Bautista takes a commanding victory in the Superpole race at Misano

by Robert Jones

Alvaro Bautista produced a stunning ride in the short ten lap Superpole race, to secure his fourteenth victory of the year and first with Ducati in front of the Italian home crowd.

Bautista was third in Saturday’s wet race, but with the conditions drastically improved for this race, the Spaniard was back on top form. 

With his championship rival Jonathan Rea on Pole Position, it was critical for Bautista to make his way through the pack quickly. Bautista was already up into second and catching Rea by the end of lap two, and the lead changed when the two started their third lap at turn one. 

Both riders were tightly matched for pace on long runs throughout the free practice sessions, but Bautista started to gap Rea immediately by setting his best laps of the weekend. 

On lap five, Rea was still trying hard to stay in touch with Bautista, but the defending champion made a rare mistake as he crashed at turn ten. 

Rea rejoined in sixth after the crash, in what was a very lucky escape for the Kawasaki rider. Rea gained a place on the last lap as Tom Sykes who produced another incredible ride and was running third, had a mechanical failure. 

Second was the Yamaha of Alex Lowes, who bounced back from yesterday’s disappointing crash from the lead to secure a podium that will be an important momentum building result. It was also a welcome return to the podium for Leon Haslam, who produced his best result since the opening round in Phillip Island

Image Credit: WorldSBK.com

Haslam has had a return to form this weekend, as the pressure mounts and the talk about who will be alongside Rea next season intensifies. Haslam could be that rider if the former British Superbike champion can deliver performances like this in the second half of the championship.

Fourth was Toprak Razgatlioglu, who had a race long battle with Haslam. The Turkish rider has been in superb form of late and consolidated his potential with another top five. Sixth was Marco Melandri ahead of the Barni Ducati pair of Michael Ruben-Rinaldi in seventh and Michele Pirro in eighth. 

Ninth was Leandro Mercado who was joined by Lorenzo Zanetti in both getting their second top ten of the weekend.

It was a hugely disappointing race yet again for Chaz Davies, who crashed out of seventh place in the opening laps. The Welshman wasn’t the only rider to lose what could have been a great result, as Sandro Cortese was sitting in a comfortable third behind Bautista and Rea before losing the front at the final turn on lap six. 

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