Superbike World Championship Round 12 - Race 1:
New 2017 FIM Superbike World Champion Jonathan Rea (KRT) secured a cherished first-ever win at Jerez after race long pressure inside the podium positions paid off at the end. Tom Sykes (KRT) was also in the podium fight throughout, from his fourth place on the grid, taking third place. This was Sykes’ 100th podium finish in WorldSBK.
An incident that saw two riders crash out on the first lap of the original 13.00 race start brought out the red flags and the race was restarted at 13.21, over a shortened distance of 19 laps.
Having finished second in Superpole Rea was in contention for the race win from the start, taking the lead for six laps before Marco Melandri came past.
Getting involved in a fight with Chaz Davies for a time in the mid-section of the race, Rea eventually got free and started to pursue Melandri again. Rea was gradually catching ground to the lead as the race unfolded, with both Rea and Melandri setting lap records on the new Jerez track surface.
After Melandri’s bike experienced a technical issue Rea re-took the lead and won by just over a second from Davies, his first ever WorldSBK win at the 4.423km Jerez circuit.
After an early issue while changing gears Sykes had been part of a train of four leading riders, which became six af ter he had clipped some trackside gravel on lap five, dropping back from immediate contention with the leading group before recomposing himself and pushing on again.
Racing at high pace just behind Chaz Davies - his rival for overall second in the championship - Sykes tried all he could to get back ahead before the chequered flag. He finished just under half a second behind, in an eventual third place after Melandri’s exit.
Sunday’s race, again scheduled for 13.00, will now see Rea and Sykes start from the third row of the grid, as they finished on the race one podium.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “So, so nice to tick that box for a Jerez race win. I really wanted it, even before the problem for Marco. I was riding way over my limit to try to chase Marco down. The gap was slowly coming, some laps not changing, but tenth by tenth I was getting excited. In the end he had a problem and I am really sorry for him because he did not deserve that. We both deserved to be able to fight to the end. I was trying to manage the race a little bit in the beginning because I did not get a long run in yesterday, after my big crash, so I was not sure how the tyre choice we made was going to play out. Arguably, I gave up too many positions when Marco came past but in the end we go it done. I went all in to that race. With the position we now have in the championship I went in over my head - but it was fun to ride like this.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “We had a good race set-up at the end of FP2 on Friday and FP3 today, on used tyres, so I was relatively happy in the hot conditions. The pace stayed very consistent and it was quite nice at the end. Unfortunately at the beginning of the race there was a little bit of stop-start so I could not set my usual rhythm and I lost some time. In the first three laps I had a small issue with gear selection, and then missed a gear coming onto the straight. I lost some track positions but regrouped and then the pace was acceptable. Chaz found some speed from free practice but apart from that, the top four or five were very similar in pace. We were just not able to bridge that gap to the guys in front.”
Superbike World Championship Round 12 - Race 2:
Kawasaki won the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship Manufacturers’ title after Jonathan Rea (KRT) won his second race of the weekend. This was Rea’s 14th victory in his third consecutive championship-winning season. Tom Sykes (KRT) could not find optimal rear traction in race two at Jerez and he finished fifth.
At the conclusion of a successful Jerez weekend Kawasaki’s third successive Manufacturers’ Championship arrived one round early, and is now added to the 2017 Riders’ Championship for Rea and the Team’s Championship for the Kawasaki Racing Team.
The second race was started on schedule at 13.00 but was almost immediately halted and restarted after clash between two riders brought out a red flag. Over a reduced race duration of 19 laps, Rea was not to be denied and set a new lap record of 1’40.640, to secure his second win of the Jerez weekend.
Rea has now scored 52 race wins in his WorldSBK career, making him equal second best of all time alongside another three-time champion, Troy Bayliss. He also scored his 110th World SBK podium with his race two win, taking him one place above Carl Fogarty, and making him the third most successful WorldSBK rider in that ranking.
Having reached a total of 100 race podiums in WorldSBK on Saturday, Sykes was unable to add to it with his fifth place today, fighting against an unexpected lack of rear traction. He still set strong lap times and fought all the way to finish just six seconds from the win. Tom is tied on points for second place overall w ith Chaz Davies, with one round to go. He is ranked third in the points table as he has fewer wins in 2017 than his rival.
The final round of the season takes place under the floodlights of Losail, Qatar, with races behind held on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th November.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “Kawasaki won the Manufacturers’ Championship today and it is not just the bike, the rider, the management, the crew chief, it is every single person inside the team and at the factory race department in Japan. Everyone has made this result and I am super-proud to be a part of it. In the race I had a really nice hash tag on my dash today for a little bit more motivation on the grid. My mechanics were building me up right before I left the grid and I knew today I had to go. I feel like I steered the bike around today. The win came from my crew chief Pere Riba because he asked me to trust him with some front geometry changes and a front tyre change. It was awesome.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “Kawasaki has had a great run in the past few years and certainly they have a great team together which helps them reach their goal . For the manufacturer, to get this title is probably as special as the riders’ championship. Today they got their prize for their effort. Fifth was not what I was looking for today. I was struggling with the bike set-up today if I am honest I could not find the rear traction. I just tried some things while riding the bike and finally it was OK to keep the lap times in the low to mid 1’41s. That is as fast, or faster, than yesterday but for whatever reason I just could not get that grip on the rear. It is something so, so small but unfortunately you spend a lot of time on the side of the tyre here.”
2017 Superbike World Championship Points after Round 12:
- JONATHAN REA 506 KAWASAKI
- CHAZ DAVIES 363 DUCATI
- TOM SYKES 363 KAWASAKI
- MARCO MELANDRI 301 DUCATI
- ALEX LOWES 226 YAMAHA
- MICHAEL VAN DER MARK 210 YAMAHA
- XAVI FORÉS 185 DUCATI
- LEON CAMIER 154 MV AGUSTA
- JORDI TORRES 149 BMW
- EUGENE LAVERTY 135 APRILIA
- LEANDRO MERCADO 115 APRILIA
- LORENZO SAVADORI 113 APRILIA
- ROMÁN RAMOS 106 KAWASAKI
- STEFAN BRADL 67 HONDA
- RANDY KRUMMENACHER 50 KAWASAKI
- RAFFAELE DE ROSA 48 BMW
- NICKY HAYDEN 40 HONDA
- ALEX DE ANGELIS 32 KAWASAKI
- MARKUS REITERBERGER 29 BMW
- AYRTON BADOVINI 26 KAWASAKI
- LEON HASLAM 20 KAWASAKI
- SYLVAIN GUINTOLI 18 KAWASAKI
- ONDREJ JEZEK 18 KAWASAKI
- DAVIDE GIUGLIANO 13 HONDA
- ANTHONY WEST 13 KAWASAKI
- RICCARDO RUSSO 13 KAWASAKI
- ALESSANDRO ANDREOZZI 11 YAMAHA
- TAKUMI TAKAHASHI 8 HONDA
- JAKE DIXON 7 KAWASAKI
- JAKE GAGNE 6 HONDA
- JOSHUA BROOKES 4 YAMAHA
- JULIAN SIMON 4