2019 Aragon World Superbike Race One Result: This Is Getting Silly

World Superbike is back racing in Europe, with an interesting qualifying session bringing back memories of the ineffective reversed grid. Eighteen laps of Aragon in windy but dry conditions would give us an exciting race.

As Alvaro Bautista once again got a good start from pole position, his nearest rival Jonathan Rea got an even better one from tenth place, so good that a distracted Markus Reiterberger, having rolled his BMW back to behind the line on the grid before the lights flipped, clipped Rea's Kawasaki with his handlebar and smacked his bike onto the tarmac. Rea hit turn one in sixth place, just like he did in most race two starts last year. 

Tom Sykes, Alex Lowes, Sandro Cortese and Chaz Davies sat behind Alvaro Bautista as Rea closed up the top six, with Sykes looking to get past Bautista until they arrived at the long back straight and Bautista made use of his speed advantage to distance himself from the fight behind him.

On lap two, Bautista set a new lap record of 1'49.755 and cleared off into the sunset. The race was now for second place.

Alex Lowes led Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies with Jonathan Rea taking fifth of Sandro Cortese and bringing Michael van Der Mark with him. On lap three, with Bautista almost two seconds clear, Rea and Davies started to fight, with Rea taking and holding fourth place at turn three as the fight for second place extended to a seven-bike gaggle with Eugene Laverty joining in, passing Cortese and making quick work of van Der Mark a lap later. At the end of lap four, over four seconds behind Bautista, Alex Lowes went wide at the last corner, carrying a little bit too much speed from the straight, letting the fight between Rea and Sykes get underneath him through turns sixteen and seventeen, with Davies glued to the back of Rea.

Lap five, almost five seconds behind Bautista, Rea led Davies, Sykes and Lowes with van Der Mark and Laverty closed up behind them. Alex Lowes saw a gap underneath Tom Sykes and made the sort of pass you have to make to get past Sykes, and put him off enough for van Der Mark to follow his teammate past the BMW and the gang reached the straight.

Chaz Davies used the Ducati Panigale's new-this-year power to blast past Jonathan Rea to take second place, over six seconds behind his teammate, down the straight and held the position through the last two turns. Davies and Rea swapped positions for second place several times on laps six, seven and eight, until Rea finally made a pass stick halfway through lap eight only for Davies to take it back into turn one of lap nine. 

While Davies and Rea were swapping places, Alex Lowes, Michael van Der Mark and Eugene Laverty were right behind them just not finding anywhere to pass as the Red v Green battles of 2017 and 2018 were reenacted in front of them. A lap later, Davies went deep into turn one and Rea pounced on the advantage, closing up enough and carrying the power until turn three where he took second place back.

This was all happening ten seconds behind Alvaro Bautista.

Alex Lowes started hounding Chaz Davies for third place, making a definitive block pass at turn seven of lap eleven. The group behind Bautista was five bikes, with Eugene Laverty bringing up the rear behind Michael van der Mark while Lowes closed on Rea to have a go at second place. On lap twelve, Lowes sneaked under Rea in turn eight, and Rea tried to fight back, but didn't have the tyres under him to power round the outside, but as they hit the straight, Rea took second place back on the power and, in spite of Lowes being better around turn sixteen, held it through the corners leading tot he starting line. Michael van Der Mark tried to pass Chaz Davies but after passing him, he had a bit of a twitch and Davies took fourth place back without too much effort. 

At the end of lap thirteen, Alex Lowes once again took second place on the long straight, only for Chaz Davies to do the same to him, after passing Jonathan Rea, a lap later. Another lap and Lowes was back in fourth place when Rea blasted past him and ploughed through turn sixteen on Davies's tail a lap later. Rea went wide, however, letting Lowes use his superior corner speed through turns sixteen and seventeen to take back third place. 

Race leader Alvaro Bautista was fifteen seconds clear at this point.

Jonathan Rea, however, was able to pass Lowes into turn one of lap sixteen, leaving Lowes to deal with a fast Eugene Laverty who hadn't been spending his tyres in as many fights as the three bikes in front of him and, by turn twelve, Laverty made his moves pay off and took fourth place from Lowes. 

On the penultimate lap, Jonathan Rea saw Chaz Davies go a bit deep into turn one and carry the line to turn two and he started to close the gap, having a higher exit speed from turn two, and into turn five, Rea stabbed. He held the tighter line and passed the Ducati with enough speed to be clear of a counter attack over the next range of corners, but he went wide into a corner before the straight and Davies was able to close up the gap and start the last lap in the Kawasaki's wake. Davies set about trying to take second from Rea, with a good try at turn one, but very quickly, he came under fire from Eugene Laverty who snapped at his heels all the way to turn fourteen. 

