JEREZ, Spain – Alvaro Bautista sped to his 12th World Superbike victory of the season on Saturday at Circuito de Jerez.
It was a frantic start as Jonathan Rea took the holeshot and kept his advantage, despite Bautista trying to get around the outside. However, on the short burst between turns four and five, the Spaniard was able to get ahead of Rea.
At the end of the first lap, Alex Lowes was a solid third, whilst teammate Michael van der Mark had fought his way ahead of Marco Melandri for fourth.
Soon, the battle over third began to take place, with Michael van der Mark right on the tail of Lowes as the third lap started. Halfway round the lap, however, it was an unconventional pass at turn eight that saw the Dutchman get ahead of his teammate and lead the pursuit to Rea, who was losing time to Bautista ahead and the Yamahas behind.
It wasn’t long before the Yamahas began to rapidly close on Rea. The Northern Irishman had no answer for a rampant van der Mark, who passed him with ease at turn six with 12 laps to go. Soon, it was Lowes’ turn to get ahead of Rea, this time at turn two as Rea made a rare mistake. However, Lowes made a similar mistake at turn five, allowing Rea to go back ahead at turn six.
With van der Mark clear in second and Bautista on the horizon, Rea and Lowes were left to battle it out for third. With multiple clean passes as the two swapped positions, the last lap saw Rea make a desperate move to best Lowes. With Bautista winning and van der Mark second, there were shenanigans behind as Rea’s desperate pass knocked Lowes off his bike. Rea ended up third, while Lowes crashed out.