The second race of round seven of the 2019 Superbike World Championship saw trends of recent rounds continue, as the title battle grew closer in Misano.
Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) made the holeshot from the pole position he won in the morning’s Superpole Race. It seemed as though he would be able to get away and escape at the front for another comfortable victory in 2019. However, the Spaniard did as in Jerez, and dropped the Panigale V4R – this time on the second lap, at Rio corner. It was a costly mistake from the Spaniard, and came after a dominant sprint race victory which pointed towards him being able to draw out his points lead once more. Instead, it would be dramatically reduced over the course of the weekend.
Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) inherited the lead when Bautista crashed after he made a good start from the front row, although he was under pressure from Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) right on his tail who in turn had Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) on his tail.
Razgatlioglu was on the attack, and soon passed Rea, and wasted no time in taking the lead from Haslam either. It didn’t take long for the Turk to start escaping at the front, and Rea knew he couldn’t allow the gap to become too big if he wanted victory and to take the most advantage of Bautista’s fall. Once he passed his teammate, Haslam, Rea started to hunt down Razgatlioglu.
There was no hurry for Rea to take the lead, though, once he arrived on the back of the satellite Kawasaki rider. Instead, the reigning World Champion studied his stablemate until the very closing stages, as the pressure from behind did not exist thanks to the leading pair’s superior pace.
Thank you puccettiracing for this week ? Kawasaki Day Misano P2 2.olarak podyumda bitirdik bize bu imkanları veren Kenan sofuoğlu abime teşekkür ederim onunla burada bu sevinci yaşamak benim için özeldi. ve tüm hayranlarıma destekleyen herkese teşekkür ederim #RiminiWorldSBK pic.twitter.com/FssIjzDcac
— Toprak Razgatlıoğlu (@toprak_tr54) June 23, 2019
It was a fascinating portion of the race, thanks to the opposite riding styles of the duelling Kawasaki riders, with Rea’s style being far smoother than his younger rival – Razgatlioglu using minimum corner speed, hammering the front tyre in the initial braking phase and being exceedingly aggressive in standing up the bike to try to hold onto the tyre.
In the end, though, it seemed that it was tyre which held Razgatlioglu back in his battle against four-times World Champion Rea, who seemed to have more edge grip compared to the #54 rider who was notably struggling compared to the factory rider on the exit of turns three and six.
When Rea came past Razgatlioglu with four laps to go, there was no reply from the Turk with the exception of an unsuccessful lunge on the final lap at turn eight. Rea squared him off on the exit, and Razgatlioglu couldn’t carry the same speed as Rea through the fast rights to pass in turn fourteen.
With Bautista out, it was an important win for Rea, who was able to take his fourth win of the season and was able to cut his deficit in the title chase to Bautista down to sixteen points, as the Spaniard salvaged fourteenth place and two points. The short straights and hard braking zones of Donington park could provide another opportunity for the Northern Irishman.
— WorldSBK (@WorldSBK) June 23, 2019
Razgatlioglu’s second place was the result of a masterful ride, bested only by the greatest rider in the history of the Superbike World Championship, and his third podium in as many rounds. With rumours about competition for the second factory Kawasaki circling, and the Suzuka 8 Hour on the horizon, the best race of his career came at a good moment. Donington was the scene of Razgatlioglu’s first WSBK podium back in 2018, and could be another opportunity for him to achieve his first win.
Leon Haslam ensured the podium was an all-Kawasaki affair for his first rostrum since Phillip Island in February after he beat Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK) in what proved to be a race-long battle between the two BSB champions.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) completed the top five for the best result of his career in WSBK ahead of Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK) who made a good race from eleventh on the grid (courtesy of a breakdown in the Superpole Race). Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) could only manage seventh place ahead of Michele Pirro (BARNI Racing Team) and Lorenzo Zanetti (Team Goeleven) who completed the top ten.
Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK) took eleventh place, ahead of Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha), Samuele Cavalieri (Motocorsa Racing), Bautista after his crash, and Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) who, as Bautista, remounted after a crash and took the final point with it.
Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) was another rider who crashed and remounted, although the Italian was unable to score points and finished down in sixteenth. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) was the last rider to finish, in seventeenth.
Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Mie Racing Team) suffered his second retirement of the day, and was joined on the side-lines by Yuki Takahashi (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) and Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura).