Frenchman Jules Cluzel has made the perfect return to the world supersport ranks by winning an action-packed season opener at Phillip Island this afternoon.
With the race reduced to a five-lap sprint after the first attempt was red-flagged, Cluzel pulled away from a five-strong pack on the final circuit to win by 0.224 seconds on his MV Agusta, with Briton Kev Coghlan (Yamaha) second from Raffaele de Rosa (Honda), Florian Marino (Kawasaki) and Kevin Wahr (Yamaha).
It was the first world supersport victory for MV Agusta, and its first world championship success since Giacomo Agostini at the Nurburgring way back in 1976.
In 2014, Cluzel has returned to world supersport after a year in world superbike.
It was a race of high drama, with hot favourite Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) who led every practice and qualifying session all week end, crashing out of the lead on lap two, while his arch-rival Michael van der Mark (Honda) was another to fall.
It was a dirty race for Australian hopes Billy McConnell (Triumph) and Bryan Staring (Honda), with the former crashing and Staring felled by a mechanical problem while lying in eighth place.
The first attempt at the race lasted six laps before Irishman Jack Kennedy‰Ûªs Honda exploded, leaving oil on some parts of the circuit. American hopeful Patrick Jacobsen (Kawasaki) retired in part one due to a mechanical problem, but was unable to join the grid for the restart.
World Supersport Results - Phillip Island, Australia
1. Cluzel (MV Agusta) 5 Laps/22.225 km in 14:08'54.503 average 1.571 kph;
2. Coghlan (Yamaha) 0.224;
3. De Rosa (Honda) 0.317;
4. Marino (Kawasaki) 0.347;
5. Tamburini (Kawasaki) 0.822;
6. Wahr (Yamaha) 4.010;
7. Gowland (Triumph) 5.282;
8. Russo (Honda) 5.310;
9. Menghi (Yamaha) 5.517;
10. Gamarino (Kawasaki) 5.858;
11. Rolfo (Kawasaki) 6.491;
12. CoveÌ±a (Kawasaki) 7.873;
13. Calero (Honda) 10.163;
14. Bussolotti (Honda) 12.406;
15. Rogers (Honda) 12.622;
16. Taylor (Yamaha) 12.845;
17. Ivanov (Yamaha) 12.892;
DNF. Wilairot (Honda);
DNF. Staring (Honda);
DNF. Vd Mark (Honda);
DNF. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki);
DNF. McConnell (Triumph).
Fastest Lap: Tamburini in 1'33.883 average 170.446 kph.
Pole Position: Sofuoglu in 1'32.769 average 172.493 kph.
Top Image: Jules Cluzel Wins Shortened World Super Sport Race