Incredible final lap decides first podium of 2015.
The opening race of the 2015 eni FIM Superbike World Championship was held in hot and sunny conditions at the Phillip Island circuit with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) taking the opening victory of the year after a titanic 22 lap fight with Chaz Davies (Aruba Ducati SBK), and the Aprilia Racing Team duo of Leon Haslam and superbike new boy Jordi Torres.
After a tense final lap, Haslam and Davies completed the podium with Torres just missing out in 4th. The Spaniard continuing to impress in what is his debut superbike weekend.
The race started with 22 riders after David Salom (Team Pedercini) his team mate Matt Walters and Gabor Rizmayer (Team Toth BMW) were ruled out following crashes earlier in the weekend. Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing) had made the final Superpole session but was relegated to the back of the grid after a tyre infringement.
As the lights went out it was Pole sitter Rea who led the field into turn 1, the Kawasaki Racing Team rider never headed until lap 5 as the chasing pack of three began to ease away.
The remaining laps of the race served up a real treat for everyone watching as lap after lap the leading riders swapped places at almost every turn, the final lap one of the most thrilling to ever happen at Phillip Island.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) put a brave move on Tom Sykes to claim 4th into turn one, the former champion taking to the grass at high speed before rejoining 10th. He would eventually salvage 6th at the flag behind the Dutchman who dropped to 5th in the closing stages.
Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda WSBK Team) rode a solid race to claim 7th ahead of Nico Terol (Althea Racing), Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) and Leon Camier who raced his MV Agusta Reparto Corse machine into an encouraging 10th at the flag.
Troy Bayliss (Aruba Ducati SBK) ran as high as 7th before eventually fading to 13th just ahead of local wildcard rider Jed Metcher (Race Center – Demolation Plus) who was elated at scoring 2 points on his WorldSBK debut.
Niccolo Canepa (Team Hero EBR) was the only faller, he was taken to the medical centre for further checks.