Jonathan Rea penalised after World Superbike collision with Alex Lowes at Jerez

World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea.
World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea.

Jonathan Rea was involved in a controversial collision with Alex Lowes on the final lap of the opening World Superbike race at Jerez in Spain.

Reigning champion Rea tangled with Lowes at the final corner as they disputed third place, with the Yamaha rider crashing out as Rea went on to cross the line.

As a result, the 32-year-old has been hit with a one-place penalty, bumping him down to fourth position. He will also have to start from the back of the grid on Sunday.

Ulsterman Rea said: “I’m so, so, so sorry for what happened because it was completely unintentional. It was the last corner at Jerez and I went for the cutback, I never meant for any contact.

“I can’t really think about anything else right now and all I can say is I’m sorry again.”

Alvaro Bautista won his 12th race of the season on the Aruba.it Ducati, storming into the lead and pulling clear of his rivals to bag another maximum haul of 25 points.

Lowes’ Pata Yamaha teammate, Michael van der Mark, claimed the runner-up spot.

Spaniard Bautista has extended his advantage at the top of the championship to 52 points over Rea.