WSB: Rea doubles up for win number 40

Published: 26 February 2017

The first race to be held under the new grid rules, where the top three from race one start race two from the third row, had little effect on the winning machine that is Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team). He had to fight for his second race victory again, the 40th in his career, with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) just 0.025 seconds behind him after 22-laps.

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) took a podium finish in his first weekend back in his old paddock, passing Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) late in the race and holding him off by 0.7 seconds. The top four were all within a second after another Phillip Island classic race.

Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Ducati) placed fifth and third row starter Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) went sixth, almost five seconds back from Rea.

The first race of the new grid re-ordering rules caused some early re-ordering of the WorldSBK stars, until Rea pushed up to second place by lap four.

Sykes was hung out on the back of the leading group of nine with five laps gone of the 22.

Rea took the lead from Fores on the start of lap six.

A leading five had developed by lap eight, with Rea, Fores, Davies, Lowes and fastest lapper Melandri all within 0.7 seconds, and Sykes 3.1 behind the lead.

Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) crashed and rejoined on lap nine at turn 10, but eventually retired.

Behind the top six, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) found some pace for seventh and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was strong again for eighth on his underpowered four-cylinder machine.

Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) completed the top ten. Josh Brookes (ERMotorsports Yamaha) was 12th and Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team).

In the championship Rea has a perfect 50 points, Davies 40, Sykes 26 and Lowes 26.