Thrilling début, with race won by Jonathan Rea for the first round of WorldSBK in Australia; encouraging performance for the new Pirelli rear solution in SC1 compound
The two-time World Champion takes pole position, the win and the fast lap in one of the most heated races of recent years. Satisfaction for Pirelli in the rear V0965 development solution which allowed the riders to maintain a high and consistent race pace through to the last lap
|Davies action||Davies action|
The 30th season of the MOTUL FIM World Superbike Championship could not have made a better début. On the Phillip Island circuit in Australia, Race 1 of the World SBK class opened the season dances, providing the fans with spectacular and thrilling passes in a race that will certainly be remembered as one of the most heated and exciting of recent years.
The two-time FIM World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) begins the year on the top step of the podium, but this time he had to give it his absolute best to keep the attacks of Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri, Tom Sykes and Alex Lowes at bay, all of whom took turns leading the race, making the Northern Irishman's win anything but easy.
|Melendri action||Melendri action|
An excellent début for Pirelli as well: the new V0965 rear development solution in SC1 compound provided excellent grip, allowing the riders to maintain a high and consistent pace all the way through the last lap.
In Superpole®, Rea made it clear to all straight away that he will not be passing the Champion sceptre on easily once again this year, stopping the clock at 1’29.573 to go straight to pole position ahead of teammate Tom Sykes and the Ducatis ridden by Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies. Rea's time improves on Tom Sykes' track record set in 2016 by more than four tenths at 1’30.020.
|Sykes action||Lowes action|
In Race 1, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) did not get off to a bad start but Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) attacked straight away, momentarily snatching the lead from him. Until the ninth lap is was a battle between the Italian and the Northern Irishman, but from the tenth lap, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) also alternated in the lead, whereas Chaz Davies was never able to move into the top spot in the race, but in the finale he became more and more dangerous in his attacks on Jonathan Rea.
|Kawasaki and Ducati riders action||Rea and Davis action|
Unfortunately, in the sixth lap Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) was forced to abandon the race, whereas in the fifteenth lap the race lost another one of its protagonists, Marco Melandri.
From the twentieth lap, Rea managed to take back the lead from his teammate Tom Sykes, a position that he would hold onto until the chequered flag came out, crossing the finish line with Chaz Davies hot on his heels.
|Race 1 podium||Rea on the podium|
WorldSBK Race 1 standings:
1. J. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) 2. C. Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 3. T. Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 4. A. Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 5. L. Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 6. X. Forés (BARNI Racing Team) 7. J. Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) 8. E. Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) 9. M. Van Der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 10. R. Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 11. N.Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) 12. M. Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team) 13. R. Ramos (Team Kawasaki GoEleven) 14. A. De Angelis (Pedercini Racing SC-Project) 15. S. Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) 16. R. Russo (Guandalini Racing) 17. A. Badovini (Grillini Racing Team) 18. O. Jezek (Grillini Racing Team) OUT) M. Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) OUT) J. Brookes (ERMotorsport-EliteRoads.com.au) OUT) L. Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia)
|Rea celebrating the victory||Rea celebrating on the podium|
The Pirelli solutions chosen by the riders for WorldSBK Race 1:
For the race weekend, the WorldSBK riders have three front and four rear solutions available.
In Race 1, on the rear all the riders except Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) who used option A, opted for the V0965 development solution in SC1 compound (option C) which, confirming Pirelli's expectations, proved to be the highest performance solution both in terms of absolute grip and consistency. Not only that, but this tyre also allowed for a significant improvement, by almost a second, in the lap times with respect to Race 1 in 2016.
As for the front, on the other hand, as always, the choices were much more varied because they were influenced primarily by each rider's riding style. In this race, most of the riders (12 out of 21) chose to standard SC2 solution (option C).
Seven riders chose the new standard SC1 tyre (option B) which, before being promoted to the new standard SC1, had made its début as the development solution labelled U0176 in 2016 during the Assen round and was then also taken to Misano, Lausitzring, Magny-Cours, Jerez and Losail. The only riders to use the S1699 SC1 development solution (option A) were Ducati riders, Chaz Davies and Xavi Forés.
Pirelli statistics for WorldSBK Race 1:
• Winner of the PIRELLI BEST LAP AWARD: Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team),in 1'31.197at the 3rd lap
• Most used front solution: devolpment SC1 U0176 (12 out of 21 riders)
• Most used rear solution: devolpment SC1 V0965 (20 out of 21 riders)
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tyres: 319.5 km/h, achieved by Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) in the 2nd lap
• Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the Superbike class: 5 front and 7 rear
|Tyre selected by riders at the start|
Number of tyres available for each Superbike rider: 74, including 34 front and 40 rear
• Air temperature: 18° C
• Asphalt temperature: 42° C