Sizzling Rea scorches Bautista in Jerez Superpole

Jonathan Rea denies Alvaro Bautista pole position at his home WorldSBK round in Jerez in a hotly-contested Superpole session.
Sizzling Rea scorches Bautista in Jerez Superpole

Jerez WorldSBK - Superpole Qualifying Results

Jonathan Rea threw down the gauntlet to World Superbike Championship leader Alvaro Bautista in Superpole at Jerez after snatching a surprise pole position on his rival’s home soil.

A weekend that has seen the defending champion steadily build his momentum on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR having initially struggled to adapt from the Bridgestone-shod Suzuka 8 Hours machine he rode earlier in the week, Rea gave a clear indication of his intentions when it mattered with an early 1m 38.743secs lap.

Already cracking the lap record by two tenths with that effort, Rea went on to shatter the erstwhile marker completely with a 1m 38.247secs lap.

Giving Bautista a benchmark to aim for with his final lap, the Spaniard’s spectacular ‘backing in’ style saw him ahead on the splits initially, only to lose time in the final sector and cede pole position to Rea by a mere 0.026secs.

Setting things up nicely for this afternoon’s first race of the weekend, Rea and Bautista will nonetheless also be wary of the threat posed by Yamaha as they filled four of the top nine positions (front three rows).

With Alex Lowes on the official Pata Yamaha taking the fight to Rea initially, it was a stunning final effort for Marco Melandri that instead resulted in the Italian grabbing a spot on the outside of the front row in what is a notable upturn in form for the satellite GRT rider after a run of poor results.

Lowes instead starts fourth alongside fellow Britons Leon Haslam and Tom Sykes on their respective factory Kawasaki and BMW machines.

Struggling relative to his team-mate, Michael van der Mark starts down in seventh after just holding off Jordi Torres, who popped up into an impressive eighth place on the Pedercini Kawasaki despite having never troubled the top ten in free practice.

In ninth, Sandro Cortese may have hoped to join team-mate Melandri further up only for a tumble to hamper his efforts, the German starting ahead of Michel Ruben Rinaldi, who rounded out the top ten as the second highest-placed Ducati.

Indeed, Chaz Davies’ dismal weekend continued as he struggled to make an impression, with only a late improvement lifting him from 15th to lowly 12th position.

Elsewhere, Loris Baz starts his first WorldSBK race of the year in 15th, ahead of Tommy Bridewell in 16th and Honda’s Yuki Takahashi, who makes his series debut in 17th.