WSBK Phillip Island: Alvaro Bautista doubles up after hard-fought battle with Jonathan Rea

Jonathan Rea finished as the runner-up in the first ever Superpole race at Phillip Island in Australia.
Jonathan Rea finished as the runner-up in the first ever Superpole race at Phillip Island in Australia.

Alvaro Bautista doubled up at Phillip Island in Australia after coming out on top of a hard-fought battle with reigning World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea.

Bautista won the first ever Superpole race to claim 12 championship points, securing pole position for the second full-length race on the Aruba.it Ducati as he fended off Kawasaki rider Rea by 1.1 seconds following the 10-lap Sprint style race.

Alvaro Bautista on the Aruba.it Ducati Panigale V4 R.

Alvaro Bautista on the Aruba.it Ducati Panigale V4 R.

It was a superb effort by the Spaniard, who was made to work hard for the victory by a determined Rea as the Ulster star refused to go down without a fight.

On Saturday, Bautista became the first World Superbike newcomer to win his maiden race since Max Biaggi in 2007 as he decimated the opposition to win by almost 15 seconds on the new Panigale V4 R.

However, he was kept honest by Rea in the Superpole race, with the four-time champion piling on the pressure until after the half-way mark, when Bautista was finally able to gain some breathing space at the front.

Rea’s team-mate, Leon Haslam, finished third as he made up for the disappointment of sliding out of second place in race one, while Pata Yamaha rider Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark completed the top five.

Marco Melandri, who finished on the rostrum in race one, was sixth on the GRT Yamaha, while Eugene Laverty improved to finish ninth on the Team Go Eleven Ducati Panigale V4 R ahead of Chaz Davies on the Aruba.it Ducati.