The opening race of the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship was a classic and went the way of Rookie, Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), who set a scintillating pace and was able to clear off at the front of the pack from lap one. Bautista took the win in a convincing manner, winning by more than 15 seconds to become the first Rookie to win a WorldSBK race on his debut since Max Biaggi in 2007.

Off the line for the first time in 2019, Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) got a good start before being sandwiched into Turn 1 by Alvaro Bautista and early race leader and pole-sitter, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). However, Bautista soon blasted into the lead at Turn 3 and from there, built a gap, setting back-to-back fastest laps and before half race distance, the 34-year-old had a gap of over eight seconds.

The battle was then firmly on for second position, with Rea, Haslam and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team). Tom Sykes also had a good start to the race, with fifth place secured and chasing the leaders down hard. Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) was in sixth and made a rampant start, despite opting for a harder compound tyre choice. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) was a big mover and shaker after one lap, up to seventh from 14th on the grid.

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The race evolved and began to take shape, with the KRT WorldSBK pairing of Rea and Haslam exchanging position frequently, whilst Tom Sykes and Alex Lowes also battled. Razgatlioglu made massive progress through the field and was soon into fourth place with an exciting move into Turn 1. It wasn’t long until the first race crasher of the year occurred, with Leon Camier at Turn 2 (Moriwaki Althea HONDA Team).

With Leon Haslam managing to get ahead of Jonathan Rea and pull clear, disaster struck for the former WorldSBK runner-up, as he crashed out of second at Turn 4. ‘Pocket Rocket’ Haslam eventually finishing 15th. This left Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes at the front of the battle for second position, whilst Toprak Razgatlioglu and Tom Sykes battled hard. The BMW