As Laverty, smelling his first podium chance of the year, closed onto Davies, he entered turn fourteen on the tail of Davies on a line so tight that he touched Davies' rear tyre with one of his aerodynamic wings, snapping the blade off and throwing parts into the air. Laverty lost the front and crashed into the gravel trap. Davies, having to deal with Laverty wasn't able to close the gap on Rea.

Alvaro Bautista won the race by over fifteen seconds, almost a second a lap quicker than everyone else. Jonathan Rea once again finished second with Chaz Davies rounding out the podium with his first visit of the year to Parc Fermé. Alex Lowes was fourth, ahead of Tom Sykes and Michael van Der Mark.

Alvaro Bautista and Jonathan Rea, first and second in every race this year, are predictable first and second in the championship, with third placed Alex Lowes increasing his lead over his teammate Michael van Der Mark. Chaz Davies, finally getting a result worthy of his talent, crawled up to eighth place, behind Leon Haslam, Marco Melandri and rookie Sandro Cortese.


Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 19 A. BAUTISTA Ducati Panigale V4 R  
2 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR 15.170
3 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale V4 R 15.650
4 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 18.204
5 66 T. SYKES BMW S1000 RR 20.165
6 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1 22.419
7 11 S. CORTESE Yamaha YZF R1 23.333
8 54 T. RAZGATLIOGLU Kawasaki ZX-10RR 27.929
9 91 L. HASLAM Kawasaki ZX-10RR 28.243
10 81 J. TORRES Kawasaki ZX-10RR 28.411
11 2 L. CAMIER Honda CBR1000RR 39.126
12 33 M. MELANDRI Yamaha YZF R1 39.240
13 21 M. RINALDI Ducati Panigale V4 R 47.782
14 23 R. KIYONARI Honda CBR1000RR 59.879
15 50 E. LAVERTY Ducati Panigale V4 R 1'37.121
RET 36 L. MERCADO Kawasaki ZX-10RR  
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(Careful w spoiler headlines)
The battle for 2nd-5th was lovely. Hats off to Davies for wrapping his head around the new bike. Yamaha! Lowes! Looking GREAT. Seemed that he ran out of some rear tire a few laps too early.

The BMW and Sykes, coming along. Down on power? The previous generation of BMW was strong there in combo with qualitatively different electronics. This one could have been expected to be a bit more powerful don't you think? The Yamaha has caught the Kawasaki on power. This is good! Except...

We have to be VERY impressed with what Ducati has done here with this V4 Panigale. How ever did they do that?! Just the engine and power for starters. And getting SO many revs. It is a game changer. Little old Joe consumer can now plunk down a very reasonable amount of money and buy a MotoGP bike. Not one of 1500 DesmosediciRR trophy bikes, but an even better daily damn rider. How can this be?

Alvaro Beautista too. He is fantastic at this moment. Perhaps it is amongst other things a big nod to the level of riders in MotoGP. He deserves praise. However, something else very unexpected can be expected, a scowl and...

WSBK has been dominated by one rider and bike. Rules were reexamined a bit ago to include hamstringing top bikes with top RPM limits. Right on cue, Ducati brings the highest performance engine we have ever seen in a production sportbike, with astronomical revs. Not overdog budget Honda (with a backmarker old SBK machine, quitting production of a Supersport bike altogether), but comparably wee Ducati.

Neutering the brilliant bike leaves a bullocks taste in the mouth, doesn't it? What of handing them to wayward negligent Honda? But leaving things as they are is tough as well. Beautista is skewing the numbers. Camier can't.

Davies has further grips to get with the new bike. The V4 is still getting sorted, especially the data/electronics area. I think he is going to make another few steps forward in coming rounds.

250 revs are about to come off the Ducati. It would take 3 times that to make significant change. Should they?

This whack-a-mole fiddly chasing equity with ongoing adjustments is a bad idea. Specification continuity is important. So organizers would do better to change the rulebook for everyone for next season. Bore maximum didn't do it, Ducati have something special even this oversquare. 15,500 rev limit? Or, do we let technical development take its course and encourage competitors to develop ultra high revving drivetrains? Will they? Cost limitation to support smaller team participation for a healthy championship has been a hallmark of the modern era. But that is more about TEAM budgets. The global economy is in a boom period (albeit an unstable one). But the market for SPORTBIKES is not. Scooters and smaller motorcycles are selling heaps, but not our racers. No wonder Honda isn't in this game.

