Press releases from the organizers, WorldSBK, and WorldSSP teams after Sunday's races at Phillip Island:
Bautista secures Race Two victory in dominant style
Spaniard becomes the first rider to win both WorldSBK races on his debut weekend
The final race of the Yamaha Finance Australian Round in the opening meeting of the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship went the way of Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), who completed a dream WorldSBK debut. The Spaniard becomes the first rider to win both WorldSBK races on his debut weekend since John Kocinski – also for Ducati – at Misano in 1996.
Initially taking the lead at Turn 1, Bautista started putting time into Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who managed to pass teammate Jonathan Rea at Turn 4. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) made a fast start and was fourth whilst Michael Ruben Rinaldi escalated from eighth on the grid into fifth, with Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) remaining sixth.
At Turn 1 on lap two, Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) made a brief appearance into sixth, passing Melandri, only for the Italian to repay the compliment to his former WorldSBK teammate. Back in the fight for second position, Haslam began to pull away from Rea, the reigning Champion not having things his own way.
Marco Melandri got his way ahead of van der Mark and immediately set about closing down the KRT pairing of Haslam and Rea. Further up the road, Alvaro Bautista was building his own gap, setting the fastest lap to confirm his relentless pace. The gap between the two Kawasakis was now at 0.5s, with Haslam seemingly able to put distance between Rea. Behind Melandri and van der Mark, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was back into sixth.
Further down the order, Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) was making good progress from 16th on the grid and was now ninth, almost passing Laverty at Turn 10 but deciding to wait for another time.
Whilst throughout most of the weekend the rivalry between Bautista and Rea was headlining, Haslam and Rea started to get close on circuit too. From lap seven, the reigning World Champ started to close his new teammate down and with just eight laps to go, the Northern Irishman made his move at Turn 1, only for Haslam to take him back at Turn 4 with a traditional block pass. This started a succession of nine passes between the pair. Haslam put an audacious Jonathan Rea-style pass on the four-time champion at Turn 1, with Rea responding immediately almost every time.
Behind the squabbling Kawasaki riders, the Yamaha riders of Melandri and van der Mark decided to have their own fight, passing and re-passing, hindering their chances of taking the fight to Rea and Haslam, less than half-a-second up the road at times. Van der Mark was up to fourth at Turn 4 with four laps to go, although Melandri got back ahead at Turn 10.
However, despite all of the fighting with the Kawasaki Racing Team and Yamaha riders, Alvaro Bautista was oblivious to the squabbling left in his wake. The 2006 World Champion crossed the line to become a WorldSBK winner for a second time, with the Tissot Superpole Race win also going to the Spanish sensation.
Rea eventually took second place ahead of Haslam, whilst van der Mark finished fourth ahead of teammate Alex Lowes, who put in a stunning late charge to demote Marco Melandri to sixth. Chaz Davies finished a fine seventh place and ended a poor weekend with his best result, with reigning WorldSSP Champion Sandro Cortese completing the top eight once more. Eugene Laverty took ninth place and his joint-best finish of the weekend, whilst rounding out the top ten was Leon Camier.
P1 - Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)
“Before coming to Australia, I couldn’t expect a weekend like this. During the two-day of official test, we worked hard, and we arrived at the race weekend ready for the battle. This morning during the Tissot Superpole Race, Rea and I fought hard, and I really enjoyed it, but in the afternoon track conditions were a little bit worse. My pace was still good, but after the 10-lap race, I expected Jonny to stay with me in Race Two. I pushed hard from the beginning and the gap increased and I was able to win again. I want to thank Ducati and all the guys for their incredible job! It has been an amazing weekend for us”.
P2 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“I am happy about the race weekend. Phillip Island is not one of the stronger tracks for me and my bike but to come away with a lap record, a pole position and two second places, I couldn’t have asked for more. My congratulation goes to Alvaro. It takes a lot of work to come here as a rookie and win three races in a row, so a big congrats to him”.
P3 - Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“With this podium, it was able to make up after the silly crash I had yesterday. It was a good Race Two, with a lot of passing and I had so much fun. With two laps left, I thought it was made and that I was going to finish in second, but Jonathan is not a four-time world champion for no reason and he beat me. Third on the podium is a good result and it’s perfect for the team as we finished second and third. Now we can move on to Thailand and try to progress”.
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) totally dominates the opening round at Phillip Island with a hat-trick of three wins. Davies improves in race 2 to finish seventh
Álvaro Bautista couldn’t have got off to a better start in World Superbike this weekend at Phillip Island, as the 34-year-old Spanish rider dominated the opening round of the championship held at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia.
After his triumph in race 1, Bautista went on to take two more wins, the first in the ten-lap Superpole Race, in which he held off Rea, and the second in race 2, when he crossed the finish line with a lead of 12 seconds, again over Rea.
