MOTORSPORT NEWS WORLD SUPER BIKES

WORLD SUPERBIKE ROUNDUP: SERIES CHAMPION REA DOMINATES IN QATAR

Jonathan Rea was once again in top form as the five-time champion made it a clean sweep for the third time this season. Taking all three victories not only meant that he surpassed championship rival Alvaro Bautista for the most wins throughout the year, but also matched his previous best tally of seventeen in a season.

Rea started the weekend in typically strong fashion as his consistent free practice running resulted in the Kawasaki rider taking the Tissot Superpole ahead of Alex Lowes and Sandro Cortese.

The second row was led by former Kawasaki teammates Tom Sykes and Loris Baz, while Leon Haslam was sixth in his last race for the champion manufacturer.
The Losail International Circuit was seen as a potential Ducati favored track before the weekend began, and while both Bautista and Chaz Davies had great pace in practice. The pair struggled to convert it into a good starting spot in qualifying.

In race one, Lowes was the biggest challenger to Rea and led the race in the early stages. The two were quick to make a break at the front with Rea regaining the lead from the Pata Yamaha rider.

Lowes was close enough to keep Rea honest but never quite in striking distance to make a move the rest of the way.

As the latter stages approached, Lowes was unable to maintain the speed over race distance that Rea could and eventually lost second place to a fast charging Davies.

Chaz Davies

Davies past Lowes with three laps remaining and was in pursuit of the win, but the 2019 champion had pace in hand and made it work to take his first win of the weekend.

With Davies and Lowes rounding out the podium places, fourth place went to Bautista who finished over seventeen seconds of the race win.

Haslam produced one of his best results in recent rounds as he took fifth place ahead of Michael Van Der Mark and Baz.

The Yamaha pair where locked in a tight battle that was producing great racing in the last few laps, but the Dutchman was able to take sixth coming over the line.

Eighth was Markus Reiterberger which was a much needed result after what has been a torrid season due to illness and poor form.

The German will be replaced by Eugene Laverty next season, but showed while the Motorrad BMW team signed him in the first place.

Rounding out the top ten was the above mentioned Laverty on the Go Eleven Ducati with Honda’s Leon Camier in tenth.

In the Superpole race it was similar story to the first, but this time with Bautista taking second instead of Davies while Rea comfortably took another win.

Haslam was fourth and continuing to build on his solid weekend by finishing just under a second ahead of Davies. Van Der Mark took his second consecutive sixth place as was the same for Baz in seventh.

In eighth was the GRT Yamaha of Cortese, who once again showed his great potential in qualifying but failed to take full advantage of his front row start. Ninth was Laverty once again, with the soon to be retiring Marco Melandri in tenth place.

The last race of the weekend was the most intriguing of the three as Rea was pushed all the way by both Aruba.it Ducati riders.

In the opening laps, Rea tried to break the slipstream as Bautista was gaining enormous amounts of time due to the Ducati’s prowess on the start finish straight.

But with Bautista and Davies able to stay with the Kawasaki, Rea was working hard especially in sectors three and four to limit the attack at the end of the lap.

Bautista fitted the softer rear tyre for the last race of the weekend and was able to use the compounds great traction to take the lead.

However, every time Bautista past Rea on the straight, the five-time champion reacted immediately with an overtaking maneuver of his own.

Davies was itching to get involved and as the laps whittled down, just as Rea started to once again show his late race pace.

Davies was able to take advantage of Bautista’s fading pace presumably due to the softer rear tyre, but could do nothing about Rea who had extended the gap to one second.

Bautista surprisingly stayed with Davies and tried on the last lap to regain second from his teammate, but could not find a way through as the top three stayed as they were.

Lowes was fourth and in the process confirmed his third place finished in the championship, while Toprak Razgatlioglu took his first top ten of the weekend with fifth.

It was a disappointing last race weekend with the Kawasaki team for the Turkish rider who now heads over to Pata Yamaha joining Van Der Mark for the 2020 season.

Laverty was sixth after making a late charge past Van Der Mark and Baz in the closing laps who were seventh and eighth respectively. Ninth was Haslam while Cortese rounded out the top ten in the last race of the year.