2019 Philip Island World Superbike Race One Results: Oh Boy

The first World Superbike race of the season in Australia may be considered a test with points, taking part over a month before first European round in Spain, but that doesn't mean it can't give us entertainment. 

Jonathan Rea won the drag race to the first turn, beating Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam to the first apex, but two turns later, Bautista took the lead from the reigning world champion and the Ducati led the way from the two Kawasakis. Tom Sykes lost fourth place to Alex Lowes and fifth to Marco Melandri. The second lap started with the front three breaking away from the fight for fourth, a four way affair as Toprak Razgatlioglu joined in the scrap, but after Haslam and Rea started swapping places, Bautista took the opportunity to set the fastest lap and break away from the green fight. 

A lap later, with Bautista's Ducati Panigale V4 over a second clear, setting the fastest lap again, Rea had to take defensive lines to keep Haslam from spoiling his fun, but a lap later, Haslam took second place off him anyway. 

Lap five saw Alvaro Bautista three seconds clear of the field as seven riders grouped together to contest second place, Haslam and Rea leading a third Kawasaki as Toprak Razgatlioglu fended off Alex Lowes, Tom Sykes, Michael van der Mark and Marco Melandri. As Bautista kept increasing his lead, lap by lap, van der Mark and Melandri fell off the back of the five bikes in front of them. 

Nine laps in, Bautista had a lead of over five seconds over the three Kawasakis and Alex Lowes. Jonathan Rea took the lead back into turn one only to have Leon Haslam take it back at turn three a lap later. As Rea took the lead again into turn one, Alex Lowes took fourth place from Toprak Razgatlioglu and Tom Sykes hauled his BMW into the action, over two seconds clear of Marco Melandri and Michael van der Mark. Another lap and Haslam repeats himself, making turn three his favourite place to take second place from his teammate. 

Almost ten seconds in thirteen laps, Bautista was consistently quicker than everyone else every lap, with his lead never decreasing. Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea looked like they would be slowing each other down for the remainder of the race until, at turn four Haslam had too much speed, too much lean and not enough grip. He slid his Kawasaki out of second place and watched the entire grid pass him before he managed to get his bike back up and running. The battle for second place was then between Rea and Alex Lowes, with Razgatlioglu and Sykes a second behind them. Marco Melandri was almost two seconds back from Sykes, but his independent Yamaha was finally coming into its own and, joined by Michael van der Mark on a factory Yamaha, the pair started to close the gap to Sykes's BMW. Three laps later, on lap sixteen, Tom Sykes had passed Toprak Razgatlioglu and Razgatlioglu was left to deal with Melandri who caught and passed him down the main straight.

Five laps from the end, Alvaro Bautista had an ever-increasing lead of over thirteen seconds, dispelling any suspicions that his tyres might not last the distance. Jonathan Rea in second place only had Alex Lowes to challenge him, and it didn't look like Lowes had any way of taking second place off the champion. Tom Sykes in third place, however, was passed by Melandri in turn three and then Michael van der Mark in turn four. Yamahas held third, fourth and fifth places as Melandri and van der Mark dished it out in their quest to close on Lowes.

On lap twenty of twenty two, fifteen seconds behind Alvaro Bautista, Jonathan Rea finally had some alone time as Alex Lowes had a hard-charging Marco Melandri snapping at his rear wheel, with Michael van der Mark not much further behind. On the penultimate lap, Melandri took third place from Lowes and the two started swapping places, eventually swapping places four times on the last lap.

Alvaro Bautista won his debut World Superbike race in relative peace and quiet, fifteen seconds clear from the fighting behind him, while Jonathan Rea took twenty points in second place. Marco Melandri won the fight for the podium and Alex Lowes had to settle for fourth place, ahead of Michael van der Mark and Toprak Razgatlioglu. Leon Haslam finished the race in fifteenth place, claiming a solitary point after his crash. 

Alvaro Bautista thanked Ducati for giving him a fast bike and became the first rookie to win a race in his debut since Max Biaggi. 

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 19 A. BAUTISTA Ducati Panigale V4 R  
2 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR 14.983
3 33 M. MELANDRI Yamaha YZF R1 16.934
4 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 16.984
5 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1 19.179
6 54 T. RAZGATLIOGLU Kawasaki ZX-10RR 21.203
7 66 T. SYKES BMW S1000 RR 21.488
8 11 S. CORTESE Yamaha YZF R1 23.018
9 21 M. RINALDI Ducati Panigale V4 R 25.580
10 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale V4 R 27.124
11 81 J. TORRES Kawasaki ZX-10RR 28.214
12 50 E. LAVERTY Ducati Panigale V4 R 30.055
13 28 M. REITERBERGER BMW S1000 RR 31.859
14 36 L. MERCADO Kawasaki ZX-10RR 34.793
15 91 L. HASLAM Kawasaki ZX-10RR 41.009
16 23 R. KIYONARI Honda CBR1000RR 45.523
17 52 A. DELBIANCO Honda CBR1000RR 1 Lap
RET 17 T. HERFOSS Honda CBR1000RR 16
RET 2 L. CAMIER Honda CBR1000RR 14 Laps
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Round Number: 
1
2019
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Total votes: 57

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Comments

My guess was that Alvero would burn his tires to cinders by five to go then bin it in the gravel trying to not get passed. 

Wow. Simply wow. 

Total votes: 21

A little from column "A" and a little from column "B"? 

With Bautista 25 seconds ahead of the next Panigale, you decide....

 

Total votes: 16

Both rider & bike.

Total votes: 10

= dominant in WSBK

This is why Rea was talking out his arse so much when he said he thought he could have done better in MotoGP than Crutchlow

Long way to go in the championship obviously but 15 seconds?? Rea will need to excell at tracks Bautista hasn't ridden yet

 

 

Total votes: 22

Alvaro has always been very fast. I have been a Bautista fan for years. He's just never really had a bike under him to match his talent. Congratulations to Ducati for putting Alvaro on their new Panigale. Absolutely brilliant stroke for Alvaro, Ducati and World Superbike. It sort of makes up for driving Jorge to HRC...

Total votes: 16

Congrats Alvaro and Ducati! (Aaaand your revs will be cut back in 3,2,1...)
Nice bike Yamaha.
Maybe Honda can have a few of the Duc's RPM's?

Total votes: 19

Starting the season with two flyaway rounds does seem very much like a prelude.

Total votes: 7

This looked like a Superbike race with a MotoGP rider on a MotoGP bike in it. Which is of course pretty much how it is. The only surprising thing is that he did not seem to have any tyre wear issues at the end, which is what was widely expected he would suffer from. I'm guessing that his huge straight-line speed advantage means that he can afford to save his tyres in the corners.

The difference with the other Ducati V4R riders is of course remarkable. How much of that is down to Bautista being on a higher rider level, how much is down to him being used to the Desmosedici that this Panigale V4R is derived from, and how much on this being Phillip Island, remains to be seen. 

On the opposite side of the spectrum: another underwhelming showing by Honda. During the early stages of the race I noticed that the other three Hondas were solidly backmarking the field, so I wondered how much Camier was overriding that thing again, and when he would crash out trying to make it do something it can't. I hope he hasn't injured himself again, like unfortunately many before him have done on that Blade.

Total votes: 17