With these results, Bautista has immediately taken the lead of the championship standings, with 62 points, a lead of 13 over his rival from Northern Ireland.
Team-mate Chaz Davies showed some signs of improvement in race 2. In the morning his technicians made some major modifications to the set-up of his Panigale V4 R in an attempt to give the Welshman an easier bike to ride. Davies managed to take the chequered flag in seventh place.
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati #19) – 1st
“It has been a perfect weekend and my Superbike debut couldn’t have been better! We made a clean sweep of everything by winning race 1, the Superpole race and race 2. If people had said to me before that I would have won three races, I wouldn’t have believed them, but we worked hard during the tests to prepare a fantastic bike. In this morning’s Superpole race I had a lot of fun fighting with Rea, I knew that he was very strong and that he was always pushing. The pace was incredible and I had to concentrate so hard, but in the end I got the better of him. In race 2 the track conditions were more difficult than in the morning, and it was important to save the tyres because of the higher track temperature, so I pushed hard in the early laps to try and manage the situation at the end. I’m so happy with the results, today is a day I will never forget! A big thanks to the Aruba team, to Ducati and to my crew for making this all possible! Now we have to continue to work hard, we’re only at the beginning and I think it’s going to be a very top-level championship.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing Ducati #7) – 7th
“We managed to make some progress in race 2 and I felt a bit better with the V4 R, which is the most important thing. After yesterday’s result, we had nothing to lose so the guys in the team made some major changes that allowed me to slightly improve my race pace. I’m still a bit disappointed because we didn’t expect this result, but we picked up a lot of useful data to understand what I need for the next race. My congratulations to Álvaro, because he was really impressive all throughout the weekend.”
Stefano Cecconi, CEO Aruba and Team Principal
“It was virtually a perfect weekend for Álvaro, he dominated almost every session and showed he had the margin to manage every situation. We have got off to the best possible start, but we must remain with our feet firmly on the ground and continue to work hard to achieve the maximum results possible on the other tracks with both of our riders.”
Rea And Haslam Earn Podium Finishes
Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam scored two podium finishes apiece in the new-look WorldSBK Sunday format at Phillip Island in Australia, with Rea second on two occasions and Haslam third each time.
The first race of the final day of action was the innovative ten lap Tissot Superpole race, which gives points to the top nine riders. The result of the race also determines the top nine riders’ grid positions for the final race of the weekend.
Rea was second on two occasions today, and Haslam third each time, but they will only be credited with one more podium each on their official records, not two.
The second Sunday race was held over 22-laps, like race one, and for full points. Rea was again second and Haslam third after an entertaining and close contest between the official Kawasaki riders, which went all the way to the flag.
The new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR took Rea to the top of regular Superpole qualifying on Saturday, a new track best of 1’30.075 in the ten-lap Superpole race today and three second places in all. Jonathan has earned 49 championship points after round one, and sits 13 points behind the lead.
For Haslam, two third places today were a real reward after his unlucky crash and single point score in the opening 22-lap race on Saturday. His competitive and rewarding Sunday sees him rise up the championship ranking to sixth overall, on 24 points.
The second round of the 2019 WorldSBK Championship will be held at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, with race weekend running from the 15th to the 17th of March.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “We made a little change from yesterday, to make the bike a little bit calmer, and I feel we achieved that. Our race time was faster than yesterday and I am happy with the results of the weekend. I am a little bit disappointed in the classification because the gap to the front is too much. We expected a really difficult race here. I have always had to fight for results here, so to come away with three second places, a pole position and an outright fastest lap in the Superpole race; I am satisfied. Of course, there is definitely still work to do. We could not risk a bit more today than yesterday. After race one, in Parc Ferme my tyre was almost the best, but I rode a slower race. Lots of other guys were having issues, so today with the temperature going up in the final race I had the same frame of min, to just trying to get to the end of the race and not abuse the tyre.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “It was good to get on two podiums today. In the ten-lap sprint race I was a little cautious and I got caught behind the Yamahas, so I settled. I thought I had a little bit in hand to catch Jonathan in the final race. I tried to make my own rhythm for the first four laps. After this I tried to save the tyre and which then created a group of five riders. It was a nice easy rhythm and I was feeling good with my pace. Johnny and I had some good passes; good battles. My plan was to go away with two laps to go, then he passed me into turn one and I ran a little wide. At the same time he went 0.4 of a second faster. I went with him and caught him up on the last lap but I felt like I had been caught out a little bit. To battle with Jonathan in my first race weekend of the year, with his record in this class, I am happy. ”
In the short Superpole race today Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) was 15th, and Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 17th. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) did not finish, after all three Kawasaki riders crashed at the same time, and only two could make it to the end. In the 22-lap final race of the weekend a strong ride from Mercado put him 11th. Torres placed 14th, for two championship points, while Razgatlioglu had a technical issue and was forced to retire.
