Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) has won his first world superbike race at Phillip Island this afternoon after a titanic battle against fellow Brits Leon Haslam and Chaz Davies.
Rea pipped Haslam’s Aprilia to the finish line by just 0.039 seconds after a pulsating 22 laps, not only recording his maiden win at Phillip Island but also winning for the first time out with his new employer, Kawasaki.
Rea’s win came on his second ‘home’ track, as he’s married to a Phillip Island girl, Tatia Weston, and spends the Australian summers at the seaside location.
Rea had his Kawasaki in front for all but one lap of the race, while Haslam had to fight back from an off-track excursion on lap 15 at Stoner Corner (turn three), but he quickly rallied to work his way back into the fight for the lead.
Davies (Ducati) was also in the top three for the entire distance, but just couldn’t mount a challenge on the final lap as he completed the podium in front of impressive newcomers Jordi Torres (Aprilia) and Michael van der Mark (Honda).
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) was sixth after running off the track at turn one on lap, which dropped him well out of the top 10.
World champion Sylvain Guintoli (Honda) was seventh, while Australia’s veteran Troy Bayliss (Ducati) was as high as seventh in his cameo world superbike appearance before drifting back through the pack to finish 13th, one spot ahead of countryman, Melbourne wild card, Jed Metcher (Kawasaki).
Race two is at 2:40pm this afternoon.
Race One Results
Superbike World Championship – Rd 1 – Phillip Island
Jonathan Rea (GBR) – Kawasaki
Leon Haslam (GBR) – Aprilia
Chaz Davies (GBR) – Ducati
Jordi Torres (Spain) – Aprilia
Michael Van der Mark (Netherlands) Honda
Tom Sykes (GBR) – Kawasaki
Sylvain Guintoli (France) – Honda
Nicolo Terol (Spain ) – Ducati
Alex Lowes (GBR) – Suzuki
Leon Camier (GBR) – MV Agusta
13. Troy Bayliss (AUS – Taree/Gold Coast ) – Ducati
14. Jed Metcher (AUS – Melbourne) – Kawasaki