Melandri puts a stop to Rea’s winning streak
The opening round of the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship welcomed some stunning racing action, and a final lap battle to keep fans on the edge of their seats for weeks to come. Not only did we see sensational on track fights, but Italian Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) shocked the paddock as he stopped Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea’s record breaking run of 76 races at the top of the championship.
Becoming the first Italian rider to lead the title chase since Max Biaggi in 2012, Melandri’s double win came as a surprise to many given Rea’s recent run of five victories out of the last six races held Down Under. But with a strong pace around the 4.4km circuit, Melandri stamped is dominance in Australia and was able to take two strong victories in the opening round of the season.
The last and only time the Italian led the title charge was in 2012 after the Moscow Round, and he now leaves Phillip Island in such a strong position, taking maximum championship points from the first round. Whilst Rea now sits in third position in the standings, with 31 points after two races he is feeling positive and ready for the trip to Thailand and to a circuit he has performed so well around in the past.
Putting a stop to Rea’s run of form will no doubt welcome a positive boost to Melandri’s mindset ahead of round two of the season at the Chang International Circuit and the battle will well and truly be on from 23rd- 25th March.