Tactical Approach in Australia Pays Dividends for Van Der Mark and Lowes
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK riders, Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes, overcame difficult conditions in today's WorldSBK Race at Phillip Island to add to their championship points haul with fourth and fifth place respectively. Van der Mark and Lowes rode a tactical race to conserve their tyres; a strategy that allowed them to close on and then pass fellow Yamaha rider, Marco Melandri, on the final lap. The GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider held on to claim sixth place at the line, while his teammate Sandro Cortese made It another strong race for Yamaha by finishing in eighth position.
Van der Mark, starting from fifth position on the grid as a result of his finishing position in today’s inaugural Superpole sprint race, was immediately involved in the battle for second place with Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam, but backed off to conserve his tyres when he felt the rear start to slide just before mid-race distance. This allowed Melandri to pass him for fourth but, rather than stressing his tyre further by giving chase immediately, the Pata Yamaha rider maintained a steady pace, saving his tyre for a final push in the closing stages.
The strategy worked perfectly, with van der Mark able to close onto the back of Melandri as they started the final lap and then put in a pass up the inside at turn two to take fourth, a position he then held to the line. The result means that van der Mark leaves Australia fifth in the championship standings with 29 points.
Lowes found himself in a similar situation after losing out on the run down to turn one after starting from fourth on the grid. The Pata Yamaha rider took three laps to pass Eugene Laverty, by which time the group ahead had pulled a significant gap. Lowes also opted to conserve his tyres rather than push to close the gap and risk not finishing the race, maintaining a consistent pace that allowed him to close on the battle for fourth as first Melandri and then van der Mark started to struggle for grip.
The Briton passed Melandri for fifth at Lukey Heights on the final lap and was able to defend the position to the line. After the opening round of the 2019 season Lowes lies fourth in the championship standings with 30 points, the same number of points as third placed Melandri.
Melandri’s fourth place in Race 2, combined with his third place in Race 1 and sixth place in the Superpole race means that the Italian now lies third in the championship standings with 30 points. Melandri also leads the Independent Riders Championship.
Despite a minor technical issue slowing his pace in Race 2 this afternoon, Cortese rode an intelligent race to round out his debut WorldSBK weekend with another eighth place finish. The reigning Supersport World Champion arrived in Phillip Island with three top ten finishes as his goal and he leaves Australia having surpassed his own expectations. The WorldSBK rookie lies seventh in the championship standings with 19 points.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK - P4
"I got a really good start and my pace was fast, but I was a little worried about using the tyre too quickly. I didn't want to slow down, as I wanted to stay with the two Kawasakis, but when Marco came past me I felt like I was having to push the tyre just a little bit too much to stay with him. I just decided to do my own rhythm, which was not as quick as I'd have liked, but I knew it was the only way to ride the race. Towards the end the Kawasakis were slowing and so was Marco, which allowed me to catch and pass him on the last lap. I'm happy enough with fourth place after struggling all weekend with the durability of the tyres. We had some problems but we still picked up a lot of points here in Phillip Island."
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK - P5
"I lost quite a lot of time at the start behind Eugene Laverty; the Ducati is so fast in a straight line that I couldn't pass him cleanly, then I didn't want to panic and try and go too fast, as it's easy to wear out the tyres, as we saw in the sprint race. I just stayed calm and almost timed it right at the end. It's a bit frustrating because I felt that, looking at the times, I probably had the pace to challenge the Kawasakis for a podium but when you're three seconds behind at the end of the second lap then, round here, it's hard to make that time up. It's a shame, but I'll take fifth place and see if we can have a stronger round next time out in Thailand."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P6
"Today I was expecting s bit more. In the Superpole race I had a few mistakes at the beginning and lost a lot of positions. I tried to come back but it was a really short race. In Race 2 I got a good start and had good pace in the beginning. Once I caught the two Kawasakis I decided to wait a bit because for the tyre it's a very difficult race, but when Johnny passed Leon for the first time I tried to push into the middle, but the rear tyre left me there and I had to slow down my pace and just try to finish the race. Unfortunately van der Mark and Lowes passed me back, but I still think that for us it's been a very good weekend. It's been a difficult winter but the races are different, so I'm feeling good and I think the next races can be even better."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P8
"Overall it's been a really good weekend for me, with eighth place in both races and also seventh in the sprint race. For my very first WorldSBK weekend I think It's been positive, even if we had some issues with the tyres during the weekend and a small technical issue in race two, which meant I was happy to finish in eighth place. Top ten was the goal and we managed that in both races, I learned a lot over the weekend and it was much better than during testing and now I can't wait for Thailand."
Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager
"Overall we can be happy with the performance we have shown in Australia; a very consistent performance by all four riders who were in the top eight in three races here. This shows the maturity of both and the operation at the racetrack. We were also able to confirm the performance of the bike that we saw during winter testing at a racetrack where we've struggled a little in the past. It was also gratifying to see that our YZF-R1 was competitive in the hands of Michael and Alex, who have a lot of experience with the bike, and also with Marco and Sandro, who were racing the bike for the first time here in Australia. While this weekend was a good start to the season, it is also clear where we have to improve, so we leave here satisfied but also motivated to close the gap further to our competitors. Seeing our four bikes fighting together on the track is a clear sign that our project is going in the right direction and for that I'd like to thank the riders, the teams and all the Yamaha staff for their hard work and dedication."
Double top ten for Go Eleven in the warm Australian Sunday!
Team Go Eleven worked hard to improve the feeling of Eugene Laverty for the two races on Sunday, news of the 2019 World Superbike Championship!
In the warm-up that opened the morning of the last day here at Phillip Island, our rider rode with used tires, to check the race pace in view of a warm second run, with some set-up changes to solve some problems faced in Race 1.
A real hammer on 1.31 and a half, a great pace ahead of the two races!
Warm-up: P 14 1.31.473 +1.320
At 12.00 o'clock starts for the first time the Superpole Race, a brutal 10-lap race; all the riders start with the knife in their teeth, Eugene goes straight to the attack, despite the continuous fight, keeps a pace that allows him to remain attached to the top positions. After several overtaking and a contact at the fast turn 2, Laverty concludes ninth, ahead of the Ducati Aruba of the Welsh Chaz Davies. Bring home a point and qualify ninth for race grid 2, recovering a row!
Superpole Race: P1 A. Bautista 15'11.323
P2 J. Rea +1.176
P3 L. Haslam +5.072
P9 E. Laverty +12.416
What an amazing race 2 ... what a battle! A real Superbike-style race, with continuous fighting and overtakes. Laverty started really well, bringing the V4-R into P6 in the first laps; unfortunately, however, due to the lack of feeling with the front tyre and the constant attacks of the riders behind, from which he had to defend himself, our rider lost contact with the group of the first 5. The North Irishman of Toomebridge has waited in the group, letting the claws come out and coming back positions on positions in the last 5 laps, closing the door well on the last lap and finishing ninth, once again in close contact with Chaz Davies and in front of the Honda and the BMW couple. Eugene showed all his character and his class, did not give up a centimeter, saving the tyres and managing the various stages of the race to the best, coming out on the long distance as the champion he is. Really a breathless sunday, you did not see a lap without overtaking for the Ducati V4-R by Go Eleven!
Race 2: P 1 A. Bautista 33'38.114
P 2 J. Rea + 12.195
P 3 M Melandri +12.454
P 9 E. Laverty + 29.116
Denis Sacchetti (Team Manager):
"This was our first time with Ducati, there was a lot of emotion inside the box, among the guys! We can be satisfied with how the weekend went.
The work is very different from last season, certainly more exciting, the manufacturer is helping us to grow, progress made little by little speaks for itself.
Eugene is very precise about the indications, yesterday morning with the 30.4 he showed how fast he can go, but we still do not have the rhythm to keep him throughout the race. Today, on the final of Race 2 he really made the difference, he waited for the last 5 laps to attack and when he did he did not miss a stroke, reaching a beautiful ninth place. Of course we can not be fully satisfied because the potential of the bike and the rider are very high, but it is a good and solid starting point. We need a bit of time but soon we will get there in front of it, I can feel it ... we all feel it. "
Eugene Laverty (Race 1 - P 12):
“I am very happy with the progress that we have made this weekend. 9th position in both the Superpole sprint race and race two this afternoon was a great step forward. Thank you to all my guys at Team Go Eleven Ducati for their hard work this week and we have started our season with three solid results. I am confident that this is just the beginning as there is much more performance to come from my beautiful Ducati V4 R.”
As every year Australia marks the starting point of the season, every year, between meetings of old friends, new faces, and team changes creates a unique and inimitable atmosphere that remains in the mind until the following year. And like every Sunday evening it's time to take it all apart, take all the good feelings and fly straight to the next stop. Chang International Circuit, the World Superbike is coming (March 15-17)!
BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team continues to score points with the new BMW S 1000 RR.
Both riders finish in the points again in Sunday’s WorldSBK race.
Markus Reiterberger crosses the line in 12th, Tom Sykes in 13th position.
Marc Bongers: “This first weekend makes me confident for the season”.
