Alvaro Bautista proves unstoppable at Aragon
The Tissot Superpole Race for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship provided exciting action from lights-out to the chequered flag. For an eighth successive race, it was Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) who took the win, becoming the first Ducati rider to win eight races since Troy Bayliss in 2006.
Off the line and Bautista was yet again the rider with the best start, leading into turn one. However, there was mayhem behind as Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) collided and crashed, ending the Dutchman’s 22-race streak of point-scoring positions. He finished 15th in the end, whilst Rinaldi went to the medical centre.
Bautista soon streaked away, leaving the battle for second to rage on. Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) was running second until Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) made his way ahead at turn 12. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) tried a similar move a lap later at turn 16 but couldn’t make the apex, running wide and dropping down to fifth – allowing rival Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) to make up a position.
Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) battled hard. Ahead of them, Sandro Cortese was starting to drop back as Lowes, Rea and Davies made their respective moves on the German Rookie.
With five laps to go, there was another retirement as Markus Reiterberger’s (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) miserable weekend continued, this time with mechanical gremlins. His teammate Tom Sykes was enjoying a much better race, having dropped down to seventh after the opening lap, he was now fifth and pushing hard for a second consecutive top five of the year.
The battle for second was starting to take place though, as Lowes slipstreamed his way passed Rea down the back straight, achieving the move at turn 16 with just five laps left to go. Two laps later, Rea almost hit the rear end of the Yamaha-man at turn one, allowing Chaz Davies to now get in on the action.
A lap later, it was a shoot-out and Rea tried to get ahead of Lowes at turn one, but the Englishman fought back. At turn four, Rea finally fired his way through and despite Lowes looking to fight back, Rea held on. The final lap soon beckoned but no moves were made, despite Lowes’ best efforts.
However, it was the dominant Alvaro Bautista who took yet another win in his WorldSBK career, holding off Rea and Lowes. Chaz Davies was a solid fourth, whilst Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty completed the top six; the front two rows for the last race of the weekend.
Row three will see Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in seventh, after a fairly quiet weekend which has seen him absent from the front. Joining him on the third row will be Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) and Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) in eighth and ninth respectively.
Tissot Superpole Race Top Six
- Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
- Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
- Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
- Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
- Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
Sunday Race 2 – Bautista can’t be stopped!
Alvaro Bautista took his ninth consecutive race win in the final Aragon battle to equal 2003 WorldSBK champion Neil Hodgson in winning the opening nine races of the season, as well as giving Ducati their 350th WorldSBK win.
Bautista took the lead from pole position, seeing-off Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) into turn one. For the first time this weekend, every rider made it through the opening corners without drama. Chaz Davies was an early improver and up to third place, whilst Alex Lowes was a strong fourth despite dropping back. Tom Sykes wasn’t the fastest starter and dropped back, allowing a rapid-starting Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) and Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) to get in close proximity.
Davies made his move on lap two, to pass Rea and push the reigning four-time champion back into the jaws of the chasing pack. An action-packed second lap saw passes galore, with Tom Sykes making an error at turn 12 to allow Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Jordi Torres through – Torres now sixth from eighth on the grid, one of the strongest showings in WorldSBK by the Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki.
Alex Lowes was starting his comeback through the order, up to third position and ahead of Rea, who was starting to look vulnerable. Rea was now in fourth and his teammate, Leon Haslam and Eugene Laverty, were closing in.
On lap eight, Davies began to pull away and put some distance between himself and Lowes. Rea ran wide and took teammate Haslam with him; the Kawasaki riders were not looking like they were going to be able to mount a podium challenge. Lowes challenged Davies but was not able to make a pass. Further down the order, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) retired.
With Laverty dropping back from the battle for second and not able to initiate a challenge for the podium, Rea was starting his own resurgence, passing Lowes and pursuing Davies. Two laps later, and Haslam made his way past Lowes at turn one, pursuing his teammate and Davies in second.
Whilst Rea looked set for a guaranteed podium, teammate Haslam had other ideas and got ahead of the Ulsterman, taking over as the leader in the Kawasaki challenge. A lap later, and Rea repaid the compliment in identical fashion.
The penultimate lap beckoned, and it was Rea and Davies who renewed their rivalry. Rea put his trademark passing move on Davies at turn 4, slicing under the Welshman, only for the 2011 WorldSSP champion to fight back at turn 5. Leon Haslam, after initially being dropped by half-a-second, was now right back in the battle for the podium.
On the final lap, a mistake by Davies at turn one allowed Rea to come straight through and put in the lap of his life to put distance into Davies. Haslam wasn’t able to capitalise on the mistake by Davies and whilst Davies was coming back towards Rea into the final corner, there was nothing he could do to get ahead.
Álvaro Bautista saying, “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. For sure 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. In the end we have won nine races out of nine and I’m so happy about that. The team has done an incredible job, we are on the right path and I’d like to thank Aruba, all Ducati and my team because the congratulations should also go to them.”
