podium
After the first ever Tissot Superpole Race in Australia, the second Tissot Superpole Race of the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship went to championship leading Rookie, Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), despite Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) leading into the first turn. With the race stopped early due to a red flag for an incident at turn three, it was a shorter racer than anticipated.
A frenetic opening lap started the 10-lap Tissot Superpole Race, with Rea bolting into the lead and Bautista slotting in behind. It wasn’t long until The Rookie made his way ahead but in a similar style to their collision at turn three yesterday, ran wide and Rea sliced under him. Bautista got back ahead at turn four whilst Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) began closing in too. Lap one completed, the top five consisted of Bautista, Rea, Lowes, followed by Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) and Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).
Bautista started to pull away from the reigning four-time WorldSBK Champion, who had a lot on his hands with Alex Lowes’ pressure. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Moriwaki Althea HONDA Team) retired from the Tissot Superpole Race, having retired from Race 1 yesterday. Leon Haslam was making moves and got into fourth position ahead of Marco Melandri at turn three.
Lap three and the race looked like it was coming alive, because whilst Bautista was pulling away, it was Jonathan Rea who set the fastest lap of the race, slashing the Spaniard’s initial gap down to under half-a-second.
On lap four, van der Mark got his chance to get ahead of Melandri, as the Italian ran wide at turn eight and allowed the Dutch star through. Melandri then ran wide again at the final corner, allowing his teammate Sandro Cortese through. Melandri would take the place back a few laps later.
Whilst one Ducati was out front, Chaz Davies’ difficulties continued but he was able to close down Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) throughout the race and eventually got ahead of the Turk. Soon after, the red flag was shown after an incident at turn three, halting Davies’ charge ahead.
Leon Camier (Moriwaki Althea HONDA Racing) and Thitipong Warokorn (Kawasaki Thailand Racing Team) had a collision at turn three, bringing the red flag out and the race to a close. The Thai rider had been taken to the medical centre but has been sent to hospital for further assessments.
Bautista was declared winner ahead of Rea and Alex Lowes, who was just a fraction behind the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK rider. Michael van der Mark is arguably the biggest beneficiary, moving from tenth on the grid to fourth after finishing just outside the podium placings. Completing the top five was Leon Haslam, who doesn’t change his original grid position.
Marco Melandri was sixth and will therefore start race two from the back of the second row, whilst heading up the third row will be Sandro Cortese in seventh, who has a significant drop from his Saturday Tissot Superpole session grid position. Chaz Davies and Toprak Razgatlioglu will join him on the third row.
Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) completed the top ten but will line up tenth too. The race did not feature Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) after his huge crash in race one.
WorldSBK Sprint Race Results: 1. Alvaro Bautista – ARUBA.IT Racing Ducati 2. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK 3. Alex Lowes – Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team
WorldSBK Race Two: Bautista puts in a stunning performance to take another emphatic victory
In what has been a dream opening six races in Alvaro Bautista’s WorldSBK career, he took yet another race win to become the first rider since Neil Hodgson to win the opening six races of a WorldSBK season, back in 2003. Bautista completed another lights to flag victory in dominant fashion on his way to more records.
For further information visit www.worldsbk.com
WorldSBK Race 2 Results: 1. Alvaro Bautista – ARUBA.IT Racing Ducati 2. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK 3. Alex Lowes – Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team
WorldSBK Championship Standings
1. Jonathan Rea – 520 points (Kawasaki) 2. Chaz Davies – 348 points (Ducati) 3. Michael van der Mark – 324 points (Yamaha) 4. Tom Sykes – 294 points (Kawasaki) 5. Marco Melandri – 286 points (Ducati)
1. Alvaro Bautista – 124 points (Ducati) 2. Jonathan Rea – 98 points (Kawasaki) 3. Alex Lowes – 69 points (Yamaha)
WorldSSP: Cluzel takes red-hot World Supersport race
A crazy race in Thailand sees Cluzel prevail, whilst Krummenacher and Caricasulo continue rivalry, with Viñales joining the party!
The FIM Supersport World Championship race at the Chang International Circuit was once again a thrilling 17-lap encounter. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) took a stunning win after leading the majority of the race, although having to battle hard with the rest of the front running protagonists too.
For further information visit www.worldsbk.com
WorldSSP Race Results: 1. Jules Cluzel – GMT94 YAMAHA 2. Randy Krummenacher – BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team 3. Federico Caricasulo – BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team
WorldSSP Championship Standings
1. Jules Cluzel – 45 points (Yamaha) 2. Randy Krummenacher – 45 points 3. Federico Caricasulo – 32 points (Yamaha)