News 4 Nov 2017

World champion Rea wins opening WorldSBK race in Qatar

Mahias tops WorldSSP qualifying at Losail International Circuit.

Source: Supplied.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) produced a masterclass in Qatar on Friday night at the Losail International Circuit for the final round of the Motul FIM World Superbike Championship (WorldSBK),

Getting away brilliantly from pole, he dominated the race to cross the finish line a clear 4.944s distance ahead of second placed Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati). The race one podium at the Acerbis Qatar Round was completed by Marco Melandri ( Racing – Ducati).

Having set a new outright circuit record lap in Tissot Superpole 2 earlier in the evening, Rea pushed his Kawasaki ZX-10RR to the limits over the course of the 17-lap contest around the 5.380km Qatari track. He was untouchable at the front as he cruised away for his 15th win of a remarkable season.

Davies did his best to chase Rea down but would eventually finish a lonely second despite his best efforts – still a good result in his bid to secure the runner-up spot in the 2017 championship. His teammate Melandri crossed the finish line a further five seconds behind him.

Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) produced an excellent ride to fourth, missing out on the podium by under two seconds, whilst his colleague Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) was just behind him – completing the top five.

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team), Sylvain Guintoli (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Roman Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) rounded out the top 10.

In a drama-filled race there was cruel luck for Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) who pulled off track with a technical issue when challenging for a strong podium finish with seven laps to go.

Shortly afterwards Raffaele de Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team) went down at turn nine when riding in the top ten and then Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) crashed at the last corner of the lap when also in podium contention. Lowes picked up the Yamaha YZF R1 to go in search of valuable championship points but would crash again in the final stages.

Earlier in the race Michael van der Mark crashed at speed at turn 9 meaning it was a difficult day all round for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team.

Saturday’s final WorldSSP race of the 2017 season at Qatar will see championship contender Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) get away from pole thanks to a superb Tissot Superpole 2 performance. His compatriot Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) and Finnish rider Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) also qualified on the front row, under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit.

Defending World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) remarkably qualified in fourth place as he continued his comeback, after suffering fractures to his pelvis at the French round of the championship just over a month ago.

PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing) should be amongst the front runners in the race, getting away just behind Sofuoglu on row two. Australians Anthony West (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Lachlan Epis (Kawasaki) and Giuseppe Scarcella (Honda) qualified 12th, 24th and 25th respectively.

Racing will commence tonight for the final outing of the season where the fight for second in the WorldSBK category continues, while a new WorldSSP champion will be crowned.