Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the thrilling opening races at Phillip Island:
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.
Haslam snatches victory from Rea at finish line
Davies is again third, van der Mark and Torres crash out of promising position
The second race of the Swann Insurance Australian Round was another one to remember, given the thrilling finale that saw Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) edging out Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) for the win at the finish line by just 0.010. The 31-year-old from Derby, England, enjoyed better drive out of the last turn and managed to get on the outside of Rea, eventually prevailing over his rival by the smallest margin. The two former team-mates are now tied at the top of the standings with 45 points apiece. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) completed a solid weekend by again finishing in third place.
Ironically enough, the last time Haslam stepped atop the podium was in 2010 at Kyalami (Race 2), when he managed to defeat Rea by half a second.
Leon Haslam: “Yeah I am really happy with the way we operated this weekend and with the team. In Race 1 I made a small mistake which cost me the win but I felt I had a lot in reserve to go faster and the tyre was feeling really good. In Race 2 van der Mark had a really good pace but he was running too fast and I felt that by running at that pace the tyres might have had worn off a bit more. Then, when I made my move I didn’t feel I had the same reserve as the first race. I then made another small mistake and I went from first to third. I had to push very hard in the last two laps and it made it very difficult for me again. In the end we managed to get the win so that's perfect.”
Jonathan Rea: “It's really great to come out of here with 45 points, I didn’t think this was going to be the strongest track for the Kawasaki. The guys have worked very hard throughout the weekend on race pace. I would have shook the hand to who would have told me I would have done so well here. Obviously Kawasaki and the team have done a great job, but I admit the Aprilia was really fast on the straight. Anyway this is a great about the result and looking forward to Thailand.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was fourth at the chequered flag, ahead of Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike), Nico Terol (Althea Racing Team Ducati), Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), with six different manufacturers within the top-8.
Reigning World Supersport Champion Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) had his shot at the lead throughout the race, eventually dropping down to fourth in a single lap. The Dutchman then lost some more ground to the front runners before crashing out of turn 10 at the end of Lap 19, thankfully without injury. Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) also fell a lap earlier, losing the front of his RSV4 RF at Turn 1 on Lap 19 while he was running in fourth place.
Troy Bayliss (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team) started well, once again moving through the field making it as high as 7th until the triple champion entered the pits to change his front tyre on lap 14. He rejoined finishing outside of the points in 16th.
Niccolò Canepa (Team Hero EBR) was ruled unfit following his race 1 while Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) was forced to pull out of the race due to a technical problem at the end of lap 2, after starting the encounter from the pit-lane.
GINO PUTS IT ON THE PODIUM IN WSS RETURN
Sun, 22 Feb 2015
CIA LANDLORDS INSURANCE HONDA’S Gino Rea took a superb third place podium finish on his return to World Supersport racing at Phillip Island in Australia.
The Londoner was always in contention for the final podium spot and he came out on top in a thrilling last lap battle for third.
Gino said: “In hospital on Tuesday after my foot operation I was not expecting to get on the podium in the first race. I knew we had the potential though.
“I managed my tyre at the beginning, maybe too much as I had pace left at the end. Once the tyre dropped off I tried for the podium. Racing with Kyle it was not easy but it was a good race.
“After a few difficult seasons, it is great to be where I think I deserve to be. The CIA Landlords Insurance Honda package is great and hopefully we can start winning races soon. Friday was my first real test on the bike and we did not get too excited. We have got a good bike and thanks to everyone in the team for getting me on the podium.”
Martin Cardenas and Riccardo Russo both pulled out with tyre problems while in strong points scoring positions. Kieran Clarke finished his first competitive race in three years.
The second round of the World Supersport Championship is at the Chang circuit in Thailand on 22nd March.
CIA Landlords Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “That was a brilliant race by Gino considering he had a screw taken out of his right foot on Tuesday and is not 100 per cent fit. I think the whole CIA Landlords Insurance Honda team did a great job and it gives us great confidence for the next round in Thailand.
“Martin and Ricky both had to pull in because of tyre problems. It is a shame as they were both on for good points scoring finishes.
“It was good for Kieran to get a long race under his belt on his comeback to competition. He will go from strength to strength from here."
Positive start to Pata Honda's 2015 SBK campaign
Sylvain Guintoli took two positive results from the opening round of the 2015 World Superbike championship at Phillip Island in Australia this afternoon, with his Pata Honda team-mate Michael van der Mark impressing with a strong fifth place finish in the first race, his WSBK debut.
The two 22-lap races around the 4.445km Phillip Island circuit were won by British riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam, with 2014 champion Guintoli riding hard in the first outing from his ninth place on the grid to post a seventh at the flag.
Guintoli’s crew made further changes to his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP for race two, but with temperatures above 30°C, the 32-year-old Frenchman, injured in a big testing crash in Spain recently, endured another tough physical battle to bring the CBR home in fifth place.
Fifth was where Dutch sensation Michael van der Mark finished his debut World Superbike race after starting from fourth on the grid and battling in the early stages with the leading group before dropping into a solitary race and finishing four seconds ahead of 2013 WSBK champion Tom Sykes.
The 22-year-old reigning World Supersport champion enjoyed an even better start to race two, blasting past Rea’s Kawasaki into the lead at the start of the eighth lap. Van der Mark led for the following five laps before rear tyre wear forced him back. He finally crashed out of fourth place with just three laps to go but was more than satisfied with his World Superbike debut.
Sylvain Guintoli - 7th and 5th
I tried everything I could and we did both races with very different set-ups, although the results were much the same. But at least we’ve got some good data that we can work on now. After missing so much winter testing, I’ve really been treating this weekend as another live test session because I’m still not quite yet clicking with the bike. We’ll just keep working though and come back strong in Thailand. To be honest, I’ve never felt so physically drained after two races. I think the injury from Jerez must have somehow added to the dehydration because I felt really ill during both the races. I’ll focus on recovering as much as possible before the next races now. But one of the highlights of the weekend for me was being on the track with Troy Bayliss. He had already retired when I came to SBK but we had a few laps scrapping out there in race two which was a bit special!
Michael van der Mark - 5th and DNF
Friday morning started as a bit of a nightmare really because we changed the bike a lot compared to the test earlier in the week. It was just not working but from the second free practice we started getting faster and faster and when the temperatures went really high yesterday we were still fast and managed the tyres well. I had a good feeling for the races but we were a bit unlucky that the weather was not as hot as yesterday. I had quite a good start to the first race and was aggressive in the first couple of laps, but I couldn’t stay with the front guys. I had a big drop in the tyre as well, so I had to focus on the guy behind me and save some tyre to bring it back in fifth. We made a couple of small electronics changes for the second race but I was hoping for a bit more hot weather. The start wasn’t reall y great but I was really aggressive and could stay with the front guys this time. I even led the race for a few laps which felt really good before I had another big, big drop in the tyre. I tried to follow the guys but just pushed a bit too hard and lost it. But my guys did an amazing job this weekend and to be fifth in my first Superbike race was incredible. To be leading in my second Superbike race was just too good to be true!
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
We didn’t have an easy first weekend with Sylvain but we kept changing the CBR to give him more feeling for the race and he finished seventh in race one. For race two we changed the bike again and he finished fifth. He’s fifth in the points and considering everything that’s not too bad. We’ll study everything to consider the best way forward but I’m confident that we’ll be stronger in Thailand. Race one for Michael was a lonely ride but to get fifth in your first Superbike race was a very good effort. We made some changes for race two to work the tyre a little better and it worked out well. He got a good start and even led the race for a few laps before dropping back to fourth. He had a small crash three laps from the end so no points there, but for sure he showed the world that on the Honda he has all the speed and talent needed to run at the front.
Brilliant First Race Win For Championship Leader Rea
Jonathan Rea (KRT) took his first WSB race win for Kawasaki at the first attempt in a close first 22-lap contest at Phillip Island. He then followed it up with second place to take joint championship lead. Tom Sykes (KRT) had an unlucky raceday and finished sixth and then fourth, after two truly battling rides
In hot conditions the new era of WSB competition got underway with Superpole winner Rea scoring the win by leading for all but one of the 22-laps, and finally taking the race victory by 0.039 seconds from Leon Haslam.
In race two he was unlucky not to make it a double win after another fantastic fight to the flag, but he was beaten by an impossibly small 0.010 seconds across the line by Leon Haslam.
Sykes was fighting to make up for an unhappy eighth place on the starting grid in each race, after the second Superpole contest had been cut short on Saturday. He was dicing with another rider on lap five of race one when he was left no choice but to run wide at the fast turn one and he dropped to the back of the loose leading pack, and had to work hard for his eventual sixth place.
In race two Tom was on course for a fight for the podium places until his pace was slowed by a lack of feeling from the front and he had to settle for fourth place.
The overall championship points sees leaders Haslam and Rea tied on 45, with a win and a second place apiece, while Sykes is sixth overall, on 23 points.
The next round will take place a month from now, in Thailand, for the first ever WSBK round at the new Chang International Circuit near the town of Buriram.
