The second race of the WorldSBK season saw history made with the introduction of the much-touted revised grid that saw the podium men from Race 1 start from the third row.
This meant that Jonathan Rea, Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes had to fight through the field during the 22 lap affair. It proved little challenge for Rea and Davies to hit the front but ultimately Sykes lost too much time making progress and abused his tires trying to bridge the gap to the leading group.
That leading group consisted of three Ducatis, a Kawasaki and a Yamaha with the Italian horde of Davies, Marco Melandri and Xavi Fores all taking turns at the front.
After Race 1 Rea said that it was one of the strangest races he had been involved in but in the second race it was a much more traditional affair. The pace was much faster in Race 2 but the fight at the front was as frenzied as it was during the opener.
"A few laps before the end I changed my line a little bit just because I had been in front for so long and the other riders had been able to study my riding closely,” said Rea. “I focused on making sure I had a clean last sector and good drive to the straight. On a Superbike it's better to lead onto the straight because it's difficult to overtake before the line I tried to make sure that Chaz had to come to my left, that's the worse line into turn one. It's a great win for us.”
For Davies the focus was on riding smart and not making any big mistakes. The Welshman rode a calculated race to ensure that he came away with 40 points from the season opener.
"I tried a few things during the race but I didn't do anything crazy. This is another 20 points, and 40 from this weekend, so there's lots to be positive about. I've collected more points than last year and that's the key for me. Phillip Island has always been tough for me and I've always lost points so that's why these results are a positive.”
Having stalled in his attempt to get through the pack Sykes had to settle for sixth at the flag but afterwards the Englishman, who had been critical of the race 2 shakeup said, “We saw today that the guys that finished on the podium all started on row three and four so if they can do it I have to be able to do it too. That being said I'm happy with how we performed this weekend and to come away with 26 points.”
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