The good weather from the morning remained in the afternoon in Donington for the second full-length race of the weekend, in which Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) took his first triple of the season.
Starting from pole position, courtesy of his Superpole Sprint Race win, Rea made the holeshot from Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) and Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), although the Spaniard was soon demoted to fourth by Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) completed the top five on lap one, whilst the three Yamaha riders – Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK), Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK) and Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) – were fighting behind.
Lowes and Baz were able to get past van der Mark, and started to close down Davies, who was dropping off Bautista in fourth.
Meanwhile, out front, Rea and Razgatlioglu were edging away from Haslam behind. That is, they were until Toprak hit the front. When the Turk took the lead from Rea, Haslam was able to close in, as was Bautista who was able to make it an eight-wheeled battle for the lead with twenty laps to go.
Rea reclaimed the lead with just over seventeen laps to go when Razgatlioglu ran wide in the Melbourne Hairpin. Fortunately for the #54, he only dropped to second, as Haslam also ran slightly wide. The mistake from Razgatlioglu didn’t split the group, though, and neither did the fighting between Toprak and Haslam who swapped positions in the Foggy Esses and the Melbourne Hairpin.
Two laps after his mistake in the penultimate corner, Razgatlioglu re-took the lead from Rea in the same spot.
As close as you like ?#GBRWorldSBK ?? pic.twitter.com/kA56wHH35c
— WorldSBK (@WorldSBK) July 7, 2019
With thirteen laps to go, Rea was in second and his teammate, Haslam, in third, Bautista’s desire to get past the #91 Kawasaki was growing.
One lap later, the gap from second to third was negated once more, as Razgatlioglu ran wide on the entry to the Foggy Esses which cost him both time and the lead which Rea took once more.
The lap after, Bautista was past Haslam at the Melbourne Hairpin. It was a clean move, despite coming from quite a way back. It was an important move for the Spaniard to make, as the leading two Kawasakis were escaping and Loris Baz was dragging Alex Lowes up to the front group.
Lowes passed Baz with eight laps to go, but continued to drag the Frenchman up to Haslam, and Sykes was closing too.
With two laps to go, the battle was on for the win, but a moment for Razgatlioglu in the Foggy Esses gave the Turk too much work to do on the final lap, which meant Rea took his third win of the weekend, his sixth of the season and his first triple. Additionally, Rea’s championship advantage grew to twenty-four points over Bautista with tracks Rea believes to be in his favour on the WorldSBK horizon.
Razgatlioglu’s third second place to Jonathan Rea in the last three Sunday races will not have gone down particularly well. However, the Turk has only one less podium since Imola than Bautista who was unbeaten before the Italian round, which is impressive from the second-year Puccetti rider.
Alvaro Bautista ended his recent run of misfortune in WorldSBK second races to take his first podium of the weekend with third place. Having lost the championship lead this weekend, there will now need to be a change in mindset for the Spaniard at Laguna Secam and for the second half of the season.
Alex Lowes was fourth. It was his best race of the weekend, and could have been better but he took too long to pass Haslam, leaving him without the time to attack Bautista for the final podium spot. Haslam’s fifth place looked unlikely with a few laps to go with two Yamahas and a BMW closing him down, but he hung on from Baz who was sixth and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK) who recovered from eleventh on the grid (due to his declassification from race one) to finish seventh. However, there will have been some disappointment from Sykes, who could have fought with Rea and Razgatlioglu had he started from the front row.
Michael van der Mark’s target for the Donington weekend was top tens following his crash in Misano in which he broke a wrist. Top tens is what he achieved, beating Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) to eighth in race two. Davies himself finished ninth after dropping off following the opening laps when he was fighting inside the top five. Marco Melandri’s gamble on the SCX tyre (designed for the ten lap Superpole race) got him to tenth place with the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK YZF-R1 early on, and the Italian remained there to round out the top ten for the second time on Sunday.
Peter Hickman’s BMW Motorrad WorldSBK S1000RR held together in the second race and he finished eleventh, ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team), Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) and Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Mie Racing Team) completed the points, whilst Ryuichi Kiyonari (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) was the final classified rider in sixteenth.
Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) was the only non-finisher, as he retired with bike problems early on.