In WorldSBK, Race 2 also goes to Rea astride his Kawasaki after a heated race with the Ducatis, in WorldSSP photo finish win for Roberto Rolfo; for Pirelli the race weekend outcome is excellent

The Northern Irishman from the Akashi-based manufacturer now has forty World SBK wins, with the first round of the season providing the fans with thrilling passes and a great show in both the categories which promise to be a challenge down to the last corner

WorldSSP group

The more than 60,000 fans who came out to Phillip Island throughout the weekend to watch the first round of the MOTUL FIM World Superbike Championship season will certainly be going home satisfied because they watches some thrilling and heated races with overtaking and excitement on every single lap.

The WorldSBK class, although Race 2 once again went to Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), is proving to be particularly competitive because, besides the two-time World Champion, Melandri and Davies on their Ducatis and Alex Lowes on his Yamaha also took turns leading the race, indicating that this year the championship will definitely be much closer than in the past.

The WorldSSP class proved to be no less exciting, providing a show with the protagonists overtaking repeatedly, culminating in the photo finish win by Italian Roberto Rolfo (Team Factory Vamag) who beat out Lucas Mahias by just one thousandth of a second, proof of the race pace the riders maintained.

WorldSBK group action Roberto Rolfo in action in WorldSSP race


There was also plenty of satisfaction for Pirelli, who contributed to providing the fans with a show and great fun, guaranteeing tyres with extremely high performance and, more importantly, with consistent performance over race distance, for the riders in both classes.

In the WorldSBK Race 2, the new inverted grid rule came into play, which decides the starting order based on the finishing order of Race 1. This meant that Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), who had won the first race yesterday, started from the ninth spot on the grid, whereas Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), who finished fourth in Race 1, started from pole position.

It was clear from the first laps that the race would be spectacular. The Briton on his Yamaha held the lead until the end of the second lap, but at the start of the third he was forced to hand it over to Xavi Forés (BARNI Racing Team), who had started from the third spot on the grid. In the meantime, Jonathan Rea made up six spots and moved into third place behind Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia).

Davies in action Melandri in action


The two-time World Champ pulled out all the stops and in the end he was able to move into the lead, trailed closely by Chaz Davies and Xavi Forés on their Ducatis and Alex Lowes on his Yamaha. The lead group, made up of five riders within seven tenths of one another, was rounded out by Italian Marco Melandri in fifth. During the eighth lap, Ayrton Badovini crashed out and had to retire.

In the ninth lap, Davies managed to snatch the lead from Rea, relegating him to second place, and in the meantime, it was a battle for third between Forés, Lowes and Melandri. The Italian Ducati rider was able to get the upper hand, then beginning to chase down the top two riders and during the thirteenth lap, he overtook Rea to move in behind his teammate.

However, in the early stages of the fourteenth lap, the World Champion moved back into the lead ahead of the two factory Ducati machines, but without being able to pull away. In fact, on the following lap, Melandri moved back into the lead. It was a back and forth of overtaking and in the twentieth lap Rea managed to once again take the front spot, only to concede it momentarily to Chaz Davies. In the meantime, Melandri slipped back to fourth place behind Lowes.

Rea and Davies in action Rea in action


At the beginning of the final lap, at the end of the starting straight, the Kawasaki-riding Northern Irishman launched his umpteenth attack and took the first position, leaving Davies second and Melandri third. This would be the finishing order when the chequered flag came out to signal the end of another thrilling race.

WorldSBK Race 2 standings:

1) J. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)

2) C. Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)

3) M. Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)

4) A. Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)

5) X. Forés (BARNI Racing Team)

6) T. Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team)

7) M. Van Der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)

8 ) L. Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)

9) L. Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia)

10) E. Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia)

11) A. De Angelis (Pedercini Racing SC-Project)

12) J. Brookes (ERMotorsport-EliteRoads.com.au)

13) M. Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team)

14) R. Ramos (Team Kawasaki GoEleven)

15) S. Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)

16) R. Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)

17) O. Jezek (Grillini Racing Team)

RT) N.Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)

RT) A. Badovini (Grillini Racing Team)

RT) R. Russo (Guandalini Racing)

RT) J. Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team)

At 1:30 PM local time, the FIM Supersport World Championship race took place with fifteen laps to race and plenty more show for the fans.

Patrick Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), after taking pole position on Saturday, started from the first spot on the grid, but struggled to find his pace and during the second lap he had already dropped back into the rear guard. Leading the race was first Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25) and then, from the third lap, Jules Cluzel (CIA Landford Insurance Honda), overtaken shortly thereafter by Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP team).

