The World Supersport Championship throttled into 2015 this weekend at Phillip Island – the scenic Australian circuit overlooking the Bass Strait that has hosted the opening round of WSS and World SBK since 2010.
Many battles ensued throughout the 18-lap race, but the big one was up front between MV Agusta Reparto Corse teammates Jules Cluzel and Lorenzo Zanetti.
The win went to Cluzel, who also won last year’s Phillip Island race and was this year’s pole sitter. Cluzel, who finished last year’s Supersport Championship behind Honda’s Michael van der Mark – a World Superbike rider now – would finish 3.494 seconds ahead of his fellow MV Agusta F3 675 pilot Zanetti.
Earning the final podium position was CIA Landlords Insurance Honda’s Gino Rea, who finished 8.636 seconds behind Cluzel. This podium position came down to the wire, Rea taking it by a mere 0.032 of a second from his Pata Honda World Supersports Kyle Smith. Completing the top five was CORE Motorsport Thailand Honda’s Ratthapark Wilairot.
Three-time World Supersport Champion Kenan Sofuoglu’s bid for the podium ended early when the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing pilot ran off the track at the start of lap six. He was able to rejoin, impressively setting the fastest lap of the race on the following time around Phillip Island.
He would go onto finish sixth, beating Race Department MV Agusta’s A. Baldolini and Team Lorini Honda’s R. Roflo by over a second.
Rounding out the top 10 were Team Go Eleven Kawasaki’s Dominic Schmitter – a rookie rider – and Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpress Kawasaki’s PJ Jacobsen, the only American in 2015 World Supersport.
As for Jacobsen’s teammate, Lucas Mahias was forced to retire with four laps to go after battling up front.
Lucas Mahias (Intermoto Kawasaki Ponyexpre) was disappointed to retire to the pits 4 laps from the end after making a claim for the podium in the first half of the race.
The series now breaks for a month ahead of round two of 12 at Chang International Circuit in Thailand.
2015 Phillip Island Supersport Results
1. Jules Cluzel 28m19.638 FRA MV Agusta Reparto Corse
2. Lorenzo Zanetti +3.494 ITA MV Agusta Reparto Corse
3. Gino Rea +8.636 GBR HONDA CIA Landlords Insurance Honda
4. Kyle Smith +8.668 GBR HONDA Pata Honda World Supersport Team
5. Ratthapark Wilairot +10.613 THA HONDA CORE Motorsport Thailand
6. Kenan Sofuoglu +18.608 TUR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Puccetti Racing
7. Alex Baldolini +18.701 ITA MV Race Department ATK#25
8. Roberto Rolfo +18.741 ITA HONDA Team Lorini
9. Dominic Schmitter +21.333 SUI KAWASAKI Team GO Eleven
10. Patrick Jacobson +26.448 USA KAWASAKI Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres
2015 World Supersport Championship Standings (after one of 12 rounds):
1. Jules Cluzel 25 pts FRA MV Agusta Reparto Corse
2. Lorenzo Zanetti 20 pts ITA MV Agusta Reparto Corse
3. Gino Rea 16 pts GBR HONDA CIA Landlords Insurance Honda
4. Kyle Smith 13 pts GBR HONDA Pata Honda World Supersport Team
5. Ratthapark Wilairot 11 pts THA HONDA CORE Motorsport Thailand
6. Kenan Sofuoglu 10 pts TUR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Puccetti Racing
7. Alex Baldolini 9 pts ITA MV Race Department ATK#25
8. Roberto Rolfo 8 pts ITA HONDA Team Lorini
9. Dominic Schmitter 7 pts SUI KAWASAKI Team GO Eleven
10. Patrick Jacobson 6 pts USA KAWASAKI Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres