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Mar 17, 2019

World Superbike: Race Two Results From Chang International Circuit (Updated)

Chang International Circuit.

WorldSBK Race Lap Record: 1:32.724, Alvaro Bautista, 2019

WorldSBK Pole/Circuit Best Lap Record: 1:31.912, Alvaro Bautista, 2019

Motul FIM Superbike World Championship

Chang International Circuit, Thailand

March 17, 2019

Race Two Results (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Alvaro Bautista, Spain (Duc Panigale V4 R), 20 laps, Total Race Time 31:05.590, Best Lap Time 1:32.785

2. Jonathan Rea, UK (Kaw ZX-10RR), -10.053 seconds, 1:33.128

3. Alex Lowes, UK (Yam YZF-R1), -12.368, 1:33.090

4. Michael Van Der Mark, Netherlands (Yam YZF-R1), -17.378, 1:33.549

5. Leon Haslam, UK (Kaw ZX-10RR), -17.518, 1:33.546

6. Marco Melandri, Italy (Yam YZF-R1), -18.925, 1:33.642

7. Sandro Cortese, Germany (Yam YZF-R1), -23.281, 1:33.573

8. Michael Rinaldi, Italy (Duc Panigale V4 R), -28.444, 1:33.831

9. Toprak Razgatlioglu, Turkey (Kaw ZX-10RR), -33.156, 1:34.480

10. Jordi Torres, Spain (Kaw ZX-10RR), -33.224, 1:34.519

11. Markus Reiterberger, Germany (BMW S1000RR), -40.164, 1:34.480

12. Ryuichi Kiyonari, Japan (Hon CBR1000RR SP2), -53.511, ran off track, 1:34.869

13. Alessandro Delbianco, Italy (Hon CBR1000RR SP2), -68.576, 1:36.142

RET. Chaz Davies, UK (Duc Panigale V4 R), -13 laps, mechanical, 1:33.711

RET. Tom Sykes, UK (BMW S1000RR), -17 laps, mechanical, 1:34.514

RET. Leandro Mercado, Argentina (Kaw ZX-10RR), -20 laps, mechanical, no lap time recorded

RET. Eugene Laverty, Ireland (Duc Panigale V4 R), -20 laps, mechanical, no lap time recorded

DNS. Thitipong Warokorn, Thailand (Kaw ZX-10RR)

DNS. Leon Camier, UK (Hon CBR1000RR SP2)

World Championship Point Standings (after 5 of 39 races):

1. Bautista, 124 points

2. Rea, 98

3. Lowes, 69

4. Van Der Mark, 61

5. Melandri, 54

6. Haslam, 51

7. Cortese, 40

8. Rinaldi, 25

9. Razgatlioglu, 24

10. Sykes, 19

11. Davies/Torres, 18

13. Reiterberger, 14

14. Laverty, 12

15. Mercado, 11

16. Camier, 9

17. Kiyonari, 5

18. Delbianco, 3

(Above) Alvaro Bautista (19) leads Race Two.

More, from a press release issued by Moriwaki Althea Honda Racing Team:

Kiyonari 12th in Race 2, Camier involved in a Superpole race incident and declared unfit to race.

Ryuichi Kiyonari scored a twelfth-place finish in Race 2 at Buriram today after a DNF in the Superpole race. The Japanese rider was satisfied to have finished the race inside the points zone, but he’s looking forward to taking another step forward in terms of both his riding style and the bike’s setup.

After suffering a crash during lap seven of the Superpole race following a collision with Thitipong Warokorn, the Thai rider unfortunately impossible to avoid as he crashed just ahead of him, Leon Camier hit his right knee hard and was subsequently declared unfit to take part in Race 2 by the Medical Centre. The Brit will undergo further medical tests once back home in Andorra.

