The gloves come off as Bautista and Rea dual Down Under
The first ever Tissot Superpole Race in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship saw Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) creating one more bit of WorldSBK history! The fast-paced ten lap encounter was a thriller from lights-out to chequered flag – the perfect way to celebrate the start of a new WorldSBK era!
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) swept majestically into the lead at Turn 1, Race 1 winner on Saturday, Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) placed second but was glued to the rear end of the reigning World Champion. By the end of the first lap, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) had come up to third position – briefly taking Bautista for second place, only for the Ducati Panigale V4 R to blast past.
Soon, it was the battle we had all waited to see, with Alvaro Bautista able to conquer Jonathan Rea and pass him down the Gardner Straight. However, unlike in Race 1 on Saturday, the Spaniard was unable to make a break away from Rea, who stayed with him – a completely different story in comparison to the first race of the season yesterday.
Leon Haslam was pushed back briefly to fifth position by Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) but soon managed to retake fourth and then halfway into the Tissot Superpole Race, took back third place from Lowes.
With 7 laps to go, Rea pushed ahead of Bautista at Turn 2, only for the championship leader to push back in front at Turn 4 – the gloves were off with the battle we had all waited to see. Rea briefly took the lead back, but Bautista’s Ducati power soon put him in front at the end of the lap. Rea put a bold move on the 34-year-old at Turn 1 immediately after, like the breath-taking pass he put on Marco Melandri in Race 2 last season.
The battle raged on behind after Haslam had broke away to secure third, as Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark, Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) and teammate Marco Melandri all battled hard. The quartet of Yamaha YZF R1s duked it out and tripped up over each other, ending any chance they had of mounting a top three charge.
On the final lap, Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) wiped out Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) at the infamous Turn 4.
At the flag, Alvaro Bautista held off Jonathan Rea’s onslaught to take the first ever win in the Tissot Superpole Race to start from pole position in Race 2. Rea secured second with teammate Leon Haslam completing the top three.
Alex Lowes finished fourth once again and will head up the second row of the grid, with teammate Michael van der Mark fifth and podium finisher on Saturday, Marco Melandri – who moves forward an entire row for sixth.
Row three will consist of Sandro Cortese, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) and Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) on the Ducati. Chaz Davies completed the top ten but having failed to take a top ten placing, he will return to his 16th position on the grid for Race 2.
Find out how the new-look grid will get on in Race 2 with the WorldSBK VideoPass!