Bautista crash allows Rea to close gap as Van der Mark wins Race 2
Michael van der Mark won a thrilling Race 2 in Jerez as Alvaro Bautista crashed out to allow Jonathan Rea to narrowly close the gap on the World Superbike championship leader.
Bautista had won the Superpole Race earlier on Sunday, but took to the gravel in Race 2 as Rea finished second to move 41 points behind the Spaniard heading to Misano in a fortnight’s time.
Bautista crashed on the second lap, and it appeared he would retire from a World Superbike race for the first time with 17 laps to go.
However, the championship leader got back on midway through the race as he attempted to steal a couple of valuable points.
Before Bautista’s return, the drama continued when former team-mates Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies collided with 15 laps remaining.
Melandri had taken to the podium twice already in Jerez, but the collision occurred after he looked to steal inside Davies on a corner – with the incident investigated after the race.
A nasty crash for Ryuichi Kiyonari ultimately saw the race end with two laps to go as the red flag came out due to gravel on the track – Van der Mark crossing over for his first race win of 2019.
Earlier in the day, Bautista put in a flawless display to win the Superpole Race ahead of Michael van der Mark and Melandri.
But it was Rea who shone in the first race, fighting from 19th to finish fourth and set himself up for a charge in Race 2.
Meanwhile, Alex Lowes had a weekend to forget, crashing out on turn two of the opening lap having also crashed in the first race on Sunday.