Round One – Phillip Island
Superbike Race Two
Jonathan Rea somewhat made up for his disappointing no score on Saturday by winning an exciting Tissot Superpole race on Sunday morning.
It was a very tight and intensely hard fought affair that saw the top three cross the stripe covered only by seven-hundredths of a second. Toprak Razgatlioglu and Scott Redding the other podium place-getters narrowly ahead of Alex Lowes.
A quite healthy Sunday crowd of 27,391, slightly up on 2019, was claimed by organisers along with a three-day crowd figure of 54,437. Phillip Island continuing the trend that marks the seaside circuit as one of the most popular and well attended rounds on the WorldSBK Championship calendar.
Tom Sykes the only one of the leading riders to change his tyre selection from what he ran during Saturday’s race one. After starting strongly in race one, the BMW man had then gone rapidly backwards from half-race distance, thus his change to the more favoured ‘A’ option SC1 rear hardly surprising. Cortese had also gone from an ‘A’ option front to the ‘B’ option, as had Scheib.
The track temperature was rising rapidly as riders sat on the grid ahead of the second 22-lap encounter, some pyrometers registering almost 50-degrees celsius.
And the lights go out!
Michael van der Mark the early race leader from Jonathan Rea, Toprak Razgatlioglu, Alex Lowes, Loris Baz and Tom Sykes while Scott Redding had gone from his front row start to be down in seventh place as they negotiated turn four for the first time.
WorldSBK Race Two
Jonathan Rea moved through to the race lead early on lap two. Then at Lukey Heights Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Leon Haslam clashed which saw both riders skittling off the circuit.
WorldSBK Race Two
Five laps in and still the top ten were virtually nose-to-tail as they threaded their way around the 4445 metre Phillip Island lay-out.
Xavi Fores went firing off the circuit at turn three at high speed but somehow pulled it up before the fence and managed to rejoin the race near the back of the field. Sykes had also been tripped up by that Fores detour and lost a number of positions.
That leading group was now down to nine riders. Rea still holding sway up front as the others diced each other up for position, but still that top nine were all line-astern.
WorldSBK Race Two
As the race approached the half-way mark the pressure on Rea to quicken the pace started to pile on. Loris Baz through to the lead at turn four, but Rea went back to the front early on the following lap. Baz again forced his way through next time around, then Rea back through before the pair swapped places yet again at the start of lap 13.
Alex Lowes moved up to second place to make it a Kawasaki 1-2 with seven laps to run. Loris Baz ran wide at turn three but somehow kept it together without losing too much ground in what was a miraculous escape.
Lowes leads Van der Mark
Lowes used the slip-stream to sneak past Rea into turn one on the next lap but Rea took the lead back at Southern Loop as Van der Mark tried to split the two Kawasaki men. The Dutchman couldn’t quite make it stick at turn two but he was through a couple of corners later. Lowes used the slip-stream again though to move up to second place as they started the following lap to again make it a KRT 1-2 up front. The top nine though were still only covered by a second…
Rea then dropped the hammer to try and break away after dropping in a 1m32.173 to set a new fastest lap of the race. It was a great move made at the right time as Rea inched away as his pursuers battled for position amongst themselves.
Rea leads Lowes
Alvaro Bautisa was looking very loose on the Honda and was in seventh place, sandwiched between Ducati men Scott Redding and Chaz Davies.
Rea’s escape act though has not worked quite as per the script. His pursuers closing back on to the tail of the #1 Kawasaki, five of them were still in the race for the win. Rea, Lowes, Van der Mark, Baz, Razgatlioglu and Redding while Davies and Bautista had been dropped off that leading pack.
Lowes chasing Rea
Baz ran off at turn three again, this time right across the kitty litter and somehow remained upright and rejoined the circuit at turn four but was now out of the battle for the win. Baz had been ran wide at three by Razgatlioglu and left with nowhere to go. The Turk then ran off at turn eight with some sort of problem.
Lowes leads Rea
Alex Lowes took the lead on the penultimate lap and had the rear Pirelli smoking through turn three as Jonathan Rea and Michael Van der Mark did battle, Scott Redding right with them also as the leading group’s numbers reduced to four.
At the last lap board Lowes had half-a-second on his team-mate. Rea had it down to three-tenths by turn four… Lowes still in front through Siberia, Rea thought about it at Hayshed, instead follows Lowes, and the #22 stayed in front through MG Hairpin…
Alex Lowes won from Rea at P.I.
They then wound up through turns 11 and 12, Lowes leads onto the straight with Rea right up on his clacker… The drag to the line and Lowes holds on for victory!
Alex Lowes the victor in WorldSBK Race Two at Phillip Island
Scott Redding rounding out the podium ahead of Michael Van der Mark.
WorldSBK Race Two podium
That marks the second WorldSBK victory for Alex Lowes, his first coming two years ago at Brno. The 29-year-old Briton leaves Phillip Island leading the WorldSBK Championship on 51-points.
KRT 1-2 in WorldSBK Race Two
WorldSBK heads to Qatar in a fortnight’s time for round two.
Round One – Phillip Island
Superbike Race Two Results
|1||A. Lowes||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||/||329,3|
|2||J. Rea||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+0.037||321,4|
|3||S. Redding||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+0.849||327,3|
|4||M. Van Der Mark||Yamaha YZF R1||+1.784||320,5|
|5||C. Davies||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+4.278||329,3|
|6||A. Bautista||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+4.322||329,3|
|7||M. Scheib||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+4.829||322,4|
|8||L. Baz||Yamaha YZF R1||+6.172||325,3|
|9||S. Cortese||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+11.057||322,4|
|10||T. Sykes||BMW S1000 RR||+17.204||322,4|
|11||X. Fores||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+33.338||317,6|
|12||L. Haslam||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+33.779||326,3|
|NC||M. Rinaldi||Ducati Panigale V4 R||8 Laps||321,4|
|RET||T. Razgatlioglu||Yamaha YZF R1||3 Laps||326,3|
|RET||F. Caricasulo||Yamaha YZF R1||12 Laps||321,4|
|RET||T. Takahashi||Honda CBR1000RR-R||17 Laps||314,0|
2020 WorldSBK Championship Points
|5||Michael Van Der Mark||31|
|13||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||7|