Reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea snatched the 2019 series lead at a wet Donington Park this afternoon as a resounding victory and another crash for Alvaro Bautista gave the Irishman a nine-point gap at the top of the table.
Rea shot into the lead at turn one after the lights went out and never looked back, opening a 2.8s gap over poleman Tom Sykes in one lap with Ducati’s Bautista in fifth.
But as Rea continued to pull away, Bautista lost the rear on the entrance to Schwantz and it was game over for the little Spaniard.
Sykes (BMW Motorrad) ended up second, and 11 seconds adrift of Rea, saying he just didn’t have the same grip as Rea on lap one.
Homeboy Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team) was a crowd-pleasing third, if 23 seconds behind the winner.
Wet weather wizard Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) was fourth; Alex Lowes (Yamaha) fifth.
A strong run from Argentinean Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) saw him sixth.
Replacement rider and BSB star Peter Hickman (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was seventh, Misano faller Michael van der Mark (Yamaha) eighth, with Alessandro Delbianco (Althea MIE Racing Team Honda) catching and passing Chaz Davies for ninth despite two trips across the grass.
It was disaster for Marco Melandri who was so off the pace, he was lapped by Rea at Goddards on the final lap.