Jonathan Rea: “I could not have had a better weekend. The team were not so optimistic about winning races or being on the podium here with the pace of some other bikes but together with Pere, Paolo, Javier, all the guys from Showa, all my mechanics, we worked really hard and never lost sight of our goal, which was to be strong for 22-laps each time. Leon just had more pace today in each race, so race one fell in my hands a little, but I am so happy to be getting out of here with 45 points and starting the season strongly. I did not expect these results at all. We were not the most optimistic so to be just pipped by a small margin in race two, and by my old team-mate Leon, I am happy for him. We did the maximum we could and came away with the maximum points we could have had. I am happy and excited to move on from here with 45 points.”
Tom Sykes: “In race one I was given no room going into turn one and had to run wide. It was one of those things and he could have easily left me some room, but he didn’t. It changed the outlook of my race but we have come away with some points on the board. In race two we made some changes to the bike set-up and I was able to be with the leaders in the beginning of the race but unfortunately we had some limitation with the front feeling. I was not quite able to put the bike where I wanted it and suffered a little but in the middle to exit of the corners. Jonathan did a great job for Kawasaki and that was good to see. Now we will leave Phillip Island with a lot more information and I hope we can use this to be stronger in the next rounds.”
After his big crash on Saturday David Salom (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) did not race but he escaped with a broken right middle finger and heavy bruising. He hopes to be fit for the next round in one month’s time.
Wildcard Aussie Jed Metcher (Race Centre Demolition Plus Kawasaki) was top non-KRT finisher for Kawasaki in race one, going 14th and scoring two points. In his first WSB weekend for Kawasaki Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki) turned a no-score of 16th place in race one into tenth in race two.
Smith just 0.032s from debut podium
Pata Honda rider Kyle Smith missed out on a World Supersport championship podium on his debut by 0.032s in the opening race of the 2015 series at Phillip Island in Australia this afternoon.
The race was won by Jules Cluzel after 23-year-old Smith ran a controlled first part of the 18-lap race around the 4.445km Phillip Island circuit, in which he was in contention for the podium throughout.
The Huddersfield ace had saved enough rear tyre on his Honda CBR600RR for the end of the race to enjoy a great scrap with fellow-Briton and fellow-Honda rider Gino Rea, who just pipped him at the line. The duo will renew their rivalry at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand in four weeks time.
Kyle Smith - P4
I had a really good start and paced myself early on to look after the tyre. A couple of riders passed me but I knew that I had better race pace than them so I wasn’t too worried. I held on and tried to keep with the leading group and, as the race unfolded, a couple of people dropped off, which I was expecting. Cluzel and Zanetti pulled away a bit because they’ve had better tyre life than everyone all weekend. But I think that’s just this track and hopefully at the next few circuits we’ll be a little closer to them. Then it was just the two Brits battling it out until the last lap. And he beat me. There’s not much I can say about that, except that I’ll try to make sure it doesn’t happen again. There’s nothing like standing on that box after a full weekend of work. But, not o nly was it the other Brit, not only the other Honda, but it was three hundredths of a second. But I'm not going to cry about it, because it’s game on!
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
We briefed Kyle not to go crazy in the first few laps and he followed the plan really well. He got a good start and wanted to settle behind Sofuoglu to save his tyres a bit but Kenan ran off the track and some other guys passed him and picked up the pace. Kyle went with them and in the last few laps he had a great fight with Gino Rea. Unfortunately he missed out on a podium spot by a few thousandths of a second, but fourth place is still a really good job in your first World Supersport race. Of course when you’re that close, you want the podium; but there are a lot more races to come, so this is a very good job for starters.
Brave seventh for Suzuki and de Puniet on WSBK debut
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Randy de Puniet completed his debut weekend in the World Superbike Championship with a seventh place finish in the final race of the afternoon at Australia’s Phillip Island today.
Motivated by his initial outing on the Yoshimura-powered Superbike, and with 22 race laps under his belt, de Puniet ran a determined race two. Fighting his way up from his 11th place start, he joined the top-ten battle on his second lap, rising to seventh with four laps to go and claiming nine points at the start of his campaign.
Struggling with his injuries from the earlier testing accident which caused a severe case of arm pump, the Frenchman fought hard for the beginning of his debut race, circulating strongly in 8th before a collision with another rider at turn two saw him run wide, crossing the line in 17th.
Relegated to 15th at the start of the opening race, Alex Lowes fought back hard on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 regaining six places as he moved his way through the pack, tussling with Troy Bayliss and his teammate at the half way stage, to finish ninth at the flag. Regrouping for the second race, a technical issue saw the young Briton pull in on the sighting lap, but after re-joining the race from the pit-lane Lowes was forced to retire.
With air temperatures a steady 30°C throughout, the light cloud allowed track temperatures to drop slightly between the two races, the midday outing peaking at 42°C. Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea and Aprilia’s Leon Haslam battled for first and second positions, sharing one a piece across the two races with Ducati’s Chaz Davies collecting the third position in both.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki returns to its UK base to prepare for the second round of competition as the World Championship travels to Asia for its inaugural race in Thailand on Sunday 22nd March.
Randy de Puniet:
“It was a horrible Sunday for me, I was in a lot of pain and the first race was a disaster. After six laps I was not able to ride because I had pain everywhere, plus arm pump, so it was impossible to brake or to accelerate, and I tried to manage a good position - I think I was ninth and should have been able to finish tenth. Unfortunately Camier hit me, I went straight on and finished 17th so I’m a little bit disappointed. I was worried again about my physical condition for race two but luckily I was able to manage it better, and I finished seventh. Until the middle of the race I was only four seconds from the lead but after that I started to struggle again, I tried to keep a good rhythm and finished seventh, which is a good result in this condition. Without the no score in the first race it would have been possible to be seventh in the Championship, I’m 11th which is a shame but after everything this week this is not so bad. Now it’s time for me to recover and get fit for Thailand. I want to thank the team for everything and also the Clinica Mobile for helping me to ride this weekend.”
“I just don’t know what to say. Me and the team have put in so much work all week to have a strong package for today and from the very start of the warm up session to the end of my second race, everything that could go wrong, did. It’s impossible to point the finger at anyone or anything, everyone has been putting in so much effort to support me and get the GSX-R in the front group and we managed that all week but today it fell apart. Right now I just feel flat but we’ll get back, get re-focused and rebuild for the second round of the Championship. There is still a lot of racing left to do!”
“To detail the problems we had today would need a lot more than a quote in a press release so I’m not going to try, just suffice to say that this is the most disappointed I think I’ve ever felt at a race track at the end of the day based on the potential of what we could have achieved compared to what we did. If I was forced to pick any bright spots then Randy’s very brave performances, especially in race two, would be one. He really wasn’t in the condition to be riding a motorcycle so to finish seventh in the amount of pain and discomfort he was suffering was a great effort.
“As a team we will regroup, take the positives of the really strong performance potential shown by the bike, and of course Alex, this week and make sure that we approach round two in a positive way and get back involved with the fight at the front because there is no doubt that rider and machine are capable of that.”
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team celebrates its first podium successes of the 2015 season with Chaz Davies at Phillip Island
Phillip Island (Australia), Sunday 22 February 2015 – A fantastic start for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team today at Phillip Island, with Chaz Davies scoring two third place finishes in these opening races of the 2015 Superbike World Championship season.
Race 1 – Today’s races took place in hot conditions with track temperatures of 42°C for race one. Davies, from second on the grid, was lying third through the opening stages, right behind Haslam and Rea. This British trio battled it out for the podium positions for the entire duration of the race, passing and re-passing each other in what was a spectacular opening race. Welshman Chaz pushed hard all the way to the line but, struggling to find acceleration through the turns in the final laps, he was unable to get ahead of his rivals, crossing the line in third position. This is an important result both for the team, that opens the season in a positive way, and the rider, who steps up to the Phillip Island podium for the first time in his career.
Bayliss, twelfth on the grid, got away well and was up into seventh place by the second lap. The Australian rider battled with various riders throughout the race, Torres, Guintoli and Sykes included. Unfortunately tyre performance dropped off significantly in the later stages of the race and Troy gradually lost ground as a result. The three-times world champion crossed the line in final thirteenth position.
Race 2 – In race 2, and in very similar conditions, Davies made a strong start, and was up in second by the end of lap one, together with Rea and Haslam, as in race one. On lap two his pace was such as to record the best lap of the race (1’31.725). The Ducati rider was lapping in third/fourth position for a good part of the race and, able to manage the tyre situation effectively, he even took the race lead at one point in the final stages. A fantastic battle to the line ensued, and saw Chaz finish once more on the third step of the podium, earning himself more important points for the championship.
Bayliss made up several positions in the initial stages and was lying eighth through the opening laps. Similarly to race one, he started to suffer from significant tyre wear towards the mid-race point with the situation becoming serious enough for him to return to the garage on lap thirteen for a tyre change. Returning to the track in eighteenth place, he could only do so much in the limited time remaining, finishing his race in sixteenth place.
At the end of the opening round of the 2015 Superbike World Championship, Davies lies third with 32 points, and Troy Bayliss takes 3 points to place nineteenth. In the manufacturer’s championship, Ducati positions third with a total of 32 points.
The next appointment for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team will be Round 2 of the championship, taking place at the Chang International circuit in Buriram, Thailand over the weekend of 20-22 March.
Quotes after the races:
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 3rd, 3rd
“I’m finally on the podium at Phillip Island, and twice over - having tried every year to get here, I’ve finally done it. I would have liked to be able to do something more but it wasn’t possible, I was just missing a little more drive in the final laps and tried to conserve the tyres as well as I could. I personally have always started the championship a little badly and so this result is extremely important. It confirms that we are starting at a different level with respect to last year, and I was able to stick there with Rea fairly comfortably. We’re worked hard this weekend, concentrated on race distance, and it seems to have paid off. I thank my whole team but also all of the technicians back at Borgo Panigale for their hard work over the winter. The results obtained here are a good base on which to build.”
Troy Bayliss (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #21) – 13th, 16th
“I’m feeling a real mix of emotions at the end of the weekend. I came here to have fun, and for the fans and the Phillip Island circuit. I thought that maybe I wouldn’t have the pace to be able to run with these guys anymore but instead I’ve seen that I can still be fast and, if it hadn’t been for the tyre issue, I think I could have done a lot more. So I don’t know, it’s a pity I didn’t have more time on track, and I didn’t have time to train properly ahead of the event of course, but all in all it’s been a really fun weekend, and in many ways it feels like nothing has changed since 2008. I thank Ducati for giving me the opportunity and also all of the fans and ducatisti for their continued support.”
Stefano Cecconi – Team Principal
“I think we can say that the Superbike season has got off to a great start for us here. Chaz was fantastic in both Superpole and today’s races, and his results here demonstrate that all of the work done over the winter is taking us in the right direction. Particular thanks go to Troy, for what he has done - he’s definitely lived up to reputation as a legend. Our thoughts go to Davide of course, and we hope he can be back on the bike as soon as possible.”
VICTORY AND SECOND PLACE FOR HASLAM IN THE TWO AUSTRALIAN RACES. THIS IS APRILIA'S 50TH WIN IN WSBK.
LEON HASLAM LEADS THE RIDER CHAMPIONSHIP, APRILIA AT THE TOP OF MANUFACTURER STANDINGS
Phillip Island (Australia), 22 February 2015 - Aprilia never gets tired of winning.
The RSV4, reigning World Champion bike, and the new Aprilia Racing - Red Devils team, pick up where they left off in November, on that magical night in Qatar when the Italian team took the double world title.
On the Phillip Island track Leon Haslam made his début astride the RSV4 and brought home Aprilia's 50th win in World SBK.
The first victory was in 2000, right here at Phillip Island with the RSV Mille ridden by Troy Corser. But it has been in the last 5 years, and with the RSV4, that Aprilia has won all its championships in the factory derivative category, taking 4 Manufacturer and 3 Rider titles and racking up 42 of their 50 total wins.
With these results Aprilia comes home from the Australian round with first place both in the Rider (with Haslam) and Manufacturer standings.
Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Manager had this to say about the 2015 opening round: “After a long winter where the guys in the racing department worked hard we arrived here at Phillip Island with a lot of question marks. These were all erased by this fantastic Sunday where Leon came so close to bringing home a double win, in any case putting in an excellent result in his first races with the RSV4. This promises to be a very well balanced season, with several riders in contention for the win, but I believe that our performance today once again confirms our competitiveness. Leon showed incredible courage and determination today, while Torres continues to improve and has already reached an enviable level for a rookie in this category.”
Arriving at the Australian round with two new riders and the new RF version of the RSV4, Aprilia found itself in the limelight straight away with Leon Haslam. The fast English rider, making his first curtain call on the Italian V4, confirmed the RSV4's ability to win with riders of any style, and he was a key player in both races, battling courageously and cleanly with his countryman Jonathan Rea.
In the first of the two races, after they pulled ahead of the pack along with Davies, they engaged in a memorable duel overtaking one another several times before the spectacular last lap. In the final race for the chequered flag, Rea broke through by just 39 thousandths of a second.
The script was much the same with the players reversed in the second race. Haslam and Rea did battle, doing full honours to the spirit of this championship - which promises to be particularly spectacular this year - taking turns in the lead, once again down to the last lap. At the last turn Haslam came around in his countryman's slipstream, looking for the pass in the final run. And that is exactly how it went, with Leon Haslam winning his first championship race on an Aprilia 10 thousandths of a second ahead of Rea.
