Michael van der Mark takes first win of the season as championship leader Bautista crashes

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In what was a thrilling Race 2 at Jerez, an uncharacteristic error from Alvaro Bautista  at the start of Lap 2 saw the Spaniard suffer his first racing crash in WorldSBK.

The battle for the win came alive as Jonathan Rea and Michael van der Mark went head-to-head in the Spanish sun, resulting in the Dutchman taking his first win of 2019, whilst Razgatlioglu romped to third and yet another podium.

Into Turn 1 on the opening lap, Marco Melandri took the initial advantage, whilst a disaster for his fellow Yamaha rider Alex Lowes, who crashed at Turn 2 on the opening lap. Bautista took the lead at Turn 5 and Michael van der Mark followed him through as Melandri went wide. Jonathan Rea took the pair of Yamaha riders at Turn 6, in a bid to pursue Bautista at the front.

However, it was a disaster for the Spaniard at the beginning of Lap 2 as he crashed out of the lead! The championship leader was on the floor at Turn 1, with his Ducati tumbling through the gravel. Bautista remounted but retired soon after. The race was now on, as Jonathan Rea led van der Mark and Marco Melandri, ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu and Chaz Davies completing the top five.

With 15 laps to go, the top five were covered by a second but disaster struck again, this time at Turn 5, as Marco Melandri attempted an ambitious pass on Davies, resulting in both riders crashing out. Davies was clearly frustrated with his former teammate, as both of them lost the chance to achieve a good result with Bautista out. Three of the main protagonists had suffered terrible results – Jonathan Rea was now looking like he was going to walk away from Jerez with a strong haul of points.

Michael van der Mark wasn’t prepared to let Rea have it all his own way, as the Dutchman took the lead with 14 laps to go at Turn 6. Jonathan Rea initially stayed with the Yamaha of van der Mark but couldn’t keep with the relentless pace of the 26-year-old out front, as 10 laps later, he had pulled out a two seconds lead. Alvaro Bautista had re-joined and was circulating in 16th position, ready to pick up the pieces in case anyone else was to crash out.

Battles continued to develop down the field, as Michael Ruben Rinaldi, who rocketed through from 11th on the grid to be the top running Ducati in fourth position, ahead of a jostling Sandro Cortese and Leon Haslam, with the Brit getting ahead of the German in the closing stages at Turn 1.

A crash for Ryuichi Kiyonari at the fast Turn 11 resulted in gravel being put all over the circuit and a red flag coming out with two laps to go. Kiyonari walked away from the crash, although his bike was not so fortunate, having barrel rolled.

Michael van der Mark was a winner once again completing a faultless weekend, right the way through from FP1 to Race 2. Second position and closing the gap down to Bautista in the championship to 41 points, Jonathan Rea was happy to be back on the podium. It was another stunning ride from Toprak Razgatlioglu to complete the race in third position. Rinaldi took a career-best fourth, whilst Leon Haslam fought hard to complete the top five.

Just behind the Brit, Sandro Cortese took his best WorldSBK result. Seventh position belonged to Tom Sykes, who had a relatively quiet Acerbis Spanish Round, whilst Jordi Torres Loris Baz and a superb Tommy Bridewell completed the top ten on a day where Independent teams took the majority of top ten placings.  

Leandro Mercado had a good comeback in 11th, ahead of Markus Reiterberger, Yuki Takahashi  and Alex Lowes in 14th place being the last of the point-scorers.

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