WorldSBK 2019 – Round Two
Chang International Circuit, Buriram
Superbike Superpole Sprint Race
A frenetic opening lap started Sunday’s 10-lap Tissot Superpole Race, with Rea bolting into the lead and Bautista slotting in behind.
It wasn’t long until the Spaniard made his way ahead but in a similar style to their collision at turn three yesterday, ran wide and Rea sliced back under him. Bautista got back ahead at turn four whilst Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) began closing in too. Lap one completed, the top five consisted of Bautista, Rea, Lowes, followed by Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) and Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).
Bautista started to pull away from the reigning four-time WorldSBK Champion, who had a lot on his hands with Alex Lowes’ pressure. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) retired from the Tissot Superpole Race, having retired from Race 1 yesterday. Leon Haslam was making moves and got into fourth position ahead of Marco Melandri at turn three.
Lap three and the race looked like it was coming alive, because whilst Bautista was pulling away, it was Jonathan Rea who set the fastest lap of the race, slashing the Spaniard’s initial gap down to under half-a-second.
On lap four, Van der Mark got his chance to get ahead of Melandri, as the Italian ran wide at turn eight and allowed the Dutch star through. Melandri then ran wide again at the final corner, allowing his teammate Sandro Cortese through. Melandri would take the place back a few laps later.
Whilst one Ducati was out front, Chaz Davies’ difficulties continued but he was able to close down Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) throughout the race and eventually got ahead of the Turk. Soon after, the red flag was shown after an incident at turn three, halting Davies’ charge ahead.
Leon Camier (Moriwaki Althea Honda Racing) and Thitipong Warokorn (Kawasaki Thailand Racing Team) had a collision at turn three, bringing the red flag out and the race to a close. The Thai rider had been taken to the medical centre but has been sent to hospital for further assessments.
Bautista was declared winner ahead of Rea and Alex Lowes, who was just a fraction behind the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK rider. Michael van der Mark was arguably the biggest beneficiary, moving from tenth on the grid to fourth after finishing just outside the podium placings. Completing the top five was Leon Haslam.
Superbike Superpole Sprint Race Results
|1||A. Bautista||V4 R||0.000||309,5|
|3||A. Lowes||YZF R1||0.415||299,2|
|4||M. Van Der Mark||YZF R1||2.661||301,7|
|6||M. Melandri||YZF R1||0.280||303,4|
|7||S. Cortese||YZF R1||0.330||301,7|
|8||C. Davies||Panigale V4 R||/||309,5|
|10||T. Sykes||S1000 RR||2.335||297,5|
|11||M. Rinaldi||Panigale V4 R||1.182||302,5|
|14||M. Reiterberger||S1000 RR||1.691||296,7|
|NS||E. Laverty||V4 R||/||/|
WorldSBK 2019 – Round Two
Chang International Circuit, Buriram
Superbike Main Race Two
The third and final Superbike race of the Thai weekend saw Bautista lead from start to finish.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) couldn’t take a challenge to Bautista but had to deal with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in the early stages. At the end of the first lap the leading trio had a slight gap over Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK).
Soon, the big battle came from the scrap for fifth position, with Van der Mark, Melandri, Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) and Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati). Turn 3 was once again a prime overtaking area, with Melandri trying a move on van der Mark at Turn 3, with both running wide and allowing Chaz Davies to get a better drive down the straight and by Turn 4, the Welshman had got ahead of both Yamaha riders!
Melandri re-took Davies at Turn 8 but the race winner from Buriram in 2018 fought back at Turn 12. Cortese and van der Mark made the exact same succession of moves; a thrilling spectacle in the early stages.
Luck wasn’t going the way of Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), who had to retire his S 1000 RR on lap four. Melandri and Davies had a close call on the same lap, with the Italian forcefully moving aside his former teammate at Turn 9, allowing van der Mark to go through, whilst Chaz Davies had to recover right at the back of the group. It wasn’t long however before Davies himself would suffer the same fate as Sykes. The 29-time WorldSBK race winner retired on lap eight, a wretched start to the season for the Welshman in contrast to the perfect run from his new team-mate.