Jonathan Rea adding, “It was a tougher Sunday than I expected and the strategy was different. Especially in the sprint race, I lost a lot of rear traction at the end. We think it was a consequence of being so fast in the beginning. During the 18-lap race I decided to be calmer in the beginning but when Alex Lowes came through he had a good pace with Chaz Davies. I started to panic a little bit that maybe these guys had an extra gear. And then Leon came past, so I had to step up and really use the tyre that I was conserving. My body language was a lot different at the end of the race because I really put my head down and maximised where we were strong. It looks like our bike is really creating a lot of traction in the long corners, which is positive. Our corner entry is not so bad. It was nice to see Leon in the front as well because our data becomes more relevant to compare and we can try to move the bike set-up forward together.”
Chaz Davies sharing, “It was a strong weekend for me, but I’m a bit disappointed about losing second place in Race 2. At the start of the last lap, I went in deep at Turn 1 and left the door open for Johnny, after which there wasn’t much chance of getting it back. At any rate, I was happy to back up yesterday’s result with another third position. It wasn’t easy in the wind, but we worked well this weekend to make big progress and I hope to build on that next weekend at Assen.”
Bautista took the win, ahead of Rea by another huge margin; the ninth time that those two have finished in that order in 2019.
Davies completed the podium for the second time at the Aragon Round, whilst Haslam and Lowes completed the top five. Laverty took sixth, ahead of Jordi Torres, Michael van der Mark, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) and Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK).
Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) was a dejected 11th, with Sykes right behind, having faded mid-race. Leon Camier (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) and teammate Kiyonari were 13th and 14th respectively, whilst Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) finally finished at MotorLand Aragon, with 15th.
Race 2 WSBK Top Six
- Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
- Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
- Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
- Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
- Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
- Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven)
- Alvaro Bautista 186 points
- Jonathan Rea 147
- Alex Lowes 100
- Michael Van Der Mark 79
- Leon Haslam 74
- Marco Melandri 63
- Chaz Davies 56
- Sandro Cortese 56
- Tom Sykes 39
- Jordi Torres 35
WorldSSP: Krummenacher takes charge and the lead
The FIM Supersport World Championship saw an intriguing race in the first part of the 16-lap encounter, before a traditional fairing-bashing battle took place in the final part of the race. Eventually, it was Randy Krummenacher who took the win to extend his championship lead at the top of the WorldSSP title race!
Starting well from pole position, 22-year-old Austrian Thomas Gradinger couldn’t fend off a courageous Federico Caricasulo into Turn 1, as the Italian took the lead. For Caricasulo’s teammate, Randy Krummenacher, it was another poor start, which saw Jules Cluzel take advantage. One rider who achieved a good start was Raffaele De Rosa, who, from sixth on the grid, was soon into fifth, ahead of Lucas Mahias and his Japanese teammate, Hikari Okubo.
Caricasulo and Gradinger pulled away, with a 1.7 second gap after just two laps of the MotorLand Aragon circuit. The battle for third saw Randy Krummenacher take advantage of Jules Cluzel at Turn 1 on lap three, and a lap later, it was De Rosa’s turn to pick off the fading Frenchman.
However, with the gaps forming, it was the riders in third and fourth who soon started lapping the faster times, and soon the 1.7s gap soon evaporated, with two back-to-back fastest laps coming from De Rosa on laps six and seven.
Despite Cluzel languishing in an isolated fifth position, the battle raged behind him, with Mahias, Okubo and Corentin Perolari and Europe Supersport Cup rider, Kyle Smith. Smith was able to get as high as sixth before dropping back, with Perolari coming through towards the end.
The battle at the front was now between four bikes and also, with a different race leader. Thomas Gradinger came through and passed Caricasulo at Turn 4, to become the first Austrian rider to lead a WorldSSP race. Austria’s dream of a WorldSSP race winner started to look like it was finally going to come to reality.
With four laps remaining, it was a wild WorldSSP race which saw Gradinger make a mistake at the final corner, dropping from first to fourth. Four riders abreast down the main straight, Caricasulo and De Rosa took over, whilst Krummenacher watched on holding his breath in third. The last lap was set to be a thriller, as De Rosa took the lead when Krummenacher made a mistake at Turn 12. Were we about to see the first non-Yamaha win for the first time in almost a year-and-a-half?
The last lap came around quickly and soon, the gloves were off! Krummenacher passed his teammate at Turn 1 and soon went in pursuit of race leader De Rosa. Gradinger was still in the battle in fourth, but unable to make any passes on the final lap, achieving his joint-best result.
Down the back straight and Krummenacher slipstreamed his way through, before slamming his Yamaha down the inside of De Rosa’s MV Agusta. Through the final corner and over the rise to the finish line, Krummenacher took a second win of the season, whilst De Rosa took his first podium of the year, with fellow countryman Federico Caricasulo in third. Gradinger was fourth.
