2019 Buriram World Superbike Race Two Result: Invisible Attrition

One disadvantage of racing three times in a single weekend is the attrition that this can bring, and race two at the Chang circuit would start short of three riders, with Eugene Laverty not starting due to a crash on Saturday and both of this morning's crashers, Leon Camier and Thitipong Warokorn, not being able to join in. The twenty lap race would have sixteen starters in the Thai heat.

Alvaro Bautista got a decent start ahead of Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes, the podium order of the previous two races maintained. Michael van der Mark held third place until turn four when Leon Haslam took it from him. 

Lap two, Bautista ominously led Rea and Lowes again as the three broke away from everyone else. Rea made a slight mistake, going wide at one corner, but Lowes was unable to capitalise on it. Ahead of them, Alvaro Bautista set the fastest lap and pulled away by almost a second. Another lap and the fight for fourth place between Leon Haslam, Michael van der Mark and Marco Melandri had caught Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea while Bautista set the fastest lap at the front again, now over a second clear of Rea. Chaz Davies joined the fray, taking fifth place from both Marco Melandri and Michael van der Mark, swooping past their fight into turn four only for Melandri to pass Davies a lap later, lifting him out of the way and letting van der Mark follow Melandri past Davies. Tom Sykes abandoned his lacklustre BMW on lap four, most likely dreaming of the new engine awaiting him in Europe.

Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes broke away from the fight for fourth on lap five and had a three second gap a lap later, but they were almost two seconds behind Alvaro Bautista. Michael van der Mark made up a couple of places, passing both Macro Melandri and Leon Haslam over just two turns to start lap seven in fourth place, almost five seconds behind Alex Lowes. 

Chaz Davies was dealing with Sandro Cortese in a fight for seventh place, but smoke was visible from Davies's Ducati as he came out of turn three to overtake Cortese's Yamaha into turn four. As he passed the starting grid, he was flagged off and he parked up and walked away. 

Over the next six laps, Bautista eked out four or five tenths of a second a lap at the front, Rea and Lowes stayed glued together half a second apart and Haslam and Melandri swapped fifth place a few times behind van der Mark, Melandri occasionally suffering from his usual rear tyre wobble at high speeds. Sandro Cortese started closing the gap to the Haslam/Melandri duel, but couldn't maintain enough pace to actually catch them and dropped further back after a couple of laps within a second of the pair.

Five laps from the end, Alex Lowes finally let go of Jonathan Rea and started a lonely few laps a couple of seconds off Rea's second place while Rea had to contend with Alvaro Bautista just ticking off the laps four tenths quicker than he could. 

Eventually, the laps ran out and Alvaro Bautista completed his second triple, ending the weekend with two poles, three wins and a lap record, on top of being quickest in every qualifying session. Jonathan Rea was second to him in every session and race this weekend. 

Alvaro Bautista, having won every race this year, leads Jonathan Rea, second in every race this year, by twenty six points. Alex Lowes, third in every race this weekend is third in the championship, eight points ahead of fourth-placed Michael van der Mark, who was fourth in every race this weekend. Leon haslam, who was fifth in every race this weekend lines in sixth place, behind Marco melandri who was sixth in every race this weekend. 

Only thirteen racers completed race two which didn't look like a race of attrition as the drop outs took place over three races in good weather, and they all took place behind a rookie on a brand new bike setting astonishing new records in a new race format.


Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 19 A. BAUTISTA Ducati Panigale V4 R  
2 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR 10.053
3 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 12.368
4 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1 17.378
5 91 L. HASLAM Kawasaki ZX-10RR 17.518
6 33 M. MELANDRI Yamaha YZF R1 18.925
7 11 S. CORTESE Yamaha YZF R1 23.281
8 21 M. RINALDI Ducati Panigale V4 R 28.444
9 54 T. RAZGATLIOGLU Kawasaki ZX-10RR 33.156
10 81 J. TORRES Kawasaki ZX-10RR 33.224
11 28 M. REITERBERGER BMW S1000 RR 40.164
12 23 R. KIYONARI Honda CBR1000RR 53.511
13 52 A. DELBIANCO Honda CBR1000RR 1'08.576
RET 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale V4 R 13 Laps
RET 66 T. SYKES BMW S1000 RR 17 Laps
RET 36 L. MERCADO Kawasaki ZX-10RR  
RET 50 E. LAVERTY Ducati Panigale V4 R  
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Always been an AB fan but he hasn't given me a lot to cheer about over recent years. Talk about a bolt from the blue. I expected decent results from him in WSB but not quite this.

Clearly the bike is good, but just as clearly it's not all about the bike.

