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Phillip Island WSB Results (All Three Races)

Ducati’s Bautista leading the two Factory Kawasaki riders.

Defending champ Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) would have picked up where he left off last year by sweeping all three races at Phillip Island this weekend … but for one new factor, the presence of WSB newcomer Álvaro Bautista (Ducati). Rea could only manage second place behind Bautista in each of the weekend’s three races (in addition to the two, normal length races, this year there is a third Superpole race consisting of 10 laps).

Bautista didn’t just win all three of the races, he absolutely destroyed the competition – winning Race 1 by 15 seconds, and Race 2 by 12 seconds. Needless to say, Bautista has adapted quickly to the new Ducati V4 superbike beneath him.

Leon Haslam (Kawasaki) finished third behind Bautista and Rea in both the Superpole race and Race 2. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) finished third in Race 1. You can follow these links for full results for the Superpole sprint here, Race 1 here and Race 2 here. For additional details and points, visit the official WSB site.

Below you will find the full press release from Ducati concerning the weekend’s races:

Álvaro Bautista

Álvaro Bautista couldn’t have got off to a better start in World Superbike this weekend at Phillip Island, as the 34-year-old Spanish rider dominated the opening round of the championship held at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia.

After his triumph in race 1, Bautista went on to take two more wins, the first in the ten-lap Superpole Race, in which he held off Rea, and the second in race 2, when he crossed the finish line with a lead of 12 seconds, again over Rea.

With these results, Bautista has immediately taken the lead of the championship standings, with 62 points, a lead of 13 over his rival from Northern Ireland.

Team-mate Chaz Davies showed some signs of improvement in race 2. In the morning his technicians made some major modifications to the set-up of his Panigale V4 R in an attempt to give the Welshman an easier bike to ride. Davies managed to take the chequered flag in seventh place.

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati #19) – 1st
“It has been a perfect weekend and my Superbike debut couldn’t have been better! We made a clean sweep of everything by winning race 1, the Superpole race and race 2. If people had said to me before that I would have won three races, I wouldn’t have believed them, but we worked hard during the tests to prepare a fantastic bike. In this morning’s Superpole race I had a lot of fun fighting with Rea, I knew that he was very strong and that he was always pushing. The pace was incredible and I had to concentrate so hard, but in the end I got the better of him. In race 2 the track conditions were more difficult than in the morning, and it was important to save the tyres because of the higher track temperature, so I pushed hard in the early laps to try and manage the situation at the end. I’m so happy with the results, today is a day I will never forget! A big thanks to the Aruba team, to Ducati and to my crew for making this all possible! Now we have to continue to work hard, we’re only at the beginning and I think it’s going to be a very top-level championship.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing Ducati #7) – 7th
“We managed to make some progress in race 2 and I felt a bit better with the V4 R, which is the most important thing. After yesterday’s result, we had nothing to lose so the guys in the team made some major changes that allowed me to slightly improve my race pace. I’m still a bit disappointed because we didn’t expect this result, but we picked up a lot of useful data to understand what I need for the next race. My congratulations to Álvaro, because he was really impressive all throughout the weekend.”

Stefano Cecconi, CEO Aruba and Team Principal
“It was virtually a perfect weekend for Álvaro, he dominated almost every session and showed he had the margin to manage every situation. We have got off to the best possible start, but we must remain with our feet firmly on the ground and continue to work hard to achieve the maximum results possible on the other tracks with both of our riders.”

45 Comments

  1. Jeremy says:

    Bautista was, IMO, above average in the MotoGP field. He just never had a good bike. His first outing on the GP18 when he replaced Lorenzo (at Phillip Island it so happens) for that race resulted in a 4th place finish.

    That said, plenty of riders have been graduated to MotoGP over the years on a gamble that never played out. There are several on the grid now, I think. So simply having been a part of MotoGP doesn’t automatically knight a rider as elite of the elite, but I do think Bautista has the chops.

    It is still early, and this is only one venue, and one that has the room to let an unrestricted Ducati stretch its legs. Other circuits may prove more of a challenge for Alvaro and/or the Ducati. We’ll see. Regardless, though, I think Rea has a fight on his hands.

    • HS1... says:

      Bautista does seem to have the chops. Dorna has to be more-than-happy to have him on a Ducati that exploits a formula that can easily end Kawasaki’s yearly turning of the series into a snoozefest of a cakewalk. WSBK has sunk like a bag of tungsten hammers to being reviled and irrelevant.

      Orchestration-like rule tinkering has failed at ending this financial nightmare for a couple of years too long. Without Alvaro topping things this weekend, interest in the 2019 WSBK season would already be shakier than the political aspirations of Virginia politicians who bizarrely choose to spend their college days playing “dress-up”. With the renewed and perfect juggernaut of Ducati, this dead whale of a series gets another season of being flotsam in the tidal surge. It may or may not be too dead to revive, but it can probably simulate life just enough to keep the question alive.

      • Dave says:

        “WSBK has sunk like a bag of tungsten hammers to being reviled and irrelevant.”

