Kawasaki Racing Team Rider, Jonathan Rea finished 1st, 5th and 1st in the WorldSBK races at Misano 21-23 June 2019. Team-mate Leon Haslam, Toprak Razgatliolgu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) and Jonathan Rea finished 3-2-1 respectively, making it an all Ninja ZX-10RR podium. Rea has cut Alvaro Bautista’s championship lead to just 16 points at the end of the round.
Tissot-Superpole Race - effectively a sprint race - provided a podium for Haslam in a crash-strewn race; Rea had led the race, then fell to remount to take fifth place.
On a dry track in Race Two, which was hotter than the morning Superpole race, Bautista took a lead after his sprint race win. He fell on lap two, allowing first Haslam, and then Razgatlioglu and Rea, to do the front-running.
Rea and Razgatlioglu had a crowd-pleasing fight for the final win of the weekend on the final laps, with the eventual margin of victory only 0.381 seconds. Rea now has 75 career race wins, and a round figure of 150 career podiums from 262 race starts.
The three Ninja ZX-10RR riders that filled the Race Two podium – Rea, Razgatlioglu and Haslam - are the same three riders picked to race in the official Kawasaki Racing Team Suzuka 8 Hours squad next month.
After the Sunday races at Misano Kawasaki has now scored over 400 podium places in WorldSBK, with a new total of 403.
Arriving 41 points behind Bautista, Rea now leaves Italy for a home round in the UK next time out just 16 points adrift, and with two more race wins to his credit.
Haslam is still working toward finding an ideal set-up but his strong recovery from two crashes at Misano saw him leave with two more podium finishes, his first top threes since round one at Phillip Island. Haslam is fifth overall, just 11 points from fourth place as he approaches Donington, a circuit which is almost literally a home round for him.
In the championship standings Bautista has 330, Rea 314, Van Der Mark 188, Alex Lowes 164 and Haslam 153.
The next round will be held at Donington Park, between 5 and 7 July.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Winning two races at Misano was good for us, especially the two important races. Unfortunately in the Superpole Race today I made a big mistake in turn ten, when I lost the front. But I restarted to finish fifth which was all important for the weekend. Race Two today was a tough one because the temperature was hot. I was very unsure of the pace. I felt like it was slow but I did not want to push any faster. I saw Alvaro go down very early in the race and the conditions out there were very tough, especially for the front tyre. The rear was just not digging in and going forward, it was just spinning so much – but we won, which was the main thing. It was a super-nice day for Kawasaki because we put three bikes on the Race Two podium. Team Suzuka! Donington next and we will go to every track with an open mentality.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “The third place in the sprint race today was just a matter of staying on and bridging the gap to Tom Sykes, and I managed to pass him on the last lap. This afternoon I was struggling from lap one and did not have much front feeling, but I think everybody was in the same position. When Johnny and Toprak came past I felt I could have pushed to go with them but I had already risked too much so I had to run my own race. Alex was then behind me and I did not want to give up the podium, so I fought a little bit at the end. We have made some good steps from the Jerez test but there are little things we are still finding out.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) finished just behind Haslam in fourth place in the short race but finished in a strong second place in Race Two, running out front of his fellow Kawasaki riders for 13 laps. He is now sixth overall and the top Independent Rider in the championship standings.
Toprak Razgatlioglu, stated: “For me, Race Two was my best race. In the short race I did not like the feel because yesterday I had a big crash and we tried the second bike. I did not have a good feeling in the race because the rear was sliding too much. I knew Race Two was important because I started from fourth position and I needed to stay with the front group. In the race I followed Johnny and Leon after Bautista crashed and I felt the bike was good, especially under had braking. I pushed in all laps and made a gap but I saw Johnny was coming. In the last lap I tried to get to the front again but it was not easy. After my crash yesterday this podium was for my crew who did a good job, and we tried a small set-up change that worked. Imola, Jerez and here, on the podium.”
Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) finished eleventh in the sprint and then tenth in Race Two. He is 12th in the championship standings.
Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) pushed himself to ninth in the sprint but fell in Race Two. He remounted but was eventually forced to retire. Leandro, despite missing some races through injury, is 17th in the points.