Marco Melandri completed his first WorldSBK double since Jerez 2014 after winning a last-gasp sprint to the finish line with Jonathan Rea at Phillip Island. The Italian won a chaotic race which featured mandatory tyre changes at the halfway mark before ultimately boiling down to a three-way fight between Melandri, Rea and polesitter Xavi Fores.
The early stages of the race were lit up by Eugene Laverty who catapulted through from the second row to lead at the Honda hairpin. The Irishman was streaking off into the distance before tumbling at Siberia on lap three, ending any hopes of a return to winning ways for Aprilia. The eight-rider chasing group were now fighting over the lead but the tyre changes loomed large and looked set to shake up the order.
Race leader Fores was the first to dive into the pits, followed by Rea and Michael van der Mark, while the five remaining protagonists at the front changed rubber a lap later. Chaz Davies emerged from it all in the lead ahead of Fores, Tom Sykes, Rea and Melandri but the Welshman took himself out of the action with a fall at MG on his out lap.
As Sykes faded back to fourth, the battle for victory became a three-way dice with Rea hitting the front four laps from home. Melandri’s superior straight-line speed aboard the Ducati paid dividends in Saturday’s opening race and the power of the Panigale proved the difference once again as the Italian slipstreamed past Rea on the run to the finish line, earning him victory by just two hundredths of a second.
Fores followed them home in a close third for his maiden dry-weather rostrum with Sykes a second further back in fourth. Alex Lowes recovered from a poor start to take fifth ahead of Honda’s Leon Camier while Michael van der Mark completed the leading group in eighth. Loris Baz was ninth for BMW while series rookie Toprak Razgatlioglu finished a fine tenth.
WorldSBK 2018: Yamaha Finance Australian Round: Race Two
|1||33. Marco Melandri||Ducati||Aruba.it Racing - Ducati||34:42.633|
|2||1. Jonathan Rea||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||+0.021|
|3||12. Xavi Fores||Ducati||Barni Racing Team||+0.304|
|4||66. Tom Sykes||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||+1.488|
|5||22. Alex Lowes||Yamaha||Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team||+2.474|
|6||2. Leon Camier||Honda||Red Bull Honda World Superbike||+2.745|
|7||60. Michael van der Mark||Yamaha||Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team||+3.098|
|8||81. Jordi Torres||MV Agusta||MV Agusta Reparto Corse||+14.301|
|9||76. Loris Baz||BMW||GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team||+14.361|
|10||54. Toprak Razgatlioglu||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Puccetti Racing||+19.785|
|11||40. Roman Ramos||Kawasaki||Team GoEleven Kawasaki||+25.237|
|12||36. Leandro Mercado||Kawasaki||Orelac Racing VerdNatura||+40.504|
|13||45. Jake Gagne||Honda||Red Bull Honda World Superbike||+58.923|
|14||99. PJ Jacobsen||Honda||TripleM Honda WorldSBK Team||+1:00.084|
|15||50. Eugene Laverty||Aprilia||Milwaukee Aprilia||+2 Laps|
|NC||7. Chaz Davies||Ducati||Aruba.it Racing - Ducati||+11 Laps|
|NC||37. Ondrej Jezek||Yamaha||Guandalini Racing||+22 Laps|
|DQ||25. Daniel Falzon||Yamaha||Yamaha Racing Team||Disqualified|
|NS||17. Troy Herfoss||Honda||Penrite Honda|
|NS||32. Lorenzo Savadori||Aprilia||Milwaukee Aprilia||Injured|
|NS||47. Wayne Maxwell||Yamaha||Yamaha Racing Team|
|NS||68. Yonny Hernandez||Kawasaki||Team Pedercini Racing||Injured|