Bautista unstoppable in Assen clean sweep

Alvaro Bautista continued his relentless march towards the 2019 World Superbike title as he consolidated his new record for consecutive wins at the start of a season
Bautista unstoppable in Assen clean sweep

Full Assen World Superbike race two results

Alvaro Bautista continued his relentless march towards the 2019 World Superbike Championship title as he consolidated his new record for consecutive wins by escaping to his 11th win in a row.

With 10 wins from 10 starts already under his belt just four rounds into his WSBK endeavour with the Ducati team, Bautista was again a class apart even if he did need to work harder than usual against a determined rival pack.

Starting from pole position for race two following schedule changes triggered by Saturday's snow cancellations, Bautista subsequently scored the holeshot on the dash to the first corner. However, in an unexpected plot twist, a rapid getaway by Jonathan Rea – which had already seen him scythe from eighth to second in the opening two bends – put him instantly on the tail of his arch rival.

Aware he couldn’t allow Bautista to establish an early margin, Rea promptly forced his way to the inside of turn three to nose his Kawasaki into the lead.

Giving Bautista the relatively unfamiliar task of finding a way past a rival ahead of him, Rea valiantly held form in his attempts to pull away on the ZX-10R. However, the Spaniard simply shadowed Rea for six laps before making his definitive move.

With customary clear track in front of him again, Bautista received the added bonus of team-mate Chaz Davies following him through into second place, while Michael van der Mark also capitalised on Rea’s loss of momentum to get ahead into third place.

Though Rea composed himself to quickly get back past the pair into second place, Bautista had already established a comfortable lead, one he’d stretch to the chequered flag for an unprecedented 11th consecutive win.

With a maximum possible 236 points after 11 races, Bautista now leads defending champion Rea by an already sizeable 53 points heading to round five in Imola, where he will look to continue his success on Ducati’s home turf.

Despite his bright start, Rea suffered with tyre issues in the latter stages of the race, slipping him into the clutches of van der Mark, himself having broken clear of the chasing pack.

Catching with four laps to go, the Yamaha rider promptly swept into second place, only to come up against a stiff retort from Rea as he battled back. However, with home hero roared on by the partisan crowd, van der Mark held his nerve to get the better of Rea by a mere 0.018secs.

Marking both his and PATA Yamaha’s best result of the season, counterpart Alex Lowes consolidated the team’s rewarding weekend in fourth place after getting the better of Davies, who saved a disappointing weekend with a solid fifth position. Despite undoing his front row grid slot with a poor start, Markus Reiterberger clawed his way back up to sixth position via a sprint to the line with BMW Motorrad team-mate Tom Sykes.

Leon Haslam slipped back in the latter stages to come home in eighth, ahead of fellow Kawasaki riders Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jordi Torres who rounded out the top ten.

On a weekend to forget for the GRT Yamaha squad, Sandro Cortese flew the flag for the beleaguered team in 11th, while Marco Melandri trailed in 14th. Similarly, Honda’s fortunes showed no sign of improving with Leon Camier in 12th and Ryuichi Kiyonari retriting, while Eugene Laverty could only manage 13th.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi managed to scrape the final point place on the Barni Ducati ahead of former MotoGP rider Hector Barbera on his debut WorldSBK round standing in for the injured Leandro Mercado for Orelac Kawasaki. Alessandro Delbianco rounded out the finishers for Althea Honda.