The outstandingly close finish to the Phillip Island Supersport World Championship race last weekend was, remarkable as it sounds, a return to business as usual in this class.
The top three World Supersport riders were covered by only 0.033 seconds after 21-laps of action, but close finishes are something of a specialty in Australia.
Last year Eugene Laverty (Honda) broke the usual mould in this category by winning the race by over four seconds. Before that, close finishes were almost guaranteed, at a circuit seemingly built for grandstand finishes.
In 2009 Kenan Sofuoglu, Andrew Pitt and Anthony West (all Honda) were separated by only 0.153 seconds. The previous year the first five riders across the line were spread across 0.976 seconds, as Andrew Pitt, Josh Brookes and Robbin Harms (all Honda), plus Fabien Foret (Yamaha) and Jonathan Rea (Honda) battled all the way to the flag.
A mere 0.704 seconds was the difference between the win and second in 2007, in a race won by Kawasaki rider Fabien Foret from Honda rider Kenan Sofuoglu.
And with Luca Scassa (Yamaha), Broc Parkes (Kawasaki) and Sam Lowes (Honda) involved in their remarkable final battle for the win last Sunday, and fourth place David Salom (Kawasaki) only 0.272 seconds from victory himself, things have clearly moved up a gear again in the Supersport World Championship.