Take 5 – Championship changing moments from Jerez!

Friday, 16 August 2019 11:43 GMT

In what was one of the most dramatic weekends of the first half of 2019, Jerez opened the WorldSBK title race as rivalries erupted in Spanish heat!

Making a return to the WorldSBK calendar after having 2018 off, the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto hosted the sixth round of the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. Nobody could’ve predicted what would happen in the races, as clashes, crashes, bumps and underdogs coming up trumps made for an unforgettable, season-defining round. Narrowing the five best moments from this barnstorming round was hard but we’ve done it!

Rea and Lowes clash!

Race 1 at Jerez proved to be dramatic, with Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) taking the lead early on, and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) surging through during the race to place second. This meant that Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) were going head-to-head throughout the remainder of the race, with hard but fair passes taking place, keeping it clean and neat.

However, as so often is the case with the final corner at Jerez, action and drama occurs and sure enough, Race 1 in 2019 proved to be no exception. With Lowes leading the battle for the final podium position, Jonathan Rea could see the gap growing between him and race winner, Alvaro Bautista. The Ulsterman tried a bold move up the inside of the final corner, clattering into the side of Lowes, who skated into the gravel. Rea took third whilst Lowes could only sit in the gravel. However, a stewards’ decision at the end of the day saw Rea penalised and put back to fourth, whilst he would start the Tissot Superpole Race from the back of the grid. Jerez had started with a bang…

First mistake of the year for Bautista…

It was starting to look like the Alvaro Bautista dominance we saw in the opening four rounds, as the Spaniard cruised to victory in Race 1 and the Tissot Superpole Race, rubbing salt in the open wounds of rival, Jonathan Rea. However, Race 2 was far from plain-sailing. Having opened a gap at the end of Lap 1, Bautista looked odds on for a fourth hat-trick of the season. But then…

Trail-braking into Turn 1, Bautista tucked the front end of the Ducati Panigale V4 R and went bouncing into the gravel trap, allowing the Kawasakis of Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) to take the lead, with Michael van der Mark behind them. It was the first mistake of Bautista’s campaign, and it was a costly one, as the championship lead shrinked to 41 points.

Victory for van der Mark…

After showing promise all the way through the weekend, Michael van der Mark found his way to the front of Race 2 in WorldSBK, passing Jonathan Rea midway through the race. The Dutchman and the Northern Irishman had a battle during the race but soon enough, van der Mark showed his Jerez prowess and edged clear from Jonathan Rea, giving the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team something to cheer about with their first win of the season. Having started the weekend with P1 in FP1, van der Mark was back at the sharp end and ready to show the paddock that he was a force to be reckoned with for the rest of the 2019 season.

Davies and Melandri clash amongst the drama…

Having enjoyed many healthy battles in the past, it was not their best moment as Marco Melandri wiped out Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) on the exit of Turn 5 in Race 2. The two riders were battling on the fringes of the podium positions when Melandri attempted to pass Chaz Davies, before the two collided and went down in a heap. It wasn’t to stop in the gravel however, as Chaz Davies took to social media to complain about the Italians wayward GRT Yamaha WorldSBK machine. Melandri’s reputation for harsh but fair riding has been known to ruffle the feathers of his competitors in WorldSBK, and Davies was just another rider on the receiving end of Melandri’s move.

Independent teams work together for the better in Race 2!

As the factory-supported bikes fell from the leading positions, it was the Independent teams who ruled the roost in Race 2 at Jerez. Six of the top ten positions went the way of Independent outfits, with an array of machinery, riders and nationalities making for a memorable Race 2 in the south of Spain. With Razgatlioglu in third place, the next Independent rider was Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team), who took a strong fourth.

Then, the sole surviving GRT Yamaha of Sandro Cortese was in sixth, whilst home-hero Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) was eighth. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) took ninth and his best result since coming back to WorldSBK, whilst super-sub from BSB Tommy Bridewell (Team Goeleven completed the top ten. In a weekend that would prove to be a turning point for a variety of reasons, it was also a weekend when the Independent teams took their best race positions of the season, and where riders took their best ever WorldSBK classifications.

Watch more enthralling action from World Superbike in 2019 with the WorldSBK VideoPass!