A Flying Start to the Season
Jonathan Rea didn’t go in for half measures in Australia for the first event in the 2017 Superbike World Championship. Winner of both races during the weekend, the reigning twin world champion has confirmed he’s the boss of the discipline
Like last season, Jonathan Rea won the two races held on the Phillip Island circuit. The Kawasaki rider is also the first to have won four times in a row on the Australian track.
This weekend, winning was a question of strategy, It was a bit like a bike race, with everyone waiting to see what the others had up their sleeves… It was warmer than during the test sessions at the start of the week and we were running a little blind in terms of settings, not knowing what to expect for the final laps … Nobody wanted to take control of the race.
The Brit managed the situation well by attacking at exactly the right time. Now with forty wins to his credit, Rea is not far from forty-three victories scored by Noriyuki Haga. On a circuit that has never been one of his favourites, Tom Sykes for his part finished third and then sixth
For me a podium at Phillip Island is like winning on another circuit.
For his debut race in the Superbike category, Randy Krummenacher finished tenth in the first race. The next day, the Swiss rider unfortunately left the track to avoid Russo who had fallen under his wheels. Krummenacher only made it back to sixteenth place.
In Supersport, Kenan Sofuoglu failed to make the start for the Australian race. Having injured a wrist this winter, the five-time world champion dislocated a thumb during the test sessions at the start of the week and had to forgo riding at Phillip Island. Kyle Ride finished fourth and Canducci fourteenth.
With his two victories, Jonathan Rea and left Australia with a ten-point lead over Chaz Davies. Tom Sykes is ranked fourth overall, on equal points with the third-placed contender, Alex Lowes. With the six points he scored, Randy Krummenacher now ranks fourteenth. In Supersport, for the time being the championship standings remain what they were after the first race of the season. Ryde is sixth and Canducci fourteenth.
To make the show even more spectacular, the promoters of the World Superbike Championship decided that the starting grid for Sunday’s race this year would not be based on the Superpole classification, but on that of the race on Saturday. But it is not the winner who starts from pole position. The top three finishers are given the third line, the first and third exchanging their positions. The riders who finished the first race in the fourth, fifth and sixth positions are promoted to the first line, and those who finished seventh, eighth and ninth start from the second line. From the tenth finisher onwards, the starting positions continue to be based on the Superpole classification.
On some circuits, that may complicate the life of the winner of the first race.
But that was not the case for him in Australia.