Bautista Dominates in WorldSBK Debut
Ducati rider sweeps Yamaha Finance Australian Round
Alvaro Bautista lived up to all the hype and anticipation by giving the World Superbike veterans a masterclass performance as he and his Ducati dazzled Down Under. The Spaniard became part of a select group of riders to win their debut WorldSBK race and is the first Ducati rider to do so since John Kocinski at Misano, way back in 1996.
Leading from start to finish and coming home with the biggest dry-weather win at Phillip Island during Race 1, the 34-year-old grinned from ear to ear as he spoke about his first world championship win in nearly a decade: “For sure the feeling is quite good, I am so happy with this victory because it is my first race in World Superbike. We work so hard during the winter test; my team and Ducati work hard to give a competitive bike, already for the first race!”
The former 125cc World Champion’s arrival to WorldSBK has been celebrated greatly but now he is a winner and thus, the championship leader, the spotlight shines on him more. Along with the aforementioned records, he is the first ever rider to come across from Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing and win his debut World Superbike race. He is the first Spanish Rookie on a Ducati to set the fastest lap of a race at Phillip Island since 2001 when Ruben Xaus achieved the feat. The win also gives Ducati their third consecutive win at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit venue, the first time since 2011 and 2012 that this has happened – back with Carlos Checa.
The dominance continued on Sunday. Bautista topped four-time champion Jonathan Rea in the first-ever Tissot Superpole Race in a thrilling back-and-forth battle to win the sprint. In Race 2, Bautista ran away with it once more. The Ducati rider completed with sweep of the event with a win by a 12.1-second margin over second-place Rea.
Rea’s Kawasaki teammate, Leon Haslam, rounded out the podium. The Yamaha trio of Michael van der Mark, Alex Lowes and Marco Melandri came in next. Bautista’s teammate Chaz Davies finished seventh.
As the schedule takes WorldSBK to Thailand March 15-17, the question remains whether Bautista will continue to dominate or Rea answers back during his quest for five straight titles.
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round with MotoAmerica is held at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on July 12-14. Click here or call 831-242-8200 for tickets and information.