Ryuichi Kiyonari 23


“Let’s start with the positive part of this weekend, which is the fact that we made a little progress both in terms of my feeling with the bike and my lap times. Not as much progress as we want of course, but we have been fairly consistent. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same feeling during the race and I felt very frustrated. I just kept trying and doing my best, but I cannot say I’m satisfied with my race weekend. I’ve felt great support over the weekend from our fans, everyone in the team and in Honda and I want to repay them all with more than this. I have understood more about certain aspects which I hope will allow me to improve both my riding style and my bike setup. I’ll continue working hard to improve”.

Leon Camier 2


“I think Warokorn hit Mercado in front of me. He went down and I literally had nowhere to go and unfortunately I hit him and crashed. He seemed out in that moment, so I tried to get the race stopped immediately. I just hope he is ok. I also damaged my knee in the crash and so could not take part in Race 2. I need to go back to Andorra, and have it checked by my doctor, then we will see what we need to do and make a plan for my recovery. As for the race, up until that moment, I was suffering with similar issues to yesterday to be honest, so I was struggling although I was trying to do the best I could.”

More, from a press release issued by Dorna WorldSBK Press Office:

#THAWorldSBK– Day 3

Bautista makes it six out of six wins in Buriram

Spaniard put in a stunning performance to take another victory ahead of Rea and Lowes

In what has been a dream opening six races in Alvaro Bautista’s WorldSBK career, he took yet another race win to become the first rider since Neil Hodgson to win the opening six races of a WorldSBK season, back in 2003! Bautista completed another lights to flag victory in dominant fashion on his way to more records!

With lights turning green, the final race of the Pirelli Thai Round got underway, with Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) able to hold onto first position from start to finish. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) couldn’t take a challenge to Bautista but had to deal with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in the early stages. At the end of the first lap the leading trio had a slight gap over Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK).

Soon, the big battle came from the scrap for fifth position, with van der Mark, Melandri, Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) and Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati). Turn 3 was once again a prime overtaking area, with Melandri trying a move on van der Mark at Turn 3, with both running wide and allowing Chaz Davies to get a better drive down the straight and by Turn 4, the Welshman had got ahead of both Yamaha riders!

Melandri retook Davies at Turn 8 but the race winner from Buriram in 2018 fought back at Turn 12. Cortese and van der Mark made the exact same succession of moves; a thrilling spectacle in the early stages.

Luck wasn’t going the way of Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), who had to retire his S1000RR on lap four. Melandri and Davies had a close call on the same lap, with the Italian forcefully moving aside his former teammate at Turn 9, allowing van der Mark to go through, whilst Chaz Davies had to recover right at the back of the group. It wasn’t long however before Davies himself would suffer the same fate as Sykes. The 29-time WorldSBK race winner retired on lap eight, concluding a wretched start to the season.

Whilst the front eight remained fairly static in an intriguing battle, further down the field, Toprak Razgatliolgu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) began to reel in Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) and got ahead of him in the final part of the race to win the battle of the Independent Kawasaki riders.

Bautista dominated to take the victory by more than ten seconds, ahead of Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes. Michael van der Mark was able to hold off a late charge by Leon Haslam, whilst Marco Melandri finished in sixth position for a fifth race in a row. Van der Mark’s fourth place means he stretches his finishing run to 21.

Behind the leading six, Sandro Cortese became the first German since Max Neukirchner in 2008 to finish six consecutive races inside the top eight, with his seventh position. Eighth belonged to Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team), a great performance on his debut in Thailand. Razgatlioglu managed to hold off Jordi Torres as they completed the top ten.

With only three more finishers it was Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in 11th, with Ryuichi Kiyonari (Moriwaki Althea HONDA Team) in 12th on his debut in Thailand, whilst Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Mie Racing Team) scored his first WorldSBK points with 13th. Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) failed to start, whilst Argentine, Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) retired after just one lap. Leon Camier (Moriwaki Althea HONDA Team) and Thitipong Warokorn (Kawasaki Thailand Racing Team) didn’t start due to their Tissot Superpole Race crash.

P1 - Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing - Ducati)

“I don’t know what to say. I think this weekend has been perfect for us because we dominate in all of the practices and all of the races. I want to say thanks to Ducati and to my team, we are working with a completely new bike, arriving at completely new tracks and we have to work for a set-up to make a good base. Here, we knew it would be difficult because in the last eight races, seven have been won by Kawasaki. At the end, we manage to have the same feeling that we have in Australia and we can be competitive. I am very, very happy!””.

P2 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team - WorldSBK)

“Second now is my normal position this season! That was our position this weekend for sure, we could do no more. Alvaro and Ducati did a very good weekend. I felt like I got the best out of the package, I tried something in the Tissot Superpole Race but that didn’t really work, so we went back to what we knew. Thank you to my team for working so hard all weekend and we have to be happy with these results now that we go to Europe. We just have to try and close the gap to the front!”.

P3 - Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)

“Three podiums is fantastic for us, I am really happy with the weekend, we did a strong job. I want to say a ‘thank you’ to all the Yamaha Thailand fans, they’ve been fantastic and really supporting me. It is really nice to be part of the Yamaha family and hopefully, we can get a bit closer to the green and the red bike at the Aragon Round! Cheers guys!”.

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Podiums For Rea As Haslam Fights On

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) took two more podium places today to remain in a strong second place in the WorldSBK Championship rankings after two rounds. His team-mate Leon Haslam battled hard in his return to the Chang International Circuit and recorded another two fifth places today, keeping him sixth overall.

With two Sunday races to compete in at the 4.554km-long Buriram circuit, one ten lap sprint race and a second full distance contest just like the opening race on Saturday, Rea and Haslam stuck to their tasks well on their official Ninja ZX-10RRs.

In finishing two seconds behind Alvaro Bautista in the early Tissot-Superpole race Rea scored nine points. He again scored a second place, by ten seconds in the final race, meaning Rea now has six runner-up spots on his 2019 record.

Being hampered by a trapped nerve in his lower back all weekend Haslam, as well as having to re-learn the secrets of the Chang circuit, also scored three identical race finishes this weekend - fifth each time.

The short race today was even shorter than planned, when a two-rider incident saw the red flag thrown to stop the action after two riders fell. The planned ten-lap contest became a six-lap event in the final classification.

In the second 20-lap race of the weekend Rea again tried to stay in the slipstream of Bautista but ended up riding to make sure of second place, after Alex Lowes ran close behind him early on. Rea maintained his strong pace to the end and he crossed the finish line with a 2.3 second margin of advantage over Lowes. He headed Lowes by 0.4 seconds in the sprint race.

In the championship rankings, Jonathan has scored 98 points and is 26 behind the lead after six individual races. Leon’s overall sixth place comes thanks to his total of 51 points, 11 more than the next closest rider.

There will now be a run of six European-based WorldSBK events, starting with the Spanish round at Motorland Aragon, which will be held between the fifth and the seventh of April.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “The best we could hope for today was a brace of second places and we managed to achieve that, albeit with a lot of pressure from Alex in the final race. He kept really pushing, as he had in the sprint race, but I just had that little bit extra in the end of race three to go away. I want to thank my team for giving me a good bike this weekend and there is always some work to do to improve the package. I felt this weekend we struggled a little bit with front end stability, especially when the front was moving a little bit in that second part of the final race, in the sectors where I was strong. Behind my visor I was giving it 110% especially in those early laps to try and keep in the slipstream as long as I could. As soon as I lost that it was back to managing my own race. I am taking home 49 points again and we will try to build on that in Europe.”

Leon Haslam, stated: “It was more consistent for me in the second race today. We were running the bigger brake discs, which I did not have the best of feelings with this weekend, but in general we made a big step with the bike. I can say now that I have been suffering with a tapped nerve in my back, which flared up just before I came here, and I have had to take painkilling injections. I struggled a lot this weekend and I am glad it is over, in some ways. I need some rest and then we can start again in Aragon. I had not been to Chang for four years. It was always going to be tough with just two 50-minute sessions and going straight into it. So to get three fifth places, I am quite happy.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) once again won a final lap duel in the long race today, with fellow Kawasaki rider Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki). Toprak was ninth in the 20-lap contest, Torres tenth. Razgatlioglu was also ninth in the sprint race. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) placed 12th in the sprint, one place ahead of Torres, but had to retire from the final race of the Thai weekend. In the championship Toprak is ninth on 24 points, Jordi 12th with 18 and Leandro 15th with 11.

More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:

BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team gains further experience with the brand-new BMW S 1000 RR in Thailand.

Markus Reiterberger claims P11 in Sunday’s race.

Team-mate Tom Sykes has to retire from the race.

Further updates are developed at the factory.

Buriram. On race Sunday at the ‘Chang International Circuit’ in Buriram, Thailand, the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team continued to collect valuable data with the brand new BMW S 1000 RR. For the two riders, Tom Sykes (GBR) and Markus Reiterberger (GER), warm-up, Superpole Race and race two were on the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) programme. They completed more kilometres under race conditions to gain further experience for the development of the new Superbike. In the end, Reiterberger finished race two in eleventh place, while Sykes had to retire due to a technical problem.

In the Superpole race on early Sunday afternoon Sykes took the flag in tenth position while Reiterberger finished 14th. Sykes was therefore tenth on the grid for race two, held in the late afternoon local time, while Reiterberger started from 12th place. Both BMW riders made up positions at the start. As the race went on, Sykes was in ninth place but then experienced issues with the clutch and had to stop his bike at the side of the track. Reiterberger collected five more world championship points by finishing in 11th position.

The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and WorldSBK will now return to Europe. The third round of the season will be held from 5th to 7th April at MotorLand Aragón near Alcañiz (ESP).

Quotes after race two at Buriram.

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “The grid positions after the Superpole race met our expectations and were okay. The second main race, however, was rather disappointing for us, with Tom retiring and Markus having quite a gap to the front. Tom had to stop due to a slipping clutch. We will now analyse in detail what caused it. Markus was able to collect a few points by finishing 11th. Now we need to take advantage of the short break to complete the next updates at the factory, taking the next steps on our way forward.”

Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “Tom had a great Superpole race. Again, we were focusing on the top ten positions. He got a really good start, got pushed wide a little bit on turn one but worked his way through. By the time he was in turn three, he was in a strong position. He settled in with a good routine and got a strong finish. Tom’s main race unfortunately suddenly came to a close. He had settled into a good rhythm, the track was just coming to him, the lap times had started to drop but then unfortunately he had a technical issue that dropped him out. Markus really struggled today finding a comfortable bike, which has been a problem all weekend. He could not find a good feeling with the chassis, especially with the front end. Until we can give him that real comfortable feel he’s struggling to really push to close the gap towards the front guys. We have to be happy still overall for the weekend in Buriram - disappointing with the DNF for Tom - but I think we still go away with a lot of positives and are looking forward to Aragón.”

Tom Sykes: “After a couple of laps I felt that something was wrong. It’s a bit frustrating because we had made a change to the bike and it really felt good. On the positive side I’m really surprised to come here to this race circuit and to be inside the top ten with our disadvantage on the straight, so to be inside the top ten is really promising in my opinion. Honestly, in the approach and entry of many corners, the chassis and the set-up on the BMW S 1000 RR is really an advantage compared to our competition so overall there are quite a lot of positives for me to take. The negative is obviously, as we saw at Phillip Island, that we are giving a lot away on the straights but hopefully that won’t be a problem anymore in the not so distant future.”

Markus Reiterberger: “In the Superpole race, I had a great start and was right behind Tom after the first corner. I also had nice battles on the opening laps, but then another rider almost got me off the bike and I had to go straight. As a result, I lost six positions. When I then made a mistake, the race was more or less over for me. In the main race I struggled with the issue that has been causing us difficulties all weekend: that I could not delay the bike well enough and I had no feeling for the front of the bike. We tried to get a grip on that and improved things step by step, but unfortunately it just was not enough over the distance, especially when it got hotter and the grip level went down. Our gap towards the front mainly results from the time lost on the straights, but I’m not worried about that. Here I trust the guys in the factory that we get more power, and then the results will be better as well. But I have to continue to work on getting confidence in the front wheel when turning in and in the corners.”

