Aruba Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista demolished the pack by almost a second a lap to take victory in his first-ever WorldSBK race at Phillip Island today.
The little Spaniard became the first rookie to win his debut race since Max Biaggi in 2007, and did it fine style, passing reigning champion Jonathan Rea on lap one and then promptly clearing off to cross the line with a 15s advantage.
Kawasaki’s Rea and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha) battled it out for the other podium places for a majority of the encounter, after long-time second place rider Leon Haslam crashed out at Honda, then restarted to finish 15th.
Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha) came through from ninth place to third, and the leading Yamaha man, as Lowes ended up fourth, but only just, after a great last lap battle. Melandri just looked after his tyre better and was able to pass Lowes at the penultimate corner.
Lowes’ team-mate Michael van der Mark placed fifth, breaking away from a battle behind between Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Kawasaki) and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad). Razgatlioglu took sixth from Sykes, by 0.2 of a second.
Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha) was eighth on his WorldSBK debut, Michael Rinaldi (Barni Ducati) ninth and Chaz Davies (Aruba Ducati) went from 16th on the grid to tenth.
Leon Camier (Moriwaki Honda) crashed unhurt at turn two after an early dice with close friend Davies.