Close racing guaranteed in Australia
Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit welcomed a stunning season opener for 2018, as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship began with a bang, and sensational racing ensued last weekend. Seeing Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) take his first WorldSBK victory in Australia and putting a stop to Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), fans were also treated to four manufactures fighting for the podium throughout both 22 lap races.
As the new regulations for 2018 are clearly welcoming a positive impact to the series, riders were battling for a strong start to the season as they hope to impress teams and fans alike. With a two day test at the start of the week available for the riders to fine tune their machines, the pace was even more competitive than before and riders were fighting at their limit. As 31 points cover the top six in the world championship standings, the fight is on for 2018.
Double race winner Melandri evaluates the pace after a phenomenal race two: “Towards the end, it was difficult to pass Rea under braking so I decided to focus on the final sprint and catch the slipstream out of the last corner, in which we were particularly fast, and the plan worked.”
Race two second position finisher Rea explains his stunning performance on Sunday afternoon: “My only chance to win the race was to try and be in the lead out of the last corner. On the penultimate lap and during the race they were passing me on the straight. When I got passed by Marco into T1 I just thought ‘I am going to let the brakes off and go right down the apex and see what happens!’ I wanted to put together the best last lap I could but all weekend we have been struggling with fourth gear.”
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) was able to overcome some challenges throughout the weekend, as the British rider crashed on Saturday morning around Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. Following some tough battles in the middle of the field, he was able to take two top six finishes, but ultimately a top five in the world championship standings. His thoughts on race two: “The second race was a lot better! Honestly, the bike was the best it had felt all week, which is promising to see how much progress we can make on a race weekend. But I can' t be completely satisfied with fifth and sixth-place finishes as I want to be fighting for podiums and winning races, which is what we will try and do in Thailand.”
Fighting on the ever-developing Honda machine, Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) the British rider leaves Australia in sixth position overall, after two challenging races. With a strong performance in race two to leave him in sixth position, Camier comments: “I gave as much as I could in Race 2, we were really strong in some areas and in other areas not so much but overall I felt very competitive. Now I just want to keep making progress and see what we can do at the next round in Thailand.”
The WorldSBK paddock prepares to head to Thailand, as the fight will continue to intensify in the Asian heat. With everything to play for, will we leave Buriram with even more manufacturers fighting for the podium? Find out on the WorldSBK VideoPass!