Today was another memorable day for the championship leader Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), who added another two victories to his start-of-season winning streak. With success in both races, the 34-year-old from Talavera de la Reina took his number of wins to eleven, equalling Jonathan Rea’s record set in the second half of last season.
While in the first race Bautista, who started from pole, took control right from the start, powering away to win over the Kawasaki rider with a margin of 3 seconds, in Race 2 he had to fight until the mid-point against a fierce group of contenders made up of the two Kawasaki men, the pair of Yamaha riders and his team-mate Chaz Davies. After passing leader Rea on lap 6, Álvaro fired in an impressive series of sub-1m35s laps, setting a new circuit record on the way, and he crossed the line almost five seconds ahead of home rider Van der Mark (Yamaha).
Chaz Davies brought home a seventh place in Race 1 and a fifth place in Race 2. Starting from seventh on the grid, the 32-year-old Welshman was not able to get in amongst the fight for the podium in the first race, because of a contact at the first turn, and he had to settle for the same position at the flag. In the second race, after an excellent start, he passed four rivals in the first six laps to slot in behind Bautista in second place. Unfortunately, at around the half-way point, he lost a bit of ground and ended the race in fifth place.
With eleven wins to his name, Bautista remains firmly in control of the championship standings on 236 points, 53 ahead of Rea, while Davies has moved up to sixth place with 76 points. The next World Superbike round, Ducati’s home event, will take place in three weeks’ time at the Autodromo di Imola, from 10 to 12 May.
Álvaro Bautista: “I’m very happy because I won two races at a circuit which was maybe not very favourable for us, and where the Kawasakis had always won in the past. The weekend didn’t get off to the best start on Friday, but in any case we managed to be consistent and competitive. Today we did two full-distance 21-lap races and I can tell you that I used up all my energy, but my training helped me a lot. In the first race in the morning there were very cold conditions, but I tried to get a good start and set my own pace right from the start. I was able to open up a bit of a gap on my rivals and manage the situation well to go on to win Race 1. In Race 2 to be honest I didn’t expect to see Rea ahead of me at Turn 4 because he was on the third row, but he made an incredible start. In the early laps I was taking it easy, trying to stay up and study him well but I could see that his pace was a bit slow so I decided to pass him. I always tried to give my all, in fact we also improved on the circuit record, so it was another wonderful weekend.”
Chaz Davies: “Jumping onto the podium at Aragón was great then coming here and not getting a podium could be a bit of a disappointment, but I felt like I put together a decent second race. The first race was tough, I had a bit of contact with Johnny in the first corner, got pushed out and just didn’t make any progression in the race. The second race was good, I got a decent start and got up to second for a lap but then just struggled a bit with the balance of the bike after six or seven laps and in the longer corners in particular. We need to look at that and become more comfortable in these areas. It would have been nice to stay in the fight close to the podium, but it just goes to show that we have some work to do to improve in every track.”
Serafino Foti: “We’re clearly very happy because this weekend at Assen was another extraordinary one. Álvaro equalled Rea’s record of wins in a row, demonstrating once more his strength and talent even on a circuit with different characteristics to the previous ones. Even though we’ve won all the races so far, the championship is still long so we must remain focussed and continue working. As for Chaz, we’ve also seen some progress here, this weekend he fought hard to bring home the best result possible. We know his true potential and we’ll continue to work hard to put him in the condition to fight for the podium all the time. I want to thank all the guys in the team and everyone back in the factory for their commitment and the great job they’re doing.”