Phillip Island. The new BMW S 1000 RR has already proved to be a consistent points collector on its debut weekend in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK). Again in Sunday’s race at Phillip Island (AUS), both BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team riders scored world championship points. Markus Reiterberger (GER) finished 12th, immediately followed by team-mate Tom Sykes (GBR) in 13th.
On Sunday at noon, the new “Superpole Race” was on the programme, a sprint race over ten laps, in which Sykes and Reiterberger took positions 11 and 12. The afternoon race was run over 22 laps, as on Saturday. Sykes started from tenth on the grid, with Reiterberger from 13th. In the opening stage, Sykes had a ‘moment’ when battling with another rider and lost positions while Reiterberger fell back slightly at the start. Over the course of the race, however, both riders worked their way forward and together were part of a closely fighting group of five. The two team-mates also exchanged positions several times. Ultimately, Reiterberger finished 1.3 seconds ahead of Sykes.
Phillip Island also hosted the 2019 Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) season opener at the weekend. Glenn Allerton (AUS) from the NextGen Motorsports/ Maxima BMW team was the highest placed BMW rider. In the three races held, he claimed two seventh places and one ninth place. His team-mate Ted Collins (AUS) finished 11th twice and once in tenth position.
Quotes after race two at Phillip Island.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “We have to be satisfied with the first race weekend with our brand new BMW S 1000 RR. We could, however, also see in the ‘Superpole Race’ and in race two that we still can’t recall our true pace. We still lose on the straight, but at other points of the track we are then right behind the competition again. If we were alone on the track, we would set top-six or top-eight times, but if we are in a race in the pack, we can’t reproduce them because we are stuck. So the positive thing is that our theoretical pace is already very good. Now we will do everything we can to improve in our straight-line deficit. But this first race weekend makes me basically confident for the course of the season.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “We’ve got to be realistic and we have probably reached our goals for the first time we raced the BMW S 1000 RR so we are very happy. We have had no major incidents and I think that we have proved that the bike is going to be competitive very soon. We clearly have our limitations at the moment and we will work hard on sorting them out in the break before the next races. Both riders rode very well and both have been very patient in understanding that we need to wait for the development parts to come through. So from my side the overall summary is that we can look forward to a very competitive bike over the course of the season. We just need to be patient and wait for that to arrive.”
Markus Reiterberger: “Today was much better than yesterday. I really enjoyed the race. Even though I missed my goal, the top-ten, I could at least see that it was possible. I would have had the necessary pace if I had not started so far back after difficulties in qualifying and if I had made a better start. In the race itself I had a better feeling from the beginning, and above all more self-confidence. Although the grip level was even worse at today’s higher temperatures than yesterday, we did a good job and took another step in the right direction. I was able to out-brake some opponents and gain a lot in the corners – that’s where our BMW S 1000 RR is really phenomenal. Unfortunately overtaking is still difficult for us because we lose at the corner exit and on the straight. I take the positives: the top-ten was possible, the feeling is better and the direction is right. I would like to thank the entire team that works tirelessly to make this progress possible. We are competing in the world championship; that’s not a walk in the park. We are a very young project and the potential is definitely there. Now I can’t wait until we head to the next races.”
Tom Sykes: “It has been a challenging day but I have to say that our results do not reflect where we really are. It is just unfortunate that at the moment the bike still has some limitations in straight-line performance but it’s still very early days. On the positive side we have a very good chassis set-up so we were able to make some good passes but then lost again on the easy part of the track. We have shown what is possible by being in the top-five during all tests and practices when we are riding alone, so we know which area we have to work on with the bike and we now have some race mileage under our belt. And I know that now the entire BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team will work hard to keep progressing like we did over winter.”
Leon Camier powers his way to a top ten finish in Race 2 at Phillip Island, Kiyonari also inside the points zone
The first round of the Superbike World Championship has concluded today at Phillip Island (Australia), with the new Sunday race format which saw riders lining up first for the Superpole race and then, later in the day, for Race 2.
Having finished the ten-lap race in thirteenth place, Leon Camier took a step forward in Race 2. Getting away from the fourth row, the Brit was lying in fourteenth place by the end of lap one. Fighting throughout the race in a group comprising Sykes, Laverty and Mercado, among others, the Moriwaki Althea Honda rider crossed the line in tenth position.
Ryuichi Kiyonari concluded the Superpole race in 14th place and Race 2 inside the points zone, in fifteen place.
The next round will take place at the Thai circuit of Buriram over the weekend of 15-17 March.
Leon Camier 2
Superpole Race: 13 - Race 2: 10
“Yesterday I felt really good and felt we had the potential to be pushing with Melandri and Cortese, but in this morning’s race I didn’t have the same feeling and struggled to do what I wanted on track. This afternoon I felt better on the bike, but I lost some time early on and that did not help of course. There are still a few areas where we are losing in fact. We have definitely made some progress over the weekend, some really good progress. But we have still work to do to get to where we want be. It will be a step by step process of improving.”
