WSBK: Triple World Champion Rea signs off fantastic season with Losail victory
Sat 4th Nov 2017 – Triple World Champion concludes 2017 campaign with another triumph, whilst Davies and Lowes join him on the podium
The final race of the 2017 season at the Acerbis Qatar Round on Saturday night brought another win for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) as he crossed the line just under two seconds ahead of Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) in third. The victory gives Rea the record of most points in a single WorldSBK season (556 points), beating the previous record set by Colin Edwards in 2002, as the Northern Irishman ends the year with 16 victories and 24 podiums in 2017.
Davies made an incredible start as he shot from eighth on the grid to first within the first two corners, but Rea soon took control of the race on lap four and he did not look back from there.
With 14 laps to go Welshman Davies survived a big wobble – with perhaps the biggest save of the season – holding his nerve to continue on the pace and ultimately wrap up second place in the race and second place in the final championship standings.
Lowes got the better of his Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team colleague Michael van der Mark in the second half of the race and finally finished 1.658s ahead of the Dutchman.
Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) ended the season on a high in fifth place, whilst Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was 5.688s behind the Spaniard in sixth place. Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) beat Sylvain Guintoli (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) to seventh by less than half a second, overcoming the Frenchman on the last lap.
Leon Camier completed his last race with MV Agusta Reparto Corse in ninth place just ahead of Roman Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven).
A huge crash for Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) at Turn 5 in the early running meant his last race with BMW ended in the gravel, the Spanish rider seen bravely walking away after the massive highside. On the third lap Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) crashed out of third place at turn 14, ending his hopes of challenging Davies for the championship runner-up spot.
Davide Giugliano (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) was declared unfit due to gastroenteritis and therefore the unwell Italian missed out on the last race of the year.
The WorldSBK riders will be back in action at the first round of the 2018 season at Phillip Island in Australia next February.
P1 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)
“It’s incredible, I don’t really have emotions or words, just a lot of thanks to the people who have put me in this position. Most of all I want to thank my rivals, I’ve really enjoyed this season and I’m excited about the prospect of 2018, these seasons don’t come along every day, so I just want to savor it for now.”
P2 – Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
“I had the biggest save and the one I needed to do the most, I put my chest though the screen and as soon as I realized I could save it I managed to hold onto second spot. We sealed P2 which was our objective so I’m really happy, it was a tough race but I’m so happy with the results”
P3 – Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
“To be honest yesterday I was really disappointed, I knew I had the pace to challenge for the podium. I am happy with today, it wasn’t easy and I was a long way back but I stayed calm; I did a good job and I’m so happy for the whole team.”
Mahias seals WorldSSP title with superb Qatar win
Under the floodlights at Losail Frenchman secures the title with victory, as Cluzel and Sofuoglu join him on the podium
At the season-concluding Acerbis Qatar Round on Saturday evening an enthralling WorldSSP race saw the title fight go right down to the last lap, as Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) clinched the crown with a narrow (0.023s) victory over his compatriot Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda). Meanwhile, comeback hero Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) performed brilliantly to finish in third place, though it was just not enough for him to keep the title he has won on five previous occasions.
Mahias and Sofuoglu embraced during the post-race celebrations after a breathtaking contest at the Losail International Circuit.
French rider Mahias held his nerve in the final stages to cross the line just in front of his countryman Cluzel to seal the title with a victory. Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) finished a close fourth, being beaten across the line by the gritty Sofuoglu.
Mahias, Cluzel and Caricasulo had contested the podium spots for most of the race, though Mahias led the way for the majority of the 15 lap battle. Sofuoglu was caught up further back in the field, fighting with the likes of Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing), Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing), Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini) and PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) as he made his way through the pack to fourth and then chased Caricasulo down in the final stages.
It was incredible that Sofuoglu had even made it onto the starting grid given that he suffered a triple hip fracture in France just over one month ago, the Turkish rider bravely making a comeback far earlier than expected, as he did his best to defend his title. It was an outside shot as he went into the race 20 points behind Mahias, but it was a hugely valiant effort by the five-time World Champion. Sofuoglu remarkably even set a new race fastest lap around the Losail track on lap 12.
Anthony West (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished in fifth place, followed by Tuuli, Morais, Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing), Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Smith in the top ten.
There was drama on the first lap of the final WorldSSP race of 2017 as Christoffer Bergman (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) and Michael Canducci (Puccetti Racing Junior Team FMI) went down at turn 6. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was another victim of turn 6 with 8 laps to go, whilst that lap also brought an end to the race for American rider Jacobsen who had been well placed for a top ten finish.
P1 – Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team):
“It is incredible, I push a lot in the race to win the race. In the beginning ti was not my plan, it was to win the title but the feeling in the bike is very good and I think today is my day. The bike felt fantastic and I pushed and fought with Jules. The feeling I have now is amazing, 10 years ago I was dreaming of this and now I am world champion. I want to thank Yamaha, my team and my family, because this title was not only won by me, it was a team effort.”
#QatarWorldSBK: WorldSSP Race
1. Lucas Mahias (FRA) Yamaha
2. Jules Cluzel (FRA) Kawasaki +0.023
3. Kenan Sofuoglu (TUR) Kawasaki +3.788