Spaniard Alvaro Bautista added another win to his CV at this weekends opening race at Motorland Aragon, dominating the 18-lap race onboard his Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale V4R.
Alvaro Bautista’s weekend started in dominant force topping the opening practices on Friday with over half a second advantage. Bautista continued his dominance into Saturday taking his second pole position in a row and setting a new lap record in the process.
The Spaniard used his pole position slot to lead into turn one leading BMW’s Tom Sykes and Yamaha’s Alex Lowes through the opening couple of corners.
Jonathan Rea’s race started in dramatic fashion with a flustered Markus Reiterberger clipping the rear of Rea’s Kawasaki ZX10RR and crashing before the braking zone for turn 1 leaving the German and his BMW stranded in the middle of the track. The first lap also claimed Leandro Mercardo and Alessandro Del Bianco who sadly crashed out.
Bautista started to open the gap immediately pulling out an 11-second gap in 6 laps.
Meanwhile, the fight for 2nd place, Sykes’ BMW couldn’t hold of the Yamaha of Alex Lowes who blasted past the BMW down the back straight and then dropped off the pack.
Jonathan Rea started his attack passing Laverty, both PATA Yamaha’s and the Ducati of Chaz Davies but struggled to escape the pack with Davies being able to use the power of the V4R to keep Rea honest. With 8 laps to go, Rea and Davies had been trading places over the last 5 laps but on lap 11 Alex Lowes, who had to regain ground after running wide at the final corner earlier in the race, dived under Davies into turn 7 giving Rea a bit of breathing space. One lap later Lowes got the run out of turn 7 and was able to dive underneath the four-time WorldSBK champion at the reverse Corkscrew, however, Rea responded on the back straight using the slipstream to breeze past the YZF R1.
Team Go Eleven’s Eugene Laverty started closing the gap down to Dutchman Michael Van der Mark who was having to regroup after having contact with his fellow Irishman Jonathan Rea on the opening lap and damaged his winglet causing aero issues for Laverty. Van der Mark went for a lunge on Davies but made himself vulnerable to Laverty and the power of his V4 R and was able to blast past Van der Mark on the back straight.
On the other Ducati, Chaz Davies saw Alex Lowes escaping the pack and made the pass on Rea into the double left-hander and then stormed past Alex Lowes’ Yamaha on the back straight.
The final few laps were upon us with Davies, Lowes, Rea and Laverty all in with a chance of the runner up spot, Rea got himself back on the podium, all be it very briefly, at the final corner but Lowes pulled the Yamaha back under Rea but sacrificed his speed on the front straight allowing Rea to get alongside the Lincoln-born Derbyshire man who then had Laverty diving up the inside at turn 12.
Further back, Van der Mark had been passed by Sykes for 6th place with Cortese, Haslam and Razgatlioglu rounding out the top 10.
Jonathan Rea pulled off his famous turn 5 dive on the penultimate lap and was able to hold off the Welshman for the remainder of the lap.
The final lap showdown was on between the two V4R’s who was chasing the Kawasaki of Jonathan Rea, but disaster struck at turn 14 when Laverty clipped the rear of Chaz Davies sending the Irishman into the gravel ending his race.
Alvaro Bautista crossed the line 15.170s ahead of Jonathan Rea who was able to hold off the Ducati of Chaz Davies who took his first podium finish of 2019.
Alex Lowes came across the line in 4th with Tom Sykes taking his best result of the season so far with 5th, Michael Van der Mark and Sandro Cortese finished 6th and 7th with Razgatlioglu getting the better of KRT rider Leon Haslam for 8th and 9th, the final position in the top 10 went the way of Spaniard Jordi Torres.
Leon Camier finished 11th with GRT Yamaha, Marco Melandri just 0.114s behind the Englishman, Rinaldi, Kiyonari and the fallen Laverty rounded out the field.
Race 2 comes live from Motorland Aragon on Sunday 7th April at 2pm (local time) but before that, we will see if Bautista can make it 8 wins on the bounce in the Tissot Superpole Sprint Race. Find out if he can, here at NowMoto.
Featured Image Credit: WorldSBK