2017 Phillip Island World Superbike Race 1 Results
All eyes were on Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea; the reigning two-time World SBK Champion led the preseason test in Australia earlier this week. Come Friday, the ZX-10RR pilot would finish second in the opening free practice behind Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Chaz Davies.
But things changed drastically on Saturday. Rea not only led the free practice sessions, but also claimed the Superpole, qualifying his ZX-10RR on the pole with a 1:29.573 lap around the 2.73-mile circuit containing 12 corners.
The 30-year-old Northern Irishman carried this momentum into Saturday’s race one, claiming the victory ahead of Davies. The two battled to the last corner, but Rea was able to earn the win by 0.042 of a second ahead of Davies. Claiming the final podium position was the 2013 WSBK Champion Tom Sykes, Rea’s teammate
This is now Rea’s fourth win at the Phillip Island season opener since joining Kawasaki in 2015.
“That was one of the strangest races I have ever been partly because in some places the pace was slow in the 1’33s but I was wary to always stay at the front of the group and keep out of trouble,” Rea says. “I think the further back I ever was third but I tried not to do too much at the front. I knew when Chaz mounted a challenge at the end I needed to be really strong. Twice after lap ten I tried to go to the front and push the pace forwards but it did not really pan out. With two to go I got track position and then played it clever on the final lap. We have been working hard in the off season to find some advantages.”
When the 22-lap race begin, five riders swapped the lead: Rea, Davies, Sykes, Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team’s Alex Lowes and Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Marco Melandri. Rea would led 12 laps, Melandri five, Sykes four and Lowes one.
Melandri didn’t led an entire lap, and showed promise on the Ducati 1199 R. But the Italian crashed at the Southern Loop with eight laps to go while running with the lead pack.
Lowes impressed aboard the YZF-R1, but would have to settle for fourth, 0.032 of a second behind Sykes. He was followed by MV Agusta Reparto Corse’s Leon Camier to make an all-British top five.
Rounding out the top 10 were Barni Racing Ducati’s Xavi Fores, Althea BMW Racing Team’s Jordi Torres, Milwaukee Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty, Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team’s Michael van der Mark and Kawasaki Puccetti Racing’s Randy Krummenacher.
As for the sole American in World Superbike, Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team’s Nicky Hayden finished 11th, just ahead of Althea BMW Racing Team’s Markus Reiterberger. Hayden’s teammate, World SBK rookie Stefan Bradl, finished 15th.
Race 2 gets underway at 3 p.m. local time Sunday.
2017 Phillip Island World Superbike Race 1 Results:
|5||Leon Camier||MV Agusta||GBR||00’03.002|
|9||Michael van der Mark||Yamaha||NLD||00’12.180|
|14||Alex De Angelis||Kawasaki||SM||00’24.902|