More, from a press release issued by Barni Racing:

Rinaldi eighth again in race 2 at Buriram

Buriram (THA), 17th March 2019. Double eighth place for Barni Racing Team rider Michael Ruben Rinaldi in MOTUL FIM WorldSBK Championship round 2, which was held at Chang International Circuit, Thailand. Race 2 did the same script of race 1 while the Superpole Race saw Rinaldi crossing the finish line eleventh. Thanks to these result he got 16 points in the weekend (8 from Saturday, 8 from Sunday) and was now eighth in the overall standings, with 25 points in all.

Superpole Race

Under the 35 °C (55 °C on the ground) of Thailand another comeback for the flagbearer of the Barni Racing Team arrived in the second Superpole Race in the history of WorldSBK. Rinaldi got away very well from the sixteenth spot of the grid managing to pass four riders and overtaking Reiterberberger in the lap 2. The Ducati Panigale V4 R of the Rimini rider then put himself in the wake of Sykes trying to reach the Top 10 and bringing the points zone nearer.

Exactly halfway through the race the fastest lap arrived in 1'34.252, but this was not enough to try to overtake the BMW rider. After seven laps the Superpole Race was interrupted due to a red flag which prematurely brought the race to the end with Rinaldi in eleventh position. Being out of the Top 9, the flagbearer of the team from Bergamo did not score points in the championship standings.

Race 2

After being eighth in the Saturday’s race 1 the flagbearer of the team from Bergamo crossed the finish line in the same position in race 2 playing the same racing plot.

Starting from fifteenth spot due to the absence of Camier he fought with Torres and Reiterberger in the early moments of the race but soon passed them.

As the encounter progressed Rinaldi move up some position thanks to the retirement of Sykes and Davies. Overtaking Razgatlioglu at lap 5 the Barni Racing Racing Team rider put his Ducati Panigale V4 R in eighth place and with some clear space on track he showed his strong pace, even faster than yesterday between 1’33.831 (his fastest race lap) and low 1’34. Rinaldi gave it his all for the majority of the 20-lap race but when he realised he could not catch Cortese he secured his eight position with a slightly higher pace in the second half of the race.

At the end it was a positive weekend for Barni Racing Team as team principal Marco Barnabò said expressing his satisfaction in his statement.

Marco Barnabo

Team Principal

"Results are confirming that our working method is right, but it is almost clear that we need to do something more in qualifying session. We cannot start from back if we want to fight for top 6. Today Michael had a pace even better than yesterday, but he couldn't play for a position in the midst of the Yamahas. From Aragon our main goal will be to be fast even on Friday."

Michael Rinaldo

Race 2 P8 - Superpole Race P11

"I am very happy to come back home with two eighth places. Unfortunately when I arrive on a new circuit I am disadvantaged by the format: having only two sessions on Friday to set the bike, It costs me a bad qualify. Starting from back it is hard to recover. Today we had the same pace as the fifth / sixth rider, but the gap opened in the first few laps prevented me from fighting with them. From next race we will be in Europe for long time and I will have this handicap no more. Working with the team as we have done so far I believe that even better results can be achieved."

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:

Triple Podium for Lowes as Yamaha Close the Gap

Two scintillating performances from Alex Lowes today saw the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider add two more podium finishes to the one he achieved in Race 1 yesterday, making it three from three for the 28-year-old Briton. Lowes took third in this morning's Superpole race then backed that up by again racing to another podium in Race 2 this afternoon. Michael van der Mark set himself up perfectly in the Superpole race, with a fourth place finish from tenth on the grid securing him a second row start for Race 2, in which he also went on to finish fourth. GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Marco Melandri, overcame stability issues to finish sixth today, while Sandro Cortese made it six top ten finishes in as many races by bringing his YZF-R1 home in seventh place.

