Jonathan Rea has completed a stunning double win in the opening round of the 2016 World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island after a prevailing in a dramatic final lap showdown with Chaz Davies that left the Welshman crashing down.

A race that built in momentum following a fairly processional opening half, though it was another resounding victory for the defending champion, the manner of his second success of the weekend was very different to that of the first as he allowed Tom Sykes and then Michael van der Mark dictate much of the pace for three-quarters of the race.

However, as the race entered its closing stages the lead battle would come alive, with a typically stealthy Rea rising to the front for the first time on lap 18 of 22, albeit with a determined Davies shadowing his every move and eager to make amends for not making his last lap move stick in race one.

Aware that his Ducati twin doesn't have the legs of the Kawasaki in a straight line, Davies would trial a more aggressive strategy on the penultimate lap with a robust move into Honda, the Welshman successfully completing the pass and even clinging onto the lead for the remainder of the lap and across the finish line.

Though Rea would get him back by the end of the home straight as they entered the final lap, Davies had set the standard for himself and would attempt the same pass on Rea into the right-hander at the final time of asking. However, with Rea wise to it this time and forcing his rival to brake later, Davies couldn't get the Ducati stopped, slipping up the inside, running wide and falling down.

A bitter disappointment for Davies, he would pick up the bike to get going again and reach the chequered flag, albeit back in a very unsatisfied tenth place.

His misfortune would release Rea to take the new ZX-10R to the chequered flag for the 31st win of his WSBK career, a hard fought win this time but one that still results in a perfect haul of 50 points from his weekend's work.

Behind him, van der Mark completed the best weekend of his short WSBK career in second place, though Dutchman may be frustrated to just miss out on a victory challenge. The youngster had led for seven laps following Sykes error and appeared comfortable holding back Rea until lap 17 when a poor exit out of the final turn allowed Rea and Davies to pass. Though he still stayed in touch, van der Mark was never quite able to make his pitch for victory, even if he would benefit from Davies' fall.

In the fight for third, Nicky Hayden very nearly completed a famous podium result on his debut weekend, the American managing his tyres far better than in race one, but unable to resist Davide Giugliano around the long final turn as the Italian snatched the position in the run to the line.

Unable to quite get in the mix once again, fifth place still marks a solid opening salvo for PATA Yamaha and Sylvain Guintoli, the Frenchman tussling at the back end of the lead group but never looking able to progress beyond on pure pace.

Still, he got the better of an aggrieved Sykes, who endured a frustrating race having led comfortably for the first 11 laps, only to drop to fourth when he ran wide at Honda. He was then clipped wide at the same corner by a clumsy lunge from Giugliano a few laps later, unsettling him enough to put him down in sixth at the chequered flag.

Picking up a spot on the final lap at the expense of Davies, Jordi Torres prevailed in a three-way BMW battle between his Althea team-mate Markus Reiterberger and the Milwaukee machine of Josh Brookes, the trio coming home seventh, eighth and ninth, with Davies tenth.

Karel Abraham turned in another solid finish on his WSBK debut in 11th, ahead of Roman Ramos, Alex de Angelis and Alex Lowes, the Yamaha rider dropping to the back on the opening lap with apparent technical issues, before fighting back to 14th on an otherwise dismal start to the year for the former BSB champion. Pedercini Kawasaki's Sylvain Barrier picked up the final point.

Elsewhere, Leon Camier's race lasted just a couple of laps before technical issues struck his improving MV Agusta, while Lorenzo Savadori was also an early casualty due to problems on his IodaRacing Aprilia RSV4.

 

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