He'll comfortably hat-trick again at Aragon. The racing is dreadful considering what they've managed to achieve in MotoGP

I have been a fan of AB since he joined MotoGP. Ducati looks pretty smart putting him in the seat of their new V4. The rap on him was his high corner speed style would hurt on most of the courses. That the style wasn't compatible for superbikes. I guess Bautista is a lot more adaptable than given credit! He's certainly more adaptable than anybody else on that V4. I know its not good for racing, but I hope his dominance lasts most of the season. 

Thanks for the report, Jared.

Great result for A.B. not so exciting for the rest of us.

Things may change a little when the championship gets to Europe.

Just like "the good old days" when Ducati won every race.

Alex Lowes & Magic Michael both beat the other factory Kawasaki, that is a good result for Yamaha.

If he continues to struggle on the V-4 why not try the twin again. Wouldn't that make for a great sales promotion if they got both bikes on the podium!

I didn't expect Bautista to sweep the 1st 2 rounds - I figured it would be a bit closer in Thailand, especially in the SuperPole race but that Ducati has got some motor under those fairings and Bautista is riding great.

Looking at the lap chart Bautista went through the traps at 308.6kph 3 times - most of his laps were 306.8-307.7. His slowest trap speed was on lap 1 (305.1kph) and Melandri was the only non-Ducati to match that - and only once. After him it was Haslam at 303.4 and Van der Mark/Torres at 302.5. I imagine the Ducati may lose a few revs after round 3.

Since Joining Kawasaki Jonathon Rea has only gone 4+ races without a win 2 other times - 6 races from Imola-Donington in 2016 (winning race 1 @ Misano to break the streak), and 6 races from LeMans-Qatar at the end of 2016 (Winning race 1 of 2017 @ PI to break the streak. It's also the 1st time he's left Thailand without a win in 5 visits.

Alvaro Bautista is currently ranked 32nd in career WSBK wins with 6

Probably starting with me because this round left me cold.

The numbers of bikes even before attrition was low, after attrition unreasonably low, the format is contrived,  the races were average at best, the top placings predictable with the new king clearly surplanting the old king without even a decent battle. Not that I am blaming Rea for this as Ducati have bought a gun to a knife fight (desmo revs, reverse rotation, firing order etc) and they have put a pretty damm good rider on top pof the gun. I suspect there will be podiums for Davies not far in the future and Rinaldi was showing signs of improvement as well.

I loved superbikes when they were the best four stroke racing on the planet and those days are long gone.

I enjoyed the races, and I'm sure I will the rest of the season because bikes going around the track.  But WSBK is still in a tough spot when I think about it in the macro sense of production-based racing. Quite frankly I don't understand who is buying production based bikes solely based on WSBK or production racing results. Someone must, but I gave up riding sports bikes a long time ago after realizing they belong on a track instead of on the roads. So what is the incentive to compete in WSBK? And for the manufacturers to be running 2, 3, 4 year old bikes...rev limits...it's all quite a lot to juggle and make it work for everyone. 

When you mentioned that they were the fastest four stroke bikes....that really drives it home how much superbikes has to take a back seat to motogp. -

Ducati and KTM seem to be quite successful on the showroom floor directly the result of their motorcycle racing. I believe both marques enjoy sales growth across their product lines while the Japanese and Harley motorcycle sales are in decline. Ducati is identified with motorcycle racing and their products look like they were derived from the race track. Their racing seems to drive sales of all their products, not just the ones with clipon handlebars. Heck, they don't even have to win! Just be in the show. KTM is probably something similar, although their motocross and Dakar racing success is a lot more recent. Their MotoGP efforts must be laying the groundwork for a much bigger pavement oriented product line. In any event, out here in the southwest USA, the deserts are populated by a lot more KTM's than any other brand. Same can be said for the Northeast woods. I think they get quite a bump from their racing efforts. This season they have even launched a dirt track team!

Sportsbike sales are plummeting and 'win on a Sunday sell on a Monday' is increasingly irrelevant. A 200 bhp bike on the road is a waste of time / money and just gives you aching arms and back. Plus unless you are a middle aged guy with plenty of spare dosh (and likely to have an ample belly between you and the tank) you can't afford one.

Upright adventure bikes are what's selling, the trickle down of tech from MotoGP can help their development too. WSBK is looking increasingly irrelevant, you only have to look at the falling attendances for that.

The final nail? The racing simply isn't a patch on MotoGP, now we appear to have a new dominator (can't blame either AB or JR for that, they are both excellent). Hopefully JR can get closer and make a go of it, he's a great racer, he just needs to be able to at least see AB somewhere near the end. The gaps right now are huge.

I wonder whether this will kill interest in wsbk even more. By the middle of the sprint race I was skipping forwards and watched the whole of race 2 in less than a minute. To see the way Bautista pulls away from Rea on the straights is depressing, suggests all he has to do is pick his moment and off he goes. This isn’t racing, it’s time trials.