As this afternoon’s main race began, a good start for Lowes saw him slot in behind eventual race winner, Alvaro Bautista, and reigning World Champion, Jonathan Rea on the opening lap. But while the Pata Yamaha rider had the speed to pull a gap on his pursuers and to match Rea’s pace, he didn’t quite have enough in reserve to overhaul the Irishman for second place. Rather than risk all for no gain, Lowes rode a fast and consistent second half of the race to secure his third consecutive podium of the weekend. The result consolidated Lowes’ third position in the championship standings with 53 points.

Van der Mark was made to work hard for his second fourth place finish of the day, after a slight mistake dropped him back behind Melandri, Cortese, and Leon Haslam early in the race. The Pata Yamaha rider managed to fight his way back through to again claim fourth place, which he held to the line with a slight advantage over his pursuers. Van der Mark remains fourth in the championship standings with 48 points, but with an increased margin over Melandri in fifth.

Melandri was heavily involved in the battle for fourth place from the start of the race but again experienced some stability issues that have plagued him throughout the weekend and, despite some aggressive passes as he tried to challenge Haslam for fifth place, the Italian was forced to settle for sixth at the chequered flag. Melandri lies fifth in the championship standings with 44 points.

Cortese was also a protagonist in the battle for fourth place for much of today’s 20-lap race, but lost contact with the group following a near high-side just four laps from the end. The reigning Supersport World Champion was quick to recover but simply ran out of laps as he chased back to the group ahead, leaving him to pick up his sixth consecutive top ten finish of the season in seventh place.

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha WorldSBK – P3

"I was really happy with Race 2 today. I felt really good for 12 or 13 laps and I thought I might be able to challenge Johnny for second with the pace I had, but then I started struggling a bit near the end and had to roll off a little and take advantage of the gap to the group behind. Overall, it's been a great weekend, for me and for Michael. He pushed me really hard in the race yesterday and to come from tenth on the grid to finish fourth in the Superpole race was difficult for him. We've both done a really solid job for the team, but we need to continue working just as hard when we get back to Europe if we're to close the gap to the front two guys."

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha WorldSBK – P4

"In warm-up this morning I felt good on the bike and when we made some small changes for the Superpole race I felt quite strong. The fourth place in the Superpole race was really important, because it meant I started this afternoon from the second row of the grid. I got a good launch from the start and then worked a bit with Alex, which was good, but already from the first lap I didn't feel so comfortable with the front of the bike, maybe because the temperature was so much higher. I struggled a little, so couldn't stay with Alex and then I made a small mistake and lost a lot of places. From there I had to work my way back to the front of the group, where I was able to maintain a consistent pace to finish fourth once again. I think we can be really proud about this weekend, with Alex's three podiums and my three fourth place finishes. We've made some progress and, hopefully, we can make another step in Aragon."

Marco Melandri

GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK – P6

"It was a very difficult weekend for me, because from the first session we struggled a lot with the stability of the bike. Also I wasn't confident, as I had a lot of trouble to make the bike turn in the very long corner and the bike was moving a lot everywhere. Coming back to Europe I think we need to refresh the mind and start from zero, because I understand what I need, but it will take us some time. What is important is to keep working and making improvements step-by-step."

Sandro Cortese

GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK – P7

"I'm happy about the work we've done today. Yesterday the gap to the group in P4, with Marco and Leon Haslam, was ten seconds. Today, until four laps from the end, I was with the group fighting for fourth place. Unfortunately, in the closing stages I had a big near high-side and lost contact with the group. But we made a very big step on the performance; it might be two seventh places on paper but in reality, the two results were completely different. I think our work paid off and for that I have to say thanks to my crew. Now I'm looking forward to the next race in Aragon."

Andrea Dosoli

Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager

"It has been another positive weekend here for us. After what we saw in Phillip Island, here in Thailand we have confirmed that the Yamaha R1 package is competitive at a different track and in extremely different weather conditions. We can see clearly that we have improved compared to last year and our faster race time today, as well as the fact that we've closed the gap significantly to Kawasaki, confirms that. But this gap is still too big and we need to continue working to reduce it further, that is also clear. Still, we can be satisfied with the job we've done this weekend. We had the four R1 bikes in the top seven in each of the three races here in Thailand, so our racing operation at the track is also working at a very good level. Congratulations to all our riders, but especially to Alex for his three podium finishes; the consistency of his performance over the weekend was impressive indeed. We know what we need to do to improve the competitiveness of our package further and, with a few weeks between now and the next race in Aragon, that will be our main focus."