Leon Haslam: “This race brings back great memories. My last win was at Kyalami in 2010 after a great battle with Rea. My compliments to my team. They did a great job all weekend. In Race 1 I unfortunately made a mistake, but luckily I felt like I had a wide enough margin and I was able to rejoin the pack and finish second in the final dash by just a few thousandths. I started Race 2 even more motivated to win. Despite feeling like I had less “reserve” after the halfway point, everything went according to plan. In the last turn I opened up the throttle at the right time and I realised that I had overtaken Rea straight away right on the finish line. I am truly happy to finally be back on the top step of the podium!”
The young Spanish rider, Jordi Torres, also had an opening day full of positive notes. In his first SBK race he stayed in the top spots of the standings, showing no reverential fear for the big names in the Championship and, after battling with the likes of Guintoli and Bayliss, he made an excellent fourth place finish. This was a great placement well within his reach in Race 2 as well, but just after overtaking Sykes after a long battle for fourth, he fell victim to a sliding crash without any physical damage, but which ended his race.
Jordi Torres: “This was a Sunday where I learned a lot. In the first race we performed well. I was fast from the start and I learned a lot about tyre wear and what sort of riding style to use to conserve it. You have to avoid leaning all the way over and be very careful on the gas - a lesson that I was putting to good use in Race 2. Unfortunately Sykes really brakes hard, so I struggled to overtake him and just when I thought I could do it I pushed to hard and crashed. I need to take away all the good we did this weekend and stay calm. I can be fast but I need to improve the way I manage the race.”
Andrea Petricca: “Today Haslam and the entire team won, a group of professionals who are accustomed to winning. We were well aware of the great potential that both Haslam and the RSV4 have and today at Phillip Island we received confirmation that Leon is capable of riding a top level championship to fight for the title. It won't be easy because we are competing at a very high level, but we will give it our best effort. Torres was making his début in the Superbike championship but he showed that he can compete with the fastest and most expert riders in the category, so we are confident that in the coming races he will bring home great results.”
Sofuoglu Sixth After Great Recovery
Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was on course for a podium until he was run off track into turn one on lap six, dropping to 19th place before fighting his way back to a top six finish finish. His young team-mate Marco Faccani made a good start to his season but still felt he could have improved on his eventual 12th place.
The 4.445km Phillip Island circuit in Australia is always a tough test for tyre duration and that meant that Sofuoglu made a measured start to his race, but he found himself in the mix with some less experienced riders. He was eventually run wide, right across the runoff and gravel at turn one and had to re-join way down the field.
Using all his experience and pace the Turkish star battled back to take sixth at the flag and gain ten championship points.
Faccani was concerned pre-race about tyre life but a good raceday set-up did not compromise his final performance. He felt he had made a couple of small errors on his first visit to this tricky circuit but also scored good point for 12th place.
Team Go Eleven Kawasaki riders Dominic Schmitter and Christian Gamarino placed ninth and 11th respectively, straddling the Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres Ninja ZX-6R of PJ Jacobsen in tenth. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) did not finish the 18-lap race after entering the pits to retire.
The next round will take place in Thailand, in one month’s time, at the Chang International Circuit for the first time ever.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “It was very difficult because our pace was good and I think only Cluzel could ride at the same pace as me. I could not push in the beginning because I would not be able to complete the race because my tyres would be finished too early. So I had to save my tyre for the first four or five laps. There were other riders, who are not fast riders, who feel this is a big chance to stay with the front guys. They tried many crazy attacks and I tried to manage it with them but one rider pushed me out of the track. I had to manage some points after this and I was able to make sixth place. OK, this is better than zero points, but I cannot say I am happy with a result like this.”
Marco Faccani: “Not so bad today and my rear tyre was OK. I am happy about that because yesterday we did not know if we could finish the race well. I lost two positions at the end of the race. I tried to get into the slipstream of one rider on the finish straight, to get one place back again, but I finished so close behind him. Early in the race I made a mistake on the second lap or I could have finished two or three positions higher up than I did.”
POSITIVE RACE DAY IN PHILLIP ISLAND
Phillip Island – 22 February 2015:
Team Althea Racing makes a positive start to the season at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia, where the 28th Superbike World Championship got underway this weekend
Nico Terol and Matteo Baiocco concluded two solid races, a positive end of a weekend in which the team made continuous improvement, increasing the experience that will serve them in the next championship races.
Nico Terol, started race 1 from the second row, in sixth position, and finished in eighth position, after making a fast start that saw him lapping with the leading group for the first few laps of the race. Strong winds caused him to struggle a little more and he was forced to slow down, nevertheless obtaining a solid result. In race 2 he suffered from a few problems at the start, committing a few errors that caused him to lose ground. From the mid-race point he regained his rhythm and the right concentration, managing to finish in sixth place and earning important championship points.
