‘JR’ Gets Off To A Flyer Down Under
Jonathan Rea got the defence of his FIM Superbike World Championship off to the perfect start with victory in the first race of the season at Phillip Island, Australia today.
The day started well for the double World Champion as he secured his ninth career pole, shattering the previous best lap time for the WorldSBK class at the track.
Jonathan had to fight for much of the race, which had a consistent leading group of 14 at one stage. With tyre wear always a potential issue at the unique and fast 4.445km Phillip Island circuit, the early pace of the race was controlled by the top riders to ensure their overall race package be in good shape at the end of 22-laps, especially on a track surface that was warmer than during the opening day of practice.
Ultimately Rea came out on top giving the 2017 Ninja ZX-10RR its first race win by using all his race craft on the final lap, heading off Chaz Davies by 0.042 seconds. Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes came home in third place and just 1.050 seconds from the winning time.
Rea has now scored four wins from the last five races held at the Australian circuit, with one more race still to go this weekend.
Race two will take place at 15.00 on Sunday 26th February, local Australian time.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “That was one of the strangest races I have ever been partly because in some places the pace was slow in the 1’33s but I was wary to always stay at the front of the group and keep out of trouble. I think the further back I ever was third but I tried not to do too much at the front. I knew when Chaz mounted a challenge at the end I needed to be really strong. Twice after lap ten I tried to go to the front and push the pace forwards but it did not really pan out. With two to go I got track position and then played it clever on the final lap. We have been working hard in the off season to find some advantages.”