Three rostrums to start the season
Although he did not win in Australia, Jonathan Rea nonetheless started his season well by clocking up the rostrums. Leon Haslam joined him at the finish of two of the three weekend races.
It’s become a tradition in the Superbike Wolrd Championship. Every new season there are new rules. This year, the Superpole has changed format and has reverted to a more conventional event. On the other hand, a third race, named Sprint, has been introduced in ten-lap format. It is held on Sunday morning and is used to establish the starting grid for the last event of the weekend. Last detail, only the first nine riders are rewarded with half of the points awarded in the two rounds between which the sprint is placed. Held as every year on the Phillip Island circuit, the opening race of the World Championship allowed Jonathan Rea to clock up three second places after signing the fastest time in the trials. While he was unable to do anything to beat Alvaro Bautista, the former MotoGP rider who is racing in the Superbike this year, the quadruple world champion was still satisfied with his Australian weekend. “I’ve never been very successful on this circuit and starting off with three rostrums is not a bad deal,” he said. “I want to congratulate Alvaro who made a good debut. He’s going to be a formidable opponent this year, I’m sure, and he’ll help me be even better. The season is just starting.” For his debut with the official ZX-10RR, Leon Haslam was also up to scratch. For a long time hot on Rea’s heels on Saturday afternoon, the Brit fell shortly after the halfway point. He still managed to get back on and finish fifteenth. And he made up for his mistake the next day by clocking up two third places that allowed him to score well-earned points. Toprak Razgatlioglu had his best result on Saturday afternoon when he finished sixth. He ranked fifteenth on Sunday. In Supersport, Hikari Okubo equalled the best performance of his career by crossing the finish line in sixth place. Lucas Mahias on the other hand was less successful. For his debut with the Kawasaki Pucetti team, the former world champion had to settle for twelfth place because of a nineteen-second penalty imposed for speeding in the pit lane. Next round on March 17th in Thailand.
With three second places, Jonathan Rea left Phillip Island in second place overall in the World Superbike, with a capital of 49 points. The Kawasaki rider is only 13 points behind the leader, Alvaro Bautista. Leon Haslam is in sixth