van der Mark sees off Rea for Jerez win as Bautista crashes

An inch-perfect Michael van der Mark scores his and Yamaha's first WorldSBK win of the season after Alvaro Bautista falls from the lead early on.
van der Mark sees off Rea for Jerez win as Bautista crashes

Jerez WorldSBK - Race Results (2)

Michael van der Mark scored his and Yamaha's first win of the 2019 World Superbike Championship season after prevailing over Jonathan Rea in an eventful race that saw Alvaro Bautista crash out of the lead.

Championship leader Bautista was in his customary position out front after moving to the front on the opening lap, only to low-side from the Ducati at Turn 1 from the start of lap two, the Spaniard barrelling into the gravel trap and out of the race.

Remounting and returning to the pits, before coming back out eight laps in arrears, though Bautista was 15th on the timesheets he hadn’t quite completed enough laps to be classified as finishing, thus leaving him without any points.

His unexpected exit threw the battle for victory over to van der Mark and Rea, who had manoeuvred themselves into the top two and quickly began about trying to get the edge on one another.

After several changes of position as the riders played to the differing strengths of their respective Yamaha and Kawasaki machines, van der Mark moved definitively ahead on lap seven and slowly began to eke out a lead as Rea struggled increasingly with tyre wear.

Breaking the tow within two laps of passing, van der Mark multiplied his advantage to almost three seconds by lap 18 when the race was red-flagged and the result called due to a crash for Ryuichi Kiyonari that dragged gravel onto the track at turn 11.

A third career WorldSBK win for van der Mark – who also collected second places in the opening two races – his success is also the first for Pata Yamaha since Brno in 2018.

Joining them on the podium was Toprak Razgatlioglu, who landed his second podium in as many rounds for Puccetti Kawasaki after being rewarded for an aggressive start that lifted him from seventh to third early on.

Bautista’s exit wasn’t the only dramatic moment amongst the leaders with Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies coming together on lap six. Prompted by an ambitious attempt by Melandri to pass up the inside at turn five, the pair made contact and dragged one another down.

A desperate outcome for the factory Ducati team notwithstanding, the Italian manufacturer will no doubt savour the pleasure of seeing its protégé Michael Ruben Rinaldi score his best-ever WorldSBK finish in fourth position for the Barni team, the young Italian holding off a train of Leon Haslam, Sandro Cortese, Tom Sykes and Jordi Torres.

After failing to take the start of the Superpole Race, Loris Baz secured a welcome ninth place finish for himself and Ten Kate SBK on their return, with Tommy Bridewell also claiming his first-ever top ten finish in tenth for Goeleven Ducati.

Alex Lowes’ dismal weekend ended on another low note with a crash on lap one – his third of the race weekend – dropping him two laps adrift, albeit with two points for his efforts as a result of the high attrition rate.