There were times during the first four rounds of thirteen in the current FIM WorldSBK World Championship where four-times number one Jonathan Rea was gnawing his fist in frustration. New title-rival Alvaro Bautisa had landed from MotoGP sprinting for his first year in Superbike and proceeded to shut-out the series on his factory Ducati for the trips to Australia, Thailand, Holland and Spain and the new three race format.
After four years of green and black, WorldSBK had been painted red.
The ‘palette’ was mixed around the fast, historic and wonderfully challenging cambers of the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari at Imola. Rea had good form at the Italian venue: a double win in 2015 was followed by two years of runner-up positions and then another victorious sweep in 2018. Taking the march on Saturday, Rea finally broke Bautista’s stranglehold.