Peerless Bautista wins again as Rea limits the damage

by Robert Jones

Championship leader Alvaro Bautista made it two from two in front of his home crowd, as he took victory in the Superpole race ahead of Michael Van Der Mark and Marco Melandri

Bautista started the race from pole, after Jonathan Rea’s clash with Alex Lowes yesterda left him with a hefty penalty. The Spanish rider took full advantage of his rivals being out of position, as Rea started from the back of the grid.

The Aruba.it Ducati rider wasted no time in getting comfortable. On lap two he set a new race lap record and started to instantly forge a gap between himself and the rest of the field. This left Melandri, on the GRT Yamaha machine, in pursuit with the fast starting Leon Haslam in third. 

Image Credit: WorldSBK.com

Due to the Superpole’s shorter race distance of only ten laps, the tyre consumption is not as important as in the two feature races. This meant that race one runner up, Van Der Mark would have seen this as an opportunity to challenge Bautista for victory.

However the Dutchman got a poor start, losing a place to Jordi Torres before getting embroiled in a battle with teammate Lowes and Tom Sykes for fourth place.

The Pata Yamaha rider slowly started to make his way through the pack and was in fifth place, which soon became fourth as Lowes crashed out at turn seven.  It was a devastating DNF for the Brit, who was running well and looking to make up for yesterday’s unlucky result. 

Van der Mark made short work of Haslam for third place, and with the closing stages fast approaching, he had Melandri in his sights too.

Van Der Mark was repeatedly strong on the brakes heading into turn six, and that’s where the overtake came. Melandri did his best to fight back, but the Italian did not quite have the grip and pace to make a challenge.

Trying to close the pair down without success was Rea, who produced a great ride from the back of the grid to finish in fourth.

Knowing that his position in this race would dictate where he starts the all important race two, it was crucial for the defending champion to make his way up the order cleanly, but as quickly as he could.

He was already into fourth by the end of lap six, but the gap to the two Yamaha’s was far too much for the Kawasaki rider to close down and he ultimately had to settle for his second non-podium finish of the weekend. 

Sykes was fifth for the Motorrad BMW team ahead of Haslam, while Toprak Razgatlioglu got his second top ten finish of the weekend in seventh. Torres was eighth on the Pedercini racing bike, with Sandro Cortese and Chaz Davies rounding out the top ten places. 

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