Rookie Bautista dominates 1st round of World Superbikes

PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia (AP) — Alvaro Bautista made quite an impression as a 34-year-old rookie in the weekend’s first round of the World Superbikes Championship at Phillip Island.

Bautista, a former 125 c.c. world champion from Spain, completed a three-race sweep in the final 22-lap race of the weekend, winning by 12.195 seconds in his debut for Ducati over Britain’s Jonathan Rea, the reigning world champion. Another British rider also riding a Kawasaki, Leon Haslam, was third.

Earlier Sunday, Bautista backed up his victory in the opening race of the world championship by winning the inaugural sprint race format. Bautista won by 1.176 seconds in the 10-lap race with Rea and Haslam second and third.

On Saturday, Bautista became the first rookie to win a World Superbikes Championship race in 12 years, finishing 14.983 seconds ahead of pole-sitter Rea.

Bautista, who led both 22-lap races from start to finish, leads the championship with 62 points from the weekend, with Rea second on 49.


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