With Jonathan Rea dominating the first two races, the guys talk about the expectations at the opening rounds, and how the season is far from over for the other riders. Tom Sykes is looking to be in his best form ever, Chaz Davies is in the hunt, and Marco Melandri is showing his teeth…all of which is making for good racing.
The show also covers the World Supersport class, which has proven to be anything but predictable. With injuries, mechanicals, and crashes shaking up the leaderboard, the WSS title is still very much any rider’s to claim.
Before wrapping up, the lads talk about the Supersport 300 series, which begins at the first European round of the season, at Aragon. They tip who to watch, and what to expect from the racing, and surely hardcore race fans won’t want to miss the debut of this new series.
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It’s early days for the 2017 World Superbike season, but already plenty of people are crowning Jonathan Rea as a three-time champion. To anyone thinking that with 22 races remaining that the championship has been sown up, it would be wise not to count any chickens just yet.
Rea has most certainly been the class of the field so far in Australia and Thailand, but they are two tracks that the Kawasaki rider had been heavily favored to win at. Phillip Island is a wide-open race to open the year, but Rea has traditionally been a force at the Australian circuit.
Likewise in three years of visiting Thailand he has won five races. There’s a lot that can be taken from the opening three rounds of the year, but it will take a couple of European rounds before a clear picture truly emerges.
Jonathan Rea claimed a dominant victory at the Chang International Circuit, with the reigning World Champion setting a searing pace en route to his third victory in a row.
When he arrived in parc ferme after Race 1, the Northern Irishman’s emotions were clear for all to see as he celebrated his 41st WorldSBK victory.
“I felt really good and quite calm, my guys gave me a really good bike again and that was my plan,” said Rea. “We had a really good pace, but Chaz also had a very fast pace, as did Marco, so I had to ride away into T1 to make the holeshot, I wanted to get my head down in T1 and I did it.”
“I managed to get a good gap and then built up a rhythm, I was just doing my job and it was enough to win, so I’m really happy. Last year there was a big fight between me, Tom, and Chaz, but the bike’s improved a lot since last year, so I’m really happy with that.”
Can we just have every race at Phillip Island? That’s certainly what a lot of fans will be thinking after a thrilling opening weekend of World Superbike action.
The tension that has simmered between Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies over the winter came to the fore over the weekend, and once again it is these two riders fighting it out for wins.
The second race of the World Superbike season saw history made, with the introduction of the much touted revised grid that saw the podium men from Race 1 start from the third row.
This meant that Jonathan Rea, Chaz Davies, and Tom Sykes had to fight through the field during the 22-lap affair.
It proved little challenge for Rea and Davies to hit the front, but ultimately Sykes lost too much time making progress, and abused his tires trying to bridge the gap to the leading group.
That leading group consisted of three Ducati’s, a Kawasaki and a Yamaha with the Italian horde of Davies, Marco Melandri, and Xavi Fores – all taking turns at the head of the train.
WorldSBK came back with a bang in the opening round of the 2017 season. With five different leaders, and four manufacturers in the scrap for the podium the Phillip Island crowd was treated to a superb season opener that eventually saw Jonathan Rea come out on top.
The Northern Irishman edged the win from Chaz Davies, after a race that saw the field race with one eye on tire conservation and the other on their rivals.
Afterwards Rea compared the 22-lap affair to a cycling race, where everyone tried to shadow their rivals rather than show their true pace. With that being the case it allowed the likes of Alex Lowes and Leon Camier to fight at the front, and the Yamaha rider came within a whisker of the podium.