Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea took a stunning victory in the opening race of 2016 at the Australian circuit of Phillip Island, as he held off the pack and crossed the line 0.063s ahead of Chaz Davies.
The Kawasaki racing duo of Rea and Tom Sykes led the way from the Doohan corner but it was Sykes who secured the lead and attempted to break away from the pack.
Initially challenged by the Aruba IT. Racing Ducati pair of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies, the fight soon turned into an eight rider battle with 16 laps to go for the lead, ironically in their teams of Kawasaki, Ducati, Honda and Yamaha.
Rea took the lead with 15 to go from Sykes, which seemed to spook the Yorkshire man as he slipped down into sixth position, behind Nicky Hayden aboard the Honda.
By the 12th lap Rea, Guintoli, Davies and Michael Van Der Mark began to break away from the pack as the fight for the victory became more intense.
With 7 laps remaining Van Der Mark was challenging for the victory and was all over the back of reigning champion Rea.
Alex Lowes had a tough start to his season as he crashed out on his debut for Pata Yamaha with six laps to go, however with the new format his Crescent team will have chance to rebuild the bike and regroup ahead of race two tomorrow.
In the final five laps of the race Sykes and Guintoli began to pull the leaders in, as their lap times were quicker than the leaders.
Davies took a lunge at MG Corner, taking the lead but Rea soon took the lead back and crossed the line in to take the victory, with Van Der Mark completing the podium.
Davide Giugliano crossed the line in fourth position as he set the fastest lap of the race on his final lap, ahead of Tom Sykes.
Hayden didn’t produce the performance the fans had hoped for as he crossed the line in 9th position, being pipped to the line by Leon Camier aboard the MV Agusta and Jordi Torres.
Josh Brookes had a strong debut aboard the Milwaukee BMW as the Australian was down in 16th on opening lap but crossed the line in tenth position.
Race one results:
1 1 J. REA
2 7 C. DAVIES 0.063
3 60 M. VAN DER MARK 0.487
4 34 D. GIUGLIANO 0.647
5 66 T. SYKES 3.429
6 50 S. GUINTOLI 3.510
7 2 L. CAMIER 10.721
8 81 J. TORRES 11.539
9 69 N. HAYDEN 15.534
10 25 J. BROOKES 23.239