En route to his first World Superbike title last season, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea earned five doubles out of 13 races. The Northern Irishman finished on the podium at every round except Jerez, where he finished with a pair of fourths.With stats like these, Rea entered the 2016 World Superbike Championship as the favorite, and immediately backed this status up with a win Saturday at race one at Phillip Island in Australia for the season opener. Rea took lead on the opening lap from pole man and teammate Tom Sykes. But Sykes fought back, and led laps 3-6 – but that would be it. Rea returned to the lead position on lap seven, and remained there to beat a charging Ducati Team Chaz Davies to the finish line by a mere 0.063 of a second.
Read Phillip Island World Superbike Results, Race 1Rea’s quick performance was far from done; in the new format that sees one race Saturday and one race Sunday instead of the traditional doubleheader on Sunday, Rea was able to earn the double at Phillip Island. This is the first time a rider doubled in Australian since 2011 when that year’s eventual champion, Ducati’s Carlos Checa, completed the feat.Rea would only lead four of 22 laps in race two, but he led the most important one – the final one. Rea piloted his ZX-10R Ninja to the 31st victory of his WSBK career.Joining Rea on the race-2 podium were Honda Racing’s Michael van der Mark and Ducati Team’s Davide Guigliano. As for the sole American in World Superbike, Honda Racing’s Nicky Hayden finished fourth.Jonathan Rea says: “It is incredible. We had two really composed races this weekend. I just did my thing and was very patient in both races at the beginning. Today I knew that Chaz would make a move again, a copybook story from yesterday, but he came through when there was no space, went completely wide and, unfortunate for him, he made a mistake.“The set-up changes we made between yesterday and today means the team gave me a bike that was quite easy to ride and I was more ready for attacks. Not just in T4 but in many areas. I thank my team for that. We played the strategy game here in Phillip Island and it really paid off. I feel that we are working at around 85-90% of the potential of the machine and I am really proud to give Kawasaki these two wins on the new bike.”
2016 Phillip Island World Superbike Race 2 – Recap
When the 22-lap race began, pole man Sykes took the lead ahead of Rea, Giugliano and van der Mark. Rea took the lead from Sykes ahead of Siberia, but the 2013 World SBK Champion Sykes fought back, and kept the lead for the opening 10 laps.Behind, Rea settled into second as, van der Mark and the Aruba.it Racing Ducati 1199 Panigale Rs of Chaz Davies and Giugliano began battled for third. Starting from seventh on the grid Hayden quickly moved to fourth on the CBR1000RR SP, and began dicing with the lead group.Behind, Yamaha Official WorldSBK’s Sylvain Guintoli battled with Milwaukee BMW S1000RR’s Josh Brookes, and Althea BMW teammates Markus Reiterberger and Jordi Torres.Sykes time up front was cut short with 12 laps to go. The Brit ran wide on turn four of 2.76-mile circuit containing 12 corners, giving the lead to Rea. Van der Mark and Davies then moved past Sykes, and the Dutchman van der Mark took the lead for seven laps.Rea fought hard, and regained the lead on lap 19. It was short lived as Davies passed Rea for the lead on lap 21. But while pushing hard on turn four, Davies crashes, putting Rea back in the lead on the final lap.Rea would finish 0.831 of van der Mark, with Giugliano taking third 1.472 seconds behind. Hayden finished fourth, followed by Guintoli and Sykes. Rounding out the top 10 were Torres, Reiterberger, Brookes and Davies, who was able to remount to earn 10th.The 2016 World Superbike Championship now breaks until round 2 March 11-13 in Buriram, Thailand, where Rea earned the double last season.
2016 Phillip Island World Superbike Results, Race 2:
Michael van der Mark
Saeed Al Sulaiti
2016 Phillip Island World Superbike Results, Race 2 Photo Gallery
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!