Rea sprints to victory; Bautista fails to restart after another crash

Jonathan Rea makes it six-in-a-row at Laguna Seca as yet another crash for Alvaro Bautista rules him out of contention in Superpole Race
Rea sprints to victory; Bautista fails to restart after another crash

An inch-perfect Jonathan Rea sprinted to a sixth consecutive World Superbike Championship victory to again bolster his title aspirations as a hapless Alvaro Bautista was down and out yet again after being caught out in a turn one skirmish.

In what is fast becoming an uncomfortably repetitive theme, Bautista’s race lasted only as far as the first turn when he clipped the back of Toprak Razgatlioglu's Kawasaki and hit the ground, leaving him disconsolately on his knees as he contemplated a fifth crash in nine races.

However, it appeared luck would shine on the Spaniard when the race was red flagged only a few moments later for Alessandro Delbianco and wild-card JD Beach debris-strewn tangle at the Corkscrew.

With Bautista remounting – classed as ‘running’ in the race still - and getting the Ducati back to the pit-lane within five minutes, he was eligible to reset from the front row under the quick restart procedure.

However, the tumble required him to head to the medical centre for a check-up, where some ligament damage to the shoulder was diagnosed, preventing him from receiving the treatment he required and get back to his bike in the eight minutes he had to do so.

Ducati says he will start race two as planned, albeit now from 10th on the grid.

With the restart going ahead without Bautista, Rea – who’d been behind Davies after the first start – refocused and nailed his getaway this time.

Moreover, with the race shortened to 8 laps, Rea’s romp was over in only 11mins,, Ducati’s Davies coming up close but never being fast enough to mount a challenge.

With the quick race time and the difficulty of passing at Laguna Seca making the start particularly crucial, Tom Sykes’ rapid getaway earned him another podium for BMW, while Razgatlioglu completed one of only a few passes in the race by getting the better – fittingly – of factory Kawasaki man Leon Haslam.

Alex Lowes was the quickest Yamaha again from Loris Baz and Jordi Torres, while Leandro Mercado showed good gains to finish ninth and earn a top ten start for race two.

By contrast, tenth for Michael van der Mark ‘s tenth place means he remains 15th on the grid for the final race of the weekend, while Eugene Laverty cross the line in 14th.