It’s been the staple of the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit since its renaissance in 1988 – slipstreaming battles all the way to the finish line.
And so it played out again on Saturday in the third Aussie Superbike race at the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2017, with Josh Waters (Team Ecstar Suzuki) and Bryan Staring (Crankt Protein Honda Racing) delivering a rousing finish in the sketchy conditions.
Staring led onto Gardner Straight for the last time, but Waters was able to get the best of the draft to move past his great rival and take the chequered flag by a scant 0.032 seconds.
It was the third successive Waters/Staring quinella this weekend, with the fourth and final race to be held at 935am on Sunday.
Saturday’s eight-lap race began with a few damp patches around the 4.45km circuit, with Waters and Staring adopting a cautious early approach as Yamaha-mounted privateers Mitch Levy and Jed Metcher led from the front.
However, by half distance Waters and Staring had picked their way back to the front, setting the scene for the thrilling finale.
Cru Halliday (Yamaha) finished in third position, 23 seconds behind Waters, followed by Michael Blair (Yamaha), Metcher, Troy Herfoss (Honda), Levy and Dean Oughtred (BMW).
Eighteen of the 20 riders completed the distance with Waters setting the fastest lap of the race (1:39.279).
The final race will be held at 9.35am Sunday.