Phillip Island saw the new kids on the World Superbike block stand-out, with plenty of talking points for the five new recruits for 2020
It was a weekend of success stories in WorldSBK back at the opening round of the season, as the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit gave the World Superbike rookies plenty to talk about. With Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) leading the way with a hat-trick of podiums, there were other magical performances down the field.
Scott Redding’s return to the world stage got off to a healthy start as the British rider stormed to three third-place finishes across the Yamaha Finance Australian Round. The 27-year-old led in Race 1 before finishing just 0.041s behind eventual race winner Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team). Second in the Championship standings with 39 points and just 12 behind leader Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), Redding can be happy with his first event performance, as he seeks a return to winning ways soon.
The next-best rookie in the standings is Chilean Maximilian Scheib (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura), who was one of the stand-out performers in Race 2 on ‘The Island’ as he stormed to seventh. The first Chilean rider to achieve a top eight finish, Scheib lies 11th in the Championship standings and showed a good pace in Race 1 too, before an off-track excursion left him down in 15th. During the first outing, Scheib’s fastest lap would have put him sixth overall in comparison to his rivals, making the South American sensation a revelation to enjoy throughout 2020.
The GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team duo of Garrett Gerloff and Federico Caricasulo shone brightly at Phillip Island at various points. Gerloff made an incredible getaway in Race 1 and was up to seventh in no time from his 17th place starting position. However, tyre life meant the American faded to 14th, whilst teammate Federico Caricasulo started and finished in 12th. Race 1 was the only point-scoring race for the team that achieved a podium at Phillip Island in 2019, as Gerloff was injured in Warm Up crash, ruling him out of the races, whilst Federico Caricasulo was 14th in the Tissot Superpole Race and crashed in Race 2.
Finally, Takumi Takahashi (MIE Racing Althea HONDA Team) made his full-time debut in WorldSBK and despite coming away empty handed, he made plenty of progress from day one of testing to the final laps of racing action. Takahashi finished the Tissot Superpole Race in 15th but will hope to be back on the pace come Jerez at the end of March.
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