Bautista didn’t anticipate race two Rea challenge

Spaniard boosts points lead at Assen’s fourth round.

Image: Supplied.

Alvaro Bautista has revealed he didn’t anticipate four-time reigning champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) to take the lead just corners into race two at Asses’s fourth round of the 2019 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK).

A premature end to qualifying meant Rea was unable lodge a quick-time, forcing him to start from the third row in P8, however the Irishman started supremely well, earning the lead at turn four while taking Bautista by surprise.

The Racing – Ducati rookie fought back in the coming laps, passing the number one before going onto build a 3.130s advantage while maintaining his undefeated winning streak.

“I’m very happy because I won two races at a circuit which was maybe not very favourable for us, and where the Kawasakis had always won in the past,” Bautista explained. “The weekend didn’t get off to the best start on Friday, but in any case we managed to be consistent and competitive. Today we did two full-distance 21-lap races and I can tell you that I used up all my energy, but my training helped me a lot.

“In the first race in the morning there were very cold conditions, but I tried to get a good start and set my own pace right from the start. I was able to open up a bit of a gap on my rivals and manage the situation well to go on to win race one. In race two to be honest I didn’t expect to see Rea ahead of me at turn four because he was on the third row, but he made an incredible start.

“In the early laps I was taking it easy, trying to stay up and study him well but I could see that his pace was a bit slow so I decided to pass him. I always tried to give my all, in fact we also improved on the circuit record, so it was another wonderful weekend.”

The Spaniard holds a 53-point lead in the championship rankings, as the WorldSBK returns to action on 10-12 May at Imola in Italy.


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