The rain of Saturday had disappeared on Sunday morning for the Superpole race at round seven of the 2019 Superbike World Championship in Misano, which proved to be one of the most dramatic races of the season.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) made the holeshot from pole position, and Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) made a good start from the middle of the front row. In third palce after turn one was Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) who had made good early progress from fifth on the grid.
Bautista was able to use the power of the Ducati to put himself in the position to pass Cortese into turn eight on the second lap, and he immediately closed the gap down to Rea out front. As they moved onto lap three, Bautista once more used the power of the Ducati, this time to storm straight past Rea before they arrived at the braking zone for turn one.
From then on, there was little, Rea could do about the Spaniard, who was able to pull away in the straights and seemed to have an advantage in the mid-corner and pulled away in a way which we have seen on many occasions this year. Bautista’s win was his fifteenth from eighteen WSBK races and his seventeenth top-three. Additionally, for Ducati it was their thirtieth WSBK win in Misano, the most of any manufacturer.
Rea, then, was resigned to second place once more. Initially, he was under pressure from Sandro Cortese who was able to go with Rea’s pace once he had settled into his rhythm. However, Cortese fell at the final corner on lap seven and threw away what looked to be a certain front row start for the second race.
Cortese’s crash elevated Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK) to third place and a provisional front row start, but this became second for Lowes when Rea crashed at Tramonto. The reigning World Champion looked to lose the rear slightly as he released the brake, and when he touched the throttle, he folded the front. It was a bizarre crash, as when the tyres gripped the bike rolled on top of Rea as he held onto the Kawasaki to try to limit the damage caused to the bike. Fortunately for the Northern Irishman, there was little damage at all, and he was able to resume quite quickly in sixth place, although with limited time to improve his position.
Rea’s crash solidified Lowes’ position on the front row for race two, whilst Rea himself was now headed for a second row start in the second race. It also promoted Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK) to the front row, although an expiration for the S1000RR put an end to those hopes.
The retirement of Sykes allowed Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) into third, and he was able to hold onto it after coming out on top in his race-long battle with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) who finished fourth.
Fifth place went to Rea, who was promoted from sixth when Sykes retired, whilst Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) finished ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team), wildcard Michele Pirro (BARNI Racing Team), Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) and Eugene Laverty’s replacement Lorenzo Zanetti (Team Goeleven) who rounded out the top ten.
Eleventh place went to Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) ahead of Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha), Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK), Yuki Takahashi (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) and Ryuichi Kiyonari (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) who took the last point.
Dominic Schmitter (IXS Racing powered by YART) was sixteenth, ahead of Chaz Davies (ARBUA.IT Racing – Ducati) who crashed early on and finished seventeenth.
Samuele Cavalieri (Motocorsa Racing) was the first retirement on the first lap, before one of the heroes of Saturday’s wet race, Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Mie Racing Team) crashed on lap four. The only other retirements were the aforementioned Sandro Cortese and Tom Sykes.