        This was Dorna’s doing. Several years ago, prior to Dorna’s ownership, WSBK had a very compelling series, with 5 bike brands scoring wins and MotoGP was in the toilet. They acquired WSBK and then concentrated on MotoGP, while diminishing WSBK to restore their desired order. Most of the factories pulled up stakes and left the series.

    • mickey says:

      Bautista was getting the “old” under-powered Suzuki real close to the podium several times. He is an above average MotoGP rider with a reputation for crashing if pressured.

  2. Dave says:

    As posted elsewhere in these comments, the rev limit is based on the production engine’s capabilities. Even so, if Ducati have a power advantage, why couldn’t any of their other bikes manage anything better than 7th and 8th place?

    • Superlight says:

      Chaz is coming off an injury. Laverty is new to Ducati and this bike and Rinaldi is a relatively new rider to WSBK. Not excuses, just facts.

      • Dave says:

        Bautista is new to Ducati and newer to Superbike than everyone else (he may have never ridden a bike this heavy before). Some of the riders between them and the front are less established names on less established teams. If the advantage is coming from the bike, all 3 of the others should be much closer to the front.

        • HS1... says:

          You could be right on his heavy bike experience. History shows us, though, that some riders and drivers can easily adapt to vastly different machines, surfaces, and configurations while others have very narrow comfort zones.

  3. LIM says:

    They are all 1000cc machines regardless of the engine configuration, and should be limited equally.

    • Superlight says:

      But each manufacturer chooses how to configure their engine – Twin or 4-cyl, V or Inline, bore/stroke, etc. If Ducati’s street engine has a higher redline than the competitors, the race engine should follow suit. All Ducati has done is optimize their engine design to the WSBK rules.

    • Provologna says:

      All bikes are limited exactly equally, as a ratio of their stock OEM redline.

    • Ray says:

      V-twins can still have 1200cc and triples can have 1100cc. All revs, engine configuration, valve makeup, crank makeup, and main frame are set off of the homologated street bike. Kawi could have easily produced a 220+ Hp homologation special, but the Japanese manufacturers, other than Honda (several models) and Yamaha with 2 (OW-01 and OW-02), do not produce race only homologation specials.

      • Superlight says:

        Ducati is wisely building their superbike to optimize the WSBK rules. These bikes are so over-the-top capable they make little sense on the street anyway.

      • Curtis says:

        Kawasaki absolutely has a homologation special ZX-10RR this year. Lots of differences from the standard unit and a 600 RPM higher rev limit.

      • Anonymous says:

        YZF750SP, R1-M, GSX-R750RR, ZX7-RR just off the top of my head, plus Aprilia, BMW, etc. It’s pretty common. Not just a Ducati thing.

        • Ray says:

          Homologation specials are actually quire rare for Japanese manufacturers. As I stated above, Honda did it a bunch in the late 80’s/early 90’s, Yamaha did it twice, and as Chris pointed out, Suzuki did it one year (1989) and Kawasaki really did it one year (1993, but carried the model through 1996) and to make those bikes really go off the show room floor, you had to spend more $ to get the race package(sometimes as much as the bike itself). In general, the Japanese manufacturers are not making homologation specials every year like the Euro bikes, especially Ducati. Ducati have been making homologation specials every year since the 851 SP/SPS.

  4. Joe F. Biden says:

    Well, Kawasaki brought the wrong bike to the race. It should have brought the H2.

  5. Pacer says:

    bmbktmracer, you’re right. Bautista is fast. Remember the Phillip Island MotoGP race? On Lorenzo’s bike he was mixing it up for a poduim run, but chose to be a good company man and tucked into line behind Dovi.

    (Side note. Why am I unable to respond to others posts? Is this on purpose?)

  6. bmbktmracer says:

    Rev limits are based off the production bike’s redline and were not designed to give Ducati an advantage. The percentage above stock redline was established to keep the costs under control, lest the guy with the most money wins. Don’t take anything away from Bautista. None of the other Ducatis were anywhere near him. In fact, the next fastest Ducati finished behind 2 Kawasakis and 3 Yamahas.

  7. Jabe says:

    I have to think Rea’s head is spinning. I wonder how many f-bombs he dropped when the conversation went to rev limits.

    • Superlight says:

      The rev limits are based on the production bikes’ engine redlines. If Ducati chose to focus their superbike engine design on racing they should receive the benefits that derive from that decision. Nothing is stopping Kawasaki, Yamaha, Honda, Aprilia and BMW from doing the same thing.

      • Stuki Moi says:

        Problem with that is that the winner will always be the collector nameplate which has a large enough built in market to sell $200K “production” bikes to Leno and just enough of his buddies.

        Rather than makes who instead focus on selling 20K street bikes, then spend a fraction of the earnings from each of them to tune the living crap out of the race effort, still starting off with the production bike as a base.

        Both are ways to eventually end up with a fast racebike from a production one. One just does it by selling the bike in much closer to race tune. Why sanctioning bodies should handicap one strategy, and not the other, is beyond me…

        • fred says:

          What is your problem with Ducati and Jay Leno. Jay is a real car and bike guy who happens to be able to afford what he likes. He is a true enthusiast and is a great advocate of motorcycling.

