Alvaro Bautista says he feels fortunate he didn’t come off his Racing Ducati in a clash with Jonathan Rea during the early stages of the Thailand opener.

Bautista retained his 100% winning start to the 2019 World Superbike championship with a comfortable eight-second victory in the opening race at Buriram, with Jonathan Rea having to settle for second place again.

The pair clashed at the Turn 3 hairpin on Lap 3 when Bautista attempted to overtake Rea for the lead, with the reigning World Superbike champion switching back up the inside of the Spaniard at the exit of the corner.

With both riders attempting to take the same line out of the corner the pair bashed bikes with Bautista saving his Ducati from going down.

The Spaniard, who was passed by Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes following the incident, regained his pace to charge to victory and despite the clash with Rea he feels he didn’t have the ideal feeling or setup with his V4 R.

“This was a different race completely from Australia,” Bautista said. “It was fantastic to win after a great fight with Rea, especially at the beginning and then in the middle.

“We made contact in turn 3 because I overtook him on the line and suddenly he came in very fast and hit me and I was very lucky not to crash and damage the bike.

“After that I got my pace and caught Lowes and Rea. Today however I didn’t feel so comfortable with the bike: in the morning it was good but in the afternoon I had problems braking into the corners, and in acceleration I was suffering a bit as well. Despite this, I won again and I’m happy even though the feeling wasn’t perfect.”

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