Aprilia’s Leon Haslam has defeated Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea by a scant 0.010 seconds in a classic Phillip Island finish during race two of the 2015 world superbike opener.
Rea, the race one winner, led onto Gardner Straight for the last time but Haslam was able to nudge his machine in front just metres from the finish line to notch his first victory in five years. That same year, 2010, Haslam also won at Phillip Island on a Suzuki.
Haslam and Rea, former teammates at Honda before going their separate ways in 2015, completed round one with 45pt hauls, followed by Ducati’s Chaz Davies on 32pts.
Davies again followed his British compatriots home in race two, and flashed across the finish line just 0.298 seconds behind Haslam, followed by Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes and world champion Sylvain Guintoli (Honda).
Davies set the fastest lap of the day in race two – 1:31.725.
At one stage there were about eight riders running line astern in the 22-lapper, but attrition eventually took its toll when rookies Jordi Torres (Aprilia) and Michael van der Mark (Honda) crashed out on consecutive laps in the latter stages of the race.
Earlier, van der Mark led for five laps as the race went into a semi holding pattern as riders conserved their tyres before the final onslaught.
Australia’s Troy Bayliss (Ducati) began brightly and was doggedly clinging to the back of the leading group before his tyres started playing up, forcing the 45-year-old Aussie into the pits on lap 15 for a fresh set. He finished 16th after a 13th place in race one.
Melbourne’s Jed Metcher (Kawasaki) fared worse, and was into the pits by lap four with mechanical problems. He finished 14th in race one.
Alex Lowes was another high-profile DNF in race two, only managing two laps on his Suzuki before retiring.
Sykes (23pts) sits fourth in the championship ahead of round two in Thailand on March 22, from Guintoli (20), Nicol Terol (Ducati, 18), Leon Camier (MV Agusta, 18) and Torres (13).
WSBK Race two Results
Leon Haslam (91) GBR – Aprilia
Jonathan Rea (65) GBR – Kawasaki
Chaz Davies (7) GBR – Ducati
Tom Sykes (66) GBR – Kawasaki
Sylvain Guintoli (1) France – Honda
Nicolas Terol (18) Spain – Ducati
Randy De Puniet (14) France – Suzuki
Leon Camier (2) – GBR – MV Agusta
Matteo Baiocco (15) – ITA – Ducati
Roman Ramos (40)- Spain – Kawasaki
16 Troy Bayliss (21) – Australia (Taree/Gold Coast) – Ducati (had to pit to change tyres)
RET Jed Metcher (77) -Australia – Melbourne – Kawasaki retired on lap 5