Ryuichi Kiyonari 23
Superpole Race: 14 - Race 2: 15
“It was important to finish all the races over the weekend and to gain as much data and experience as possible. This morning we improved our position compared to yesterday, and it was good to be able to do so over a shorter distance, even if I didn’t score any points. We made another little step in the afternoon and reached the points zone, but of course we need and want to do better than this.”
Althea MIE Racing concludes the opening Superbike weekend in Australia
Phillip Island (Australia), Sunday 24 February 2019
The first round of the 2019 Superbike World Championship concluded today at the Phillip Island track in Australia. For the Althea MIE Racing team, it proved to be a challenging race weekend, Alessandro Delbianco making his debut in the Superbike category with the Honda CBR1000RR SP2.
After a brief warm-up this morning, the Italian team was back on track for the Tissot Superpole race at midday, a 10-lap sprint race introduced this season. Eighteenth on the grid, Delbianco was able to hold his position through lap one but a crash on the very next lap, at turn 10, prevented him from continuing.
In the second Superbike race, which got underway at 3pm local time, Alessandro started from nineteenth position. Unfortunately, though, his race was brought to an immediate end when a crash at turn 2 forced him to retire.
At the end of this opening round, Alessandro Delbianco has still to score points but the experience he has gained during his first races will serve him well during the next championship rounds.
“Our first race weekend hasn’t gone as we’d hoped of course. Unfortunately, I made a mistake this morning that didn’t allow us to finish the sprint race and then, in race 2, a crash in the initial stages prevented me from reaching the line. Luck was not on our side here, but it’s all experience that we will take with us to the next rounds.”
Dominant Krummenacher takes victory in first 2019 WorldSSP race
Swiss rider seals superb victory ahead of Jules Cluzel and Federico Caricasulo
The FIM Supersport World Championship started with a bang at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, with thrilling overtakes, dramatic crashes and pit-stops all shaping the opening race of the year.
With the starting lights turning to green, it was a lightening start by Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) from third on the grid, ahead of Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) and teammate Randy Krummenacher. By the end of lap one, Caricasulo slipstreamed his way into the lead and but not for long, as Swiss teammate Krummenacher did the same to Caricasulo. Cluzel relegated to third after leading for the opening lap. Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing) and Raffaele De Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse) rounded out the top five.
On lap three, Raffaele De Rosa suffered a big highside crash on the exit of Turn 2, ending his bid for a podium at the start of the year. He wasn’t the only crasher on the opening lap, as Estonian Hannes Soomer (MPM WILSport Racedays) crashed at Turn 6. Back at the front, Jules Cluzel began closing the leading duo of Krummenacher and Caricasulo down, making it a trio of Yamahas at the front of the field.
Caricasulo managed to fight his way past his teammate at Turn 1, where he stayed for just over a lap. Krummenacher managed to get his lead back at Turn 4, shaking his head at teammate Caricasulo as the two battled on circuit. Cluzel’s lap times dropped off, leaving him around a second adrift of the BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team Yamahas. Having taken the lead, Krummenacher pitted first for the mandatory tyre change at the first possible chance. Cluzel followed him in.
With Caricasulo out at the front, trying to make up as much time as possible with a clear circuit, it would all come down to which side of the BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team garage would be quicker. As Caricasulo pitted for the mandatory stop, the rear tyre jack was left attached to the YZF R6 Yamaha upon exit, costing the Italian a chance to fight with his teammate for the win. He exited in third place, once the pit stop phase was complete.
MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse’s day went from bad to worse as Rookie, Federico Fuligni crashed at Turn 10 on his WorldSSP debut. Fuligni and De Rosa will seek to fight back at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand.
As the race entered the final stages, Jules Cluzel was handed a 1.3s penalty, after his pit intervention time was too fast. With Caricasulo charging hard in third position, Cluzel had pressure to retain his second place.
One position that hasn’t looked in doubt throughout testing and the Yamaha Finance Australian Round was first place. Randy Krummenacher celebrated his 29th birthday in style by starting the season as he did in 2016: with a glorious victory; His third victory of his WorldSSP career! Cluzel fended off a charging Caricasulo as they completed the podium in that order.
Hector Barbera finished in fourth at the end of the race, having a great ride from seventh on the grid – the Spaniard’s experience coming to the fore. Thomas Gradinger completed the race in fifth place, as his quest to give Austria a first ever WorldSSP podium continues. Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was a superb sixth, ahead of Corentin Perolari (GMT94 YAMAHA), Peter Sebestyen (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) and his teammate Jules Danilo. Belgian rider Loris Cresson (Kallio Racing) completed the top ten, which subsequently featured eight different nationalities.
