Table of contents:
- Alex Lowes, the uncomfortable internal rival that has left Jonathan Rea
- Álvaro Bautista's Honda CBR1000RR-R has spark and flies on the straights
- The five brands have reasons to leave Australia happily
2023 Author: Nicholas Abramson | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 02:44
Motorcycle fans who got up early this weekend to see the premiere of the World Superbike Championship in Australia were not disappointed. Phillip Island gave us three exciting races, with maximum equality and some outcomes more typical of a thriller. Yes, the Superbike World Championship is back.
The first race of this season was the one with the most even podium of the entire 21st century. Toprak Razgatlioglu won the race seven thousandths ahead of Alex Lowes and 41 on Scott Redding. In less than half a tenth, three riders shared the three rungs of the Phillip Island box.
Alex Lowes, the uncomfortable internal rival that has left Jonathan Rea
That is one of the great conclusions that we draw from Australia, that equality is maximum. It is not even worth the excuse that Jonathan Rea "missed" in the first race. He raced both on Sunday and was very strong, but had to fight until the last corner for the victories. And the second one he didn't even take.
Because above all the big surprise of the weekend has been Alex Lowes. It is not only that the new Kawasaki rider beat Jonathan Rea in the second long race, but was able to win all three. In all of them he was in the group that reached the last lap with chances of victory, and only in the Superpole Race did he stay off the podium.
Already on Saturday he was only seven thousandths from winning, and on Sunday, in the long race, he did not fail. Lowes' level in Australia has been an unexpected bombshell, and that adds an internal rival to the many external ones that Jonathan Rea already has in 2020. It is clear that this has only just begun, now Lowes has to maintain this level for 36 more races.
Lowes is now the leader of the world, partly benefited because misfortune did not hit him as it did with Jonathan Rea. The champion saw his first race cut short by a blow from his old enemy Tom Sykes in the first round. Then he tried to come back, but Phillip Island is a circuit too prone to overdoing it with optimism. It ended up on the floor.
Also to Toprak Razgatlioglu, the other big revelation of the weekend, fortune betrayed him. In the second long race he was not having as much pace as in the first two, and the mechanics left him lying a few laps from the end. Very unlucky because Razgatlioglu was inspired by Phillip Island.
Actually, the emergence of Kenan Sofuoglu's ward is only half a surprise. Last year he already showed a champion's way with a Kawasaki satellite, even winning at Magny-Cours, and in preseason he has flown with the Yamaha. It was known that it would be strong in Phillip Island and it has not disappointed, you must now maintain regularity. If he does, he is Rea's main rival.
Because it's hard not to have some aftertaste of disappointment with Scott Redding's debut with the Ducati Panigale V4 R. No, it was not a failure, far from it. In fact, the Briton has made his debut in the category with three podiums in three races, but the comparison of what Álvaro Bautista did a year ago is very present.
Redding always seemed the most hooked of the leading group. It is true, at no time did he get off the hook, he was always glued to the leaders, but without posing too much threat. Most frustrating, and puzzling, is that The Ducati Panigale V4 R didn't even seem as dominant on the straight as it once was.
Álvaro Bautista's Honda CBR1000RR-R has spark and flies on the straights
That privilege now goes to the Honda CBR1000RR-R and, again, to Álvaro Bautista. The debut of the new HRC team was encouraging. With all the things that Honda has yet to tune up, Leon Haslam lasted a long time in the leading group in the first race and Bautista made two good comebacks.
Of course there is a long way to go, but at least the new Honda CBR1000RR-R is sparkling. And its top speed is devilish. Both in the first long race and in the second Bautista set the record for top speed. Up to 329 km / h it reached the talaverano on the Phillip Island straight. There is future.
Finally, to highlight the incredible talent that Tom Sykes still has at 34 years of age to get a fast lap in the Superpole. The BMW rider achieved the 50th of his career in Superbikes, the one that has come first the most times in the history of the category. For example, Rea is "only" 23.
Now it is Qatar's turn, if the coronavirus allows it. The country is quarantining everyone who arrives from Italy, and in Superbikes, although less than in MotoGP, there is also an important transalpine community. We will see if in a more usual circuit than Phillip Island the equality is maintained or Rea begins to take the hammer.
The five brands have reasons to leave Australia happily
In short, it could be said that all brands leave Phillip Island happy. Kawasaki leads the world championship, has won two of the three races and has certified that they have been successful with the signing of Lowes. Yamaha has won a test, has found a star with Razgatlioglu and maintains a solid Michael van der Mark.
As for Ducati, they have managed to make Redding debut with three podiums in their first three races and fighting for all the victories until the end. The Honda CBR1000RR-R has had a very promising debut, with lots of green shoots, and BMW has not only not lagged behind but has done the Superpole with Tom Sykes. The swords are on high.
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