Rea and Kawasaki win at first-ever attempt
Incredible final lap decides first podium of 2015
The opening race of the 2015 eni FIM Superbike World Championship was held in hot and sunny conditions at the Phillip Island circuit with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) taking the opening victory of the year after a titanic 22-lap fight with Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) and Chaz Davies (Aruba Ducati SBK), who completed an all-British podium.
In stepping atop the podium for the sixteenth time in his career, Rea also scored his first top-3 finish at the Island . Furthermore, for the second year in a row the winner of race 1 was a rider on his first outing with new machinery.
The two WorldSBK rookies Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Deviles) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike) impressed in their debut encounter in the series by finishing in fourth and fifth places, respectively. Former Moto2 rider Torres looked at times able to challenge for the podium, while reigning WSS Champion van der Mark slowed down his pace in the last quarter of the race.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) made a good recovery to end up sixth after running off track on lap 6, following an overtaking manoeuvre by van der Mark. Reigning Champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike), Nico Terol (Althea Racing Team Ducati), Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) rounded out the top-10.
Lowes had a hard time catching up after being slowed down by a collision in the early stages of the race. Troy Bayliss (Aruba Ducati SBK) ran as high as 7th before eventually fading to 13th just ahead of local wildcard rider Jed Metcher (Race Center – Demolation Plus) who was elated at scoring 2 points on his WorldSBK debut.
Niccolò Canepa (Team Hero EBR) was the only faller, he was taken to the medical centre for further checks.
Rea tops red-flagged Australian Superpole
Haslam snatches victory from Rea at finish line