Lap records were smashed and there were winners from rookies to legends in front of a big crowd of happy Aussie fans at Phillip Island last weekend for round one of the 2024 Motul FIM WorldSBK Championship, the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round. Press: WorldSBK

Friday’s WorldSBK action at Phillip Island saw Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) dominate proceedings, setting a new lap record and finishing atop the timesheets. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) secured second place overall, while Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha), in third, showcased strong potential with a new lap record in FP1.

Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) led the Independent contenders, securing fourth place overall, followed closely by Rookie Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) in sixth. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) had a quiet start finishing tenth overall and Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) took seventh place.

However, Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati), the Reigning Champion, finished 12th overall, while perennial contender Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) ended up in 16th place in the combined results.

In the electrifying Supersport Superpole session at Phillip Island, Adrian Huertas ( Racing WorldSSP Team) showcased his prowess, clinching pole position with a breathtaking lap record despite a late crash, setting the tone for an exhilarating race. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) closely followed in second place, demonstrating impressive speed alongside Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who secured third. Stefano Manzi (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) positioned himself in fourth, while Valentin Debise (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) and Lucas Mahias (GMT94 Yamaha) rounded off the top six with impressive performances.

Despite facing challenges, Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Federico Caricasulo (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) secured spots on the third row, emphasizing their resilience. Meanwhile, Jorge Navarro (WRP-RT Motorsport by SKM-Triumph) overcame a crash to secure ninth, with Niki Tuuli (EAB Racing Team) completing the top 10, ensuring a fiercely competitive grid for Race 1.

Full Friday Superbike and Supersport results here

The first session that counts, the first that matters for the larger context of the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship: Tissot Superpole from the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit and the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round was electric. With all the hype about unpredictability and the new line-up for this new era, it was a session with stories everywhere you looked. In what is probably the most incredible Superpole session in recent memory to open a season, it was rookie Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) who denied Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) in the closing moments with two rookies lining up 1-2 on the grid for their first race for the first time in WorldSBK history.

Full Superbike Superpole results here

Race One
WorldSBK Race 1 at Phillip Island provided thrilling action and historic moments with intense battles among the leading riders and strategic maneuvers during the pit stop phase between Laps 9 and 11.

Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) stole the show by claiming victory on his WorldSBK debut, achieving a remarkable feat as the first WorldSSP Reigning Champion to win on his first SBK race, marking an unprecedented accomplishment in the championship’s history.

Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) displayed impressive pace and strategy to claim second place. Making a sensational return to racing, Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) secured third place after leading in the early stages of the race. Locatelli and Iannone completed an all-Italian podium sweep, echoing a milestone last achieved in 1993.

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) demonstrated strong competitiveness, finishing in fourth position, followed closely by Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK), who initially crossed the line in fourth but was demoted to fifth.

Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) struggled to find his rhythm, ultimately finishing in 15th position after a crash, while Jonathan Rea’s (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) difficulties persisted as he crossed the line outside the points in 17th place. Australian Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), encountered misfortune during the race, as a collision with another rider led to an early retirement.

“Maybe it’s the best day of my life! It’s difficult to already believe it but it is something incredible; I was dreaming about this for many months but now it’s reality. I took pole position; I won my first race and got the lap record. It’s something special that I’ll never forget, said Bulega.

I started to cry a little bit and then, there were good emotions as I saw all my guys on the finish line and all my guys with a big, incredible smile. It was so nice for me. It’s incredible because this team is like my second family, and they always believed in me. When I came here from Moto2™, I was in a bad moment, but they kept believing. This is my third year with them, and we started in a very good way. I’ll try to continue giving them a lot of smiles. I’m ready for my first Tissot Superpole Race and I’ll try to do my best.”

WorldSBK Race 1 Results

1. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati)
2. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) +2.280s
3. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) +2.630s
4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +4.728s
5. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +5.706s

Download Full Results

Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) secured victory after overcoming a poor start and establishing a commanding lead in Race 1 at Phillip Island. Montella’s flawless performance ended a drought of over 400 days for his WorldSSP victories. He led the field with precision, leaving Stefano Manzi (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) and Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) trailing behind as he crossed the finish line triumphantly. A fierce battle unfolded between Schroetter and Manzi for second place, with Manzi eventually gaining the upper hand to secure the runner-up position.

Federico Caricasulo (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) and Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing WorldSSP Team) engaged in an intense battle for fourth place, with Caricasulo ultimately securing the position in his debut with the team. Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) finished sixth after starting from the back of the grid due to a tire pressure infringement, rounding up the top performers of the race.

“It was a funny race. At first, I didn’t feel comfortable on the bike, and I couldn’t understand why. I just tried to stay close behind Manzi and not let him build a big gap. On the last lap before the Pit Stop, I tried to overtake him, and we both went first to do the Pit Stop. It turned out to be a perfect flag-to-flag because we managed to open a big gap from Manzi, around 5 seconds. We practiced a lot yesterday, and everything came together perfectly in the end! We’ll try to repeat today’s victory tomorrow, but it won’t be easy. Today Huertas wasn’t here, but I think he’ll be fighting for the podium tomorrow.”

WorldSSP Race 1 Results

1. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team)
2. Stefano Manzi (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) +6.666s
3. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +6.968s
4. Federico Caricasulo (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) +16.748s
5. Oliver Bayliss (D34G Racing WorldSSP Team) +17.452s

Download Full Results

Superpole Race
In a repeat to Race 1, Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) got a superb start as lights went out, leading the race although Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) came past on Lap 2 at Turn 1. Iannone’s race was interrupted by a mechanical issue on Lap 6 which dropped him out of contention, coming home in 14th. This allowed Lowes to pull out a gap for his first victory in four years by just over a second. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) took second after dropping as low as tenth, charging through the field in the second half of the 10-lap race with aggressive moves on his rivals at Turn 4 and Turn 10. In just his second race with BMW, Toprak Razgatlioglu claimed his first podium as he battled his way P3 in a run to the line with Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati); the two Champions separated by just 0.074s. Razgatlioglu’s podium was his 116th, putting him level with Noriyuki Haga at third in the all-time level. Lowes, Locatelli and Razgatlioglu will start Race 2 from the front row.

Bautista narrowly missed on a podium as he bounced back from a difficult Saturday for fourth, finishing just over a second ahead of Race 1 winner and teammate Nicolo Bulega in fifth. ‘Bulegas’ lost out at the start again but was unable to recover as he did in Saturday’s race, coming home in fifth. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was sixth, but it could’ve been more for the Australian. Gardner had fought his way into podium contention around the halfway mark of the race but was bundled down the order in the closing stages.

Gardner’s teammate, Dominique Aegerter, had a similar story to Race 1. After starting from fourth, the Swiss rider dropped down the order before battling back. He was able to recover to P7, just two tenths behind his teammate. Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) secured eighth place in his first Tissot Superpole Race, ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) in ninth with Aegerter, Lowes and Rinaldi on row three for Race 2. Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) fought his way to P10 in the Superpole Race after his Saturday disaster, giving the Ulsterman hope for a good result in Race 2 although he will start in his original grid position.

WorldSBK Tissot Superpole Race Results

1. Alex Lowes | Kawasaki
2. Andrea Locatelli | Yamaha | +1.157s
3. Toprak Razgatlioglu | BMW | +1.738s

[Download Full Results]

Race Two
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) emerged victorious in an exhilarating Race 2 at Phillip Island, securing a remarkable double win. Lowes’ triumph was sealed with a breathtaking last-lap maneuver at Turn 9, overtaking Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) in a display of sheer brilliance.

However, the race was not short of drama as Toprak Razgatlioglu’s (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) promising run in the race was abruptly halted on Lap 3 at Turn 9, as a technical issue which led to his untimely retirement. Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha), unfortunately crashed out at Turn 11 in the early stages, leading to a red flag and subsequent race restart. He was taken to the medical centre and declared unfit with multiple contusions and abrasions.

Despite the challenges, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) showcased an impressive performance, swiftly climbing from P6 to challenge Bautista for the lead after the restart. However, it was Lowes who ultimately prevailed, with Bautista settling for second place.

Meanwhile, Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) staged a remarkable comeback before unfortunately crashing out on the final lap while battling for position. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) claimed a well-deserved third place, rounding off the podium. Notably, Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) showcased a commendable recovery from a poor start to secure fifth place, with Rinaldi finishing just behind in sixth.

“It was an unbelievable day! The second race was chaos from the start. It was a little bit delayed, and in the first part of the race Toprak’s bike blew up. I was nearly off track, I did well to stay on. Then, Jonathan had a big crash, so I hope he’s okay. I was dropping back a little bit, but just before the red flag, I had a couple of good sectors to get back on my brother. I had some good speed, and the temperature was down a little bit. My focus in the restart was to make a good start, put myself in the first three or four positions. I knew Toprak wasn’t there, and when he is, you have to ride a little bit more defensively because he’s always going to have a pass. Once I got settled into the race, I was struggling to stay with Bautista a little bit and Michael.

“Locatelli passed me at Turn 4. He was going to hit the back of Bautista, so he went wide and then I managed to stay on the line, stay close to Alvaro because, in my head, I was thinking he was struggling to enter the corner because the grip was going. I knew I could be really fast through Turn 8 and into Turn 9. This was my chance to pass him and try to stop the bike into Turn 10 and 11. I had a little plan, and it went quite well. In the end, I had a lot more grip than Alvaro which allowed me to make this pass.”

WorldSBK Race 2 Results

1. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) 0.048s
3. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +1.178s
4. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) +1.275s
5. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) +2.346s

Download Full Results

WorldSBK Championship Standings

1. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 50 points
2. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) 41 points
3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) 29 points

Download Championship Standings

The WorldSSP Race 2 at Phillip Island unfolded with high intensity as riders navigated challenging track conditions and a shortened race due to an oil spill. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) displayed impeccable form, securing his second consecutive win at the iconic circuit. Despite facing late pressure from Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Montella held firm to claim the top spot, as he now leads the Championship standings.

Meanwhile, the battle for the podium raged on as Stefano Manzi (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) and Federico Caricasulo (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) fought for positions. Unfortunately for Manzi, his podium hopes were dashed as he suffered two crashes during the race, ultimately dropping out of contention. Adrian Huertas ( Racing WorldSSP Team) capitalized on the unfolding events, securing his first WorldSSP podium with a commendable third-place finish.

Caricasulo clinched fourth position marking a strong start to his campaign. Valentin Debise (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) and Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) rounded out the top six.

“Today was a strange race for sure, because of the delay, but we tried to stay focused on the race. My plan was to push at the first lap to create a gap and it worked, so I’m happy for this. During the race, I managed to maintain this gap with Marcel, and it was fun to push every lap. Today we won the race, and I’m happy about it! It really was an incredible weekend! It’s something that nobody expected, and I’m just happy about it! I want to stay focused on the next race, but then at the same time, enjoy this moment. It’s just the first race and I still have 20 races in front of me, so for the moment my focus is on Barcelona.”

WorldSSP Race 2 Results

1. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team)
2. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +0.203s
3. Adrian Huertas ( Racing WorldSSP Team) +1.658s
4. Federico Caricasulo (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) +5.289s
5. Valentin Debise (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Racing Team) +5.554s

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WorldSSP Championship Standings

1. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) 50 points
2. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 36 points
3. Federico Caricasulo (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) 26 points

Download Championship Standings

Grand Ridge Brewery Phillip Island WorlSBK Gallery

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