Former 250GP star Roby Rolfo has taken his debut WorldSSP win with a 0.001s victory* over Lucas Mahias at Phillip Island in an incident-packed race which saw favourites Jules Cluzel and PJ Jacobsen have a nightmare each.
The original race was red-flagged when ex-Moto2 man Robin Mulhauser highsided out of Siberia and collected Britain’s Gino Rea ending the Londoner’s weekend and necessitating a re-start which proved to be a stroke of luck for pole-man Jacobsen who was limping around with an electronics issue.
Jacobsen got a poor start when the lights went out a second time and had to watch as title rival Cluzel got into Doohan first, followed by the Yamahas of Mathias and Cariacasulo with Britain’s Kyles Ryde and Smith in attendance.
Cariacasulo, on the new Yamaha R6, took the lead on lap one as Jacobsen had a massive moment at turn 11 and dropped down the field. Cluzel came back at the Italian, taking the lead with a brave move at the Southern Loop as MV Agusta’s Alex Baldolini also forced himself into contention.
On lap three, Jacobsen had a problem on the brakes into MG, ran off and forced Ryde to take avoiding action which dropped the Puccetti Kawasaki man to the back of the lead group.
Back at the front, Cariacasulo lost the front at Honda but managed to keep it upright on his knee and elbow which gave Cluzel the lead again but he squandered that into Doohan, running wide and allowing four bikes past.
As he tried to come back through, the Frenchman went under Ryde at MG and the youngster was again forced to take avoiding action while Rolfo began to thread his way through. The Italian veteran pushed his way into second and then began to hassle Mathias, who had taken the lead.
On the final lap, Rolfo hit the front and managed to stay there while Cariacasulo tried to pass Cluzel at MG, clipped his back wheel and sent the CIA Honda man into space. Both were out of the race which left Rolfo and Mathias to fight for the lead.
It came down to a photo finish at the end with the French Yamaha man given the nod first but the decision was reversed and given to Rolfo, who had run onto the grass on the Gardner Straight at 160mph. In the MG melee, local boy Anthony West came through to take the final podium spot.
Ryde managed to bag fourth at the line with Niki Tuuli fifth and Jacobsen setting a brace of fastest laps to work his way back to sixth place.
Kyle Smith, Luke Stapleford and Stefan Hill all failed to finish.
* Mahias was later given a one-second penalty for weaving over the line. He was still second.