Comeback kid, Chaz Davies put in a dominant performance in Sunday’s second race at round nine of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at Laguna Seca, setting his own pace on the Ducati Panigale V4R R to storm to an emphatic race two win. After victories in race one and the sprint, Jonathan Rea settled for second in race two, extending his points lead over an injured Alvaro Bautista who retired with shoulder problems after a crash earlier in the day; while the charging Turk Toprak Razgatlioglu took third.
Rea’s US performance delivers one of the most uncanny and unexpected quick-fire turnarounds in world superbikes, with the Ulsterman now sporting the biggest points lead that the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season has witnessed. Rea who on the Saturday morning of last weekend’s Donington Park was still chasing Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), now has an incredible 81-point advantage over the Spanish rookie, who endured a luckless round at Laguna Seca.
WorldSBK Race One: A script Hollywood couldn’t write, Rea victorious as Bautista crashes
The 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship title race took yet another twist and turn around the undulations of the US circuit of Laguna Seca. In a dramatic opening few laps, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) led the ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati pairing of Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista, before another unthinkable error blew the championship wide open once again.
Off the line, it was a strong start from Rea, and the reigning four-time WorldSBK champion held the advantage from Bautista and Davies. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)made a blistering start and was fourth by turn five, whilst Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), despite an initially good start, was back in fifth. Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing)held his own off the line. Into the penultimate corner on the opening lap, Davies got ahead of Bautista and went in pursuit of Jonathan Rea.
New lap records came thick and fast, with Davies initially setting it on lap two before his teammate bettered on lap three, becoming the first rider to set a 1.22s lap in race trim. One lap later and it was a disaster forLeon Haslam(Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), as the British rider hit the deck at the Corkscrew.
At the beginning of lap five, Davies challenged Rea and through turns one and two, the Welshman took the lead but ran wide, with Rea slicing back through and sitting the Ducati rider up. Alvaro Bautista was right in the mix and beginning to get into the swing of things but then, a disaster. Bautista crashed once again in the early stages of the race on a full tank of fuel. The Spaniard tucked the front at turn five and his Ducati Panigale V4 R was in the gravel once again.
With Bautista re-joining but out of the leading group, Jonathan Rea edged clear of Chaz Davies, with the top two stabilising until the end of the race, with Rea taking his race lead up to five seconds. Toprak Razgatlioglu was up in third place and despite a mid-race charge from Sykes, he held on to complete the top three.
Battles were strewn all the way through the field, starting with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)pipping Jordi Torres for fifth in the final few laps. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) put in a strong ride to seventh from 15th on the grid, getting ahead ofLoris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha).
Further back,Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) recovered from his worst Tissot Superpole in 17th to get to ninth. Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) was enjoying a good battle with Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) over 11th. The battle for 13th went the way of Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Mie Racing Team), who pushed ahead of Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK).
Back at the front, it was an eighth win of 2019 for Jonathan Rea, who romped home ahead of Davies and Razgatlioglu. Tom Sykes was fourth ahead of Alex Lowes, whilst Jordi Torres took his best result of the season in sixth, with two Independent riders inside the top six. Van der Mark and Baz were next up in seventh and eighth, whilst Marco Melandri and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) completed the top ten.
WorldSBK Race 1 Results: 1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 2. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)
WorldSBK Tissot Superpole Race: Rea avoids carnage for 80th win at Tissot Superpole Race
Race action burst into life at Laguna Seca Raceway in California, as the Tissot Superpole Race got underway under blissful blue skies. In a dramatic opening lap which saw Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) taken out by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) at turn two, a red flag soon came out for a big accident at the top of the Corkscrew, when Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Mie Racing Team) hit J.D. Beach (Attack Performance Estenson Yamaha). Both riders were relatively OK, although their machines were not so.
As the race restarted, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)made a better start and held his advantage overChaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati). Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)was up into third off the line, whilst Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)and Toprak Razgatlioglu completed the top five. Alvaro Bautista did not take the start of the race, as he was being checked-up at the medical centre.
As the race played out, the big battle on the circuit was over fourth, as Haslam defended resiliently ahead of Razgatlioglu, whilstAlex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)was closing the Kawasaki duo down. With Haslam bunching the two riders behind up, the top three had all broken clear. But then, a spectacular move from Razgatlioglu around the outside of Haslam at the Corkscrew cleared the Turk to go in pursuit of Tom Sykes in third.
However, there was no stopping Rea, who took the win and maintained his pole position grid slot, with Chaz Davies in second and Tom Sykes third. Heading up row two, Toprak Razgatlioglu is a big beneficiary in fourth, ahead of Leon Haslam in fifth and Alex Lowes in sixth. Behind them and leading the charge from the third row,Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) was seventh and ahead of Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) and Argentina’s Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura). Should he be declared fit, Alvaro Bautista will start tenth at the front of row four.
WorldSBK Tissot Superpole Race Results: 1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 2. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 3. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
WorldSBK Race Two: Comeback kid Davies wins Race Two
It was a lightening start from Chaz Davies from second on the grid and the Welshman took the advantage at turn one and held it at turn two. Racing into third place, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) made a brisk start whilst slotting in behind him, Tom Sykes aboard his BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team machine. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was ahead of Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), whilst Jordi Torres Team Pedercini Racing) was up in eighth.
Jonathan Rea tried once to get ahead of Davies on lap two on the entrance to turn five but ran wide and allowed Davies to take the lead back. It would stay like this for the entire distance, with Jonathan Rea unable to match Chaz Davies, who was in a class of his own at the head of the field. Toprak Razgatlioglu was soon dropped but was lapping constantly quicker than those behind him, consolidating his podium pace.
After lap two, Alvaro Bautista’s injured shoulder proved too much, and the Spaniard’s luckless weekend ended with retirement. Two laps later, third in the championship Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was out with a technical problem opening up the battle for third in the title-fight.
Alex Lowes mugged Sykes halfway through the race before clearing off into a safe fourth place, whilst Sykes and Haslam ran toe-to-toe for the remainder of the race, although it resulted in no change of order. Behind them, Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) had come through the order to get ahead of Jordi Torres. Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) was strong too, up to ninth from a poor starting position.
But back at the front, it was all about Chaz Davies as he pulled away from Rea and came home with a huge advantage to win his first race since Aragon race two in 2018. Rea was second, extending his championship advantage to 81 points. Toprak Razgatlioglu was back on the rostrum yet again, consolidating his position as a real challenger for third overall in the championship. Alex Lowes and Tom Sykes completed the top five, whilst Leon Haslam was sixth.
Loris Baz held off a resurgent Jordi Torres to come home seventh, whilst Marco Melandri had to make do with ninth, whilst fellow countryman Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) was inside the top ten yet again in tenth position, just pipping Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) who finished 11th.
WorldSBK Race 2 Results: 1. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)
WorldSBK Championship Standings
1. Jonathan Rea – 433 points (Kawasaki) 2. Alvaro Bautista – 352 points (Ducati) 3. Alex Lowes – 220 points (Yamaha) 4. Michael van der Mark – 215 points (Yamaha) 5. Leon Haslam – 202 points (Kawasaki)