World Superbike race two is the first race to use the new-for-2017 reversed grid. The grid position is determined by a mix of where a rider qualified and where a rider finished in Saturday's race one. The front row is made up of the riders from fourth to sixth position, the second row is made of the riders from seventh to ninth position while the third row is the top three, the riders on the podium, only reversed, putting the winner in ninth place and the third placed rider seventh.
4 5 6 7 8 9 3 2 1
The fourth and subsequent rows are decided by where the rider qualified in Superpole, with anyone who qualified in the top nine who did not finish in the top nine pushed back to tenth place, and so on.
Alex Lowes starts the race in pole position, having just missed the podium yesterday, while Marco Melandri starts in tenth place having crashed out in race one but having qualified well within the front three rows in Superpole. Before the race started, however, Jordi Torres held his hand up at the start of the warmup lap and parked up, missing out on the race and leaving his place on the grid empty.
Xavi Fores pipped Alex Lowes to the front for turn one, charging into the lead from third place on the grid. Eugene Laverty, from fifth, carved past Leon Camier for third place and then followed Lowes through past Fores for second place. Jonathan Rea pushed through to fifth place, passing Chaz Davies.
On the second lap, Lowes held the lead until Laverty took it from him at the Honda hairpin. Lowes took it back and the two kept their places until the mass drafting exercise down the Gardner straight gave Fores a chance at the lead and put Rea past Lowes for third. A lap later, Rea took second place and Laverty started losing places.
Marco Melandri had also decided to join in, and by lap six, Jonathan Rea was first place having started ninth and Melandri was fifth from tenth. Chaz Davies slipped under Xavi Fores and sat in second place having started eighth, and maybe the reverse grid won't change much after all.
The leading five riders of Rea, Davies, Lowes, Fores and Melandri had over a second gap to sixth place, held by Tom Sykes who really isn't used to starting off the front row and isn't that fond of Philip Island either. The gap would eventually shrink to just under a second before settling back to over a second.
On lap nine, the front five splayed out down the straight side by side and sorted themselves out in the entry to Doohan Corner with Davies at the front ahead of Rea and Lowes. This continued every lap, and on lap fourteen, Melandri finally made it to the front, holding the lead for four laps until Rea, having tried passed round the outside, finally made a pass stick and it looked like Melandri had spent more of his tyre than he wanted getting to the front from tenth place through traffic. Davies took advantage to also pass Melandri for second place.
Two laps from the end, Rea led Davies as Lowes passed Melandri for third place with Fores prising a gap under Melandri at the turn ten hairpin to push the Italian back to fifth place. Melandri recovered his fourth place shortly after, down the straight as Davies took the lead.
Alex Lowes pushed past Jonathan Rea in Honda Corner but Rea took second place back at Siberia, two turns later. As the last lap started, Fores dropped off the front four and left the fight for the podium. Rea took the lead into Doohan Corner ahead of Davies and Melandri took third from Lowes at Stoner Corner, turn three. Through the Honda Hairpin, as Davies was building momentum, Rea slowed slightly and forced Davies to break his rhythm and wait for another spot. Rea maintained a fast defensive line throughout the last lap and Davies was forced to leave it until the Gardner straight to make a passing attempt, but Rea had decent drive out of the last turn and wasn;t going to lose. Davies pulled alongside Rea, but couldn't pass, finishing two and a half hundredths of a second behind Rea's Kawasaki.
Jonathan Rea took his fortieth Superbike victory and his eleventh double win, returning to Parc Fermé to silver balloons celebrating his milestone. Marco Melandri rounded put the podium and also set the fastest lap on lap six, an impressive result after a year without racing.
Maybe Phillip Island isn't the best track to judge the reversed grid on, but it didn't seem to have much affect to the podium.
|1||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10R|
|2||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale R||0.025|
|3||33||M. MELANDRI||Ducati Panigale R||0.249|
|4||22||A. LOWES||Yamaha YZF R1||0.956|
|5||12||X. FORÉS||Ducati Panigale R||2.320|
|6||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10R||4.781|
|7||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Yamaha YZF R1||7.307|
|8||2||L. CAMIER||MV Agusta 1000 F4||9.756|
|9||32||L. SAVADORI||Aprilia RSV4 RF||11.135|
|10||50||E. LAVERTY||Aprilia RSV4 RF||20.123|
|11||15||A. DE ANGELIS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||25.799|
|12||25||J. BROOKES||Yamaha YZF R1||25.879|
|13||21||M. REITERBERGER||BMW S 1000 RR||25.917|
|14||40||R. RAMOS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||26.292|
|15||6||S. BRADL||Honda CBR1000RR||28.440|
|16||88||R. KRUMMENACHER||Kawasaki ZX-10R||33.679|
|17||37||O. JEZEK||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1'13.561|
|RET||69||N. HAYDEN||Honda CBR1000RR||14 Laps|
|RET||86||A. BADOVINI||Kawasaki ZX-10R||15 Laps|
|RET||84||R. RUSSO||Yamaha YZF R1||20 Laps|
|RET||81||J. TORRES||BMW S 1000 RR|