The opening round of the season at Phillip Island produced some great racing, with twists and turns and some sensational overtaking, and was worth the price of the ticket alone. Four riders were in with a chance of the win right down to the final metres, and the big surprise was that five-time world champion Jonathan Rea wasn’t one of them. The reigning world champion finished the opening lap in last place after a contact with Tom Sykes, and while trying to make up ground, first had a brush with Caricasulo, and then ended up on the ground in an attempt to pass Rinaldi: it was a first race to forget therefore for the Northern Irishman, who will be all out for revenge in the two races tomorrow.
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Michael Van Der Mark, Alex Lowes and Scott Redding fought it out for the win at the end of a race in which tyre, bike and strategy management came into play (but with a lot of overtaking), and the Turk was capable of winning in his first race on the Yamaha. Toprak imposed himself with class in the frenetic final few laps, managing to take the chequered flag despite emerging from the final corner ahead of his rivals. "In the last few laps the bike was sliding a lot but I managed to win anyway, in the last few years I hadn't scored good results much on this track and I'm happy to have won my debut with Yamaha".
Second place went to Alex Lowes, who had a competitive race after a bad first part of the weekend and he took his Kawasaki to the podium despite Rea's retirement. "I started badly in practice but managed to improve, I had a bit more rubber than the others and I took advantage of it, I hope that the next races are just as much fun."
Third place on the podium went to Scott Redding, who starts his adventure in World Superbike in a positive way. “I didn't know what to expect from the race, I had an excellent pace, but I wasn’t sure about the tyre. It was a great battle, being on the podium in my first race makes me very happy and satisfied." Michael Van Der Mark was just a fraction away from the podium in fourth, but the Dutchman had an excellent race and is ready to try again tomorrow.
Fifth and sixth went to the two Hondas, which was a positive result on HRC’s return to World Superbike. Leon Haslam was fifth after remaining for three quarters of the race with the leading group, while Alvaro Bautista made a great comeback from the rear, moving up from 15th to 6th place, ahead of Baz, Davies, Sykes and Rinaldi. 12th place for Federico Caricasulo, in his first race in the premier class.