Highlights from the outset of the 2024 WorldSBK season

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Victories for Alex Lowes and newcomer Nicolo Bulega were just a couple of the numerous surprises at the Phillip Island WorldSBK event.

Nicolo Bulega showcased his formidable pre-season performance by dominating Race 1 of the WorldSBK season, followed by Alex Lowes securing a remarkable Sunday double.

So, what were the standout conclusions from the first round?

The ‘Titanic trio’ finds themselves on the defensive as WorldSBK becomes more competitive than ever before.

Alvaro Bautista had a shaky start to his title defense, crashing in Race 1 before a strong comeback with double top-five finishes, including a second-place finish in Race 2.

However, it was surprising to see Bautista, who has been dominant at this circuit with Ducati in WorldSBK, go winless after a challenging pre-season.

Toprak Razgatlioglu had an impressive debut with BMW in Race 1, which was further bolstered by a third-place finish in the Superpole Race.

Unfortunately, in Race 2, while running with the lead pack, the Turkish star encountered mechanical issues, resulting in his first non-score of the season.

The upcoming Catalunya race could witness Bautista’s resurgence to the top, while BMW will focus on preserving rear grip to determine Razgatlioglu’s potential.

Jonathan Rea, on the other hand, needs a significant turnaround as the Yamaha rider failed to secure a single point in Australia.

A lack of pace, compounded by a pit stop problem, resulted in Rea finishing 17th in Race 1. He narrowly missed out on a point in the Superpole Race, finishing tenth, just one position shy. However, a severe crash in Race 2 brought a dismal end to his weekend.

Rea’s challenges with the R1 started to emerge at Portimao, and things only worsened during the test and race weekend at Phillip Island.

Rookies make a significant impact in Australia.


Bulega’s stunning victory in Race 1 was nothing short of spectacular as he led the field prior to the pit stop sequence. Exiting the pits, Bulega surged even further ahead, establishing a lead of over three seconds.

Maintaining the gap from that point on, Bulega made history as the first WorldSSP champion to win a WorldSBK race on debut.

However, the spotlight wasn’t solely on Bulega, as former MotoGP star Andrea Iannone also made a strong impression.

Securing third place in Race 1, Iannone came tantalizingly close to another podium finish in Race 2 after a spirited battle with Danilo Petrucci in the final stages.

Iannone faced mechanical issues in the Superpole Race, which cost him another strong result. Yet, his speed was evident as he climbed from P14 to fourth in Race 2.

Both riders showcased that their pre-season form was no fluke, proving they are serious contenders at the front of WorldSBK.

Eager to join this competitive mix is Sam Lowes, who demonstrated impressive performances, despite not achieving the standout results of Bulega and Iannone.

Alex Lowes emerges as a potential contender for the title.


With a performance that suggests he’s ready to contend for the title, Alex Lowes showcased impressive strength at Phillip Island.

Defeating Bautista in a head-to-head battle, a feat few riders have accomplished since 2022, Lowes made a decisive move on the final lap to secure his second win in four years.

Equally impressive was his victory in the Superpole Race, where he crossed the finish line ahead of Andrea Locatelli.

Whether Lowes can sustain this level of performance at other circuits will determine his potential as a serious title challenger. Now the team leader at Kawasaki, this new role appears to be bringing out the best in Lowes.

Is BMW a genuine force, or is Razgatlioglu the driving factor behind their success?

While the testing performance showed promise across all four riders, the focus of round one was solely on Razgatlioglu as Michael Van Der Mark, Garrett Gerloff, and Scott Redding found themselves trailing behind.

Van Der Mark demonstrated strong race pace, but a disappointing qualifying session hindered his chances of better results.

Despite Razgatlioglu’s DNF in Race 2, Van Der Mark and Gerloff are within close reach, only two and three points behind him, respectively. However, it’s evident that Razgatlioglu held a pace advantage over the rest of BMW’s riders, posing a slight concern for the German manufacturer.

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