2013 Phillip Island World Supersport Race: Flag To Flag Duel
Running only fifteen laps, the race started late as Araldite was pumped into fresh cracks on some corners; The battle between asphalt and tyre turned out different to expectations in the Superbike race.
Kenan Sofuoglu had his work cut out for him, with Sam Lowes blitzing qualifying. His title defence would start as second-favourite for the race and with the shortened distance, he would have to get a better start than Lowes as if he let the Englishman get the slightest lead, he would never catch him.
As it was, Sofuoglu was able to get his Kawasaki off the line fastest while Michael Van Der Mark hit turn one ahead of Lowes. Lowes didn't take long to dispatch Van Der Mark and set about Sofuoglu. Lowes got his Yamaha to the front on the second lap, but as soon as the front two hit the start/finish straight, Sofuoglu was able to drive past Lowes. Lap after lap, Sofuoglu slipstreamed into turn one only to have Lowes pass him on a tight corner mid-lap, sometimes with a scarily tight pass, while Van Der Mark widened the gap from third to Robbie Rolfo and Fabien Foret, recovering from a terrible start, behind him.
With two laps to go, Kenan Sofuoglu made a break and set the lap record. Lowes was able to reel him in but could no longer pass him. With another lap record, Kenan Sofuoglu was able to secure his first win of the year. Sam Lowes had to settle for second place, but the duel between them was a tantalising promise of close racing for the rest of the season.
Kenan Sofuoglu was chasing Sam Lowes all weekend and only found the setting in the Sunday warm-up. Both men seemed pleased with the result and genuinely looked like they were enjoying themselves on track and Michael Van Der Mark on the Honda had a brilliant debut. While the race felt like a sprint, stunted for safety, it was an excellent example of two bike philosophies, straight line versus cornering, letting riders race hard and fast.
Kenan Sofuoglu saw Sam Lowes qualify at, as he put it, Superbike pace, and rose to the challenge.