WSBK riders reflect on the opening round of season 2019

2019 WorldSBK
Round One – Phillip Island

Alvaro Bautista (Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1st overall

“If you told me before we came to Australia, that we would make a weekend like this I can’t believe it, but we rode really well, my team worked really hard in the two days of test, and for the weekend we were ready for the fight. In the morning, in Superpole Race we had a great battle and I enjoyed it a lot. In the afternoon it was difficult, because the track condition was a bit worse than in the morning, but in any case I was able to make a good pace and at the end, I pushed a bit more harder than yesterday, yesterday it felt like I could push harder and the tyres didn’t drop off a lot. Today I tried and was watching Jonny this morning, I knew in the afternoon he will try to stay with me, so I had to try to push a bit harder at the beginning. I did it and got some advantage, so at the end I could win. It’s a fantastic weekend, thanks to Ducati and to my team and congratulations to them, as they work really hard.”

WSBK Round Phillip Island SBK Friday Rob Mott Alvaro Bautista
Alvaro Bautista – Image by Rob Mott
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) – 2nd overall

“Very happy with my weekend, it was massive damage limitation coming here, it’s not really the strongest track for me or my bike, but to come away with outright lap record and pole position, with three second places, we couldn’t ask for much more. Congratulations to Alvaro, you know it takes a big job to come here as a rookie and to win three races in a row, so big congrats to him.”

WSBK Round Phillip Island SBK Sunday Rob Mott Jonathan Rea
Jonathan Rea – Image by Rob Mott
Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK) – 3rd overall

“Today I was expecting s bit more. In the Superpole race I had a few mistakes at the beginning and lost a lot of positions. I tried to come back but it was a really short race. In Race 2 I got a good start and had good pace in the beginning. Once I caught the two Kawasakis I decided to wait a bit because for the tyre it’s a very difficult race, but when Johnny passed Leon for the first time I tried to push into the middle, but the rear tyre left me there and I had to slow down my pace and just try to finish the race. Unfortunately van der Mark and Lowes passed me back, but I still think that for us it’s been a very good weekend. It’s been a difficult winter but the races are different, so I’m feeling good and I think the next races can be even better.”

Marco Melandri – TBG Image
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK) 4th overall

“I lost quite a lot of time at the start behind Eugene Laverty; the Ducati is so fast in a straight line that I couldn’t pass him cleanly, then I didn’t want to panic and try and go too fast, as it’s easy to wear out the tyres, as we saw in the sprint race. I just stayed calm and almost timed it right at the end. It’s a bit frustrating because I felt that, looking at the times, I probably had the pace to challenge the Kawasakis for a podium but when you’re three seconds behind at the end of the second lap then, round here, it’s hard to make that time up. It’s a shame, but I’ll take fifth place and see if we can have a stronger round next time out in Thailand.”

WSBK Rnd WorldSBK Lowes GB
Alex Lowes – Image by Geebee
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK) – 5th overall

“I got a really good start and my pace was fast, but I was a little worried about using the tyre too quickly. I didn’t want to slow down, as I wanted to stay with the two Kawasakis, but when Marco came past me I felt like I was having to push the tyre just a little bit too much to stay with him. I just decided to do my own rhythm, which was not as quick as I’d have liked, but I knew it was the only way to ride the race. Towards the end the Kawasakis were slowing and so was Marco, which allowed me to catch and pass him on the last lap. I’m happy enough with fourth place after struggling all weekend with the durability of the tyres. We had some problems but we still picked up a lot of points here in Phillip Island.”

WSBK Test Jerez Nov GeeBee Michae VanDerMark
Michael van der Mark
Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team) – 6th overall

“It was good to get on two podiums today. In the ten-lap sprint race I was a little cautious and I got caught behind the Yamahas, so I settled. I thought I had a little bit in hand to catch Jonathan in the final race. I tried to make my own rhythm for the first four laps. After this I tried to save the tyre and which then created a group of five riders. It was a nice easy rhythm and I was feeling good with my pace. Johnny and I had some good passes; good battles. My plan was to go away with two laps to go, then he passed me into turn one and I ran a little wide. At the same time he went 0.4 of a second faster. I went with him and caught him up on the last lap but I felt like I had been caught out a little bit. To battle with Jonathan in my first race weekend of the year, with his record in this class, I am happy. ”

