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. 


1. Kenan Sofuoglu (MAHI Racing Team India) Kawasaki ZX-6R 23'32.480
2. Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport) Yamaha YZF R6 23'34.379
3. Michael Vd Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) Honda CBR600RR 23'39.251
4. Fabien Foret (MAHI Racing Team India) Kawasaki ZX-6R 23'43.575
5. David Salom (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) Kawasaki ZX-6R 23'44.556
6. Luca Scassa (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) Kawasaki ZX-6R 23'45.423
7. Andrea Antonelli (Team Goeleven) Kawasaki ZX-6R 23'56.448
8. Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport) Honda CBR600RR 23'57.016
9. Massimo Roccoli (Team Pata by Martini) Yamaha YZF R6 23'57.262
10. Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto) Honda CBR600RR 23'57.289
11. Vladimir Ivanov (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) Kawasaki ZX-6R 24'05.305
12. Luca Marconi (PTR Honda) Honda CBR600RR 24'05.508
13. Roberto Tamburini (Suriano Racing Team) Suzuki GSX-R600 24'05.535
14. Mathew Scholtz (Suriano Racing Team) Suzuki GSX-R600 24'06.547
15. Alex Baldolini (Team Lorini) Honda CBR600RR 24'07.473
16. Mitchell Carr (AARK Racing) Triumph 675 R 24'10.751
17. Josh Hook (Team Honda Racing) Honda CBR600RR 24'15.832
18. Kev Coghlan (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) Kawasaki ZX-6R 24'17.910
19. Nacho Calero Perez (Honda PTR) Honda CBR600RR 24'20.878
20. Matt Davies (Team Honda PTR) Honda CBR600RR 24'23.823
21. Christian Iddon (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse) MV Agusta F3 675 24'25.021
22. Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth) Honda CBR600RR 24'25.753
23. Eduard Blokhin (Rivamoto) Honda CBR600RR 25'03.437
24. Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda) Honda CBR600RR 24'35.380
RT. Roberto Rolfo (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse) MV Agusta F3 675 20'36.657
RT. Dino Lombardi (Pata by Martini Team) Yamaha YZF R6 19'31.741
RT. Kevin Curtain (Yamaha Racing Team) Yamaha YZF R6 6'27.435
RT. David Linortner (Team Honda PTR) Honda CBR600RR 4'54.366
RT. Raffaele De Rosa (Team Lorini) Honda CBR600RR 3'17.624
RT. Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport) Yamaha YZF R6 3'18.432
RT. Fabio Menghi (VFT Racing) Yamaha YZF R6 3'18.444
RT. Luca Salvadori (Team Pata by Martini) Yamaha YZF R6 1'45.466
RT. Alex Schacht (Racing Team Toth) Honda CBR600RR 1'47.279
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..... I chose to miss the race in favor of some Zzzz & this report has brought me up to speed.

Pics of Sam's rear tyre after the race are shocking.

Good point being made with stating 'it was an excellent example of two bike philosophies, straight line versus cornering, letting riders race hard and fast.'

This is exactly my point of view. In MotoGP they want to make the bikes ever more equal, supposedly to make the races better. It doesn't and that is being proved more and more. If every bike is as fast as the others in the same places, there will be very little possibility for overtaking. You need bikes with different strenghts to create overtaking possibilities. One of the most exciting and impressive MotoGP races I have seen in recent years is the first 800cc race in Qatar, when Casey's Ducati was blasting past Valentino's Yamaha on the straight and then Valentino had the overhand in the twisty bits. We had overtaking every lap and the big speed differences made the speed much more visible and spectacular for us as spectators. So it was more fun for all of us. That has disappeared from MotoGP long ago (although the two different classes now running in the same MotoGP race have brought back the speed impression, when a MotoGP bike laps a CRT bike...).

Luckily in Superbike and Supersport we still have enough technical freedom to give room to diversity. Hopefully it will stay that way.