Round Six – Jerez – Sunday Report
Alvaro Bautista claimed the Superpole Race victory to kick off Sunday in strong form, with Michael Van Der Mark proving consistent claiming the runner up position on the podium, with Marco Melandri closing out the podium. Rea who had to start from the back of the grid was fourth.
Race 2 of the weekend saw disaster strike for Ducati, with Bautista and Davies both crashing out of contention, with Michael Van Der Mark claiming the win from Rea, with Razgatlioglu claiming the final podium position.
Alvaro Bautista leaves Jerez with 300 points to Jonathan Rea’s 259, while Michael Van Der Mark is third with 188-points.
Tissot Superpole Race
In the Tissot Superpole Race, the first of the Sunday, riders made various changes in terms of tyres. In particular, seven of them used the SCX solution, while Jonathan Rea started from the last spot on the grid because of a penalty for making contact with Alex Lowes in Race 1.
This moved all the other riders up one spot on the grid. Álvaro Bautista therefore started from pole position and led the entire race, managing his advantage over the direct followers and finishing first, as he had done in Race 1.
Behind him, various riders jockeyed for position, but in the end it was Michael Van Der Mark besting the rest, managing to finish on the second step of the podium for the second time this weekend, ahead of Marco Melandri who, after taking third in yesterday’s race due to the penalty levied against Jonathan Rea, took a well-deserved position on the bottom step of the podium today.
Fourth place went to Jonathan Rea who rode a race from behind, making a truly astonishing comeback if you consider that there were only 10 laps in which to do it.
Worth a mention is Alex Lowes’ crash on the fourth lap which gives him a pointless finish for this race as well, after the unfortunate result yesterday.
WSBK – Race 2
In what was a thrilling Race 2 at Jerez, an uncharacteristic error from Alvaro Bautista at the start of Lap 2 saw the Spaniard suffer his first racing crash in WorldSBK. The battle for the win came alive as Jonathan Rea and Michael van der Mark went head-to-head in the Spanish sun, resulting in the Dutchman taking his first win of 2019, while Razgatlioglu romped to third and yet another podium.
Into Turn 1 on the opening lap, Marco Melandri took the initial advantage, while a disaster for his fellow Yamaha rider Alex Lowes, who crashed at Turn 2 on the opening lap. Bautista took the lead at Turn 5 and Michael van der Mark followed him through as Melandri went wide. Jonathan Rea took the pair of Yamaha riders at Turn 6, in a bid to pursue Bautista at the front.
However, it was a disaster for the Spaniard at the beginning of Lap 2 as he crashed out of the lead! The championship leader was on the floor at Turn 1, with his ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati tumbling through the gravel. Bautista remounted but retired soon after. The race was now on, as Jonathan Rea led van der Mark and Marco Melandri, ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu and Chaz Davies completing the top five.
With 15 laps to go, the top five were covered by a second but disaster struck again, this time at Turn 5, as Marco Melandri attempted an ambitious pass on Davies, resulting in both riders crashing out. Davies was clearly frustrated with his former teammate, as both of them lost the chance to achieve a good result with Bautista out. Three of the main protagonists had suffered terrible results – Jonathan Rea was now looking like he was going to walk away from Jerez with a strong haul of points.
Michael van der Mark wasn’t prepared to let Rea have it all his own way, as the Dutchman took the lead with 14 laps to go at Turn 6. Jonathan Rea initially stayed with the Yamaha of van der Mark but couldn’t keep with the relentless pace of the 26-year-old out front, as 10 laps later, he had pulled out a two seconds lead. Alvaro Bautista had re-joined and was circulating in 16th position, ready to pick up the pieces in case anyone else was to crash out.
Battles continued to develop down the field, as Michael Ruben Rinaldi, who rocketed through from 11th on the grid to be the top running Ducati in fourth position, ahead of a jostling Sandro Cortese and Leon Haslam, with the Brit getting ahead of the German in the closing stages at Turn 1.
A crash for Ryuichi Kiyonari at the fast Turn 11 resulted in gravel being put all over the circuit and a red flag coming out with two laps to go. Kiyonari walked away from the crash, although his bike was not so fortunate, having barrel rolled.
Michael van der Mark was a winner once again completing a faultless weekend, right the way through from FP1 to Race 2. Second position and closing the gap down to Bautista in the championship to 41 points, Jonathan Rea was happy to be back on the podium. It was another stunning ride from Toprak Razgatlioglu to complete the race in third position. Rinaldi took a career-best fourth, whilst Leon Haslam fought hard to complete the top five.
Just behind the Brit, Sandro Cortese took his best WorldSBK result. Seventh position belonged to Tom Sykes, who had a relatively quiet Acerbis Spanish Round, whilst Jordi Torres, Loris Baz and a superb Tommy Bridewell completed the top ten on a day where Independent teams took the majority of top ten placings.