WSBK Round Phillip Island SBK Friday Rob Mott Leon Haslam
Leon Haslam – Image by Rob Mott
Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK) – 7th overall

“Overall it’s been a really good weekend for me, with eighth place in both races and also seventh in the sprint race. For my very first WorldSBK weekend I think It’s been positive, even if we had some issues with the tyres during the weekend and a small technical issue in race two, which meant I was happy to finish in eighth place. Top ten was the goal and we managed that in both races, I learned a lot over the weekend and it was much better than during testing and now I can’t wait for Thailand.”

WSBK Rnd Phillip Island Sandro Cortese
Sandro Cortese
Chaz Davies ( Racing Ducati #7) – 8th overall

“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.”

Chaz Davies – TBG Image
Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) – 9th overall

“It has been a challenging day but I have to say that our results do not reflect where we really are. It is just unfortunate that at the moment the bike still has some limitations in the straight line performance but it’s still very early days and on the positive side we have a very good chassis set-up. During the race we were able to make some good passes but then lost it again on the easy part of the track. We have shown we are capable of running in the top 5 during all tests and practices and when we are riding alone, so we know which area we have to work on the bike. We have some race mileage under our belt and I know that now the entire BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team will work hard to keep progressing like we did in the winter.”

WSBK Rnd Phillip Island Tom Sykes
Tom Sykes
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) – 11th

“In the sprint race I did not start well and my front tire started to slide almost immediately. I could still finish in ninth place, but unfortunately on the last lap another driver bumped me and made me fall. I got back in the saddle but I could not do better than fifteenth. In race 2 I had a good start. When I was joined by Davies I followed him and I went up to the seventh place. Unfortunately, my rear tire started to deteriorate. The rubber and a small technical problem forced me to retire. A real shame because I could have won a good result. I will try to get back to Thailand in the next round.”

WSBK Rnd Phillip IslandRazgatlioglu GB
Toprak Razgatlioglu
Michael Rinaldi (Barni Racing Team) – 12th overall

“The overall opinion on the weekend is positive, we have always been growing until the race this morning where I managed to go strong. In race 2, despite a good start, I immediately realized that something was wrong. I tried to stay on track, but a few laps from the end I had to stop at the pit. I wanted to come back to finish the race and try to understand if we could solve the problem, but at that point the result was compromised. Now we will try to understand well what happened so that the inconvenience does not occur again.”

WSBK Round Phillip Island SBK Friday Rob Mott Michael Ruben Rinaldi
Michael Rinaldi – Image by Rob Mott
Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) – 14th overall

“Things unexpectedly turned out more complicated today, but this was our first race and we still have a few bits and pieces to adapt. There is still some important work to do on the bike and we need to keep pushing to get the results we want. Rivals are strong, but I am certain that we will be back stronger in Thailand”.

WSBK Round Phillip Island SBK Friday Rob Mott Jordi Torres
Jordi Torres – Image by Rob Mott
Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) – 15th overall

“Today was much better than yesterday. I really enjoyed the race. Even though I missed my goal, the top 10, I could at least see that it was possible. I would have had the necessary pace if I had not started so far back after difficulties in qualifying and if I had done a better start. In the race itself I had a better feeling from the beginning on and above all more self-confidence. Although the grip level was even worse at today’s high temperatures than yesterday, we did a good job and took another step in the right direction. I was able to out-brake some opponents and gain a lot in the corners – that’s what our BMW S 1000 RR is really phenomenal in. Unfortunately overtaking is still difficult for us because we lose at the corner exit and on the straight. I take the positives: the top 10 were possible, the feeling is better and the direction is right. I would like to thank the entire team that works tirelessly to make this progress possible. We are competing in the world championship, that’s not a walk in the park. We are a very young project and the potential is definitely there. Now I can’t wait until we are heading to the next races.”

WSBK Round Phillip Island SBK Friday Rob Mott Markus Reiterberger
Markus Reiterberger – Image by Rob Mott
Leon Camier (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) – 16th overall

“Yesterday I felt really good and felt we had the potential to be pushing with Melandri and Cortese, but in this morning’s race I didn’t have the same feeling and struggled to do what I wanted on track. This afternoon I felt better on the bike, but I lost some time early on and that did not help of course. There are still a few areas where we are losing in fact. We have definitely made some progress over the weekend, some really good progress. But we have still work to do to get to where we want be. It will be a step by step process of improving.”

