RACE ONE WORLDSBK LOSAIL 2018
In taking his 17th race win of the 2018 season Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) equalled Doug Polen’s record for wins in a single year, thanks to a start-to-finish front-running display that underlines his credentials as the best ever.
Rea’s start from the front row, next to Superpole winner and eventual second place rider Tom Sykes, saw him first into turn one, and he rode with assurance to gap Sykes and respond when needed as his team-mate tried to get back on terms. Rea’s eventual margin of victory proved to be 1.424 seconds.
His latest win puts him on course to take a stand-alone 18th record race win in a single year, and also beat his own single season points record in race two on Sunday. Fourth or better will give Rea a new record of points scored in one year.
With Sykes an eventually second, after a race with himself after Rea made his escape, the fight of the daywas betweenEugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK). Lowes would take the podium place after a combative last lap.
With Laverty fourth, and just 4.723 seconds from Rea, the rest of the competition was a stage behind in pace today.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was fifth, but over ten seconds from the win. A fine ride from Loris Baz (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team) put him sixth, one up on a struggling Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK).
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was unable to get into contention after starting 12th on the grid, and finished eighth. He was working hard to stay ahead of a potent Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) on the final lap. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was tenth today, less than a second from Gagne.
Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team Ducati) ran in fifth place but finished up 13th. Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) crashed out at turn 12, in a race in which only 15 riders finished.
By Gordon Ritchie
Sykes Hits 48 Career Poles
A classic Tom Sykes Superpole performance gave him the best starting place for Friday’s race at Losail, as he waited until all others had set their best times and then pounced with a lap that could not be beaten.
His 1’56.124 new track best was just under Jonathan Rea’s year old record and was a perfect result to make sure his final weekend as an official Kawasaki rider would be a memorable one, even before race one gets underway. He extended his own all time Superpole total with his 48th pre-race ‘win’ and his sixth pole of 2018.
Rea was second fastest after his own late push to the front row, with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK) third fastest, although on top until the final few seconds.
Fastest man on Thursday, Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), was fourth today, heading up row two. His team-mate Lorenzo Savadori and top Independent rider in 2018, Xavi Fores (Barni Racing) was once again the top Ducati runner, in sixth.
Loris Baz (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team) was seventh, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK) eighth andMarco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) ninth, 1.283 seconds behind Sykes.
Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) recovered from his big first day fall to tenth on the grid for race one, with
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 11th and Chaz Davies 12th.