Phillip Island and World Superbike have quite the history. This year, the scenic circuit overlooking the Bass Straight in Southern Australia celebrated its 25th year as host to World SBK. This makes it the longest-running track on the World SBK calendar, and it has also hosted the opening round every year since 2010.
But not much history is present between teams and riders. Many riders joined new teams ahead of 2015, including the reigning World Superbike Champion Sylvain Guintoli, who signed with Pata Honda World Superbike following two years with Aprilia Racing Team.
Besides much change in teams, the other huge news heading into Phillip Island was the return of three-time World SBK Champion (2001, 2006, 2008) Troy Bayliss. The 45-year-old Australian was hired to substitute for the injured Davide Giugliano on the Aruba.it Racing Ducati Superbike Panigale R.
Giugliano was ruled out following a back injury during practice at Phillip Island the week before. As for Bayliss, the last time he rode a Ducati Panigale was during Mugello testing in May 2014. When Sunday’s action at Phillip Island SBK wrapped up, Bayliss took 13th in race one, and 16th in race two.
As for winners, Kawasaki’s newest rider Jonathan Rea took the race-one win. The Northern Ireland, who won Superpole, was joined on the race-one podium by former teammate Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) and Ducati’s Chaz Davies.
In race two, Haslam took the win ahead of Rea, with Davies taking third.
Following the opening round, Rea and Haslam are tied for points with 45, and Ducati’s Chaz Davies is third with 32.
Following are official reports from 2015 Phillip Island World Superbike:
2015 Phillip Island World Superbike Results, Race 1 Recap:
Held under warm and sunny conditions, Rea took the victory following a 22-lap fight with Davies, and the Aprilia Racing Team duo of Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres.
After a tense final lap, Haslam and Davies completed the podium with Torres just missing out in 4th. The Spaniard continuing to impress in what is his debut superbike weekend.
The race started with 22 riders after David Salom (Team Pedercini), Salom’s teammate Matt Walters and Gabor Rizmayer (Team Toth BMW) were ruled out following crashes earlier in the weekend. Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing) had made the final Superpole session but was relegated to the back of the grid after a tire infringement.
As the lights went out it was Pole sitter Rea who led the field into turn 1, the Kawasaki Racing Team rider never headed until lap 5 as the chasing pack of three began to ease away.
The remaining laps of the race served up a real treat for everyone watching as lap after lap the leading riders swapped places at almost every turn, the final lap one of the most thrilling to ever happen at Phillip Island.
The 2014 World Supersport Champion Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) put a brave move on 2013 World SBK Champion Tom Sykes to claim fourth into turn one, the former champion taking to the grass at high speed before rejoining 10th. He would eventually salvage sixth at the flag behind the Dutchman who dropped to fifth in the closing stages.
Guintoli rode a solid race to claim 7th ahead of Nico Terol (Althea Racing), Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) and Leon Camier, who raced his MV Agusta Reparto Corse machine into an encouraging 10th at the flag.
Bayliss ran as high as seventh before eventually fading to 13th just ahead of local wildcard rider Jed Metcher (Race Center – Demolation Plus) who was elated at scoring 2 points on his World Superbike debut.
Niccolo Canepa (Team Hero EBR) was the only faller, he was taken to the medical centre for further checks. As for the other American on the Team Hero EBR, Larry Pegram finished 22nd.
2015 Phillip Island World Superbike Results, Race 2 Recap:
Race two was just as exciting and unpredictable as the first race. When the 22-lap event finished, Haslam took the win ahead of Rea and Davies after another heavy battle on the final lap.
For Haslam it was his first victory since Kyalami in 2010.
As in race 1 it was Rea who took the holeshot, the Kawasaki ZX-10R Nina pilot in control until an audacious move by reigning van der Mark sensationally took the lead into turn one at the start of lap seven. Van Der Mark would crash out of 4th at the end of lap 19 without injury.
Torres also fell a lap earlier, losing the front of his Aprilia Racing machine at Turn one.
The 22nd and final lap would once again decide the outcome of the race and at the flag and behind the top three it was Sykes, Guintoli, who completed the top 5 with Nico Terol (Althea Racing) a lonely 6th ahead of, Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing) and Roman Ramos (Go Eleven Kawasaki) who rounded out the top ten.
Bayliss started well, once again moving through the field making it as high as 7th until the triple champion entered the pits to change his front tire on lap 14. He rejoined finishing outside of the points in 16th.
Canepa was ruled unfit following his race 1 tumble while local wildcard rider J. Metcher started from the back of the grid after his Kawasaki was pushed off the grid just minutes before the race was scheduled to start. He eventually retired to the pits as did Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) who pulled in at the end of lap 2.
The 2015 World Superbike Championship breaks for a month before heading to Chang Thai in Thailand for round two.
2015 Phillip Island World Superbike Results, Race 1:
1. Jonathan Rea 33m58.385s GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
2. Leon Haslam +0.039 GBR APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils
3. Chaz Davies +0.496 GBR DUCATI Aruba.it Racing-Ducati Superbike Team
4. Jordi Torres +2.259 ESP APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils
5. Michael van der Mark +9.838 NED HONDA Pata Honda World Superbike Team
6. Tom Sykes +13.761 GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
7. Sylvain Guintoli +14.021 FRA HONDA Pata Honda World Superbike Team
8. Nicolas Terol +15.954 ESP DUCATI Althea Racing
9. Alex Lowes +21.106 GBR SUZUKI Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
10. Leon Camier +24.771 GBR MV MV Agusta Reparto Corse
2015 Phillip Island World Superbike Results, Race 2:
1. Leon Haslam 33m58.711s GBR APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils
2. Jonathan Rea +0.010 GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
3. Chaz Davies +0.298 GBR DUCATI Aruba.it Racing-Ducati Superbike Team
4. Tom Sykes +5.242 GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
5. Sylvain Guintoli +14.649 FRA HONDA Pata Honda World Superbike Team
6. Nicolas Terol +16.025 ESP DUCATI Althea Racing
7. Randy de Puniet +22.300 FRA SUZUKI Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
8. Leon Camier +23.606 GBR MV MV Agusta Reparto Corse
9. Matteo Baiocco +23.818 ITA DUCATI Althea Racing
10. Roman Ramos +35.775 ESP KAWASAKI Team GO Eleven
2015 World Superbike Standings after 1 of 13 races:
1. Jonathan Rea 45 pts GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
2. Leon Haslam 45 pts GBR APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils
3. Chaz Davies 32 pts GBR DUCATI Aruba.it Racing-Ducati Superbike Team
4. Tom Sykes 23 pts GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
5. Sylvain Guintoli 20 pts FRA HONDA Pata Honda World Superbike Team
6. Nicolas Terol 18 pts ESP DUCATI Althea Racing
7. Leon Haslam 14 pts GBR APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils
8. Jordi Torres 13 pts ESP APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils
9. Matteo Baiocco 12 pts ITA DUCATI Althea Racing
10. Michael van der Mark 11 pts NED HONDA Pata Honda World Superbike Team