Bautista dominated to take the victory by more than ten-seconds, ahead of Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes. Michael van der Mark was able to hold off a late charge by Leon Haslam, whilst 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), a great performance on his debut in Thailand. Razgatlioglu managed to hold off Jordi Torres as they completed the top ten.
Superbike Rider Quotes
“Three wins, three fastest laps and Superpole means that it has been a perfect weekend for me! We knew that it was going to be an important race because Kawasaki have won here so many times, but the whole team worked well with the bike over the weekend and it all came good. It wasn’t easy however because the Panigale V4 R is new everywhere we go and everything has to be discovered from scratch. Right from the beginning I had great confidence with the bike and only made small adjustments for the set-up we know. I just want to say thanks to my team and all the people in Ducati because they have done a fantastic job, I’m so happy! Now we have some time to rest before we go to my home race. I’m really looking forward to that and can’t wait to race at Aragón in front of my Spanish fans.”
“I’m obviously disappointed not to have been able to finish the race and see the true potential that we had today especially after the progress we made this morning. Regarding the technical problem, after feeling something was a little bit amiss when I lost some speed, I decided to save the engine and think about the season ahead. It was disappointing not to capitalize on our improvement, because today I had a good race pace and the feeling with the bike was much better. We’ve got some clear ideas on the direction to take and there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. Now we have the test at Aragon before the race, which is a good opportunity for us to make some more gains.”
“The best we could hope for today was a brace of second places and we managed to achieve that, albeit with a lot of pressure from Alex in the final race. He kept really pushing, as he had in the sprint race, but I just had that little bit extra in the end of race three to go away. I want to thank my team for giving me a good bike this weekend and there is always some work to do to improve the package. I felt this weekend we struggled a little bit with front end stability, especially when the front was moving a little bit in that second part of the final race, in the sectors where I was strong. Behind my visor I was giving it 110% especially in those early laps to try and keep in the slipstream as long as I could. As soon as I lost that it was back to managing my own race. I am taking home 49 points again and we will try to build on that in Europe.”
“It was more consistent for me in the second race today. We were running the bigger brake discs, which I did not have the best of feelings with this weekend, but in general we made a big step with the bike. I can say now that I have been suffering with a tapped nerve in my back, which flared up just before I came here, and I have had to take painkilling injections. I struggled a lot this weekend and I am glad it is over, in some ways. I need some rest and then we can start again in Aragon. I had not been to Chang for four years. It was always going to be tough with just two 50-minute sessions and going straight into it. So to get three fifth places, I am quite happy.”
“I was really happy with Race 2 today. I felt really good for 12 or 13 laps and I thought I might be able to challenge Johnny for second with the pace I had, but then I started struggling a bit near the end and had to roll off a little and take advantage of the gap to the group behind. Overall, it’s been a great weekend, for me and for Michael. He pushed me really hard in the race yesterday and to come from tenth on the grid to finish fourth in the Superpole race was difficult for him. We’ve both done a really solid job for the team, but we need to continue working just as hard when we get back to Europe if we’re to close the gap to the front two guys.”
Michael van der Mark
“In warm-up this morning I felt good on the bike and when we made some small changes for the Superpole race I felt quite strong. The fourth place in the Superpole race was really important, because it meant I started this afternoon from the second row of the grid. I got a good launch from the start and then worked a bit with Alex, which was good, but already from the first lap I didn’t feel so comfortable with the front of the bike, maybe because the temperature was so much higher. I struggled a little, so couldn’t stay with Alex and then I made a small mistake and lost a lot of places. From there I had to work my way back to the front of the group, where I was able to maintain a consistent pace to finish fourth once again. I think we can be really proud about this weekend, with Alex’s three podiums and my three fourth place finishes. We’ve made some progress and, hopefully, we can make another step in Aragon.”
“It was a very difficult weekend for me, because from the first session we struggled a lot with the stability of the bike. Also I wasn’t confident, as I had a lot of trouble to make the bike turn in the very long corner and the bike was moving a lot everywhere. Coming back to Europe I think we need to refresh the mind and start from zero, because I understand what I need, but it will take us some time. What is important is to keep working and making improvements step-by-step.”
