With the rain continuing to fall by the bucket-load, it was a delayed start to WorldSBK Race 1 at Misano. After a 20-minute delay, racing got underway in treacherous conditions but after just two full laps, the red flag was brought back out as the rain intensified. After the restart, drama unfolded all through the field, but it was Jonathan Rea who came out on top for the win.

WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

It was then sunny blue skies at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” in Italy on Sunday. The 10-lap Sprint saw red-hot action all the way as Jonathan Rea and Alvaro Bautista went head-to-head in the early stages. After a third in race one yesterday, Bautista took the win ahead of the Alex Lowes, while Leon Haslam was a solid third, as teammate Rea crashed in the closing stages.

With a 39-point advantage over Jonathan Rea, Alvaro Bautista had a comfortable margin ahead of WorldSBK’s Race 2 in Misano, plus the added advantage of a pole position start. But things turned nasty early, with Bautista crashing out of the lead at the start of lap two, catapulting the championship battle into action with Rea, claiming the second of two Misano race victories, only trailing by 16 points come weekends end.

Jonathan Rea - WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

Jonathan Rea – WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

Jonathan Rea sharing, “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.”

Alvaro Bautista - WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

Alvaro Bautista – WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

Álvaro Bautista later saying, “I’m happy but at the same time very angry with myself about the results of today’s two races. It went well in the morning’s Superpole Race because we were on really top form. After a good start I immediately took the lead, and set the pace right down to the chequered flag. In Race 2 it was very hot and the track didn’t have as much grip. On lap 2, I didn’t do anything strange at Turn 4, but just lost the front and crashed. Pity because our potential was obviously to fight for the win. Maybe the error came about because I was too confident after the win in the Superpole Race, but in any case we must have a good look at the data because I’ve made two similar mistakes in the last two races, and that’s not good. We have to understand why so as not to repeat the same mistakes and lose more points.”

Leon Haslam - WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

Leon Haslam – WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

Leon Haslam adding, “The third place in the sprint race today was just a matter of staying on and bridging the gap to Tom Sykes, and I managed to pass him on the last lap. This afternoon I was struggling from lap one and did not have much front feeling, but I think everybody was in the same position. When Johnny and Toprak came past I felt I could have pushed to go with them but I had already risked too much so I had to run my own race. Alex was then behind me and I did not want to give up the podium, so I fought a little bit at the end. We have made some good steps from the Jerez test but there are little things we are still finding out.”

Tom Sykes - WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

Tom Sykes – WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

Tom Sykes also sharing after a podium in Race 1, “It was a little bit unfortunate. I honestly feel that we had three podiums in reach. We were third in the sprint race until the last lap and had a issue which allowed Leon Haslam to come close and then unfortunately we retired. That didnt help the cause as this meant that I started the last big race from the fourth row which cost me some time in the first few laps. The whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team did a great job. I feel if we had started from the front row we could have gone away, kept our rhythm and I definitely feel that this would have allowed another podium position. So a little bit of a shame but on the plus side we’ve had a podium, we finished second this weekend with the all-new BMW S 1000 RR, we are showing its potential. Even in this last race we had very good consistency. We will build on this.”

Alex Lowes - WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

Alex Lowes – WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

Alex Lowes was also happy to be on the podium, with a fourth place in Race 2, “The weekend has been a pretty good one overall, marred only by the mistake yesterday when I was trying to win Race 1. I got caught out by new standing water, which was a bit unexpected at that point in the race, but I’ll learn from it. This morning was good, and I was expecting to be stronger this afternoon, but we struggled a bit with acceleration as the temperature rose and grip went down. We’d made some changes to the bike compared to Friday, but the worsening track condition made it difficult to assess whether these were an improvement or not. It was tough for everyone in the race today. I tried to pass Haslam a few times, but I didn’t feel comfortable on the front and couldn’t make the passes stick, so I had to settle for fourth in the end. Now it’s off to Donington, my home track, after a two-day test in Suzuka – I’m looking forward to it!”

Misano Race 1 – Jonathan Rea claims the win

It was a frantic opening few laps before the red flag was waved. Alex Lowes was the race leader ahead of Jonathan Rea, whilst Tom Sykes and Alvaro Bautista were right behind. After the red flag came out, positions for the new restart would be made up by the order of the riders at their most recent timing point.

WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

As the race got underway for a second time for a reduced 18-lap distance, and it was another great start for Jonathan Rea, who led Lowes again, with Sykes third and Chaz Davies fourth, ahead of Bautista. Haslam was sixth but one of the biggest improvers was Marco Melandri. Thunder and lightning certainly made the opening laps an intimidating sight, but the WorldSBK warriors continued.

Conditions began to deteriorate and soon, riders began to drop back accordingly, with some eventually dropping out. With ten laps left to run, it was drama out front at turn 12, as Alex Lowes crashed out of the lead. Now, it was Jonathan Rea who had the lead, with Michele Pirro crashing at the same corner. Tom Sykes was second, Leon Haslam third, with Davies and Bautista behind.

At turn eight Leon Haslam went down, with the British rider remounting but then retiring with too much damage done. Chaz Davies was now third, but a small error allowed Bautista through, while Loris Baz was now fifth and Alessandro Delbianco sixth.

WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

Meanwhile Baz closed down Davies to get fourth and hunted down Bautista, but was unable to pass. The battle for sixth was raging, as Delbianco came under pressure from Melandri, with the veteran Italian getting ahead of his rookie compatriot on the front straight. Delbianco was then swallowed up at turn eight, as Toprak Razgatlioglu, Sandro Cortese and Yuki Takahashi moved ahead.

