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|02-27-2016, 05:22 AM||#1|
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World Superbike: Jonathan Rea Resumes Winning
Photo Courtesy of Worldsbk.com press
Jonathan Rea gets off to a good start to his title defense - first win of the new year at Phillip Island.
New year, same old Jonathan Rea. The reigning champ kicked off the 2016 World Superbike season with a race one win at the season opener in Phillip Island, Australia. Rea led 18 of the 22 laps, his Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes led the other four.
Although he led for most of the race, that did not mean there were no challengers – Rea was being stalked. His final challenge came from Aruba.it Ducati’s Chaz Davies on the final lap, but it was Rea’s day and he held him off to take the win by .110 of a second.
“After I showed him [Tom Sykes] a wheel on the straight and he let me through, it was so difficult because every lap was plus zero on the board,” Rea said. “In the end I was making my personal best laps, 31-middle, and Chaz [Davies] was still there. So I tried to close the door and he blew it open into MG and went a little bit wide, I was able to square it off. Anyway, the first win of 2016 it’s a great way to start with the ZX-10R, I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s race now.”
What was going through Davies mind?
“Firstly where can I pass him and secondly where can I make it stick,” Davies said. “I thought about doing it early and I thought, ‘nah, save it ‘til the last lunge there.’ Obviously had a go at it, Johnny [Rea] kind of tightened up the line a bit and when I went up the inside I felt the front end twitching and didn’t want to do something stupid to take us both down. It was a good race. Really enjoyed it, good scraps all throughout. And a good turn around from where we were earlier in the week with a bike that wasn’t working as well as it is now, and also recovering from a huge crash earlier in the week.”
The young Honda rider, Michael van der Mark was in the scrap as well, bringing the Honda World Superbike Team a third-place finish ahead of Davies teammate Davide Giugliano.
Photo Courtesy of Ducati
Chaz Davies stalked Rea and had one last go on the final lap, but settled for second rather than risking taking them both out.
“I knew I should be in the front group from the beginning of the race,” Van der Mark said. “I could do the pace with the guys quite easy. I had a feeling I could go faster, but I didn't want to stress the tire too much. After 10 laps there was kind of a big drop off on the front tire. I tried to stay on with Johnny [Rea] and Chaz [Davies], but at the end, the gap to fourth position was big enough and I could finish the race safe.”
Sykes crossed the line in fifth ahead of Pata Yamaha’s Sylvain Guintoli. MV Agusta Reparto Corse’s Leon Camier won his scrap with Althea BMW’s Jordi Torres to finish seventh and eighth, respectively.
Van der Mark’s teammate Nicky Hayden was in the mix with the lead pack early on, but started dropping back as the race wore on, with what one could surmise was tire-wear issues. Hayden ultimately finished ninth in his World Superbike debut.
Rounding out the top 10 was Milwaukee BMW’s Josh Brookes.
2016 World Superbike Phillip Island Race One Results:
DNF Alex Lowes (GBR) Pata Yamaha Official WSBK Team
DNF Xavi Fores (ESP) Barni Racing Team Ducati
DNF Alex de Angelis (RSM) IodaRacing Team Aprilia