World Superbikes: Rea drops further behind dominant Bautista who extends winning run to nine

Alvaro Bautista has finished ahead of Jonathan Rea in each of the nine World Superbike races so far this season
Alvaro Bautista has finished ahead of Jonathan Rea in each of the nine World Superbike races so far this season

Jonathan Rea has fallen 39 points behind World Superbike series leader Alvaro Bautista after the Spaniard took his third consecutive treble at the start of the 2019 season.

Bautista continued his dominance of the championship by taking commanding wins in Sunday's 10-lap Superpole race and the second feature race in Aragon.

Defending champion Rea, from Northern Ireland, was second on both occasions.

Rea, 32, has been runner-up behind Bautista in all nine races this year.

Former MotoGP rider Bautista secured hat-tricks in the opening two rounds, at Phillip Island in February and Buriram in Thailand in March, and repeated the feat in Spain this weekend.

The 34-year-old Ducati rider equals the feat of England's Neil Hodgson, who secured nine consecutive victories at the start of his 2003 World Superbike Championship-winning season. All of Hodgson's wins, though, came over full race distances over four and a half rounds.

Having won race one by 15 seconds on Saturday, Bautista again pulled away from the chasing pack in both races on Sunday, seeing off Rea, Alex Lowes, Chaz Davies, Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty in the morning sprint race.

The Spanish rider enjoyed a six-second advantage over Rea in the 18-lap feature race two, with Welshman Davies third on the second of the Aruba Ducatis.

Kawasaki rider Rea got the better of Davies in a thrilling battle for runner-up spot, with Leon Haslam fourth, Lowes fifth and Laverty again sixth.

"I really enjoyed that race. I stopped trying to look after the tyre and threw the kitchen sink at it," said Rea after Sunday's race two.

"Second place is very satisfactory right now - we have a lot of work to do to win a race but we'll keep chipping away.

"We need to move the bike in a different direction to get some front end stability. It's going to be very, very difficult with the new benchmark set by the Ducati.

"Mentally it's difficult but I don't want to give up. I've promised myself I'll keep trying and digging in," added the four-time world champion.

The championship organisers will review rev limits of the various machines before the fourth round of the series at Assen in the Netherlands next weekend.

2019 WSB Riders' Championship
Alvaro Bautista (Spa)Ducati188 pts
Jonathan Rea (Gbr)Kawasaki147
Alex Lowes (Gbr)Yamaha100
Michael van der Mark (Ned)Yamaha79
Leon Haslam (Gbr)Kawasaki74
Marco Melandri (Ita)Yamaha63

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