Out front, it was Rea who took the win, his 74th win and 10 years and one day after his first at the same track. Tom Sykes gave BMW their first podium since 2013 at Jerez and Alvaro Bautista salvaged a podium after an eventful first wet race. Loris Baz took fourth place and was top Yamaha, ahead of Chaz Davies in fifth.

WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

Marco Melandri held on to sixth place from 13th on the grid, while Toprak Razgatlioglu suffered a huge crash in the final sector of the last lap. Cortese picked up seventh ahead of Yuki Takahashi, Lorenzo Zanetti and Leandro Mercado – the Argentine picking up his first top ten in almost a year. Delbianco was a career-best 11th at the flag.

WorldSBK 2019 – Misano Race 1 – Top six results

  1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)
  2. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
  3. Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
  4. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha)
  5. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
  6. Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK)

Misano Tissot Sprint – Bautista strikes back

On the opening lap, Rea took the hole-shot ahead of Cortese and Bautista, with the Spaniard moving ahead of Tom Sykes and Alex Lowes straight away. Down into turn eight, Bautista got ahead of the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK machine, now with his sights set on Rea. Further down in the battle for sixth, Toprak Razgatlioglu barged his way ahead of Leon Haslam on the exit of turn 10.

WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

At the end of the second lap, after a lap of riding right behind Rea, Bautista made his move down the front straight, using the horsepower of the Ducati Panigale V4 R to his advantage. The Spaniard hit the front and never looked back, while Jonathan Rea looked a strong second. Further down the order in the battle for fourth, Tom Sykes had been passed by Alex Lowes.

In the closing stages, it was all change in a dramatic set of circumstances, as Sandro Cortese crashed at turn 16 with just over three laps to go. Then half a lap later, Jonathan Rea had an unusual accident at turn 10. Cortese was out after looking good for a first podium, whilst Rea remounted and finished fifth. On the final lap, it was devastation for Tom Sykes, as another technical problem meant he was out with just half-a-lap to go.

WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

Giving Ducati their 30th win at Misano, Alvaro Bautista would start on pole position for Race 2, extending his championship lead. Alex Lowes enjoyed good luck and was second, while Leon Haslam completed the podium; a 400th for Kawasaki.

Toprak Razgatlioglu will head up row two after a fourth-place finish, with Jonathan Rea in fifth and Marco Melandri, who came from 19th on the grid to finish a remarkable sixth.

After an impressive race, Michael Ruben Rinaldi took a well-earnt seventh ahead of his wildcard teammate Michele Pirro, with third row starts being key for the Independent team.

WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

WorldSBK Misano Sprint – Top six result

  1. Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
  2. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
  3. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  4. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)
  5. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  6. Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK)

Misano Race 2 – Jonathan Rea closes the weekend on a high

At race start, Bautista took the hole-shot into turn one as the pack filtered through as neat as possible. Toprak Razgatlioglu blasted through the order and was into third, challenging Leon Haslam into turn four. At turn 14, Jonathan Rea sliced under the Turkish rider for third place.

WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

Then, drama at turn four on lap two as Bautista made an error, crashing out of the lead as the front end gave way. With the Spaniard out of the way, Leon Haslam took the lead ahead of teammate Rea, while Razgatlioglu was third ahead of Marco Melandri and Alex Lowes. Bautista re-joined but was at the back of the field.

With 18 laps to go, it was Razgatlioglu who put a move on Rea at turn four, before leading at turn one a lap later, ahead of Leon Haslam. At turn 14 on the same lap, Rea lunged ahead of Haslam, as the five-time WorldSBK race winner began to fade away. The number 91 then suffered a collision with Marco Melandri as the Italian tried an audacious pass into turn two. Both stayed upright but it allowed Razgatlioglu and Rea to break away.

WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

It was another race to forget for Sandro Cortese, from a weekend that looked to show so much promise after Saturday. The German crashed once more but re-joined the race.

With 12 laps left to go, the race was far from decided, with two separate battles: Razgatlioglu defended at the front from Jonathan Rea, while Leon Haslam held onto third ahead of Marco Melandri. Alex Lowes began to claw time back on the battling duo ahead of him. Meanwhile, Michael Ruben Rinaldi was lapping half-a-second a lap quicker than those ahead of him.

WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

Three laps to go and it was another disaster for the GRT Yamaha squad, as Marco Melandri crashed at turn eight, as grip deteriorated with rising track temperatures.

The final lap beckoned, and it was going to be a head-to-head between Razgatlioglu and Rea. As the lap came to a close, Rea defended superbly and despite Razgatlioglu bouncing up the rear wheel of Rea at the final corner, he couldn’t get the better of the reigning-quadruple WorldSBK Champion. Rea took the win ahead of the Turkish star, to take a 75th WorldSBK win and become the highest point-scorer of all time. Third place went to Leon Haslam, ahead of Lowes and Michael Ruben Rinaldi.

WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

Sixth went to Tom Sykes ahead of Chaz Davies, whilst Michele Pirro, Lorenzo Zanetti and Jordi Torres completed the top ten, in a frantic, feisty end to race two.

The championship gap is down to 16 points between Bautista and Rea at the top, while Toprak Razgatlioglu moved into the top independent slot on the leader board, with the best ride of his WorldSBK career.

WorldSBK 2019 - Misano

WorldSBK 2019 – Misano

WorldSBK Misano Race 2 – Top six result

  1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)
  3. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  4. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
  5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team)
  6. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)

World Superbike Standings

  1. Alvaro Bautista 330
  2. Jonathan Rea 314
  3. Michael Van Der Mark 188
  4. Alex Lowes 164
  5. Leon Haslam 153
  6. Toprak Razgatlioglu 121
  7. Marco Melandri 116
  8. Chaz Davies 114
  9. Tom Sykes 110
  10. Sandro Cortese 93

Images by Graeme Browne

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