Pata Honda rider Kyle Smith missed out on a World Supersport championship podium on his debut by 0.032s in the opening race of the 2015 series at Phillip Island in Australia this afternoon.
The race was won by Jules Cluzel after 23-year-old Smith ran a controlled first part of the 18-lap race around the 4.445km Phillip Island circuit, in which he was in contention for the podium throughout.
The Huddersfield ace had saved enough rear tyre on his Honda CBR600RR for the end of the race to enjoy a great scrap with fellow-Briton and fellow-Honda rider Gino Rea, who just pipped him at the line. The duo will renew their rivalry at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand in four weeks time.
Kyle Smith - P4Kyle Smith I had a really good start and paced myself early on to look after the tyre. A couple of riders passed me but I knew that I had better race pace than them so I wasn’t too worried. I held on and tried to keep with the leading group and, as the race unfolded, a couple of people dropped off, which I was expecting. Cluzel and Zanetti pulled away a bit because they’ve had better tyre life than everyone all weekend. But I think that’s just this track and hopefully at the next few circuits we’ll be a little closer to them. Then it was just the two Brits battling it out until the last lap. And he beat me. There’s not much I can say about that, except that I’ll try to make sure it doesn’t happen again. There’s nothing like standing on that box after a full weekend of work. But, not o nly was it the other Brit, not only the other Honda, but it was three hundredths of a second. But I'm not going to cry about it, because it’s game on!Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinatorPieter Breddels We briefed Kyle not to go crazy in the first few laps and he followed the plan really well. He got a good start and wanted to settle behind Sofuoglu to save his tyres a bit but Kenan ran off the track and some other guys passed him and picked up the pace. Kyle went with them and in the last few laps he had a great fight with Gino Rea. Unfortunately he missed out on a podium spot by a few thousandths of a second, but fourth place is still a really good job in your first World Supersport race. Of course when you’re that close, you want the podium; but there are a lot more races to come, so this is a very good job for starters.
1 Jules Cluzel 28m19.638 FRA MV MV Agusta Reparto Corse2 Lorenzo Zanetti +3.494 ITA MV MV Agusta Reparto Corse3 Gino Rea +8.636 GBR HONDA CIA Landlords Insurance Honda4 Kyle Smith +8.668 GBR HONDA Pata Honda World Supersport Team5 Ratthapark Wilairot +10.613 THA HONDA CORE Motorsport Thailand6 Kenan Sofuoglu +18.608 TUR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Puccetti Racing7 Alex Baldolini +18.701 ITA MV Race Department ATK#258 Roberto Rolfo +18.741 ITA HONDA Team Lorini9 Dominic Schmitter +21.333 SUI KAWASAKI Team GO Eleven10 Patrick Jacobson +26.448 USA KAWASAKI Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres
1 Jules Cluzel 25 pts FRA MV MV Agusta Reparto Corse2 Lorenzo Zanetti 20 pts ITA MV MV Agusta Reparto Corse3 Gino Rea 16 pts GBR HONDA CIA Landlords Insurance Honda4 Kyle Smith 13 pts GBR HONDA Pata Honda World Supersport Team5 Ratthapark Wilairot 11 pts THA HONDA CORE Motorsport Thailand6 Kenan Sofuoglu 10 pts TUR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Puccetti Racing7 Alex Baldolini 9 pts ITA MV Race Department ATK#258 Roberto Rolfo 8 pts ITA HONDA Team Lorini9 Dominic Schmitter 7 pts SUI KAWASAKI Team GO Eleven10 Patrick Jacobson 6 pts USA KAWASAKI Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres