TEAM GREEN REA TAKES THE FIRST RACE WIN
Jonathan Rea wins the 1st WSBK race in Philip Island ahead of Ducati rider Chaz Davies, by 0.063 seconds.
Both ZX-10Rs, Sykes and Rea went almost side-by-side into first lap. The lead group off the line was led by the Kawasaki Racing Team pair, with Ducati’s Chaz Davies from ninth on the grid to join his teammate Giugliano and Honda rider Michael Van Der Mark in the battle at the front.
Rookie Aprilia rider Lorenzo Savadori was initially the last of the lead group of ten, before Yamaha duo Sylvain Guintoli and Alex Lowes joined Honda rider Nicky Hayden in the push through to join the battle and an eight rider train set off for the line. Sykes lead the group as the Ducatis dueled behind him and Rea, with Flying Dutchman Van Der Mark joining the fun. Sykes, after losing the lead to Rea, then dropped back along with Hayden and the Yamahas of Lowes and Guintoli, leaving the two Aruba.it Ducati riders to tousle with van der Mark in the lead group of four headed by Jonathan Rea.
Rea led the way as the war raged behind him, with the lead group becoming a trio as Davies and Van Der Mark proved the only two able to keep the pace of the reigning Champion. Holding the lead but with both riders behind breathing down his neck, Rea stayed calm and kept his race rhythm going as those behind him continued to play cat and mouse with each other. As the laps ticked down, Davies got closer and started to seriously pressure the Kawasaki rider, seeming to be attempting to test any possible passes he had in mind for the last lap.
On that last lap, Davies pounced down the hill from Lukey Heights, taking the lead just before the final corner, before Rea took the outside line and blasted around the Ducati through the final turn, the two bikes straightening up on the Gardner Straight with almost nothing between them. It was the flash of green over the line first, however, as Rea’s bravery around the outside proved to give him the pace necessary to nudge the nose of the Kawasaki over the line first, separated by only 0.063 seconds.
Van Der Mark came home third behind the two of them, recording his fourth career podium in only his second season, whereas teammate Nicky Hayden struggled to keep the pace in the latter stages of his debut and dropped back to 9th. Local hero Josh Brookes made up for a difficult qualifying session to come home 10th, and 2014 WorldSBK Champion Sylvain Guintoli was the first Yamaha home in 6th, showing great potential for the YZF R1 in its first WorldSBK outing. Leon Camier carried through his incredible form from practice to end the race 7th on his MV Agusta, with Jordi Torres on his Althea BMW behind him in 8th ensuring there were six manufacturers classified in the top 10. Yamaha’s Alex Lowes suffered a crash whilst circulating well within the top ten, walking away from the scene with disappointment the only consequence.
WSBK PHILIP ISLAND RACE 1
1. #1 J. REA
2 . #7 C. DAVIES
3. #60 M. VAN DER MARK
4. #34 D. GIUGLIANO
5. #66 T. SYKES
6. #50 S. GUINTOLI
7. #2 L. CAMIER
8. #81 J. TORRES
9. #69 N. HAYDEN
10. #25 J. BROOKES