Marco Melandri, the Aruba.it Ducati rider, surprised everyone with a double victory at Phillip Island, Australia
It was quIte a season opener for Ducati as their Italian rider, Marco Melandri, went on to win both the races over the weekend at phillip Island. Here is how it all unfolded.
the first event of the 2018 world superbike Championship (wsBK) at phillip Island in australia was an exciting one as Marco Melandri put on a great show for the fans. Melandri started the race from the third row but, on the very first lap, managed to zip past as many as six riders to complete the lap in p3. ahead of Melandri was the Kawasaki duo of tom sykes, who was leading, and Jonathan rea, who was running in p2.
For the first 14 laps, the top three positions stayed unchanged. on lap 15, however, Melandri zipped past rea to p2 after the
defending champion ran into tyre wear problems. Four laps later, Melandri took the lead as sykes, too, fell victim to tyre wear. From there the Italian never looked back and maintained a consistent pace to win the first race of the season by a margin of 1.1 seconds. Krt rider tom sykes managed the second place after trying hard to reclaim the lead from Melandri. the third place went to Melandri’s team-mate, Chaz Davies, who, after running fifth for most of the race, moved to third in the penultimate lap, pushing Xavi Fores of Barni Ducati to fourth. Jonathan rea eventually finished fifth.
the second event of the weekend was comparatively more exciting as Melandri fought his way to clinch his first double victory since 2014.
the opening laps saw eugene Laverty of Milwaukee aprilia lead for two laps; however, the 31-year-old was pushed to the last spot following a fall. aruba.it Ducati’s Chaz Davies, who was leading the race after the mandatory pit-stop introduced after tyre troubles in race one, also suffered a nasty fall mid-way into the race. after Davies’s fall, Xavi Fores of Barni Ducati took the lead on lap 13. He led the race for seven laps, after which Jonathan rea, who was running third, made a move and moved to p2.
on the 20th lap, rea took the lead with Melandri right on his tail. Both fought closely on the penultimate lap. on the final lap, Melandri and rea were neck and neck before the Italian pulled a fast one on rea right at the finish line, taking the win by 0.021 seconds. this was Melandri’s first double win since 2014 and also the first time since 2014 that rea wasn’t leading the championship.