Alvaro Bautista and the new Ducati Panigale V4 R stomped the WorldSBK 2019 field in the opening race at Phillip Island, Australia.
He finished a whopping 14.9 ahead of the Jonathan Rea.
There were four different manufacturers in the Top Five at the finish line.
It was a fairy tale start for Alvaro Bautista and the Ducati Panigale V4 R as they won Race 1 of the opening round of Pirelli WorldSBK 2019 in Phillip Island, Australia.
Bautista and the Ducat blasted into the lead in Turn 3 on the opening lap. His race laps were so hot that he had opened up an 8-second lead by mid-race. He would eventually cross the finish line 14.9 seconds ahead of the second-placed rider.
He was the first rookie rider to win a WorldSBK race on his debut since Max Biaggi in 2007.
With Bautista clearing off into the horizon, he left his rivals to fight it out among themselves. However, unlike in previous years when four-time world champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) dominated his rivals, he had to fight tooth and nail with other riders this time around. His new teammate Leon Haslam provided the strongest challenge, with Alex Lowes in tow (PATA Yamaha WorldSBK Team).
Haslam managed to pass Rea only to crash later. The former remounted and finished 15th.
Further down the field, Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) battled hard against Toprak Razgatlioglu on his Turkish Puccetti Racing Kawasaki. Sykes’ bike visibly struggling to keep up with the Toprak’s down the straights.
Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) was another rider who put in an amazing ride. He fought his way up from midfield, first passing Michael van Der Mark for sixth place, before chasing down Sykes, Razgatlioglu, and Lowes who was in third. Melandri claimed the final podium spot, relegating Lowes to 4th.
van Der Mark moved up to 5that the finish, while Razgatlioglu kept Sykes behind for 6th.
The biggest story day of course, is about the dream debut of Bautista and the Panigale V4 R. his teammate Chaz Davies was still struggling to learn the new bike and finished in 10th.
The results mean there were four different manufacturers in the Top Five, including one privateer team (Melandri’s GRT Yamaha).
Race 2 and the new sprint race continue tomorrow (Sunday).