          I have never seen any evidence that he is a shill for Ducati, or that Ducati has made any significant money off him. AFAIK, he does own at least 2 Ducati’s.

          Kawasaki has been dominant in SBK now for several years, and it’s not a bad thing for them to have some competition. FWIW, I own 2 Kawasaki’s and 0 Ducati’s.

          • Stuki Moi says:

            None. Jay is awesome!

            Apologies if I came across that way.

            I’m just troubled by the possibility of the premier ostensibly “production” based racing series; moving to where $200K collectors pieces are considered “production” bikes, and allowed to bring advantages possible on a $200K machine with them, just because there are a few hundred collectors around willing to add them to their hundred plus bike stables.

            Back when Superbikes were popular, the ones winning races were tuned versions of the ones Joe average would buy if he wanted one. Not weird exotica, with half of the half a million worth of race prep required for WSB, being already done to the “production” version.

            Don’t me wrong, it’s cool that exotic bikes exist. And guys like Jay are there to buy them. But sportbiking isn’t well served by turning WSB into a racing series for private jets.

        • Superlight says:

          Did you forget the WSBK rules state that homologated entries must have a price cap of 40k Euros, not “$200k”?

  8. Roberto says:

    Ducati has a huge RPM advantage, and thus, a huge power advantage. The sanctioning body set the rev limits way lower for everyone else.

    • Anonymous says:

      That will change.

    • Dave says:

      Do they? What happened to all of the other Ducati’s, then? (The next best Ducati finish was 7th)

    • bmbktmracer says:

      The rev limits are based off the production bike’s RPM ceiling and are not designed to give Ducati an advantage. The simple fact is that the production V4R has a redline of 16,000 RPM. The race bike is allowed 16,350 RPM. The stock Kawasaki ZX-10RR redlines at 14,000 RPM and is allowed to rev to 14,600 RPM.

    • Superlight says:

      Nothing stopped Ducati’s competitors from upping their redlines to match, negating Ducati’s power advantage.

      • Dave says:

        I think unit sales of open class sport bike sales is the limiter for them. The other manufacturers must develop completely new production bikes with higher rev limits in order to qualify those engine speeds for WSBK use. That might be too great an obstacle to justify to win in what is now seen as the “minor leagues”.

        • Stuki Moi says:

          Ducati can reliably sell Superbikes at a higher price than the rest. Justifying more expensive strategies. They’re also primarily sold as 126th bikes to Leno, rather than as an only bike to someonw else; hence can be a bit more cavalier wrt reliability and maintenance cost..

          • Superlight says:

            Again, there were days when Ducati reliability was suspect and maintenance was an issue, but those days are in the rearview mirror. The Japanese no longer hold advantages here.

  9. Curtis says:

    Well, now we know! Isn’t that interesting!?!

  10. Superlight says:

    It appears Ducati’s decision to go the V4 route was vindicated this weekend. It didn’t hurt that Bautista was riding a Ducati V4 in motoGP last year either.

    • Curtis says:

      I think it is not a coincidence that onboard footage from the Ducati MotoGP bike sounds a lot like onboard footage from the media launch for the new V4R. That thing is a weapon!

      Now we can start to debate how much of Bautista’s advantage is his riding versus how much is the new bike. I always assumed the Superbike field was getting pretty much the maximum out of the tires. Seeing Bautista clear off into the distance, on any bike whatever, is a revelation. Perhaps the manufacturers’ work in MotoGP, where it seems all of the bikes are starting to sound almost identical, has shown how to get just that much more performance out of a given tire using strategies in power delivery.

  11. mickey says:

    the Ducati may be faster, but imo another factor is the difference between MotoGP class talent and WSBK class talent (otherwisw ALL of the Ducati V4’s would have been ahead of Rea.

    • Martin says:

      I agree. Thought Rea might have been competitive in MotoGP, but now I’m not so sure, even on a factory bike.

      • Provologna says:

        In both AMA SB and WSBK, Spies cleaned everyone’s clock including Matt Mladin. In MotoGP his results were much worse, one win IIRC, then gone.

    • Dave says:

      Doesn’t explain how this was the only faster Ducati and how Marco Melandri wasn’t 12-15seconds up the road with Bautista. Plenty of other MotoGP guys have come back to WSBK and did not dominate.

      They’ve just hit the magic combo at this race. There’s no guarantee that this will continue.

      • mickey says:

        Melandri is third in points, so ex MotoGP riders are 1st and 3rd with only the 4x SBK champ separating them. Melandri is also 36 years old. But it’s early in the season. Lets see how the rest of the season plays out.

        You give a good MotoGP rider a good bike and he is going to be faster than a good SBK rider with the same bike IMO. If a SBK rider was really good he would pick up a GP ride. Very few do. The teams choose Moto 2 and Moto 3 riders over SBK riders for the most part. There are of course exceptions to every rule.