The race was red-flagged during the third lap due to contact between Gino Rea and Robin Mulhauser that left some debris on the tarmac.

WorldSBK Race 2 pordium WorldSSP podium


At the second start, with the exception of Gino Rea, Robin Mulhauser and Christian Gamarino, all the riders were once again on the grid to complete ten laps. At the end of the first lap, the race was being led by Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP team), followed by Jules Cluzel and Lucas Mahias, with Jacobsen fourth, who would soon after be overtaken by Kyle Ryde and Alex Baldolini.

During the second lap, Cluzel took the race lead ahead of Caricasulo, Baldolini and Mahias. The first seven riders were within a gap of less than one second of one another.

In the third lap, Jacobsen went long, causing the American to drop back to sixteenth place, whereas Cluzel, Mahias and Caricasulo alternated in the top spots with the latter taking the lead two laps from the end of the race.

In the last lap, there were still seven riders within eight tenths of one another and in the meantime Caricasulo fell and was forced to retire. It was a surprise finale with Roberto Rolfo (Team Factory Vamag) who took the lead. It was a breathtaking finish with Lucas Mahias and Roberto Rolfo coming down to the wire neck and neck. Only by checking the photofinish were the race officials able to confirm that Roberto Rolfo had won the race with just one thousandth of a second ahead of Mahias. Behind them in third, it was Anthony West (West Racing).

WorldSSP standings:

1. R. Rolfo (Team Factory Vamag)

2. L. Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP team)

3. A. West (West Racing)

4. K. Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)

5. N. Tuuli (Kallio Racing)

6. P. Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)

7. A. Wagner (GEMAR Team Lorini)

8. K. Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven)

9. N. Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura)

10. L. Epis (Response RE Racing)

11. S. Morais (Kallio Racing)

12. Z. Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura)

13. A. Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25)

14. M. Canducci (Puccetti Racing Junior Team FMI)

RT) J. Cluzel (CIA Landford Insurance Honda)

RT) F. Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP team)

RT) S. Hill (Profile Racing)

RT) D. Pizzoli (Race Department ATK#25)

RT) L. Stapleford (Profile Racing)

RT) K. Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini)

NS) G. Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven)

NS) R. Mulhauser (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda)

NS) C. Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing)

The Pirelli solutions chosen by the riders for WorldSBK Race 2 and WorldSSP:

In Race 2 of WorldSBK, on the rear, all the riders except Ayrton Badovini (Grillini Racing Team) and Riccardo Russo (Guandalini Racing), who used option B, opted for the V0965 development solution in SC1 compound (option C), already the most popular choice for Race 1 and preferred by the riders because of its grip and consistent performance. As for the front, on the other hand, the standard SC2 (option C) was still the most used, with the remainder of the riders opting for the new standard SC1 (option B) and only Ducati riders Chaz Davies and Xavi Forés and Kawasaki rider Ondrey Jezek using the S1699 SC1 development solution (option A).

WorldSBK Race 2 Tyre selection at the start


In the WorldSSP race, all the riders used the U1149 SC1 development solution (option A) on the rear, whereas on the front, the preferences were divided more or less equally between the standard SC1 (option A) and the V0533 SC1 development solution (option B), with only two riders, Cluzel and Caricasulo, opting for the standard SC2 (option C).

WorldSSP Race Tyre selection at the start


Pirelli statistics for WorldSBK Race 2:

• Winner of the PIRELLI BEST LAP AWARD: Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati),in 1'31.178 at the 6th lap

• Most used front solution: standard SC2 (13 out of 21 riders)

• Most used rear solution: devolpment SC1 V0965 (19 out of 21 riders)

• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tyres: 317.6 km/h, achieved by Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) in the 2nd lap

• Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the WorldSBK class: 5 front and 7 rear

Number of tyres available for each Superbike rider: 74, including 34 front and 40 rear

• Air temperature: 24° C

• Asphalt temperature: 44° C

Pirelli statistics for WorldSSP race:

• Winner of the PIRELLI BEST LAP AWARD: Patrick Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse),in 1'33.782 in the 7th lap

• Most used front solution: development SC1 V0533 (11 out of 24 riders)

• Most used rear solution: development SC1 U1149 (24 out of 24 riders)

• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Supercorsa tyres: 279.8 km/h, achieved by Michael Canducci (Puccetti Racing Junior Team FMI) in the 2nd lap

• Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the WorldSSP class: 5 front and 4 rear

Number of tyres available for each WorldSSP rider: 52, including 29 front and 23 rear

• Air temperature: 25° C

• Asphalt temperature: 36° C