WorldSBK 2019: Alvaro Bautista and Ducati Dominate First Day

Alvaro Bautista on the Ducati Panigale V4 R at Phillip Island, Australia - Photo credit WorldSBK.com
  • Former MotoGP rider Alvaro Bautista was quickest on the Ducati Panigale V4 R on Day One of the final WorldSBK 2019 pre-season test.

  • Bautista’s Ducati was one of four different manufacturers in the Top 5.

  • Testing continues tomorrow.

New factory Ducati signing Alvaro Bautista dominated the first day of the final pre-season testing at the Phillip Island Circuit, ahead of the opening round of WorldSBK 2019.

Riding the new Ducati Panigale V4 R, Bautista was the only rider to dip below the 1m 31s mark with 1m 30.743s. Bautista was only fifth fastest at Jerez test in November. The Spanish rider and Gigi Dall’Igna have both said previously that it’s still early days for the Panigale V4 R but this result is surely an encouraging sign in their quest to recapture the WSBK crown that Ducati once held.

That wasn’t the only big news from Day One. There were four different manufacturers in the Top Five. Alex Lowes took the new Yamaha YZF-R1 to second fastest with a time of 1m 31.146s.

Four-time WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea captured third on the new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR, just a whisker behind Lowes with a time of 1m 31.189s. He blew everyone away during the test at Jerez by being one second faster than the next nearest rival.

Rea’s ex-teammate and former world champion Tom Sykes rode the new BMW S 1000 RR to fourth fastest in 1m 31.300s.

Fifth fastest was Rea’s new teammate Leon Haslam who recorded his fastest time of 1m 31.999s.

Many fans and pundits of the series are hoping for a closer fight this year, after Rea’s domination in the past two seasons. They shall get their wish if it continues like today, and Rea will have his hands full in stemming the tide from three other manufacturers.

Testing continues tomorrow.

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