Jonathan Rea leaves rivals in his wake to seal first World Superbike victory of season at Imola
Jonathan Rea ended Alvaro Bautista’s 11-race winning streak as the Northern Ireland rider claimed his first World Superbike victory of 2019 at Imola in Italy.
The Kawasaki rider took the lead on the opening lap and pulled away from Aruba.it Ducati rider Bautista, opening a comfortable gap at the front to secure a convincing win in Ducati’s backyard by 7.8 seconds.
It was four-time champion Rea’s first triumph since the final round of the 2018 series in Qatar last October.
Pole man Chaz Davies was a retirement from second position on the opening lap on his Aruba.it Ducati, leaving the Welsh rider hugely frustrated after he showed strong potential throughout practice and qualifying.
Championship leader Bautista, who had won all 11 races heading into round five at Imola, was forced to settle for second place on his V4-R machine.
Toprak Razgatlioglu completed the top three on the Puccetti Kawasaki ahead of Pata Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark and Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team).
Bautista’s advantage at the top of the championship is now 48 points over Rea going into Sunday’s two races at the Italian circuit.