P1 - Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)
“It has been absolutely an incredible day for me. It couldn’t have been better. It's my birthday and all my family is here with me in Australia. It was a special race because of the flag-to-flag, but my team did an excellent job, and I was able to stay calm, and these two things together helped us achieve this result in the end. It is a great way for us to start the 2019 season”.
Krummenacher Takes WorldSSP Win for Yamaha in Phillip Island
Evan Bros. Bardahl Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Randy Krummenacher, celebrated his 29th birthday in style with a resounding victory in the opening race of the 2019 Supersport World Championship in Phillip Island today. The Swiss rider rode a calculated race to win by more than five seconds from GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Jules Cluzel. Krummenacher's Bardahl Yamaha teammate, Federico Caricasulo, claimed the final podium position in third.
For safety reasons, today’s 16-lap race included a mandatory pit stop, with riders free to choose when to do their pit-stop to change tyres, under the condition that no tyre was used for more than 10 laps.
It was Cluzel who took the advantage to lead from the start, but the Frenchman was quickly overhauled and then gapped by the Bardahl Yamaha pairing of Krummenacher and pole position qualifier, Caricasulo. The Swiss rider led the race initially, but the Italian found a way past his teammate on lap six.
Krummenacher and Cluzel were the first to head in for the mandatory tyre change at the end of lap seven, with both riders managing clean stops. The same wasn’t true of Caricasulo, however. The Italian stopped at the end of lap eight but was delayed in pit lane after trying to exit with the rear stand still attached to the bike, an error that cost him almost 10 seconds in delay.
After his stop, Krummenacher quickly re-established a commanding lead at the front of the race, with Cluzel chasing hard in second and Caricasulo pushing to make up the deficit in third. But Krummenacher wasn’t to be denied his first win of the season, controlling the race masterfully from the front and taking the victory with a five-second advantage over his closest rival.
Cluzel picked up important championship points in second, while Caricasulo claimed the final podium spot in third.
After an intense battle with Hikari Okubo in the second half of the race, Kallio Racing Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Thomas Gradinger, eventually got the better of the Japanese rider to finish fifth, with GMT94 Yamaha’s Perolari close behind in seventh.
Kallio Racing Yamaha’s Loris Cresson was happy to secure points in the opening race of the season, as the young Belgian brought his Kallio Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 home in a creditable tenth place.
Kallio Racing Yamaha’s Isaac Viñales was left disappointed after failing to finish in his WorldSSP debut in Phillip Island. Having re-joined the race following a minor crash at turn two in the opening laps, the Spaniard was forced to retire with just three laps remaining due to damage sustained in the crash.
Evan Bros. Bardahl Yamaha Supported WorldSSP – P1
"What a great day; it couldn't be any better really! The pit stop made for a special race, but I tried to stay calm when I came in and my team did a fantastic job of changing the tyre; it was the perfect stop. To win the first race here in Phillip Island is a great way to start the season, and a good way to celebrate my birthday too!"
GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP – P2
"I'm really happy because this is like a victory for me. We struggled a little bit in practice but came back step-by-step, but Randy and Federico were really quick this weekend, so for me it was nearly impossible to think about finishing second or to win the race without a mistake from them. I think we did a really good job with the pit stop and I was strong from the first until the last lap, but not the fastest, so it's good to finish second here today."
TOTAL DOMINATION BY RANDY KRUMMENACHER WHO WINS THE OPENING ROUND OF THE SUPERSPORT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Phillip Island (Australia) 24 February 2019
Randy Krummenacher was the undisputed star of this first round of the FIM Supersport world championship. The Swiss rider, having stood out in both the practices and qualifying, got away from the second spot of the grid. A “flag to flag” race, riders were obliged to make a tyre change pitstop between the sixth and the tenth lap. At 1.15pm local time, under the hot Australian sun, the lights went out and the first race of the FIM Supersport world championship got underway. Having made a good start, Krummenacher moved into the lead already on lap two. The team’s strategy saw him come to the pits for the tyre change on lap six. Back on track, the Swiss rider set the fastest lap of the race, on lap nine, stopping the clock on 1’33.267 and earning the “Pirelli Best Lap” award. On lap ten, Krummenacher moved back into the lead and held this position all the way to the line, the Team Bardahl Evan Bros. rider beating second-placed rider Cluzel by 6.157 seconds. A fantastic result for Randy Krummenacher and Team Bardahl Evan Bros who begin the season with great expectations.