Matteo Baiocco, who started from eleventh on the grid, just missed out on a top ten finish, closing race one in eleventh position. He had better pace in race two, with the team having made small changes to the bike, and he was able to conclude in ninth position. It was not easy for Matteo, with two tough races in the same day, but he achieved positive results and important points.
Now the team prepares for the next round, scheduled for the 22 March at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand.
Comments at the end of the day:
Genesio Bevilacqua: “This first weekend with the new team and two new riders has been, all in all, a positive one. Nico Terol achieved great results despite this being the first time he has raced twice in one day, and Matteo Baiocco also managed to close in the top ten, which was his goal today. We need to gain experience before we are able to fight for the podium in the next races. As an opening race weekend it’s been good experience which will surely be useful as we work to prepare for the next races.”
Nico Terol: “In race 1 I made some really great laps at the start and I was pleased, but then strong winds gave me some problems and I struggled to retain the pace I had at the start, and ended in eighth position. In race 2 I didn’t have the right concentration at the start because I thought one of the lights was on on my dashboard and so I kept looking down, distracting myself, which led to some mistakes. From the mid-race point I found the right concentration and did my best. Sixth position is a good result but I’m sorry because if I’d made a few less mistakes I could have finished further up.”
Matteo Baiocco: “Two positive and constructive races after testing and qualifying. In the first race I just missed out on the top ten, closing eleventh, but I was able to make it in race 2, finishing ninth. I made a small mistake on the last lap but all in all I’m satisfied because we’ve grown a lot. It’s been a while since I made two races so close together at this level but it’s a good starting point for the future. I’ve collected important points and the team has worked really well, making modifications before race 2 that allowed me to be faster. Now we will continue to work in preparation for the next races.”
Great start for Pirelli in the first round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship; Rea on Kawasaki and Haslam on Aprilia take one win each, a double for MV Agusta in Supersport
The podiums with three riders from three different motorcycle manufacturers using two different rear solutions are proof of the valid development work done by the Italian tyre company during the past season and over the winter break
Cowes (Australia), February 22, 2015 – Pirelli is very satisfied with the results obtained in the first round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship where races were held today on the Phillip Island track.
The Australian circuit is historically very demanding and puts the tyres through the mill and for this reason, it is much feared by all tyre manufacturers.
This year Pirelli has demonstrated to have reached a significant level of technology, thanks to the constant development work which the Italian company has been carrying out in the last twelve years in the maximum Championship for factory derivative motorcycles.
The goal which has always been stated by Pirelli is to build tyres that can fit well on any brand motorcycle because, unlike other championships, the tyres used in Superbike are not prototypes but tyres that are regularly sold on the market and affordable for all motorcyclists so precisely for this reason, they must be able to work well with all motorcycles on the market. For the Milanese company the Superbike World Championship is the most important development laboratory for its tyres and the riders in this Championship are the best possible testers to assess the actual quality of a tyre.
Podiums like those at Phillip Island, which saw the triumph of three riders from three different motorcycle manufacturers (Kawasaki, Honda, Ducati), are the clearest demonstration that the development activities carried out over the years by Pirelli are going in the right direction.
Pirelli has not only given the riders two smooth races, but also the opportunity to give all the fans the excitement of spectacular duels during the race. This was made possible thanks to the excellent performance guaranteed by the tyres.
In Race 1 Kawasaki Superbike Team rider Jonathan Rea, after taking pole position on Saturday, made a good start, managing to hold onto the lead for eleven laps until Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team - Red Devils) managed to overtake him at the beginning of the twelfth lap. Nevertheless, in the fourteenth lap, the standard bearer for the manufacturer from Noale went too long out on a turn, managing to save it, but re-entering the track only in fourth place, returning the first place to Rea who, in the second half of the race, had to defend his position from the continuous attacks of Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Ducati SBK Racing-Team). Behind them, in third place, was the excellent rider Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team - Red Devils), making his debut in the World factory derivative Championship.
In the last five laps a lead pack was formed led by Rea, followed by Davies, Haslam and Torres, the only ones to lap under 1:32'. In the nineteenth lap Leon Haslam got past Chaz Davies to move into second place but the Welsh fought back to retake the position. In the last two rounds there was a three-way battle between Rea, Haslam and Davies for the lead. After a last lap anthology with a thrilling Rea-Haslam duel, in the end the Northern Irish rider got the better of the first Aprilia rider and crossed the finish line first. Behind them Ducati rider Chaz Davies took third.
