Thrilling 0.007sec finish decides Island opener

Young Turk Toprak Razgatlioglu scored a thrilling victory on the factory Yamaha in the opening race of the 2020 World Superbike championship at Phillip Island, holding off the fast-finishing Kawasaki of Alex Lowes by just 0.007 seconds.

In a blanket finish, just 0.137 seconds covered the first four riders as Scott Redding (Ducati) was third and Michael van der Mark (Yamaha) fourth.

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Toprak Razgatlioglu flies the Turkish flag at Phillip Island. Picture: Robert Cianflone/GettySource:Getty Images

World champion Jonathan Rea crashed out on the seventh lap on the factory Kawasaki. The Northern Irishman had been chasing the field after a bump with rival Tom Sykes (BMW) forced him off the track.

Razgatlioglu, 23, made his debut for the Yamaha team and it was his third win in the World SBK category.

The winning margin was the third closest at the island.

Pole-sitter Sykes led in the first half of the race but slipped back from lap 12 and finished ninth.

Toprak Razgatlioglu celebrates the win. Picture: Robert Cianflone/GettySource:Getty Images

Leon Haslam enjoyed a solid first race for the factory Honda team, coming in fifth, less than four seconds from the winner.

And Honda teammate Alvaro Bautista, who won all three races last year at the island, recovered from a crash in qualifying to finish sixth.

CHAMPION’S CLASSY TRIBUTE

World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea is honouring his Australian connections with a new Aussie design helmet to raise money for the bushfire appeal.

Rea unveiled the pop art-styled helmet before the qualifying session at Phillip Island.

The five-time world champion commissioned Italian designer Aldo Drudi – famous for creating some of Valentino Rossi’s more eye-catching helmets – for the project.

The helmet is a colourful piece featuring koalas, kangaroos, flowers and the Australian flag.

Rea’s Australian wife, Tatia, grew up on the island and the couple have a home near Bright in Victoria’s northeast.

“It was so difficult being at home in Northern Ireland and watching the fires from afar,’’ Rea said.

Helmet to be worn by World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea at Phillip Island 2020 Design by Aldo DrudiSource:Supplied

“We have a beautiful mountain property in Wandiligong that came under threat with the fire burning in Abbeyard.

“Tatia’s parents were staying there when police told them they should vacate.’’

Rea said the special helmet would be auctioned off with all money going to BlazeAid.

Drudi said he wanted to provide some “positive energy’’ to Australia.

“We started thinking, me and the guys of my staff and watching television, the strongest image was the animals, especially the kangaroo and the koala, so we decide to create one helmet with those animals, but in a funny way, in a positive way, not in the bad situation that we were watching on television.’’

Originally published asThrilling 0.007sec finish decides Island opener

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