WorldSBK 2019: Dream Weekend as Baustista and Ducati Makes Clean Sweep

Alvaro Bautista on the Ducati Panigale V4 R at Phillip Island, Australia - Photo credit WorldSBK.com
  • Alvaro Bautista and Ducati made a clean sweep at the WorldSBK 2019 Round 1 in Phillip Island, Australia.

  • Bautista won the Superpole sprint race and Race 2.

  • Battles raged behind him as he raced into the distance.

Alvarro Bautista and the Ducati Panigale V4 R were only second quickest to Jonathan Rea on his trusty Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR during the WorldSBK 2019 pre-season tests at Portimao, Portugal less than a month ago.

But Bautista fought back during the final pre-season tests at Phillip Island, Australia to go fastest on both days. However, Rea retaliated by qualifying in pole position and was quickest in the morning warm up session.

Many were salivating at the prospects of a Bautista-Rea battle royal over the weekend. Instead, the Spanish turned on his beast mode and utterly destroyed the entire field.

Bautista won yesterday’s Race 1 by 14.9 seconds, sending his team and Ducati fans around the world into a frenzy.

He gave them even more to cheer for today by winning the inaugural Superpole sprint race before getting down to business again in Race 2.

The Rea-Leon Haslam pairing at Kawasaki had taken the lead, but Bautista passed them on Lap 2 and took off. He held a lead of 18 seconds at one point, before backing off at the end to win by 12 seconds.

Ducati party Round 2 it was!

Bautista’s triple win was only the second clean sweep during a debut race after John Kocinski’s in 1996.

Rea had to be content with another 2ndplace finish after fighting a fierce race-long battle with teammate Haslam. Haslam was anxious to make amends for his crash yesterday after snatching second place from Rea.

Third place went to Michael van Der Mark on his factory Pata Yamaha after passing yesterday’s third place finisher Marco Melandri on the GRT Yamaha. Melandri suffered a serious rear tyre performance drop which saw him slip to sixth behind van Der Mark’s teammate Alex Lowes.

Chaz Davies improved on the Ducati Panigale V4 R by finishing in seventh after fighting his way up from 16th.

The new BMW S 1000 RR of Markus Reiterberger and Tom Sykes still needs more development. The pair ended the day in 12thand 13th, respectively.

Round 2 of WorldSBK 2019 takes place at Buriram, Thailand on 15thto 17thMarch.

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