Rea wins as Bautista falters in a pulsating race two

by Robert Jones

Jonathan Rea took his second victory of the weekend at Misano, and in the process reduced the championship lead to sixteen points after Alvaro Bautista crashed from the lead.

Bautista started the race from Pole, and made a great start ahead of Rea, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Leon Haslam. It was looking all under control at the front for the Ducati star, but the championship leader made an identical mistake to the one in Jerez and crashed from the lead at the beginning of lap two.

Although not at the first corner like his home round, the incident gave alarming flashbacks to his previous error, and is one that could be an extremely costly mistake. 

With Bautista out of the running it was Haslam who inherited in the lead, but it didn’t last long as Razgatlioglu soon made his way past in exciting fashion with a hard but fair move at turn four. 

As the Puccetti Kawasaki rider started to raise the pace, Rea followed him through and the pair pulled away from Haslam. Instead of looking forward, the challenge was coming from behind for Haslam as he was embroiled in a fierce battle with Marco Melandri and Alex Lowes, but with a few laps remaining that battle was down to two as Melandri crashed at turn eight. 

With the last podium place there for the taking between Haslam and Lowes, the pair exchanged positions on the penultimate lap, but it was Haslam who came out on top, to secure his second podium finish of the weekend. 

Out front, the battle was enthralling with Razgatlioglu riding at the top of his level and on the absolute limit. Rea spent the majority of the race in second and was finding it difficult to overtake Razgatlioglu. 

Rea finally made his move with four laps remaining, and pulled the pin, but could not gap the young Turk who was stuck to the defending champions wheel. 

Image Credit: WorldSBK.com

As the riders started the last lap, it was obvious that a lunge was coming and Razgatlioglu went hard on the brakes into turn eight but ran slightly wide and gave Rea the cutback. Rea was also visibly on the limit while trying to keep the lead and managed to fend off the young Kawasaki protege for a crucial win. 

It was another strong weekend for Michael Ruben-Rinaldi, who backed up his successful ride in Spain with another top five finish in race two ahead of Tom Sykes

It was another step forward for the Motorrad BMW team and Sykes, who had their first podium of 2019 in Saturday’s race one, while seeing the bike make huge strides towards the top of the grid. 

Seventh was Chaz Davies on the other Aruba.it Ducati, who will be frustrated by another weekend without the pace to fight at the front. Davies finished ahead of wildcard rider Michele Pirro in eighth. 

Rounding out the top ten were Lorenzo Zanetti who delivered a third top ten in as many races with ninth, ahead of Jordi Torres on the Pedercini Racing bike. 

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