WSBK Rnd Phillip Island Leon Camier
Leon Camier
Ryuichi Kiyonari (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) – 17th overall

“It was important to finish all the races over the weekend and to gain as much data and experience as possible. This morning we improved our position compared to yesterday, and it was good to be able to do so over a shorter distance, even if I didn’t score any points. We made another little step in the afternoon and reached the points zone, but of course we need and want to do better than this.”

WSBK Rnd Phillip Island Ryuichi Kiyonari
Ryuichi Kiyonari
Alessandro Delbianco (Althea MIE Racing Team)

“Our first race weekend hasn’t gone as we’d hoped of course. Unfortunately, I made a mistake this morning that didn’t allow us to finish the sprint race and then, in race 2, a crash in the initial stages prevented me from reaching the line. Luck was not on our side here, but it’s all experience that we will take with us to the next rounds.”

WSBK Rnd Phillip Island Alessandro Delbianco
Alessandro Delbianco

Team Managers

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.”

WSBK Round Phillip Island SBK Sunday Rob Mott Alvaro Bautista
Alvaro Bautista – Image by Rob Mott
Andrea Dosoli (Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager)

“Overall we can be happy with the performance we have shown in Australia; a very consistent performance by all four riders who were in the top eight in three races here. This shows the maturity of both and the operation at the racetrack. We were also able to confirm the performance of the bike that we saw during winter testing at a racetrack where we’ve struggled a little in the past. It was also gratifying to see that our YZF-R1 was competitive in the hands of Michael and Alex, who have a lot of experience with the bike, and also with Marco and Sandro, who were racing the bike for the first time here in Australia. While this weekend was a good start to the season, it is also clear where we have to improve, so we leave here satisfied but also motivated to close the gap further to our competitors. Seeing our four bikes fighting together on the track is a clear sign that our project is going in the right direction and for that I’d like to thank the riders, the teams and all the Yamaha staff for their hard work and dedication.”

WSBK Rnd Phillip Island Alex Lowes
Alex Lowes
Shaun Muir – BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team Principal

“We’ve got to be realistic and we have probably reached our goals for the first time we have raced the BMW S 1000 RR. So we are very happy. We have had no major incidents and I think that we have proved that the bike is going to be competitive very soon. We clearly have our limitations at the moment and we will work hard on sorting them out in the break until the next races. Both riders rode very well and both have been very patient to understand that we need to work for the development parts to come through. So from my side the overall summary is that we can look forward to a very competitive bike over the course of the season. We just need to be patient and wait for that to arrive.”

WSBK Round Phillip Island SBK Friday Rob Mott Tom Sykes
Tom Sykes – Image by Rob Mott
Giordano Mozzi Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki Team Manager

“Not bad, we had a lot of fun and today we had a good chance to score a P8-P9 in WorldSBK with Jordi, displaying a good race pace and competitiveness. The second race has also been a bit unlucky, but we managed to put in great lap times especially in the second part, which makes us positive for Thailand. Badovini finally had the chance to ride a competitive bike in WorldSSP and this means that the whole team worked in the right direction”.

World Superbike Standings following Round 1, 2019

  1. Alvaro Bautista Ducati 62
  2. Jonathan Rea Kawasaki 49
  3. Marco Melandri Yamaha 30
  4. Alex Lowes Yamaha 30
  5. Michael van der Mark Yamaha 29
  6. Leon Haslam Kawasaki 24
  7. Sandro Cortese Yamaha 19
  8. Chaz Davies Ducati 15
  9. Tom Sykes BMW 12
  10. Eugene Laverty Ducati 12
  11. Toprak Razgatlioglu Kawasaki 10
  12. Michael Ruben Rinaldi Ducati 9
  13. Leandro Mercado Kawasaki 7
  14. Jordi Torres Kawasaki 7
  15. Markus Reiterberger BMW 7
  16. Leon Camier Honda 6
  17. Ryuichi Kiyonari Honda 1


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