WSBK

WSBK: Rea keeps title dream alive with Race Two win at Misano

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Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea took the 75th WSBK win of his career to slash Ducati’s  Alvaro championship lead to just 16 points with his second victory of the weekend at Misano.

The reigning champion, looking to recover after slipping off  in the Superpole sprint race which Bautista won, was handed a golden opportunity when Bautista low-sided off while leading on the second lap at Turn 4.

With the stricken Spaniard rejoining the race in last place and more than 40-seconds back on the leaders, Rea set about hunting down Kawasaki team-mate Leon Haslam with Puccetti Kawasaki’s Toprak Razgatlioglu also in the front group.

After the Turkish rider charged into the lead at the start of Lap 5, Rea pushed Haslam into third place as he began his dash to the front and 25 valuable championship points.

Rea caught and stalked Razgatlioglu as the pair burst clear of Haslam and the chasing pack, with the four-time world champion making his move into the lead for the first time with three laps to go diving up the inside at Turn 1.

But Razgatlioglu demonstrated why he his so highly coveted in the paddock, sticking to the rear wheel of Rea over the closing laps before diving deep up the inside at Turn 4 to reclaim the lead on the final lap.

However, the Turkish rider drifted wide and Rea was able to dive back into the lead to take a vital victory and the 75th win of his WSBK career.

Rea said: “Winning two races at Misano was good for us, especially the two important races. Unfortunately in the Superpole Race today I made a big mistake in turn ten, when I lost the front. But I restarted to finish fifth which was all important for the weekend.

“Race Two today was a tough one because the temperature was hot. I was very unsure of the pace. I felt like it was slow but I did not want to push any faster. I saw Alvaro go down very early in the race and the conditions out there were very tough, especially for the front tyre. The rear was just not digging in and going forward, it was just spinning so much – but we won, which was the main thing. It was a super-nice day for Kawasaki because we put three bikes on the Race Two podium. Team Suzuka! Donington next and we will go to every track with an open mentality.”

With Razgatlioglu and Haslam completing an all-Kawasaki podium, Yamaha’s Alex Lowes secured fourth place for Pata Yamaha with Michael Ruben Rinaldi  finishing top Ducati in fifth.

Tom Sykes finished sixth on the BMW, ahead of Chaz Davies on the Ducati in seventh, wildcard Michele Pirro in eight with Lorenzo Zanetti on the Team Goeleven Ducati who is standing in for the injured Eugene Laverty finishing ninth. Jordi Torres rounded out the top 10 for Pedercini Kawasaki.

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WSBK: Rea wins wet Race One at Misano

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The Italian weather once again threw a spanner in the WSBK works with heavy rain hitting Misano. So hard in fact that the red flag was brought out on the sighting lap for Race One. With Sunday’s racing in Imola being cancelled earlier in the season because of torrential rain, teams and fans looked to the sky…would the same fate hit Misano?

After a delay, a restart was planned for 14:24 with a quick-start procedure; one mechanic and one minute.

The race started with Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea leading Sandro Cortese on the satellite Yamaha and BMW’s Tom Sykes, before Yamaha’s Alex Lowes passed the chase trio with an audacious move around the outside. Champions leader Alvaro Bautista then pounced to take fourth place from Cortese, with Lowes taking the lead into turn on Lap Two. Lowes then set the fastest lap as the leading pair broke free of Sykes in third place, pulling out a gap of more than a second.

Lap Three saw Lowes set the fastest lap again, with the rain returning with a vengeance, and the red flags came out. Again.

After another downpour, the weather eased and the race restarted,  with the grid being determined by the results of the red flagged session, meaning Lowes, Rea and Sykes were  on the front row, Bautista, Davies and Haslam on the second row and Cortese, Pirro and Baz on the third row., with another quick-start procedure ahead of an 18-lap race.

The restart opened with Rea and Tom Sykes getting past Lowes, but Lowes quickly sn rapped back. passing riders round the outside with another brave move to take second place. Bautista briefly held third place, powering past Sykes in a straight only for Sykes to outbreak him in the treacherous conditions to snatch third place back.

Rea and Lowes were the class act of the field and were almost two seconds clear of Sykes after just one lap. Rea set the fastest lap a lap later, with the leading pair extending their lead to more than three seconds ahead of Sykes and Chaz Davies, Bautista and Leon Haslam.

With lightning filling the sky, and the grandstands rapidly emptying, Lowes dived into the lead on Lap Seven and began to put the hammer down,  riding hard to eke out a gap, but he was too greedy on Lap Eight, losing the front and sliding out. The crash gifted the lead to Rea and he never looked back, managing the gap to take the chequered flag to win by 3.692 seconds ahead of Sykes, with Bautista finishing third.

