There was just no stopping Alvaro Bautista at Phillip Island. We'd already seen this yesterday, during race 1, before receiving confirmation in the morning's Superpole race and now, the icing on the cake in race 2. Hands up all those who, one month ago, thought the Spaniard would start his season this way. Probably nobody!
The Aruba rider couldn't have made a better start to the year, once again playing a starring role at the Australian track. During the afternoon's race, the Spaniard left his rivals to pick up the crumbs, fighting off an early attack from the Kawasakis and making a break for it after just two laps.
His twelve-second advantage across the finish line (eighteen until the final corners) only confirms the competitiveness of the Panigale V4 this weekend:“an incredible weekend – comments Alvaro – we've really worked hard and I can only be pleased with the result. I immediately had good pace and we deserved the result”.
The race played out behind the Aruba rider, Rea and Haslam in a thrilling Kawasaki head to head that continued to the line. It was the four-time champion who won the KRT derby today: “This is one of those tracks where I've always struggled, but I've achieved the results I wanted. I can only congratulate Alvaro”. Leon settled for third: “i'm still sorry about the crash yesterday but I'm pleased with what we've done today. It was a good battle with Johnny, and it's important to be here in the top three”.
Marco Melandri also hoped for a podium finish, battling hard behind the ZX-10RR bikes until four laps from the end. The Italian then dropped his pace, so much so that van der Mark and Lowes finished ahead of him, leaving him to cross the line in sixth place. Behind him Chaz Davies on the Ducati, almost thirty seconds from his team-mate on the final lap (until Bautista slowed up just before crossing the line). The Welshman will be pleased that the Australian round is now done and dusted, though there is work to do ahead of the Buriram round, taking place in less than a month's time.
Leon Camier flew the flag in the Honda camp, making up for yesterday's crash with a tenth-place finish, behind the Ducati of Eugene Laverty. The BMW proved disappointing today, Reiterberger twelfth and Sykes only thirteenth, more than thirty seconds from the front.