Jonathan Rea second in 2019 season's opening race as rookie Alvaro Bautista dominates his debut to end Rea's record record
Jonathan Rea was beaten into second in the first race of the 2019 World Superbike season as Spanish rookie Alvaro Bautista pulled off an astounding victory.
The 34 year-old had led the two-day test at Phillip Island but few could have predicted his blistering performance come race time.
Starting third on the grid behind Rea in pole position and Leon Haslam, Bautista had the lead by the end of the first lap and roared to a 14.9 second victory on his Aruba.it Ducati V4 R.
Bautista is the first rider to win his debut WSBK race since Max Biaggi in 2007 with a victory that ends Rea's record run of 11 straight World Superbike race wins.
Rea's new team-mate Haslam had taken off quickest off the grid and led until Bautista gained the advantage on turn three. Haslam then crashed out on turn four and when he returned to the race, he was able to get home in 15th place.
That left Marco Melandri to complete the podium, coming in two seconds behind Rea.
Eugene Laverty, in his first race on the Go Eleven Ducati V4 R, finished 11th.
The second superbike race takes place at 4am (GMT) on Sunday morning as Rea will look to get back to winning ways after this warning shot from his new rival.
Belfast Telegraph Digital