Since the turn of the millennium, the first race of each decade have gone down as instant classics…
As anticipated during the preseason, each decade brings its own different quirk, with new Champions, close racing and new stars often being born. However, one more pattern emerged after the opening race of the 2020 season: each decade’s first race brings stunning, final lap showdowns to savour. From Kyalami in 2000, Phillip Island in 2010 and again in 2020, the turn of the millennium has brought with it some ferocious season-openers.
In 2000, the World Superbike paddock headed to Africa; South Africa, the first round of the season for a second year would come from the rainbow nation. It would turn out to be one of many countless classics from a vintage year of action. Going down the final lap, Colin Edwards and Noriyuki Haga went head-to-head, whilst reigning Champion Carl Fogarty was strong in third. Despite every effort, Edwards defeated Haga and stormed to victory with the new VTR10000 Honda.
A decade later and WorldSBK once again was in the Southern Hemisphere, with Australia launching the season from Australia in 2010. Leon Haslam took on the Xerox Ducati duo of Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga in yet another Island classic. Coming down to the final corner and the run to the line, Fabrizio used his Ducati power to put himself in contention, but it was Haslam who held on by just 0.004s – the closest finish between the top two of a WorldSBK race in history.
However, the podium doesn’t come much closer than the 2020 season-opener, with just 0.041s splitting the top three across the line. Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) was defiant against denying Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) a first victory for Kawasaki, whilst Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) nearly mugged the pair of them on the mad dash to the line.
What more lies ahead in the MOTUL 2020 FIM Superbike World Championship? Find out with the WorldSBK VideoPass!