Dominant Rea takes victory as Bautista loses more ground

by Robert Jones

Jonathan Rea took his fifth win on the bounce and eighth of the 2019 World Superbike season, as main rival Alvaro Bautista crashed again.

Rea started the race from Pole Position and was initially under intense pressure from both Aruba.it Ducati riders. 

On lap one, it was Bautista behind Rea after moving past teammate Chaz Davies on the start. However, the Welshman immediately fought back at turn ten to take back second spot. 

Davies chose the softer rear tyre which is usually used for the Superpole race, and knew he had to make quick progress to stand a chance for victory. 

The championship leader was setting a hot pace at the front, but Davies was looking for a way through which he did going into turn one on lap four. 

Rea was alert to the move and took the place straight back as Davies ran slightly wide, which allowed Bautista to get a run on his teammate. 

The Spanish rider had been improving throughout the weekend, and seemed to have the pace to challenge Rea for victory. 

Bautista lined up Davies going into turn five, but made a critical error on the brakes and lost the front end in what can only be described as a disaster for his title aspirations.

Credit: WorldSBK.com

Bautista managed to rejoin the race, but the day got even worse when he was lapped halfway through the race by the two leaders. 

With Bautista out of the race, the threat from behind for Davies was gone and the 32 year-old ultimately settled for second and a much needed podium. 

In a lonely third was Toprak Razgatlioglu, who took his sixth podium of the year ahead of Tom Sykes in fourth.

Both riders had an equally quiet but brilliant race, and will take a lot of momentum into today’s Superpole race and second feature race. 

Fifth was Alex Lowes for the Pata Yamaha team, ahead of the weekend standout Jordi Torres. It was a disappointing qualifying for Lowes who has been slightly off the pace since Friday, but managed to make steady progress through the field. 

For Torres it was a well deserved result after a very good qualifying. The former Moto2 rider was running fifth for long periods, but was pipped late on by Lowes as rear tyre conservation was a struggle.

Michael Van Der Mark delivered a great performance from sixteenth place on the grid to take seventh, ahead of Loris Baz on the Ten Kate Yamaha.

Rounding out the top ten were Italian riders Marco Melandri on his final race weekend at Laguna Seca after his retirement announcement this week, while Michael Ruben-Rinaldi took an impressive tenth place. 

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