WorldSBK Race 1 was held at Donington Park. With a good start and a strong pace, local rider Leon Haslam took his best result of the season, 6th place, both in terms of speed and overall result.
After using the morning’s fully wet free practice to prepare in case of similar conditions come the races, Bautista and Haslam lined up for the Superpole qualifying phase, which also ran on a wet track. In what was to be his only flying lap, Haslam set the fastest time early on before a crash forced him to return to the pits and sit out almost the entire session. The English rider nevertheless concluded seventh, with a time of 1’42.206 while Bautista qualified sixteenth with a time of 1’43.625. These results translated, respectively, into a third and a sixth row start for the pair for the first of the weekend’s races.
The first 23-lap race got underway at 2pm local time on a damp track that dried rapidly throughout the race. Both riders opted for slick tires, as did the rest of the Superbike field. Haslam got away well, moving immediately into fifth position. Lapping with similar pace to the group fighting for the podium, and maintaining a strong rhythm throughout the entire race, Leon just wasn’t quite able to get close enough to make a move, ultimately crossing the line in sixth place to score his best result of the season so far. From sixteenth, the Spaniard made up two places over the course of lap one and was up into twelfth by lap two. Continuing to gain ground, Alvaro had climbed to seventh by lap sixteen, but was unable to make further progress due to the gap that had opened up between himself and those immediately ahead of him. Bautista closed the weekend’s first race in a solid eighth place.