2018 Philip Island World Superbike Race One Results: A Different Pace Of Race

The opening race of 2018 would be the proof of the new rules. Would anyone be able to break the Ducati and Kawasaki dominance at a windy seaside?

Tom Sykes led Marco Melandri into the first turn with Jonathan Rea charging round the outside to challenge Melandri out of the corner and take the inside line to take second place and slot in behind his Kawasaki teammate. Eugene Laverty and Xavi Fores were joined by a charging Chaz Davies to round to the top six, albeit almost a second off the front three.

After a lap, Sykes led by almost a second, while Rea held off Melandri. Melandri's Ducati was fitted with the new taller Pirelli tyre and, added to his short stature, this made his bike look very unstable down the windy straight, but it didn't affect his speed. 

Eugene Laverty started to drop back, unable to hold off Fores's challenge, and his race would be just dropping back from fight to fight while Sykes kept up a punishing pace at the front. 

On the third lap, with Sykes still over a second clear from Rea on the second Kawasaki, Melandri hopped and skipped his skating Ducati down the straight and took second place off Rea into the corner, but Rea kept his speed round the outside of the right-handed corner and took second place back, keeping to the left into turn two, a left-handed corner. 

As the front three kept up their brutal rhythm at the front, Chaz Davies joined Xavi Fores, having passed Eugene Laverty, and the pair stuck together as the front three dragged out their lead. Davies had to put his plans to haul in Fores when he was joined by Michael van der Mark, fresh from his fight with his Yamaha teammate and Laverty. 

Van der Mark and Davies duelled for a few laps eventually passing him at the halfway mark,  only to lose fifth place back to Davies who stopped conserving his tyre and started spending his rubber, realising that the race wasn't a normal slow-paced Phillip Island strategic affair. 

Fifteen laps in, with the front three over five seconds clear of the Ducatis of Fores and Davies, Melandri started hounding Rea and, powering out of the last turn, Melandri bounded down the straight and took second place cleanly into the first turn. 

Jonathan Rea had no answer. At first it looked like he was settling for third place, seeing that the front two were still hot, but as his lap time dropped, it was apparent that he had no rear tyre grip. Luckily, he had a six-second lead over fourth place, but as his pace dropped, Chaz Davies passed Xavi Fores and started dragging the independent Ducati with him. 

Jonathan Rea looked back and stared at his rear tyre as he saw the Ducatis behind him closing. A lap later, they were both on him and he had no answer, his tyre just not giving him the grip he needed. 

Meanwhile, back at the front, with four laps to go, Marco Melandri bounced his bike out of the last corner and slipstreamed Tom Sykes as he powered onto the straight, wobbling his novelty-tyred Panigale past the stable Kawasaki and he took the lead well before the corner at the end of the straight. For the remaining four laps, Melandri drew out a lead until the flag, winning the race over a second clear of Tom Sykes, while an aeon behind them, Chaz Davies snatched the last podium place ahead of Xavi Fores. Fores being the highest-placed independent rider joined the other two Ducatis and the Kawasaki.

Marco Melandri has now won at Phillip Island in every class he's contended. Tom Sykes, after equalling Troy Corser's pole position record earlier in the day, had his best season start of his career, for once not finding the offensive wind capable of slowing him down. Chaz Davies in third place turned what has been a terrible weekend, one he had to put on a brave face to cover his displeasure, into a success. 

Xavi Fores starts race two in pole position, next to Jonathan Rea and sixth-placed Alex Lowes. 


Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 33 M. MELANDRI Ducati Panigale R  
2 66 T. SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1.180
3 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale R 9.265
4 12 X. FORES Ducati Panigale R 9.821
5 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR 13.896
6 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 17.028
7 2 L. CAMIER Honda CBR1000RR 21.514
8 50 E. LAVERTY Aprilia RSV4 RF 23.662
9 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1 27.430
10 36 L. MERCADO Kawasaki ZX-10RR 27.446
11 76 L. BAZ BMW S 1000 RR 27.748
12 45 J. GAGNE Honda CBR1000RR 28.466
13 54 T. RAZGATLIOGLU Kawasaki ZX-10RR 30.000
14 40 R. RAMOS Kawasaki ZX-10RR 53.619
15 37 O. JEZEK Yamaha YZF R1 1'02.682
16 99 P. JACOBSEN Honda CBR1000RR 1'09.775
RET 81 J. TORRES MV Agusta 1000 F4 3 Laps
RET 17 T. HERFOSS Honda CBR1000RR 3 Laps
RET 68 Y. HERNANDEZ Kawasaki ZX-10RR 9 Laps
RET 25 D. FALZON Yamaha YZF R1 13 Laps
RET 47 W. MAXWELL Yamaha YZF R1 21 Laps
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The state of WSBK is best described by me having to be reminded by MotoMatters that the season has openes. Usually I keep a close eye on the years racing calendar but last years WSBK season was so boring I lost interest.

That being said the race was good, but I won't take PI as a prediction for the rest of the season because this track always produces great racing, both in WSBK and MotoGP. It's just a wonderful track.

Sykes keeps his tradition of charging to the front, only to start dropping his pace. This has been his issue since I remember watching him on that Kawasaki.

What interests me is Rea's tyre. That drop in pace is hardly a blunder in tyre conservation, especially from Rea. I have a feeling Pirelli gave him a bad tyre, which really brings the question of why that keeps happening so much to Pirelli. I know spec tyres usually have problems with dishing out a few bad tyres during the season (i.e. Bridgestone with Ben Spies in Assen 2012), but Pirelli seems to have made a habit out of it. Might just be my memory, but I think I remember them dishing out quite a few bad tyres last year.

I like an interesting championship, but what's more important than an interesting championship is a fair one, and a tyre for random podium generator is not really a fair way to level the playing field.

I guess we'll hear on that from Jonathan.

I was hoping they trashed it for this season, but I guess we'll see if it turns out to be as useless as it was last year with the new regulations.


writing, Jared!  I really got the images stuck in my head of a bobbing Melandri on a tall Ducati!  Keep up the great work!

Please learn how to say RAZGATLIOGLU.  Just referring to him as Toprak (which is easy to say) for the entire race became quite annoying when everyone else was being referred to by their surname or whole name.  Please learn the guy's name,

(And also, I've no idea how to and would appreciate the guidance!)

The only one to even attempt to say it was the Foxtel AU anchorman, and he did it perfectly and without hesitation, well done Chris Stubbs.  I'll have to go back and rewatch it.  Neither of the ex racers Vermeullen or Magee managed it, but that's more understandable, particularly in Magoo's case.  ;D

Glad to see some bikes back on track, always a great time of the year!

Steve rattled it off perfectly (not that I'd know) during the warm up, or perhaps opening lap of race 2, but then reverted to Toprak for the rest of the race, along with the other dude.  I'm not meaning to have a go at the commentary, it is of a generally high level, especially Steve English who is awesome both in the commentary and in the PPP etc.

Thanks for the report Jared. Great weekend at the circuit.

Three weeks to go until Qatar MotoGp & then WSBK at Chang/Buriram Thailand a week later.

We survived the off season!