In Race 2 there was another three-way battle between Rea, Haslam and Davies. The
Kawasaki rider held the lead firmly followed by Davies and Haslam. At the beginning of the sixth lap Haslam overtook Davies who, after a few turns, was also forced to give way to Michael VD Mark (PATA Honda World Superbike Team), who was making his debut in the top class after his triumph last year in Supersport. In Race 1 the Dutchman had finished with a good fifth place but, not satisfied with this, shortly afterward he even took the first position from Rea who was also overtaken by Haslam and Davies, thus dropping down in fourth position. In the twelfth lap the Dutchman lost a bit of pace and the pursuers took advantage. Haslam took the championship lead, followed closely by Rea and Davies. In the seventeenth lap the race lost one of the key players of the weekend, Jordi Torres, to a crash. Meanwhile, one lap later, Rea overtook Haslam who, nevertheless, in a few switchbacks regained the lead only to lose it again on the last lap in to the Aprilia rider.
Climactic ending: on the finish straight Haslam was faster and crossed the finish line just ten thousandths of a second ahead of Rea who had to settle for second place. Chaz Davies put in a good performance, confirming the result obtained in Race 1.
In Supersport Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) started from pole position ahead of Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and his teammate Lorenzo Zanetti. The Frenchman immediately set the pace while hesitation by the Turkish rider gave Ratthapark Wilairot (CORE'' Motorsport Thailand) a chance to slip into second place. On lap five the Thai rider lost a position to Zanetti while Kenan Sofuoglu went wide on the first turn after a battle with Kyle Smith (PATA Honda World Supersport Team) ,leaving the track, returning in only eighteenth place and thus compromising his race.
While the riders from the Schiranna company led by Cluzel created a gap behind them, there was a fight for third place. After the race the podium was bathed in MV Agusta colours, with the manufacturer placing both its riders on the top two steps. Behind them, after a fierce duel with Kyle Smith, was Gino Rea (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda) in third position.
The comment from Giorgio Barbier, Pirelli Moto Racing Director:
"We are very satisfied with the results this year and the performance of our tyres. The most important thing for us is that year after year we can always improve and make a small step in the right direction. For us this is a very positive sign. We know that Phillip Island is a difficult circuit for the tyres and for all tyre manufacturers, but today I can say that the work done over the years has borne fruit. There is certainly still room for improvement but the technological level is definitely already considerable, as demonstrated by the great races that we have seen. My congratulations to Jonathan, Leon and Chaz for the fantastic duels that gave us but I also want to express my appreciation for Troy Bayliss who wanted to get back into the game after seven years of inactivity, well aware that it would not be easy, and, as the great professional rider that he is, he did his job down to the last turn, giving the fans an exciting show, no matter what the final result was."
The Pirelli solutions chosen by the riders:
For the first round of the 2015 Superbike championship riders could choose from four rear development solutions given the peculiarities of the track.
In both races the rear solution most used was the development SC1 T1105. The riders who did not choose this solution opted for the S1867.
On the front 2/3 of the riders chose the development SC1 S1699, the most used front solution during last season. The second choice was the standard SC2.
In the Supersport World Championship where grooved DIABLO™ Supercorsa SC tyres are used, for the rear all the riders chose the development SC1 (T1538), the solution in 190/60 size which proved to be the best for the typical features of the Australian circuit. On the front the standard SC1 was preferred by 70% of the riders, with the rest choosing the development SC1 instead.
Pirelli Best Lap Award:
The “Pirelli Best Lap Award” is awarded by Pirelli to the rider who sets the fastest race lap. This recognition is presented by a Pirelli representative during the Paddock Show in a press conference which follows the podium at the end of the races, for a total of three awards each weekend.
The Superbike and Supersport rider who has earned the most “Pirelli Best Lap Award” titles at the end of the season will be elected “Best Lap Winner: fastest rider of the year” and awarded in the usual end of year ceremony.
These are the riders who won the Pirelli Best Lap Awards in the first round of the season:
- WSB Race 1 – Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), 1'31.826 (16th lap)
- WSB Race 2 – Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team), 1'31.725 (2nd lap)
- WSS – Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), 1’33.409 (7th lap)
The 2015 Pirelli statistics for the Phillip Island round:
- Total number of tyres Pirelli brought: 3515
- Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the Superbike class: 5 front and 7 rear
- Number of tyres available for each Superbike rider: 32 front and 40 rear
- Number of solutions for the Supersport class (dry, intermediate and wet):: 4 front and 4 rear
- Number of tyres available for each Supersport rider: 22 front and 24 rear
- Temperature in Race 1: air 30° C, asphalt 42° C
- Temperature in Race 2: air 31° C, asphalt 38° C
- Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tyres: 324.3 kms/h, in Race 1 by Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) at 2nd lap
- Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Supercorsa tyres in Supersport: 289.5 kms/h, Kyle Smith (PATA Honda World Supersport Team) at 5th lap.