Jonathan Rea completed a double victory to kick off his championship defence after a last lap crash for Chaz Davies saw him prevail in race two at Phillip Island. The pair renewed their rivalry from race one on Saturday with Davies trying everything to edge ahead but a desperate manoeuvre at the Honda hairpin saw him slide out, handing the world champion victory.
After gradually falling backwards in race one, polesitter Tom Sykes was intent on lasting the distance this time but after leading the opening ten laps, the Yorkshireman made a critical error at half-distance, outbraking himself and dropping to fourth. Although he was still able to shadow the leading trio, that mistake would prove costly as it dropped him into the clutches of Davide Giugliano and when the Italian tagged the rear wheel of his Kawasaki, Sykes was relegated to seventh.
Rea briefly inherited the lead after his teammate’s slip-up but he was outdragged into turn one less than a lap later by the inspired Michael van der Mark, the Dutchman chasing his maiden WSBK victory. Any hopes of a breakthrough win were dashed four laps from home as Rea and Davies slipstreamed past, setting the stage for a thrilling battle between the British pair.
With two laps remaining, Davies dived up the inside into Honda to snatch the lead but the superior straight-line speed of the Kawasaki undid the Welshman’s hard work at the start of the final lap. One last attempt would come at the Honda hairpin but this time, the Ducati Panigale had reached its breaking point and Chaz was sent tumbling.
Rea rode on to take back-to-back wins with van der Mark a superb second while Giugliano recovered from his tangle with Sykes to grab the final podium spot, passing Nicky Hayden on the final lap. The former MotoGP champion held onto fourth ahead of Yamaha’s Sylvain Guintoli with Sykes following home in sixth and the Althea BMWs of Jordi Torres and Markus Reiterberger seventh and eighth.
Reigning British Superbike champion Josh Brookes rounded off a solid debut weekend for Milwaukee BMW with ninth spot while a dejected Davies remounted to take tenth.
WorldSBK 2016: Australian Round – Race Two Result
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