Spain’s Alvaro Bautista tightened his grip on the World Superbike Championship as the Ducati rider won an incredible ninth race on the trot at Motorland Aragon on Sunday.
The former 125cc Grand Prix world champion and MotoGP rider has taken the series by storm so far in his debut season in Superbikes, winning all nine races at the opening three rounds of 2019 without being seriously challenged at the front.
Ex-MotoGP rider Bautista wrapped up his third consecutive treble on the Panigale V4-R with another commanding win by 6.8 seconds, stretching his championship lead to 39 points over reigning champion Jonathan Rea, who underlined his consistency on the Kawasaki as he finished as the runner-up for the ninth successive time.
Rea again had to draw on his all experience to snatch second place following a battle with Bautista’s team-mate, Chaz Davies, on the final laps.
With the Ulster rider breathing down his neck, Davies made a mistake at the first corner at the start of the final lap and it allowed Rea to seize the initiative. From there, the 32-year-old gave his all to keep Davies at bay and Rea held on for a crucial 20 championship points.
Leon Haslam finished fourth on the second of the Kawasaki Racing Team machines after he had earlier swapped places with team-mate Rea before his rostrum challenge faded.
Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes finished fifth ahead of Eugene Laverty (Team Go Eleven Ducati).
Round four of the championship takes place next weekend at Assen, where Rea has won eight of the last 10 races at the Dutch circuit.