World Superbikes: Alvaro Bautista extends winning streak in Thailand

Alvaro Bautista finished ahead of Jonathan Rea for the fourth time this season

Alvaro Bautista extended his winning streak at the start of the 2019 World Superbike season to six races by taking a hat-trick at Buriram in Thailand.

The Spaniard followed up his treble at the first round at Phillip Island last month and his win in Saturday’s race one by securing victory in the sprint race and feature race two on Sunday.

Defending champion Jonathan Rea has finished second in every race so far.

The Northern Irishman trails Bautista by 26 points in the series standings.

Ducati-mounted Bautista led Sunday’s second main 20-lap race of the weekend from start to finish to win by 10 seconds and continue his domination of the early stages of this year’s championship.

Earlier in the day the former MotoGP rider triumphed in the Superpole sprint race which was scheduled for 10 laps but red-flagged because of a crash involving Englishman Leon Camier, who suffered a knee sprain.

The 34-year-old made a break at half-distance and took half a second out of Kawasaki pilot Rea before the race was stopped and the result called.

Behind Northern Irishman Rea, Yamaha’s Alex Lowes completed the podium in both of Sunday’s races, followed by team-mate Michael van der Mark, Leon Haslam and Marco Melandri, the same top six leaderboard as Saturday’s race.

Rea, chasing a record fifth straight world title, said he was “happy with a solid performance” over the Chang International Circuit.

“It was a solid weekend. I did my best and enjoyed the races but the gap to the front was just that little bit too much,” said the 32-year-old.

Bautista has made the move to WSB after nine years competing in MotoGP.

Rea went into the weekend with a record of six race wins and one additional podium finish from eight starts at Buriram, including double successes in 2015 and 2017.

Eugene Laverty was unable to take part in Sunday’s races as his bike was not re-built in time from his crash in Saturday, while Welshman Chaz Davies retired from race two.

The championship now moves to Europe for the next six rounds, beginning with Aragon on 6 and 7 April.

2019 WSB Riders’ Championship
Alvaro Bautista (Spa) Ducati 124 pts
Jonathan Rea (Gbr) Kawasaki 98
Alex Lowes (Gbr) Yamaha 69
Michael van der Mark (Ned) Yamaha 61
Marco Melandri (Ita) Yamaha 54
Leon Haslam (Gbr) Kawasaki 51