Ahead of the Spaniards arrival to WorldSBK, we take a look at the last time he challenged our champion
When the lights go out for the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season, it won’t be the first time that Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Alvaro Bautista will have met on track. Back in 2012, when Rea was a MotoGP™ replacement rider on the Repsol Honda the duo enjoyed two weekends of battling out on track.
Misano was the destination for Rea’s MotoGP™ debut, and it was a big weekend for the Northern Irishman on the factory team with new tyres. Putting on an impressive performance with the factory machine, Rea qualified in ninth position and finished the race one position higher, in eighth. But he was unable to see much of the no.19 rider, as Bautista took his debut premier class podium finish under sunny Italian skies. Working his way through the pack from 12th on the opening lap, Bautista overtook Rea but swiftly moved forward to take his trophy at the line.
However, it was the second and Rea’s last round which provided the on-track battle between the pair. Rea out qualified the Spaniard in seventh position, with Bautista 12th on the grid but a good start meant they were locked together from the opening lap. With his GP experience playing a bigger part in Bautista’s pace, he was able to get past Rea and began to pull a gap on lap five of 23. Unable to get back up and battle with the then Honda rider, Rea crossed the line an impressive seventh position and just over four seconds behind Bautista.
Offering us a taste of their on track battles back in 2012, who knows what is set to come in 2019? We can’t wait to find out, and you can too all with the WorldSBK VideoPass.