“I’m happy about the work we’ve done today. Yesterday the gap to the group in P4, with Marco and Leon Haslam, was ten seconds. Today, until four laps from the end, I was with the group fighting for fourth place. Unfortunately, in the closing stages I had a big near high-side and lost contact with the group. But we made a very big step on the performance; it might be two seventh places on paper but in reality, the two results were completely different. I think our work paid off and for that I have to say thanks to my crew. Now I’m looking forward to the next race in Aragon.”
“After a couple of laps I felt that something was wrong. It’s a bit frustrating because we had made a change to the bike and it really felt good. On the positive side I’m really surprised to come here to this race circuit and to be inside the top ten with our disadvantage on the straight. So to be inside the top ten is really promising in my opinion. Honestly, in the approach and entry of many corners, the chassis and the set-up on the BMW S 1000 RR is really an advantage compared to our competition. So overall there are quite a lot of positives for me to take. The negative is obviously, as we saw in Phillip Island, that we are giving a lot away on the straights but hopefully that won’t be a problem anymore in the not so distant future.”
“In the Superpole Race, I had a great start and was right behind Tom after the first corner. I also had nice battles on the opening laps, but then another rider almost got me off the bike and I had to go straight. As a result, I lost six positions. When I then made a mistake, the race was more or less over for me. In the main race I struggled with the issue that has been causing us difficulties all weekend: that I could not delay the bike well enough and I had no feeling for the front of the bike. We tried to get a grip on that and improved things step by step, but unfortunately it just was not enough over the distance, especially when it got hotter and the grip level went down. Our gap towards the front mainly results from the time lost on the straights, but I’m not worried about that. Here I trust the guys in the factory that we get more power, and then the results will be better as well. But I have to continue to work on getting confidence in the front wheel when turning in and in the corners.”
“Let’s start with the positive part of this weekend, which is the fact that we made a little progress both in terms of my feeling with the bike and my lap times. Not as much progress as we want of course, but we have been fairly consistent. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same feeling during the race and I felt very frustrated. I just kept trying and doing my best, but I cannot say I’m satisfied with my race weekend. I’ve felt great support over the weekend from our fans, everyone in the team and in Honda and I want to repay them all with more than this. I have understood more about certain aspects which I hope will allow me to improve both my riding style and my bike setup. I’ll continue working hard to improve”.
“I think Warokorn hit Mercado in front of me. He went down and I literally had nowhere to go and unfortunately I hit him and crashed. He seemed out in that moment, so I tried to get the race stopped immediately. I just hope he is ok. I also damaged my knee in the crash and so could not take part in Race 2. I need to go back to Andorra, and have it checked by my doctor, then we will see what we need to do and make a plan for my recovery. As for the race, up until that moment, I was suffering with similar issues to yesterday to be honest, so I was struggling although I was trying to do the best I could.”
Superbike Main Race Two Results
|1||A. Bautista||V4 R||0.000||308,6|
|3||A. Lowes||YZF R1||12.368||300,8|
|4||M. Van Der Mark||YZF R1||17.378||302,5|
|6||M. Melandri||YZF R1||18.925||305,1|
|7||S. Cortese||YZF R1||23.281||300,0|
|8||M. Rinaldi||V4 R||28.444||305,1|
|11||M. Reiterberger||S1000 RR||40.164||297,5|
|RET||7 C. Davies||V4 R||13 Laps||305,9|
|RET||66 T. Sykes||S1000 RR||17 Laps||298,3|
|RET||36 L. Mercado||ZX-10RR||/||/|
|RET||50 E. Laverty||V4 R||/||/|
WorldSBK Championship Points Standings
|4.||Van Der Mark Michael||Yamaha||61|
|8.||Rinaldi Michael Ruben||Ducati||40|
World Supersport – Thailand
Jules Cluzel got a brilliant start from pole position but slotting in behind him at Turn 1 was Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing), who got a rapid start from sixth position. Federico Caricasulo remained third after the start initially before Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) pushed his way through into the leading three.
Isaac Viñales lost his initial advantage down the straight and by the end of the opening lap, was fourth, behind Cluzel, Caricasulo and Japanese sensation, Okubo. 2nd place starter, Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) had a terrible start and was down in eighth.
In the early stages of the race, two-seconds covered the leading eight riders. Austrian rider Thomas Gradinger was making good progress, lapping the fastest rider on track on lap two. However, just a few laps later, his Yamaha YZF R6 was forced to retire at Turn 3, after it began smoke began to emit from it.
