Features 14 Feb 2019

Countdown: Phillip Island WorldSBK facts

Eight facts on the iconic venue and the WorldSBK ahead of the 2019 opener.

The 2019 FIM Motul Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) opener at Phillip Island in Victoria is nearly upon us, with just a week to go until proceedings kick off. In this edition of Countdown, CycleOnline.com.au takes a look at eight facts regarding the iconic venue and the WorldSBK!

Image: Supplied.

8. Victorious home heroes:
Australian riders have won their home race here 23 times out of 55, the last one in 2008 with a double-win for Troy Bayliss. Since then, riders from seven different countries have won at Phillip Island.

7. Island’s top speed:
The fastest ever top speed recorded at Phillip Island is 324.6kph, set by Max Biaggi on board his Aprilia in 2012.

6. Sykes’ milestone:
Tom Sykes will start his 260th WorldSBK race at Phillip Island when the lights will go off on Saturday, 23 February. This year, he’s teamed up with the new BMW Motorrad squad.

5. Dominant nations:
Last year Marco Melandri broke a string of six consecutive British wins at Phillip Island. The same record for a country goes to Australia with a string of six consecutive wins from 2004 race two to 2007 race one.

Image: Supplied.

4. Rea’s streak:
Rea starts his 2019 campaign after having led the championship 100 times in total. Now he is on a streak of 20 rounds, beginning in Buriram 2018. Rea is also on a winning streak of 11 straight races, a record sequence. None of these wins came with the advantage of a pole position start.

3. Championship winning trends:
In the history of the Championship, in 17 seasons out of 31, the winner of the opening race has gone on to win the title at the end of the year. That was not the case for Melandri last year – the Italian took his only two wins of the season in Australia and finished fifth in the standings.

2. Most races:
Phillip Island is the circuit with most WorldSBK races run: 55. The first appearance of the Australian race track in the calendar was back in 1990.

1. Season opener:
For the eleventh year in a row, Phillip Island will be the opening round of the season. The Australian race track is where the most season openers in the championship history have taken place so far, followed by Donington, Valencia, and Losail, at four each.