Van Der Mark Cashes In, Bautista Crashes Out

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Michael van der Mark (60) races ahead of Jonathan Rea Sunday in Jerez, Spain. (WorldSBK Photo)
Michael van der Mark (60) races ahead of Jonathan Rea Sunday in Jerez, Spain. (WorldSBK Photo)

JEREZ, Spain – Michael van der Mark became the third winner of the World Superbike season on Sunday at Circuito de Jerez.

An uncharacteristic error from World Superbike championship leader Alvaro Bautista, who earlier in the day earned his 13th win of the year in the Superpole race. At the start of lap two Bautista suffered his first crash in World Superbike competition, ending his shot at sweeping the weekend.

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

Into turn one on the opening lap, Marco Melandr took the initial advantage. Alex Lowes crashed in turn two on the opening lap, ending his day. Later in the lap, Bautista took the lead in turn five as van der Mark followed him past Melandri.

Disater soon struck Bautista as he crashed in turn one on the second lap. He was able to remount and continue, but he brought his bike to the pits soon after.

At the front it was now Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea on point with van der Mark in pursuit.

With 15 laps to go the top-five were covered by less than a second. In turn five Melandri tried to slip by Chaz Davies, but the move failed and both riders crashed out of the race.

Rea remained in the lead, but van der Mark had other ideas. He took the lead in turn six with 14 laps left and while Rea tried to stay close, he wasn’t able to stay in striking distance.

Van der Mark cruised to a comfortable victory from that point forward, besting Rea at the checkered by more than three seconds. Razgatlioglu was third with Michael Ruben Rinaldi a career-best fourth and Leon Haslam in fifth.