Here we are. Again. When we had the Duc 999 cup we got restrictor plates to choke them a tad. Ducati then managed to develop an incredible twin - they got EVERYTHING out of that layout.

It was palateable because it was parity of apples and oranges (pearity?). The old twins vs 4's rulebook. Not anymore. Ducati has made a truly brilliant bike. Beautista too, is riding brilliantly.

Too brilliant.

I gave the headline some serious consideration and … well, it’s getting silly. It’s ambiguous enough until you know the result, I hope. 

It looks normal now that gp teams dont look at wsbk riders when they look for a new rider.

A mid-pack gp rider destroy wsbk..

It's more like a potential gp winner on mid-pack equipment for so many years. He had some very good races on the Suzuki. Don't forget P.I. last year on the factory Duc. Almost beat Dovi to the podium. Bautista is a top level GP rider. He just never had the equipment to show it.

I think Beautista has been a mixed bag of a good MotoGP rider w inconsistencies. Sometimes top level, sometimes mid pack. Even given his machinery. Remember the period where he was taking a lot of other riders out? Oof.

He was impressive though, poking in to top level rides. Last year he really did the business, and has kept quite a trajectory. Admittedly different folks think of top level MotoGP rider differently. Everyone on the pace there is a top level rider. But that only carves out the last stragglers. For me it means frequent front pack and very few poor showing weekends when "off," with a consistent trajectory.

He is FANTASTIC now though eh? No doubt.

He's always been a top-line rider, and rode the wheels off the uncompetitive machinery he always seemed to be on, with predictable unfortunate consequences. Facts are that in MotoGP if you are not on a factory (or at least factory supported) bike you are not in the hunt for anything better than a mid-field result, and he got more than his share of those. He finally gets on a competitive bike late last year and "shocks" everyone that he's actually competitive. With just a few exceptions, this is probably true of all MotoGP riders over recent years, and there are a lot of world championships in that small group - including his 2006 125 WC.

Yep, now that you mention it, I do remember that phase of his career. He upset me more than once with those antics. However, I do think he over-rode his equipment trying to compensate for it's (to a degree) lesser performance. I do believe had he rode the Factory Duc full time last year he would have won at least one race with it. I never thought he would dominate to such a degree this year on the V4R. I wonder if Rea is now feeling what all the other (bar one) riders have been feeling the past four years (Being on the hands down best bike on the grid). I think he may still be on the most complete bike on the grid, but the Bautista/Ducati combination, right now seems unstoppable.  I think frustration may be just starting to sink in a little. In two races now, I have seen an angry shake of the head from him. He puts on a brave face, but it has got to be killing him to be beaten as bad or worse than he beat everyone else since he got on the Kawasaki. Everyone talks about the Ducati's Rev limit being so high. It is head and shoulders above everyone else. But don't forget, Kawasaki's this year is higher also. It seems the Yamahas have improved their bike a lot over the off season also.But even with all this, it's going to take a lot to stop Bautista/Ducati rampaging over the rest of the year.

Of the remaining ten rounds that Bautista has been to in recent years. I’m really hoping that might mean something-though I’m not confident...! TBH, I’m quite looking forward to seeing a virtuoso Performance on that howling V4 around Donington Park this year. 

Is seeing some people basically give Rea the middle finger when Rea gave what I personally think a valid complaint. Basically they are cheering what Bautista did this year because they don't like Rea domination on the previous years but at the same time forgetting that they are basically cheering on something that make them hate Rea in the first place (domination).

I can't really judge who build the better bikes, but looking at Bautista performance this year, I have a feeling that he might be a championship contender if he was competing last year. Some people automatically assume that Kawasaki always have the best bike until this year. I personally feel that Ducati also had the best bike last year only to be let down by its rider. But again, some people automatically assume because Rea was winning then Rea must have the best bike last year. Now Ducati have built an overly powerful bike but maybe what they lacked all these years was not a fast bike but a rider capable to extract the maximum performance out of it on a consistent basis.

Putting that all on Reiterberger is pretty unfair, I think Rea had a big part to play. Reiterberger was going pretty much dead straight on and Rea came from behind. Reiterberger was unlucky to end up on the ground through really no fault of his own.