Superbike World Championship Final Round - Race 1:
The opening 17-lap FIM Superbike World Championship race of the final round saw Jonathan Rea record his 15th race victory of the year, surpassing his previous personal best of 14, which he set in 2015. Fellow KRT rider Tom Sykes had rear traction issues throughout the race and dropped from a strong second to a final sixth at the flag.
From pole position, which he earned with a new track best of 1’56.228 earlier in the day, Rea was unstoppable out front under the floodlights in Qatar, winning by almost five seconds and easing up over the line. His Superpole win was his tenth for Kawasaki, and his sixth of the season.
This was Rea’s first WorldSBK race win at Qatar, and also the first for a Kawasaki rider at the 5.380km circuit in the desert near the capital city of Doha.
In taking his victory today Jonathan is now second in the all time WorldSBK race win rankings, with a career total of 53. Only Carl Fogarty, with 59, has won more races across his career than Jonathan. Should Rea win the Saturday race at Losail, the last one of the year, he will take the record points total in one season to add to all his other achievements in 2017.
For Sykes, who is still trying to ensure he finishes the year in second place overall, finding less drive than he expected in the opening race saw him finish in sixth place. As a result of this he dropped ten points behind his rival for the runner-up spot, Chaz Davies, who was second today.
The final race of the year will take place at 21.00 local time, on Saturday 4th November.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “It is nice to score one more win than Troy but I never thought about the stats at all. I just wanted to win a race here. I never thought about the potential points record or anything. Now that looks - with the way we rode today – like it is possible. I thought coming here to win, where Chaz was so strong last year, would be really difficult. But it seems like we have found a little bit extra this end of season, to be honest. Of course we have improved the bike, especially in the chassis area. I feel I have a lot more confidence than last year, I feel that I am riding better than ever and physically I feel in much better shape. I have just been training myself a lot smarter. So it is a combination of many things. The total package of the bike is really good and balanced.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rdiers): “I set off behind Jonathan in the first laps and trying to go into the corners the bike was all over the place; the front and rear chattering. I could not turn. This afternoon in hotter conditions the bike was doing 1’58s, all yesterday 1’58s and 1’57s and then today I did a 1’59.5 and that was about my limit. I could not brake, could not tip in, could not get through the corner the way I wanted to. I just missed a lot but we did not change anything. I cannot do anything about it but it is disappointing. I will just try to get a good result tomorrow and what will be, will be.”
Superbike World Championship Final Round - Race 2:
An almost perfect season for Jonathan Rea culminated with a double win at the final round in Qatar on the Ninja ZX-10RR. In winning race two by 1.961 seconds he won two more races in a single season than he had managed in his previous best winning year of 2015.
Three time FIM Superbike World Champion Jonathan Rea (KRT) secured his 16th race win of the season this evening in Losail to set a record total of 556 points in one year. Tom Sykes (KRT) crashed out from a podium position early in the last race of the 2017 season and no scored.
For the final race of 2017 Rea started from ninth place, under the reverse grid Superpole regulations, but got up to the lead on lap four. From that point he started easing his way forward and maintaining a gap to the riders behind.
His strong finish saw him 153 ahead of overall second place finisher in the points, Chaz Davies, after 13 rounds. Rea was never off the podium in any race he finished this year.
Sykes lost his chance of finishing the season in second place after he fell on lap three, at turn 14. His machine was too badly damaged to continue. Tom finished his season a clear third overall in the rankings, with 373 points.
After the finale under the floodlights KRT will now head back to Europe to make preparations for the first of the winter tests, to be fully ready for the new technical challenges that the 2018 season will bring.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “The points tally is nice but the championship is the main thing. To win 16 races in a season, more than 50% of the races, is not normal. That’s the biggest thing I take away. This year, like I keep saying, I have no words. It has been feeling normal to be here on the podium and that is kind of scary. Right now is my time, so I really am enjoying the moment. Next year it could easily be somebody else so we really need to enjoy this and celebrate an incredible year. I know how difficult it is when things are not coming naturally, and it is an uphill struggle, so that is why I am so grateful to Kawasaki for this opportunity. It is a huge team effort. In a few weeks’ time we can start turning our attention to 2018.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “We started this final weekend so well but things just turned against us. In ra ce two the bike felt much better. Initially I missed a bit of lap time but the bike was coming to me. I was just in a fast turn, clipped the white line and fell. People are running up and over kerbs here but I go and touch a white line and lose the front. It has been one of those things. The lap times were right there for the race today because we had made slight modifications from yesterday, so I cannot believe the way it finished. Jonathan has had an incredible season this year, he has done a fantastic job.”
Shigemi Tanaka (Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Motorcycle and Engine Company, Marketing Department): “We send our congratulations to Jonathan on behalf of KHI. It is a great achievement to score so many points, in a season which has been remarkable.”
2017 Superbike World Championship Points after final round:
- JONATHAN REA 556 KAWASAKI
- CHAZ DAVIES 403 DUCATI
- TOM SYKES 373 KAWASAKI
- MARCO MELANDRI 327 DUCATI
- ALEX LOWES 242 YAMAHA
- MICHAEL VAN DER MARK 223 YAMAHA
- XAVI FORÉS 196 DUCATI
- LEON CAMIER 168 MV AGUSTA
- JORDI TORRES 158 BMW
- EUGENE LAVERTY 157 APRILIA
- LORENZO SAVADORI 124 APRILIA
- ROMÁN RAMOS 118 KAWASAKI
- LEANDRO MERCADO 115 APRILIA
- STEFAN BRADL 67 HONDA
- RAFFAELE DE ROSA 53 BMW
- RANDY KRUMMENACHER 50 KAWASAKI
- NICKY HAYDEN 40 HONDA
- SYLVAIN GUINTOLI 34 KAWASAKI
- ALEX DE ANGELIS 32 KAWASAKI
- MARKUS REITERBERGER 29 BMW
- AYRTON BADOVINI 26 KAWASAKI
- ONDREJ JEZEK 22 KAWASAKI
- LEON HASLAM 20 KAWASAKI
- JAKE GAGNE 14 HONDA
- ALESSANDRO ANDREOZZI 14 YAMAHA
- DAVIDE GIUGLIANO 13 HONDA
- ANTHONY WEST 13 KAWASAKI
- RICCARDO RUSSO 13 KAWASAKI
- TAKUMI TAKAHASHI 8 HONDA
- JAKE DIXON 7 KAWASAKI
- JEREMY GUARNONI 5 KAWASAKI
- JOSHUA BROOKES 4 YAMAHA
- ROBERTO ROLFO 4 KAWASAKI
- JULIAN SIMON 4