Rea said: “I had done next to zero laps in the wet this season, even in winter testing. The first time we came across the wet was in morning warm-up at Imola. The gamble to stay inside the box in the wet morning warm up today still paid off, but we did not expect the rain clouds to come for the race. I was very nervous as we did not really have a wet set-up. So we just tried to maximise our potential, ride my own race and our bike works well in these conditions. It is a very stable bike but the track was changing lap-to-lap. Sometimes we had a lot of surface water, sometimes zero surface water. You need much more concentration in a wet race, because the bike is moving much more underneath you and you have to be very precise, especially with the white lines and the kerbs. When Alex came past I was not prepared to take that risk to go that fast. When I was leading the race I tried to manage my rhythm and the gap to behind. Arturo my mechanic was super-good with my pit-board so I could enjoy the last lap.”

Rea’s race win, for which he thanked his pit board handler, closed the gain the overall rider standings to Alvaro Bautista to 31 points.

WSBK: Rea dominates Superpole race at Imola

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The first and only race at at Imola on Sunday was the Tissot Superpole Race, which provided fireworks once more. On a damp but drying circuit, there was drama before the race even started, as BMW’s Tom Sykes  missed the warm up lap and was forced to start from pit lane.

At the front, Ducati’s Chaz Davies got the jump from pole, while Race One winner Jonathan Rea went side-by-side with the Welshman, but the Ducati held firm and maintained the lead.

With the race settling down, a mistake from Davies at the final chicane allowed Rea and Alvaro Bautista on the other factory Ducati to get ahead of him. Davies now had to put in the hard work all over again, as reigning champion Rea began to pull out an advantage.

Davies soon despatched his team-mate and the two dominant forces of WSBK in the past four seasons – Rea and Davies – went head-to-head in terms of lap times, both on lap record pace. The gap momentarily came down to below a second, but Davies was unable to get on terms with Jonathan Rea, while Bautista rode answerless in third position.

Rea’s victory never looked in doubt and he powered to his first Tissot Superpole Race win. Davies and Bautista came home behind him, while Michael van der Mark took his best Imola result with a strong fourth. Team-mate Alex Lowes finished fifth, with Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam placed in sixth.

WSBK: Rampant Rea returns to winning ways in Race One at Imola

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It was a welcome return to the top step of the podium for Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea, who put in a riding masterclass to take victory in Race One.

The Ulsterman enjoyed a bright start, but couldn’t get the better of Ducati’s Chaz Davies down into Tamburello. However, on the run to Acque Minerale, Davies suffered a problem and was forced to retire, handing Rea the lead while Davies’ team-mate Bautista moved up to second.

At the end of the opening lap, Rea and Bautista had the leading positions, with BMW’s Tom Sykes in third and ahead of Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark.

As the race settled down, Rea built a comfortable lead and was extending his advantage over Bautista by around 0.7s per lap. Bautista in turn was escaping the attention of Sykes but the main battle through the race was for fourth, with van der Mark leading Alex Lowes.

However, Lowes began to slip back, having been ill all weekend, and then Sykes suffered another mechanical issue, robbing the 2013 WorldSBK champ of a certain podium.

Sykes’ demise promoted a huge battle between van der Mark and Toprak Razgatlioglu for the final podium position. The Turkish star made his move in the closing stages and got ahead of van der Mark. The pair then swapped paint and traded blows on the penultimate lap, colliding twice and fighting down to the wire.

Meanwhile, in a league of his own, Jonathan Rea blitzed the opposition in vintage fashion, taking his first win of the season to end the run of victories by Alvaro Bautista.

It is Jonathan Rea’s eighth win at Imola and his 72nd career victory in WSBK, ending his longest winless run since 2013. It is the 128th win for Kawasaki in WSBK.

WSBK: Another hat-trick of race wins for runaway Bautista at Aragon

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Alvaro Bautista enjoyed another perfect round at his home race at Aragon to maintain his perfect start to the WSBK season, taking another three wins to bring his total to the season to nine.

The MotoGP exile produced a carbon copy performance, taking a comfortable Race One win before adding the Sprint Race and Race Two victories to his tally to extend his lead in the standings to 39 points over Jonathan Rea.

The Spaniard said: “It has been an extraordinary weekend for me. Winning three races here in Spain in front of my family, my friends and the Spanish fans was really great. In all three, I was able to make my own strategy, that is get a fast start and maintain my own pace.

“The conditions in the three races were different, especially today in the Superpole Race which took place in the morning when it was very cold. Luckily it got a bit warmer for Race 2, but you could really feel the wind.