More, from a press release issued by Racing Ducati:

Álvaro Bautista ( Racing - Ducati) totally dominates the Thai WSBK round at Buriram with two more wins in today’s races. An unlucky Davies forced to retire in race 2

The second round of the Superbike World Championship, which took place this weekend at the Buriram circuit in Thailand, saw total domination by Racing – Ducati’s Álvaro Bautista, who won both races today: The Superpole Race, shortened by four laps following an incident, and then Race 2.

The 34-year-old Spanish rider scored his sixth successive victory by clearly getting the better of Rea and Lowes in the Superpole Race, while in Race 2 he immediately broke away from the field, leaving his two rivals to fight it out for second, and then powered to the chequered flag with a ten-second advantage.

It was not such a positive Sunday for Chaz Davies, who finished eighth in the Superpole Race, while in Race 2 he was forced to retire due to a technical problem on his Panigale V4 R. Despite this setback, the 32-year-old from Wales showed good progress, especially today, which is a real confidence booster for the upcoming races.

With six wins to his name, Bautista is now leading the championship with 124 points, 26 more than Rea, while Davies lies in eleventh place with 18 points. The next World Superbike round will take place in three weeks’ time at the MotorLand Aragón circuit in Spain, from 5 to 7 April.

Álvaro Bautista ( Racing - Ducati #19) – 1st / 1st

“Three wins, three fastest laps and Superpole means that it has been a perfect weekend for me! We knew that it was going to be an important race because Kawasaki have won here so many times, but the whole team worked well with the bike over the weekend and it all came good. It wasn’t easy however because the Panigale V4 R is new everywhere we go and everything has to be discovered from scratch. Right from the beginning I had great confidence with the bike and only made small adjustments for the set-up we know. I just want to say thanks to my team and all the people in Ducati because they have done a fantastic job, I’m so happy! Now we have some time to rest before we go to my home race. I’m really looking forward to that and can’t wait to race at Aragón in front of my Spanish fans.”

Chaz Davies ( Racing - Ducati #7) – 8th / DNF

“I’m obviously disappointed not to have been able to finish the race and see the true potential that we had today especially after the progress we made this morning. Regarding the technical problem, after feeling something was a little bit amiss when I lost some speed, I decided to save the engine and think about the season ahead. It was disappointing not to capitalize on our improvement, because today I had a good race pace and the feeling with the bike was much better. We’ve got some clear ideas on the direction to take and there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. Now we have the test at Aragon before the race, which is a good opportunity for us to make some more gains.”

Stefano Cecconi ( Racing - Ducati Team Principal)

“We are very happy to have brought home these fantastic results in the two overseas races, which for a number of reasons are very particular. Now we can’t wait to go to Aragón where we’ve got all the markers to be able to face up to our rivals and understand how everyone is shaping up. We’re happy for Álvaro but at the same time disappointed that Chaz had an unlucky weekend, even though the improvements seen during the races give us confidence that we are now going in the right direction.”

Marco Zambenedetti (Ducati Corse Track Technical Coordinator)

“We came to Buriram knowing full well that we were racing on a track without reference markers, both because of the layout and for the extreme climate, and to verify if all the work we did in Australia was a good starting-point. We were able to keep a high competitive level with Álvaro from the start of Friday, which means that the bike is already suitable for his riding style albeit on different tracks. As for Chaz we continued to work methodically and we could see the results during the weekend with a constant improvement on his part. Unfortunately, because of a technical problem in Race 2 he was unable to score a result that was within possible reach. We’ll continue to work hard and will try again at Aragón, certain that we have an increasingly competitive package for both riders.”

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