Rea wins at Laguna, Bautista in fourth crash from four rounds

The swing in the WorldSBK title fight stretches further as Jonathan Rea makes it five wins in a row as Alvaro Bautista suffers fourth crash in eight races.
Rea wins at Laguna, Bautista in fourth crash from four rounds

Jonathan Rea has multiplied his advantage in the 2019 World Superbike Championship standings with a dominant fifth straight World Superbike Championship win at Laguna Seca, as once-runaway series leader Alvaro Bautista failed to score again after another fall.

Coming to California on the back of a treble triumph at Donington Park only six days earlier, Rea showed little sign of slowing his momentum after achieving the hole-shot into turn one before leading every lap to the chequered flag.

The Ulsterman might have faced more competition based on the fast-paced three-way battle between himself, Bautista and Chaz Davies early on

However, it was again the ex-MotoGP rider that came off worst after folding the front-end into the turn five left-hander. Spending a few moments on his knees in the gravel trap staring behind the barriers in sheer disbelief, though Bautista did remount and reach the chequered flag, he was 17th and last.

Bautista’s latest episode comes in the wake of similarly early tumbles in both Jerez and Misano, plus his slip in the wet at Donington Park. Coupled to Rea’s streak of wins, Bautista’s once huge 61-point lead has swung to a deficit in Rea’s favour of 49 points – that’s a gulf of 110 points in total over just eight races.

Davies attempted to assume responsibilities for Ducati but save for a brief moment passing for the lead into turn only to run wide and lose it again, Davies would lose touch with Rea as the Kawasaki man settled into his superior rhythm. Even so, second place marks a big improvement for Davies than of late.

Another Kawasaki rider enjoying a run of strong summer results, Toprak Razgatlioglu again had an aggressive start to thank for him being promoted to third at the expense of Bautista. It marks the Turk’s fifth podium in only eight races.

Strong off the line but shuffled down again in the busier opening turns, Tom Sykes hauled himself up to another positive result in fourth place, while Alex Lowes flew a small flag for Yamaha on a fairly lacklustre day for the manuafcturer with Michael van der Mark seventh, Loris Baz eighth and Marco Melandri ninth.

Continuing the theme of Rea and Razgatlioglu, Jordi Torres gave minnows Pedercini Kawasaki team its best result since 2016 with a feisty ride to sixth position. However, there was bad news for Leon Haslam as a crash at the Corkscrew early on forced him to retire.

Michel Ruben Rinaldi crept into the top ten, just ahead of Eugene Laverty who proved competitive on his return to racing after two months out with injury, eventually