Isaac Viñales was continuously impressing throughout the race, making a brilliant pass at Turn 4 ahead of Federico Caricasulo, before challenging Jules Cluzel at the final corner for the lead, before running wide and allowing Cluzel to take him back on the run down the front straight. Meanwhile, Randy Krummenacher began to recover from his bad start, fighting his way ahead of Hector Barbera (Team Toth by Willirace) and Raffaele de Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse).
As the race battle continued on, Turn 3 was a hub of overtaking activity, with little success making it a great spectacle, resulting in the eventual drag-race to Turn 4. With the leaders tripping themselves up, Hikari Okubo and Randy Krummenacher were able to close down the margin to the front. Krummenacher managed to get ahead of Okubo with five laps left.
Out front, hard moves were now being placed, with Jules Cluzel and Federico Caricasulo continuously swapping positions, resulting twice in Caricasulo being pushed wide at Turn 8 – both occasions seeing him lose more places. The top three battling was a fantastic spectacle, but Randy Krummenacher continued to close, in his quest to give Switzerland its first back-to-back WorldSSP wins.
On the penultimate lap, just 0.7s covered the leading four, with Hikari Okubo now being dropped in fifth. Caricasulo went for a move at Turn 3 for the lead, holding it until yet again being pushed wide at Turn 8. This allowed teammate Krummenacher to come through into second, with the battling behind Cluzel starting to pave the way for the Frenchman to have an easier final lap.
With the last lap, Caricasulo started to push in what was now just a battle for second place, taking his teammate at Turn 3, before Krummenacher took him back down the straight to Turn 4. Isaac Viñales wasn’t out of it yet either, as he tried at Turn 8, only with Caricasulo to fight back straight away at Turn 9.
Jules Cluzel took his 18th WorldSSP race win and Yamaha’s 80th in the class! Krummenacher fought back to finish second, with Caricasulo holding on for third. Viñales, De Rosa and Okubo were just behind, whilst completing the top ten was Hector Barbera, Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) who started from the back of the grid, Loris Cresson (Kallio Racing) and Hannes Soomer (MPM WILSport Racedays) rounding out the top ten.
Jules Cluzel – P1
“There was no way I could pull away from the group because they are so strong, as we’ve seen since the start of the season, and I knew this was going to be the case today. The pace was a little slower than on the long run I did on Friday and even warm-up this morning; I was expecting many 1’37 laps in the race, but I didn’t manage this once. I believe we didn’t make the best tyre choice, but I still won the race, so I’m happy about that. I want to thank the GMT94 team and Yamaha for giving me a winning bike here. Obviously I’ll be looking for the same result in the future, but I know it will be difficult as everyone is so strong, but that’s the aim.”
Randy Krummenacher – P2
“It wasn’t the best start for me, as I got pushed wide, but that’s racing. Everyone was really fast in the first laps, all pushing hard, but then I found my rhythm and was able to start to move up through the field until I caught the leading group. To be honest, second was the maximum, as Jules was the best today, but I’m happy with second place; the season is long and we are on the right way.”
World Supersport Race Results
|1||J. Cluzel||YZF R6||0,000||263,4|
|2||R. Krummenacher||YZF R6||0.939||268,0|
|3||F. Caricasulo||YZF R6||1.496||270,7|
|4||I. Vinales||YZF R6||1.572||266,0|
|5||R. De Rosa||F3 675||2.861||267,3|
|7||H. Barbera||YZF R6||9.047||266,7|
|9||L. Cresson||YZF R6||16.933||270,0|
|11||C. Perolari||YZF R6||18.160||262,8|
|13||J. Van Sikkelerus||CBR600RR||25.188||262,8|
|15||M. Herrera||YZF R6||42.143||264,7|
|16||G. Van Straalen||ZX-6R||48.038||266,0|
|19||R. Nakcharoensri||YZF R6||/||252,9|
World Supersport Championship Points Standings
|11||Raffaele De Rosa||MV||11|
|15||Jaimie Van Sikkelerus||Honda||6|
|18||Glenn Van Straalen||Kawasaki||2|