“Despite this, I was able to stay focussed, understand the situation on the track and push hard all the way.”

Jonathan Rea took a hat-trick of second-place finishes to limit the damage, with Ducati’s Chaz Davies finally enjoying a strong race weekend, taking a brace of third-place finishes.

WSBK: another race hat-trick for Bautista in Thailand as the Spaniard cruises to Race Two victory

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In what has been a dream opening six races in Alvaro Bautista’s WSBK career, the Spaniard romped to another race win to become the first rider since Neil Hodgson to win the opening six races of a WSBK season, back in 2003, causing to another lights to flag victory in dominant fashion.

When the lights turned green, Bautista was able to hold onto first position from start to finish. Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea didn’t have the outright speed to challenge Bautista and instead had his hands full dealing with Yamaha’s Alex Lowes.

At the end of the first lap the leading trio had a slight gap over Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam, Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark and GRT Yamaha’s Marco Melandri.

Soon, the big battle came from the scrap for fifth position, with van der Mark, Melandri, GRT Yamaha’s Sandro Cortese and Ducati’s Chaz Davies duelling for position. Turn 3 was once again a prime overtaking area, with Melandri trying a move on van der Mark, with both running wide and allowing Chaz Davies to get a better drive down the straight. Melandri retook Davies at Turn 8 but the race winner from Buriram in 2018 fought back at Turn 12, a fight replicated by Cortese and van der Mark.

On lap Four Melandri and Davies had a close call, with the Italian forcefully moving aside his former teammate at Turn 9, allowing van der Mark to go through, while Chaz Davies had to recover right at the back of the group and eventually retired on lap eight.

Up front, Bautista continued to dominate and took the chequered flag by more than ten seconds ahead of Rea and Lowes.

Bautista said: “I don’t know what to say. I think this weekend has been perfect for us because we dominate in all of the practices and all of the races. I want to say thanks to Ducati and to my team, we are working with a completely new bike, arriving at completely new tracks and we have to work for a set-up to make a good base. Here, we knew it would be difficult because in the last eight races, seven have been won by Kawasaki. At the end, we manage to have the same feeling that we have in Australia and we can be competitive. I am very, very happy!”.

Further back van der Mark was able to hold off a late charge by Leon Haslam, while Marco Melandri finished in sixth position for a fifth race in a row. Van der Mark’s fourth place means he stretches his finishing run to 21.

Behind the leading six, Sandro Cortese became the first German since Max Neukirchner in 2008 to finish six consecutive races inside the top eight, with his seventh position. Eighth belonged to Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team), with Razgatlioglu holding off Jordi Torres as they completed the top ten.

WSBK: Bautista wins red flagged Sprint Race in Thailand

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Alvaro Bautista kept his winning run going in the Thailand sprint race, which was cut short by a red flag following an incident between Leon Camier and Thitipong Warokorn.

The factory Ducati rider had another strong race on the V4R, trading passes with Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea on the opening lap of the sprint race before gradually pulling clear until a red flag on lap six prematurely ended the race early.

With results taken from the last completed sector point, effectively the halfway through lap six, Bautista won by 1.6s from Rea with Alex Lowes repeating the race one podium on the Pata Yamaha.

WSBK: Bautista dominates in Thailand to take Race One win

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The opening race of the Thai Round in the WSBK world championship saw an intense fight between reigning champion Jonathan Rea and series newcomer Alvaro Bautista, with Bautista using the Ducati’s speed advantage to power past the Kawasaki rider to take his fourth win of the season.

An action-packed start saw Bautista originally get a flying start but Buriram specialist Rea got ahead of the Spaniard through Turn 1 with Yamaha’s Alex Lowes tucked in behind.

The GRT riders of Sandro Cortese and Marco Melandri ran wide at the same turn, with BMW’s Tom Sykes slicing under them and into fourth. At the end of lap one, the top four were covered by 1.1s. A lightening start from Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark saw him rise from 10th on the grid to fifth by the end of the opening lap.

On lap three, Rea led by a narrow margin ahead of championship leader Bautista, and Bautista pounced at Turn 3, only for Rea to cut back underneath him, colliding with his rival. Bautista managed to hold on and regroup, and while Lowes came through, Bautista shook his head in disgust at Rea’s aggressive pass.

It didn’t take long for Bautista to surge forwards again, and the Spaniard made a pass on Lowes at the final corner, only to run wide and Lowes to pass him back down the front straight. Soon enough though, on the fourth lap at Turn 1, Bautista made his way through on Lowes and then set off in his pursuit of the four-time champion.

