Jonathan Rea took his first victory of the 2019 season in dominating fashion. He finished ahead of Alvaro Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu who rounded out the podium.
It was a stunning performance, and one similar to what we’ve seen from Bautista throughout the year, as Rea led from lap one and was never challenged by the Ducati’s.
Rea was helped considerably, as fans were robbed on lap one of a potential battle between him and Chaz Davies who suffered a mechanical issue while running at the front with Rae.
The pole sitter was the only rider over the course of the weekend who consistently had the pace to stay with the Kawasaki rider. However, he never got the chance to fight him and Davies will hope his luck is better in tomorrow’s doubleheader.
It was also a very disappointing day for Tom Sykes, who made a great start. He moved up from eighth to third on the first lap. While the front two were out of his reach, he was building a sizable gap behind and sitting comfortably in third.
The issues for Sykes came at the mid-race distance, which promoted Micahel Van Der Mark into third, but the Dutchman was embroiled in a huge battle with team-mate Alex Lowes, Razgatlioglu and Leon Haslam.
Lowes has been suffering with illness over the course of the week and, as suspected, he started to lose ground, while Razgatlioglu went past Haslam and Van Der Mark in quick succession for third with a few laps remaining.
Rea’s lead at the front was getting bigger and bigger, with his advantage growing to over ten seconds going into the final lap. As Rea came across the line for a much-needed win, and Bautista limiting the damage on a circuit that is completely new to him, it was the battle behind that was being fiercely contested.
Razgatlioglu was being challenged by Van Der Mark, but a great final lap resulted in him keeping the position for his first podium of the season, while the Yamaha rider came home fourth just ahead of Haslam.
Marco Melandri took sixth place ahead of Lowes in seventh, Michael Ruben Rinaldi eighth, Lorenzo Zanetti ninth and Markus Reiterberger closing out the top ten.
Speaking about the win, Rea said “It is incredible, I really needed that! I talked myself into it pretty much since Assen. The track really suits our bike, we came here last year with a new base setting after the BRNO test and I carried good speed all weekend. This year we came here without panicking and wanted a ‘last year’s base’ albeit this year we have the bigger profile Pirelli tyres. It is clear we have made a step with the bike and of course at this track, I know many little techniques to put into practice.”
It was a great day all around for Kawasaki as third place man Razgatlioglu on the Puccetti bike had this to say about his first podium of the year. “I am really happy for the podium and had a big fight with Michael Van Der Mark! I pushed on the last lap and we have a podium, so I am really happy. Thanks to the team because this week, they have done a good job and good work.”