Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea does the PI double – again!
Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) has won his second world superbike race at Phillip Island this weekend after outlasting Ducati arch-rival Chaz Davies in another nail-biter.
As was the case in yesterday’s race one, it all boiled down to an incredibly tight duel between Rea and Davies on the final lap.
The ice-cool Rea bested his fellow Briton by 0.025 seconds, with his combined winning margin over Davies in the two 22-lap races just 0.067 seconds.
Marco Melandri (Ducati) was third in race two as he banked some points after a crash in the opener.
Phillip Island is a home away from home for Rea, who is married to Phillip Island’s Tatia Weston and spends summer at the island. And when he wins at the circuit it’s even more special, and the adopted Aussie again celebrated after the race with his local supporters.
“To win two last-lap battles here is pretty tough so I am so happy,” said Rea. “We worked so hard in the off-season to work on tyre conservation, and my rear tyre still looks good on the left side after race two so that bodes well for the rest of the season.
“I just wanted to come here and start my year in a good way, and to leave with 50 points is very nice.”
It’s the second consecutive clean sweep for Rea at the flowing GP circuit and he now also joins Carl Fogarty, Aussie Troy Bayliss and Noriyuki Haga in the exclusive WorldSBK 40-race winning club.
Rea won from ninth on the grid in race two as a revised grid formation made its debut in WorldSBK, which saw the top three finishers in race one starting from the third row of the grid in race two; riders who finished in positions 4-6 starting from the front row; and riders who finished in positions 7-9 starting from the second row.
The new arrangement saw Lowes on ‘pole position’, with Leon Camier (MV Agusta) and Xavi Fores (Ducati) alongside him.
Lowes was the early leader, and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) also had a small taste of life at the front, but before too long Rea, Davies, Lowes, Fores and Melandri were in command.
Melandri, returning to WorldSBK after a two-year break, finished 0.249 seconds behind Rea, while Lowes made it consecutive fourth places on the massively improved Yamaha.
Xavi was fifth, from world No. 2 Tom Sykes (Kawasaki), Michael van der Mark (Yamaha), Camier, Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia) and Laverty.
Australia’s wildcard Josh Brookes brought his Yamaha home in 12th position after he retired with overheating issues in race one. Brookes finished just on the tail of Alex de Angelis (Kawasaki).
Nicky Hayden (Honda) was DNF after crashing at turn 10, while Jordi Torres (BMW) retired with a technical problem.
Rea takes 50pts into round two in Thailand from March 10-12, ahead of Davies (40), Lowes (26), Sykes (26), Fores (21), Camier 19), van der Mark (16), Melandri (16), Laverty (14) and Torres (9).
2017 WorldSBK Race 2 Results
1. Jonathan Rea (GBR – Northern Ireland) Kawasaki
2. Chaz Davies ( GBR) Ducati gap .025 sec
3. Marco Melandri (ITALY ) Ducati
4. Alex Lowes (GBR) Yamaha
5. Xavi Fores (Spain) Ducati
12. Josh Brookes (Aus) Yamaha
Australia’s Anthony West third in WorldSSP thriller at Phillip Island!
Australian wild card, Anthony West, has again displayed his “never-say-die” attitude by finishing in a superb third place aboard his Yamaha in round one of the 2017 Supersport World Championship (WorldSSP) at Phillip Island this afternoon.
If the Aussie wild card’s performance wasn’t exciting enough for the local spectators, the battle for the win was one for the ages as veteran Italian Roberto Rolfo (MV Agusta) took victory, holding off Yamaha’s Lucas Mahias by just 0.001 seconds – the closest finish in World Supersport history.
West’s third was an amazing effort for the Queenslander who had experienced a disastrous week with a litany of engine problems on his Yamaha. But West showed his customary aggression and fighting qualities in the 10-lap race as he immediately began carving his way through the field from a lowly grid position and latched onto the tail of the leading group.
It was always going to come down to a battle of wits on the final lap, and West’s luck finally turned when Federico Caricasulo (Yamaha) and Frenchman Jules Cluzel (Honda) collided at turn 10, which allowed the Queenslander to move into third position.
Despite his makeshift engine being well down on horsepower, Westy held onto third position until the chequered flag to take home the final spot on the WorldSSP podium for the second year in succession.
West said the result “was amazing” considering the difficult circumstances.
“From Monday until now it has been a disaster with broken engines… and we didn’t expect to even race,” said West. “Our bike was down 10 horsepower on the others, so to finish third is simply an amazing result.
“All my friends and families helped me put this all together, not to mention local sponsors, so it’s a real Australian effort. I am so happy to give something back to them with this great result. It’s awesome.”
Briton Kyle Ryde (Kawaski) was fourth from Finn Niki Tuuli (Yamaha) and American polesitter Patrick Jacobsen (MV Agusta), who had to fight his way back through the pack after running off at turn 10 on lap three.
It was also a brilliant day for the two other Aussie pilots, with Aiden Wagner making a superb debut for his new Honda team in seventh, while 17-year-old Lachlan Epis (Kawasaki) was 10th.
2017 World Supersport Race – Rnd1 – Phillip Island, Australia
1. Roberto Rolfo (ITALY) – MV Agusta
2. Lucas Mahias (FRANCE) – Yamaha gap .001 sec
3. Anthony West (AUST) – Yamaha
7. Aiden Wagner (Aust) – Honda
10. Lachlan Epis (Aust) – Kawasaki