With 12 laps to go, Bautista had regained ground on Rea and set about trying to find a way ahead of the Kawasaki-mounted rider. On the run to the Turn 3, Bautista got ahead and this time, he was able to make the move stick. The two continued to romp away from the rest of the pack and while Rea didn’t lose too much time on Bautista initially, lap after lap, Bautista’s metronomic pace soon saw him break clear.

With the third place battle seemingly a stalemate between the Pata riders, Leon Haslam was starting to feel the pressure of Marco Melandri. Melandri made his way ahead on lap 11, but the battle was far from over. With just five laps to go, a rough lap from Melandri allowed Haslam to close up and make a move at the final corner. Haslam ran wide and the wily Italian cut back under him, clashing on the start and finish straight.

Out in front, an imperious Bautista took the win by 8.2s ahead of Rea, with Lowes finishing ahead of Michael van der Mark by 0.4s to take his third Buriram podium. In fifth position, Leon Haslam clinched the place over Melandri, whilst Sandro Cortese took seventh after a late battle with Barni Raciing’s Michael Ruben Rinaldi. Sykes was ninth after being pushed back due to his top speed deficit, with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) coming from 13th to 10th.

Bautista said: “For sure today has been tougher than Australia. I knew that Johnny would be fighting with me in the race because we had a similar pace during the free practices. I didn’t make a good start. I went wide in the first corner and lost the first position. I kept pushing and I caught Rea, and we had a clash at Turn 3 that almost made me crash. After a few laps, I was able to recover and find back my rhythm. I pushed to the limit and passed Johnny to take the win. I am really happy because even if my feeling with the bike wasn’t perfect, I was still able to win”.

Bautista’s win makes him the first Ducati rider since Neil Hodgson in 2003 to win the opening four races of a WSBK season. He gives Ducati their 345th win in the World Superbike class, as well as their 587th WSBK podium. He also becomes the first non-British rider to win at the Chang International Circuit.

WSBK: Hayden’s 2017 Honda SP2 up for sale

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Nicky Hayden’s 2017 Ten-Kate spec Honda CBR1000RR SP2 WSBK racebike is up for sale for a cool  €95.000.

Former Honda WSBK team Ten Kate is selling the machine, which has matching chassis and engine numbers, matching ECU and electronics numbers, matching chassis build-up and is set to the exact specification that Hayden used on track.

Ten Kate lists the bike as in ‘absolute showroom state’ though the machine is a runner and ready for track duties. The Dutch racing outfit is also issuing a certificate of authenticity with the sale and it will come with a full package and parts sold by Ten-Kate Racing.

For more info on the bike please contact Kervin Bos at Ten Kate Racing: k.bos@tenkateracing.com.

WSBK: Bautista wins Race Two to complete Phillip Island hat-trick

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The final race of the Australian Round in the opening meeting of the 2019 WSBK Championship went the way of Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista, who completed a dream WSBK debut.

Initially taking the lead at Turn 1, Bautista started putting time into kawasaki’s Leon Haslam, who had managed to pass team-mate Jonathan Rea at Turn 4. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha) also made a fast start and was fourth whilst Michael Ruben Rinaldi escalated from eighth on the grid into fifth, with Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha) remaining sixth.

At Turn One on lap two, Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) made a brief appearance into sixth, passing Melandri, only for the Italian to repay the compliment. Back in the fight for second position, Haslam began to pull away from Rea, the reigning champion not having things his own way.

Marco Melandri got his way ahead of van der Mark and immediately set about closing down the Kawasaki pairing of Haslam and Rea. Further up the road, Bautista was building his own gap, setting the fastest lap to confirm his relentless pace. The gap between the two Kawasakis was now at 0.5s, with Haslam seemingly able to put distance between Rea. Behind Melandri and van der Mark, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha) was back into sixth.

Further down the order, Ducati’s Chaz Davies was making good progress from 16th on the grid and was now ninth, almost passing Laverty at Turn 10.

Behind the squabbling Kawasaki riders, the Yamaha riders of Melandri and van der Mark decided to have their own fight, passing and re-passing, hindering their chances of taking the fight to Rea and Haslam, less than half-a-second up the road at times. Van der Mark was up to fourth at Turn Four with four laps to go, although Melandri got back ahead at Turn 10.

At the front, Bautista was in a league of his own, slowing down considerably as he cruised past the line to take the chequered flag. Rea took second place ahead of Haslam, while van der Mark finished fourth ahead of teammate Alex Lowes, who put in a stunning late charge to demote Marco Melandri to sixth. Chaz Davies finished in seventh place, with reigning WSS Champion Sandro Cortese completing the top eight. Eugene Laverty took ninth place and his joint-best finish of the weekend, with Leon Camier rounding out the top ten.