Rea holds off Haslam in Island SBK epic

Jonathan Rea converted his pole position into a memorable win

Jonathan Rea converted his pole position into a memorable win

Jonathan Rea held off a strong challenge from Leon Haslam to win the opening race of the World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island.

The Northern Irishman led the majority of the contest from pole but by the halfway stage Haslam’s Aprilia hit the front.

However, a mistake at Stoner corner from the Englishman handed Rea the lead back, but Kawasaki’s new recruit was unable to relax.

A resurgent Haslam fought his way back from fourth to challenge Rea on the final lap with the pair swapping positions.

Rea celebrates Race 1 victory

Rea celebrates Race 1 victory

In the end, Rea just hung on to take the chequered flag by a mere 0.039s. Racing Ducati rider Chaz Davies completed the podium in third having been involved in a titanic battle with Rea and Haslam for the entire race.

Red Devils Aprilia rider Jordi Torres came home in fourth on his world superbike debut, while Pata Honda’s new signing Michael van der Mark was fifth.

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes endured a relatively lonely race in sixth just ahead of reigning world champion Sylvain Guintoli.

Althea Ducati’s Nicolas Terol finished eighth while Friday pacesetter Alex Lowes (Suzuki) and Leon Camier (MV Agusta) rounded out the top 10.

Former three-time world champion Troy Bayliss finished a credible 13th in his first world superbike outing for six years.

The Australian, riding as a replacement for the injured Davide Giugliano, had climbed inside the top 10 before dropping back to 13th spot at the flag.

The 45-year-old finished five seconds in front of countryman Jed Metcher on the Race Centre Kawasaki in 14th position.

The final World Superbike Championship race of the weekend is due to begin at 2.40pm local time.

Result: World Superbike Championship Race 1

Position Rider Team/Bike Time/Gap
1 Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 22 laps
2 Leon Haslam Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 +0.039s
3 Chaz Davies Racing Ducati 1199R +0.496s
4 Jordi Torres Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 +2.259s
5 Michael van der Mark PATA Honda CBR1000RR +9.838s
6 Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +13.761s
7 Sylvain Guintoli PATA Honda CBR1000RR +14.021s
8 Nicolas Terol  Althea Ducati 1199R +15.954s
9 Alex Lowes Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +21.106s
10 Leon Camier MV Agusta F4 RR +24.771s
11 Matteo Baiocco Althea Ducati 1199R +28.920s
12 Tati Mercardo Barni Ducati 1199R +35.929s
13 Troy Bayliss Racing Ducati 1199R +40.315s
14 Jed Metcher Race Center Kawasaki ZX-10R +45.090s
15 Sylvain Barrier BMW Italia S1000RR +46.444s
16 Roman Ramos GO Eleven Kawasaki ZX-10R +53.331s
17 Randy De Puniet Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +58.811s
18 Larry Pegram Team Hero EBR 1190RX +1:06.071s
19 Santiago Barragan Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10R +1:06.110s
20 Imre Toth Team Toth BMW S1000RR +1 lap
DNF Niccolo Canepa Team Hero EBR 1190RX
DNF Christophe Ponsson Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10R


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