#RK21: “It’s been a really exciting weekend. We worked hard during the tests and our efforts have clearly paid off. I know I was fast and that I had good pace, and so I knew I was in with a chance of winning, but it’s always emotional to reach the top step of the podium. I made a good start and that also helped. During the pitstop, the team worked perfectly, respecting the times so that everything went smoothly. The flag to flag doesn’t happen often and so it’s not always easy to get the timing right but luckily the mechanics had practiced, and it all went to plan. Two laps after returning to the track, I set the fastest lap and moved back into the lead. I’ve won the first race of the season and have to thank my team for their impeccable work, and the sponsors who allow me to compete in such a high-level championship. Winning here in Australia is a dream as it all went perfectly, and my wife and kids are here with me. Now we have some days to relax and then it’s back to work, seeing as round 2 is coming up on 17 March at Buriram. I hope to be able to repeat last year’s result in Thailand.”
Sixth For Okubo At Opening Round
Kawasaki Puccetti Racing’s Japanese challenger Hikari Okubo scored a career best sixth place in today’s flag-to-flag WorldSSP race at Phillip Island in Australia. His new team-mate Lucas Mahias was on course for a good finish but eventually left Australia with a 12th place result in his first race for the team, after suffering a time penalty.
After concerns were raised about potential tyre life over the planned 18-lap race in the WorldSSP class, the teams and riders knew from early in the weekend that they would take part in a two-part race, over 16 laps, with a mandatory tyre change at mid-race distance, sometime between lap six and 10.
Okubo, who had qualified eighth, and top Kawasaki rider, was also to finish top Kawasaki rider in the race. He took a sixth place for the second time in his career. This being the first round of the championship, he is also in sixth place overall in the points table.
Unfortunately for Mahias, his strong ride ended with a time penalty for exiting pitlane too early after his mandatory tyre change. With tougher penalties in place this year he was finally given a 19.565 second penalty, putting him down in 12th place. Without this penalty he would have been fighting for at top six finish.
The Kawasaki Puccetti Racing duo now head to the Chang International Circuit in Thailand for round two, to be held between the 15th and the 17th of March.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I was not so bad today because sixth position is our best finish so far. It was a very strange race because it was in two parts, with a tyre change in the middle - and the conditions were hot. The high track temperatures may have caused some chattering from the bike. During the previous sessions my position was always between around fifth and eighth, so the race result was pretty much in line with the pace in practice.”
Lucas Mahias stated: “Today's race was a difficult one. I expected to finish in the top five and tried to do my best. I was doing OK and understanding a lot more about the bike. But I’m very angry about the penalty. I’ve lost a lot of points because of a small mistake. Anyway, it is Buriram next and the Thai track is normally a good one for the bike. The event is a good one with lots of fans, so we need to look ahead and focus on the next round.”
Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) also received a time penalty for leaving pitlane too early but he finished up 14th, scoring two championship points. Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) took a single point for 15th place. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 17th today.
Double top ten for CIA Landlord Insurance Honda in Australia
Posted on 24th February 2019
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Peter Sebestyen delivered a career best finish in today’s World Supersport season opener at Philip Island in Australia
From his qualifying position on the fifth row of the grid the young Hungarian rode a controlled race to finish top Honda in eighth place ahead of his teammate Danilo in ninth.
Sebestyen said: “I am happy about the result, this is my best result. Before the race I thought my race pace would be better but I missed a little bit at the second turn after the start. My position wasn’t the best, I couldn’t use the new tyre and I got a gap so I just tried to close the gap. The pit stop was ok the team works very well and I think it was just perfect. After that I was alone and I saw that my pace was just not good enough to catch Okubo so I just tried to be calm and finish the race in this position. I am happy about it, for sure we need a little bit more to be there but I am sure we will find something on the bike also and the next race in Thailand will be great for us.”
Making his debut with CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Jules Danilo confirmed his potential with a convincing top ten finish in his maiden FIM Supersport World Championship race at the Australian circuit.
Danilo said: “We have to take the positives from the race which is top ten. We had a bit of an issue with the clutch spinning which was holding me back a little but we did a good job throughout the weekend. I understood the bike better and how to ride it because it’s very different to what I am used to. The team did a great job for the pit stop, honestly that helped me a lot I was able to recover a few positions and open up a gap on some guys behind. In Thailand we will have to work on the pace but this is the starting point. I’m happy with the position so thanks to the guys and see you in Thailand.”
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “What can we say, eighth is Peter’s best result and ninth for Jules on his first time on a road based bike is a positive result. We know we need to improve but as a team we did a fantastic job in the race. I was always confident that the pit stops would be an advantage for us and it turned out that way. I must say congratulations to George Buckmaster for two superb stops and a big thumbs up to Stuart, Dan and Andy for the preparation with everything around the stops which helped put both riders in the top ten at the start of the season. We can build from there. We know we need to look for top five and top three challenging. I can only say it has been a really good team job this week and we are looking forward to getting to Thailand and going again.”