Unfortunately due to a tragic incident where rider lost his life qualifying was cancelled so the grid was set from free practice times set on Friday and Saturday morning, Before the race had even begun there was drama as defending champion Shane Byrne crashed and was forced to miss both races today due to a concussion.
Leon Haslam took pole for race 1 and got away well but it was James Ellison who led into turn 1 ahead of Haslam, Luke Mossey and Josh Brookes, Mossey and Brookes had a coming together shortly into lap 1 and Brookes was pushed back down the order with alot of ground to recover. Ellison led over the line to complete lap 1 ahead of Haslam,Mossey and Hickman who was running well in fourth place ahead of Iddon, Guintoli was having a strong race in sixth on the brand new GSXR just ahead of Laverty.
The front two of Ellison and Haslam started to break away from the group behind Mossey was staying with them but didnt look to have the pace to catch or pass either at the early stage of the race but he had a good gap back to the battle for fourth which was being fought out by Hickman and Iddon at this stage.
Brookes had made his way back up to ninth after his clash with Mossey and looked to be one of the faster men on the circuit closing down the guys in front he made a move on Guintoli going into the Melbourne loop, Ahead of this Laverty had moved past his ex team mate Iddon forcing him back to sixth.
At the front of the race Haslam was piling the pressure on Ellison as he looked to take full advantage of Bryne being out, On lap 6 Laverty made a move on Hickman going into the Foggy’s Esses he was very much the man on the move at this stage of the race along with Brookes who set the fastest lap of the race on lap 7 closing the gap to Iddon,Hickman and Laverty.
Unfortunately Hopkins was forced to retire on lap 8 due to a fault with his Ducati a disappointing start for the American who was suffering from injury due to a crash earlier in the weekend.
Haslam made his move to take the lead of the race on lap 8 making a fantastic move on Ellison who was now under pressure from Mossey as it looked like the Yamaha’s tyres were starting to let go, After both JG Speedfit bikes cleared the Yamaha they started to really open up their gap at the front of race.
Guintoli unfortunately crashed on lap 10 of the race dropping his Suzuki on the debut of the brand new GSXR this left the only Suzuki in the race as Michael Dunlop as Taylor MacKenzie also dropped his bike.
On lap 11 just like Ellison Laverty looked to be struggling with his tyres as both Hickman and Iddon went underneath him Brookes also passed him in what looked to be his favorite spot at the Melbourne loop,At the front Haslam was starting to open up a sizable gap to Mossey showing the pedigree that led to many making his one of the title favourites.
Hickman and Iddon both closed in on Ellison on lap 15 the Yamaha man continued to slip further back, At the front Haslam had cleared off at the front and Mossey had as much as a gap back to the guys in third place which was now Hickman as both he and Iddon made their move on Ellison going through Melbourne.
Brookes was putting Ellison under alot of pressure on lap 18 and a mistake by Ellison opened the door for him to move past easily, Quietly Irwin had moved his way up through the field and was now hounding Laverty passing him on lap 19, Ahead of this battle Iddon made hard but fair move on Hickman into the Foggy Esses.
As the race entered the final lap Haslam could have almost pushed the bike home and took the win he had over a 5 second advantage over Mossey in second place who in turn had a big advantage over Iddon in third. Haslam took the first win of the 2017 season with a truly dominant performance Mossey again showed why many believe he can challenge with a strong showing and Iddon completed the podium a real good performance as struggling in pre season and in free practice, Brookes managed to set the fastest lap of the race meaning he would start race 2 from pole.
Brookes got away from the line well taking the lead into turn one ahead of Haslam and Mossey, Laverty got a great start and was up to fourth ahead of his team mate Ellison and Iddon. As they got round the lap Laverty made a lovely pass on Mossey as they went through the Foggy Esses while Brookes continued to lead from Haslam just behind him.
Laverty unfortunately ran into technical issues dropping down the order and eventually pulling out of the race, His team mate was having a much better time running at the front with Haslam and Brookes all three of them opening up a gap to Mossey in fourth.
By lap 7 we had a three way fight for the lead of the race with Brookes leading from Haslam and Ellison, Mossey was a bit of just not having the pace to match the guys at the front he was being hunted down by Iddon who was showing he had the race pace if not outright lap times.
Ellison passed Haslam on lap 8 as they went into turn one the move opened up a slight gap to Brookes at the front of the race unfortunately for the Suzuki team MacKenzie crashed out of the race again, Haslam re-passed Ellison as he could see Brookes breaking away at the front of the race.
Behind the front three Mossey and Iddon were fighting it out for fourth and fifth likewise behind them Hickman and Irwin were scrapping over sixth and seventh, Jake Dixon just like MacKenzie dropped his Kawasaki going through the final turn and unfortunate end to what had been a good weekend for the young english man.
Irwin made his way passed Hickman as it looked like the Ducati man had real pace making the move through the Foggy esses, At the front Haslam had broken away from Ellison and was now hunting down Brookes in the lead. It took Haslam around a lap to close the 1.5 secs gap Brookes had opened up and as they went onto lap 12 the Kawasaki man was looking just as dominant as he had in race one. Ellison had really lost touch at this point and looked to be seriously struggling with his tyres as he and the other Yamahas had in race one.
With 5 laps to go still held onto the lead but was being hounded at every corner by Haslam, Ellison was now in a fight for his third place with Iddon and Mossey having caught up to him with ease. Haslam eventually passed Brookes and almost instantly opened up a gap as Brookes seemed to be struggling with his tyres.
Irwin was very much the man on the move with only a couple of laps to go he closed down the group of Mossey,Iddon and Ellison who were all fighting over third place he was over a second a lap faster than all of these guys. Giugliano was having a solid race in only his second time out fending off the Honda of O’Halloran and taking ninth place.
Irwin was now right with the battle for third easily dispatching with Ellison and moving right onto the rear wheel of Iddon and Mossey right away. At the front Haslam had checked out and Brookes was settled in second, The real battle was behind them with Irwin passing Mossey and Iddon in quick succession taking third place from the TYCO man.
Haslam came home for the win and took the first double of the year a truly dominant performance, Brookes had a solid return to BSB showed he had the pace and with a bit more development should get that Yamaha to last a full race distance. Irwin gave Paul Bird something to be happy about after Byrne’s unfortunate accident coming home third ahead of Iddon and Mossey with Ellison a distant sixth in the end.