World Superbikes

2018 Phillip Island WorldSBK: What we saw in Australia - A recap of Phillip Island

The opening round of the 2018 WorldSBK season is in the books and certainly provided us with plenty of excitement and plenty to talk about.

New schedule:

The 2018 season will see three free practice sessions on Fridays, and from the outset we saw the benefit of this schedule. In the past, if a rider crashed or had a technical problem on Friday it severely hampered their weekend. Any time lost was magnified because you could easily lose 60 minutes of track time. The new schedule sees three 40 minute session, to ensure the riders have the same amount track time. A crash on his out lap in FP2 saw Alex Lowes miss the entire session and while the loss of track time hampered the Englishman, getting out in FP3 allowed him to set a time good enough for entry into Superpole 2. The schedule will also allow riders to use Friday afternoon for a race simulation, whereas in the past this was harder to achieve.

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2018 Philip Island World Superbike Race Two Results: Zero Tyre Strategy Required

The tyre problems of Saturday brought in a mandatory flag-to-flag race, with riders having to change tyres in the middle of the twenty-two lap race, on lap ten, eleven or twelve. The reverse grid is still being used, for some inexplicable reason as it had no effect last year, putting the fourth-placed rider from race one into pole position. 

Race Two didn't introduce any changes to the rev limits, the limits aren't introduced until three weekends have taken place, so everyone is still on 3.3% above the rev limit of the road bike. Georgia Flood, the anthem singer, served as a windsock as she sang, showing the wind was still coursing along the start/finish straight as a headwind, increasing the advantage of a slipstream. 

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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.

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2018 Philip Island World Superbike Superpole Results: Windy Qualifying Plays Havoc

The first Superpole of the year took place under unpredictable weather, with a strong wind across the straight making things uncertain. Superpole one had twelve riders fighting for two promotional spots with Jake Gagne and Toprak Razgatlioglu in the two favourite places to advance.

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2018 Philip Island World Superbike FP4 Results: Fores Opens Race Day

Barni Ducati's Xavi Fores was quickest in the morning's untimed session, ahead of the Kawasakis of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes, and was the only independant rider in the top ten. Yamaha's Alex Lowes and Ducati's Marco Melandri posted almost identical times ahead of the Aprilias of Eugene Laverty and yesterday's quickest man Lorenzo Savadori.


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2018 Philip Island World Superbike FP3 Results: Rea Quickest In Last Timed Session

Jonathan Rea was quickest in the third qualifying session, being the only rider in the top seven to improve on his time from the quicker second session. Alex Lowes, in spite of not getting any track time in the second session, was eighth quickest this session, tenth overall, qualifying him for Superpole two. Leon Camier, in his first race weekend on the Honda, was third quickest this session and second quickest overall behind the day's quickest man Lorenzo Savadori.


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