Leandro Mercado had a good comeback in 11th, ahead of Markus Reiterberger, Yuki Takahashi and Alex Lowes in 14th place being the last of the point-scorers.
Michael van der Mark – P1
“What an amazing day! I was a bit upset with myself in the Sprint Race because I tried some optimistic overtakes that lost me a lot of time but in the end, I managed to finish second, which put me on the front row for Race 2. I got a good start but then Johnny passed me quite quickly and I was happy to sit behind him and conserve my tyres after Alvaro crashed out. But his pace wasn’t quite what I wanted to do and I could see the group behind were starting to catch us, so I decided to put in a pass and see if I could pull away, which I did. It’s been an incredible weekend and the bike has been great, with only very small changes required. I’m really happy with the progress made with the bike, so many thanks to the team and to Yamaha for all their hard work.”
Jonathan Rea – P2
“In the final race I did not have the pace of Mikey. I need to check the times but we definitely made a step with the bike set-up from yesterday afternoon to today, especially with the front end feeling in the faster corners. But over the lap there were some areas where I was very close, or even better than Michael, but in one crucial area I just lost too much. It is something we have been working on all weekend and today the bike was better. I needed a clean day today to finish both races strongly. This morning’s race took a lot out of me mentally and physically – coming from the back of the grid to try and make up all those positions in a short space of time. I am looking forward to Misano now.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu – P3
“Today I am really happy to take a second podium of the year. In this morning’s short race we tried a new set-up but I did not like it. We came back to the same set-up as we used earlier. Today I followed Michael van der Mark and Johnny, but I was on my limit. I watched Johnny as he has the same bike but my big problem was in turn 11 and 12. In the last eight laps my front tyre had started to slide and I reduced my pace because I was in a podium position.”
Leon Haslam – P5
“Every session we were struggling with the front traction and we ran a bit more angle and corner speed compared to some of the other Kawasaki riders and I think that has been hindering me, especially as the temperatures have risen. I have tried to adapt my style and played around a little bit with set-up. I felt in that final race of the weekend I had good pace and could have challenged for that third place but I get stuck behind Tom for too many laps. Then when I got past him I was pushing too hard, like I was before, making too many mistakes. I was just lining Rinaldi up when the red flags came out. Another fifth place, so obviously I am not too happy about the result, but we have managed a lot of problems here this weekend.”
Sandro Cortese – P6
“It was a good race this afternoon, which I finished with my best result of the season. The lap times increased a lot compared to Race 1 yesterday, which meant we didn’t quite have the set-up we needed to run with the front guys and challenge for maybe a fourth place finish today. But, we learned a lot and we know what we need to do for the next race, so I leave Jerez happy with the race result and with the progress we’ve made. Now I’m looking forward to the next race in Misano, where we will aim to fight once again with these guys and, hopefully, secure an even better result.”
Tom Sykes – P7
“All things considered, I really feel that we had a decent set of results. I’m a little bit disappointed with race two. I had a big moment in the fast last right hander. I lost the front with 170 km/h and the slide was over fifty metres so it was lucky that we were able to save it. I was able to catch up with the guys again but wasn’t able to pass. Overall, I think we had some decent results given where we are with the performance of the engine. We’re continuing to collect information for moving forward. So now my expectations are to keep the program developing towards the podium. That’s the ultimate target. When you look at the team, the manufacturer and the riders, we have high potential but obviously just for now we need to sit back and understand what we’ve got in this little gap and hopefully for Misano we can have another step forward.”
Álvaro Bautista – DNF
“Today was a day of two halves, in the sense that first we won the Superpole Race and then I crashed on lap 2 of the second race. It was a pity because I did nothing strange, I just lost the front, but racing is like that sometimes. The Jerez weekend was amazing, not only because of my two wins but also for the atmosphere here in the paddock, and for all the fans who came to the circuit to witness the show. Now we have only to continue the great work we did this weekend and try and repeat the same sensations in the next round at Misano.”
Chaz Davies – DNF
“I was quite aware that this was going to be a difficult weekend but I was hoping that with a good mind-set I could have got some decent results. On this type of circuit, with many longish corners, I was really far away with the set-up. I had a vibration issue with the bike in the Superpole Race, but then the guys did a great job to give me a good bike for the last race, where at least I could ride it OK. But then I got caught up in the incident with Melandri at Turn 5. I’m OK, I just picked up a big bruise on the hip and the side of the leg.”
Marco Melandri – DNF
“It was a shame to finish the weekend with a crash, but when you think about where we were just two weeks ago and then how we were able to fight for the podium in all three races here in Jerez, it’s something so positive for us. It’s unfortunate that Chaz didn’t leave me the same amount of space I left him when the positions were reversed on the previous lap, but for me it was a racing incident and nothing more. Like I said, it’s a shame, because another podium finish was a real possibility today, even if fighting with Toprak was difficult because he’s so aggressive on the brakes. Anyway, I go home from here much more positive for the future.”