BAUTISTA BAGS DEBUT WIN
Alvaro Bautista stuns the World Superbike paddock as he storms to a debut 15 second victory in Phillip Island.
The Spaniard bolted from the line to lead the pack going into turn one, despite Jonathan Rea starting from pole. Bautista didn’t need to look back once after hitting the front and pulling away, but the action didn’t stop there.
Quickly a group emerged with Rea, Leon Haslam and Alex Lowes, battling for only two podium spots. Haslam showed his potential as he led the train for the majority of the race, with his teammate challenging him close behind. However, 2018’s British Superbike champion saw his chances of also taking a debut rostrum slip away as he lost the rear on the exit of turn four.
As last seasons champ had a clear track ahead, he soon too pulled away from Lowes who had now been accompanied by a hard charging, Marco Melandri. Lowes and Melandri battled hard for the last podium spot as the race end was near, but it was Melandri who provisionally secured his third place going into the last lap. However, Lowes spotted an opportunity to take away the rostrum points before getting passed back on the last corner of the last lap, seeing Melandri to take the 16 points.
Michael Van der Mark crossed the line in fifth, followed by Razgatlioglu and Tom Sykes. Rookies, Sandro Cortese and Michael Ruben Rinaldi, took the chequered flag to round out the top ten.