News 23 Oct 2017

Rea dominates Spanish WorldSBK weekend with race two victory

Caricasulo wins WorldSSP as West charges to third.

Source: Supplied.

It was triple world champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) who took the victory in race two on Sunday to complete a fine weekend at the penultimate round of the 2017 Motul FIM World Superbike Championship (WorldSBK) in Jerez, Spain.

A commanding performance in a restarted WorldSBK race at the resurfaced 4.423km Spanish track gave Rea maximum points – as he was joined on the podium by Marco Melandri ( Racing – Ducati) and Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati).

Northern Irishman Rea therefore notched a double-win at a venue where he had not previously scored a victory before the round 12 weekend, the KRT man riding in a confident and relaxed manner having wrapped up an unprecedented third successive title three weeks ago in France.

Rea went from ninth on the grid to first place by the end of the first lap, overtaking Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) cleanly at the second attempt to remain at the front from early in lap two.

Rea did not look back from there and crossed the line 2.7 seconds ahead of Melandri, who got the better of his teammate Davies in the final stages of the race. The result gave Kawasaki the 2017 WorldSBK Manufacturers’ title.

There were good battles throughout the field behind the front runners with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) finishing fourth and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) fifth. Van der Mark was sixth after leading on the first lap and having had a clash with Melandri early in the race.

Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) was seventh, after a good battle with 2014 World Champion Sylvain Guintoli – who returned to action on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR this weekend. Frenchman Guintoli will also ride for Kawasaki Puccetti Racing at the final round of the season in Qatar next month. Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) and Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) completed the top 10.

Davide Giugliano (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) was given a ride through penalty after speeding in pit lane having been forced to return to his garage due to an issue midrace. He eventually finished 17th, after suffering a DNF on Saturday. Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) was 18th after he crashed out on the first lap of the restarted race.

A red flag had been shown after first lap incidents in the initial race, which saw Davies and Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) both down at turn two and then Dominic Schmitter (eighty one HPC-Power Suzuki Racing) needing assistance from medical staff at trackside after crashing heavily on the Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Davies’ team worked hard as the riders prepared for a restart 20 minutes after the original race had begun, with the Ducati Panigale R requiring some quick repairs in order for the Welshman to return to the starting grid for the second getaway. Laverty was also due on the grid for the restart however he had to return to pit lane for another tweak to his Aprilia RSV4 RF just before the second start – as his tough season continued. He eventually restarted from pit lane and was ultimately unable to finish the shortened 19-lap second race.

In WorldSSP, Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) clinched a scintillating victory, crossing the line just 0.065s in front of Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), with the podium completed by Australian Anthony West (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).

It was a superb 19-lap contest around the Jerez circuit with Caricasulo and Cluzel contesting the lead in the early laps and their battle would continue to the last corner of the race, with the Italian just holding off the Frenchman for a breathtaking win.

The experienced West worked his way up into a front group of five riders and was able to secure third place by a comfortable enough margin from fourth placed PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in the end.

At the Pirelli Spanish Round standings leader Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) ultimately produced a controlled and professional ride to fifth place, picking up crucial points after two crashes earlier in the weekend in Spain.

Fellow Aussies Lachlan Epis (Kawasaki) and Giuseppe Scarcella (Honda) were 24th and 25th respectively, as compatriot Mike Jones ( Racing – Junior Team) fell just shy of a podium position to place fourth in the STK1000 division, crediting him fifth in the championship. Youthful Australians Tom Edwards (Kawasaki) and Reid Battye (Kawasaki) placed 19th and 25th in the WorldSSP 300 category.