Behind the leading quartet, Jules Cluzel’s damage limitation efforts saw him conclude in fifth position, with teammate Corentin Perolari, who took his best finish of the season. Lucas Mahias finally got the better of his teammate Hikari Okubo for seventh place, whilst Kyle Smith was top ESS rider in ninth. Completing the top ten was Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing), who recovered to tenth after running wide in the early stages.
Completing the points was Peter Sebestyen, who was top Honda in the race after Hannes Soomer crashed on the final lap. Teammate Jules Danilo was just 0.116s behind him, whilst Federico Fuligni was a further 0.314s back. 14th and 15th went to Loris Cresson and Maria Herrera respectively.
Krummenacher gave Yamaha their 81st WorldSSP win, whilst giving Switzerland their first win on European soil, as well as achieving the nation’s 16th podium – putting them one behind the United States overall, 22 years after the first Swiss rider achieved a podium, with Yves Briguet at Monza, 1997.
World Supersport Race Results
- Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)
- Raffaele De Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse)
- Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)
- Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing)
- Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA)
World Supersport Standings
- Randy Krummenacher 70 points
- Jules Cluzel 56
- Federico Caricasulo 48
- Raffaele De Rosa 31
- Hikari Okubo 28
- Thomas Gradinger 24
- Corentin Perolari 24
- Hector Barbera 22
- Lucas Mahias 21
- Isaac Vinales 19
WorldSSP300: Frantic race sees Gonzalez clinch first ever win!
It was a crazy return to action for the WorldSSP300 championship at the Motocard Aragon Round in 2019, with a flurry of action from the start to the end, making for an incredibly exciting season in prospect. The winner of the first race of the season was 16-years-old Manuel Gonzalez, whilst defending champion Ana Carrasco crashed out at Turn 13, making her title defence even harder work for the remainder of the season.
From lights out, it was a great start from Indonesian rider, Galang Hendra Pratama took the lead and to the amazement, led the field safely through the opening corners, with no casualties in a packed grid. Gonzalez took the lead early on but there was no escaping, as he oscillated back-and-forth, as riders passed each other to try and establish a constant running order.
As the race went on, Victor Steeman, Hugo De Cancellis and Maximilian Kappler all battled it out, whilst Andy Verdoia and Jan-Ole Jahnig joined the leading group.
It was a disaster in the middle of the race for the reigning champion, Ana Carrasco, as she crashed out after tangling with Koen Meuffels, who in-turn was having a tricky race having won at the track last season. Other falls consisted of sole Turkish rider Bahattin Sofuoglu crashing at Turn 2, as well as Indonesian Hendra Pratama, who crashed after contact with Verdoia at Turn 10; the Marc Marquez corner.
As the race reached the closing stages, all kinds of different riders entered the battle, with Omar Bonoli, Scott Deroue and Nick Kalinin all got in on the action. All three of them had raced through the field from 14th, 15th and 16th, all looking to take the opening win of the season from the lowest grid positions in WorldSSP300 history (that record held by Manuel Bastianelli of Prodina IRCOS Kawasaki, from 13th on the grid at Misano in 2018.
Into the last lap and it looked like we would get a victory from 14th, as Omar Bonoli took over at the front; the 17-year-old looking like he had the pace, before De Cancellis came passed at Turn 7 and immediately looked to break away. However, a fantastic move at Turn 9 by Manuel Gonzalez soon saw a last lap battle. Into the final corner and Gonzalez made a move to the lead and pushed De Cancellis wide, holding on to the lead to take his first ever win as the second-youngest rider in the class! Completing the podium was Scott Deroue, starting his championship challenge off in fine style.
Behind them, Jahnig, Verdoia and Steeman, whilst completing the top ten was Bonoli, Bruno Ieraci who in-turn had come from the back of the grid after a penalty, 2018 Aragon winner Koen Meuffels and Maximilian Kappler.
Outside of the top ten were Robert Schotman, Mateo Perdeneau, Filippo Rovelli, Nick Kalinin and 2018 runner-up, Mika Perez. 2017 champion, Marc Garcia could only manage 25th position on his return to the championship.
WSSP300 Race Results
- M. GONZALEZ ESP
- H. DE CANCELLIS FRA +0.058
- S. DEROUE NED +0.494
- J. JAHNIG GER +0.545
- A. VERDOÏA FRA +0.767
- V. STEEMAN NED +0.865
- O. BONOLI ITA +0.891
- B. IERACI ITA +2.364
- K. MEUFFELS NED +2.477
- M. KAPPLER GER +2.544
…19. T. EDWARDS AUS +6.135
…24. T. BRAMICH AUS +23.896
- Manuel Gonzalez 25 points
- Hugo De Cancellis 20
- Scott Deroue 16
- Jan-Ole Jahnig 13
- Andy Verdoïa 11
- Victor Steeman 10
- Omar Bonoli 9
- Bruno Ieraci 8
- Koen Meuffels 7
- Maximilian Kappler 6