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Rea completes a perfect Qatar score-card to take his 17th win of the season and wrap up 2019 in style

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) caps off a magnificent 2019 season in Qatar as the British rider stormed to his 17th win of the year. The win equals his and Doug Polen’s record of number of wins for one season, set in 2018 and 1991 respectively. The final race win was another iconic achievement for Rea, as he took a 73rd win for Kawasaki, accounting for exactly half of the manufacturer’s win tally in World Superbike.  Rea’s superb 2019 achievements are even more admirable considering his season-start where a raging Alvaro Bautista on the Ducati dominated to build a sizeable lead over the Northern Irishman.  Not to be outdone, Rea systematically chipped away at the Spaniard’s lead, race by race whittling away at Bautista’s margin to take his record fifth world championship on 663 points for 2019 – an eventual 165 points ahead of his 2019 arch rival.

Final championship point score

1.      Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki                      663 points

2.      Alvaro Bautista – Ducati                        498 points

3.      Alex Lowes – Yamaha                                           341 points

4.      Michael van der Mark – Yamaha       327 points

5.      Toprak Razgatlioglu – Kawasaki         315 points

WorldSBK race two:  Unbeatable Rea reignites Bautista rivalry for race 2 victory

Rea brings 2019 to a close with a win after a race-long tussle with Bautista!

The final race of the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship took place under the floodlights of Qatar’s Losail International Circuit. After a season of last lap battles, new rivalries, record-shattering performances and triumphant successes, the final race of the season saw yet more phenomenal world superbike action. Relentless as ever, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) battled hard to beat Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) in a race to remember in Qatar.

Powering off the line for the final time in 2019, Alvaro Bautista made the most of the Ducati power to lead the field to turn one, although the Spaniard went wide and allowed Jonathan Rea back ahead. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) slotted in behind them whilst Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was right in the mix in fourth, with Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in fifth. It was a disaster for Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha), who got turn one all wrong and was plum last.

On lap two, it was all action and drama as Rea and Bautista began to battle between turn six and nine, swapping paint and scything under one and other, whilst Alex Lowes was also getting in on the act.   At turn 15, van der Mark took third from Lowes but both ran wide, allowing Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) to come through from nowhere, whilst Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) also capitalised on the squabbles. Leon Haslam was a big loser in the battle and was down to seventh.

After the frantic action had calmed down on lap four, Bautista began to close down Jonathan Rea for first, whilst Chaz Davies was now up to third. Bautista and then Davies set the fastest lap of the race, with just over a second covering the leading trio and less than half-a-second covering Rea and Bautista. Meanwhile, van der Mark and Lowes had pulled away from Razgatlioglu.

With 13 laps to go, Bautista made a move on Rea at turn one but ran wide, with Rea slicing back through. Two laps later and the 34-year-old Spaniard tried again, but the Kawasaki of Rea was too strong on the brakes. With the swapping and changing, Chaz Davies continued to edge closer and now, just 0.273s separated a tantalisingly close podium. Soon, the gloves were off, and Bautista hit the front on lap nine at turn one, but Rea fought back and barged his way down the inside at the turn six hairpin. Davies was even closer now, and it was a three-way heavyweight fight.

With seven to go, and outside the top six, Razgatlioglu had dropped behind Haslam, whilst Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) was riding strongly on his final appearance on the Ducati V4 R. Loris Baz had recovered well and was now inside the top ten in ninth place, lapping faster than everyone ahead of him up to Chaz Davies. Meanwhile, van der Mark got the better of Lowes for fourth at turn six, although Lowes still occupied third overall in the standings and fought back at turn one a lap later.

Out front, Jonathan Rea had pulled away and left the duelling Ducatis of Bautista and Davies to fight it out. At turn 15 with four laps to go, Davies made his move and got ahead of his teammate; the last time the two will be in the same team. It would be a critical moment, as the podium places wouldn’t change from that moment on, despite Bautista’s best efforts.

Across the line for the final time, Rea took a 17th win of the season with a thrilling victory, whilst Chaz Davies clung on for another second place, ahead of Bautista, who bows out of Ducati with a podium. Alex Lowes took fourth and was third overall in the standings, whilst Toprak Razgatlioglu stormed through in a last lap shuffle to take fifth, ahead of a scintillatingly fast Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) taking his best finish of the season. Van der Mark, Baz, Haslam and Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) completed the top ten, whilst Cortese’s teammate, Marco Melandri, failed to score points in his final race in the Championship.
Top six, WorldSBK race 2:
1.      Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2.      Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati)
3.      Álvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati)
4.      Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
5.      Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)
6.      Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven)

Jonathan Rea, Bautista and Davies, WorldSBK race2, Qatar 2019

WorldSBK SPRINT: Rea takes SPRINT for win number 16

The Ulsterman put in another strong performance to overcome the opposition and retain his pole position for Race 2, where he will look for a record-equalling 17th win in a season.

The final Tissot Superpole Race of the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship took place at Qatar’s 5.3km Losail circuit. With the sun just setting, the battle for third overall in the championship was far from over. Taking victory at the front of the field, it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who won the race, escaping at the front of the field in the early stages and building an unassailable lead.

Like in race one, there was drama before the race started, as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing), as the 23-year-old Turkish rider suffered a technical problem on the warm-up lap. He came into pit-lane but was unable to make the start, ending his realistic chances of finishing third in the championship.

Jonathan Rea got another magnificent start and breezed into the lead at turn one, with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) slotting into second and Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in third. Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) got a great start from row three and was running fourth, just ahead of Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK).

Lap two saw the field stretch out, with Rea leading comfortably at the front, whilst Alvaro Bautista got ahead of Leon Haslam down the front straight. It wasn’t long before the Spanish sensation took Alex Lowes, slicing under the British rider at turn 12. Bautista was now second but didn’t look like he’d match Rea, whilst he was pulling away from the rest of the field. Two laps later, Bautista’s teammate, Chaz Davies, was beginning to make headway and up into sixth, ahead of Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) and Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha).

There was soon a big battle for third place, as Alex Lowes came under pressure from Leon Haslam. Haslam, aiming to get ahead of the rider who replaces him at KRT next season, was 0.6s a lap quicker than Lowes. Van der Mark in fifth place was now under serious attack from Chaz Davies, with the Welshman getting ahead of the Dutchman on the front straight with four laps to go. Now van der Mark had more pressure from behind, as Loris Baz came into the fight for the top six.

Unbeatable out front, Rea took a 16th win of the year ahead of Bautista in controlling fashion, the two separated by three seconds at the flag but both safe in their positions. Prevailing in the battle for third was Alex Lowes, seeing off Leon Haslam for the final race two front row slot. Chaz Davies was a strong fifth and improves his race two starting place by seven places.

Taking the honours in the battle for sixth was Michael van der Mark, who fought back hard to beat Loris Baz on the final lap. Heading up the third row, Baz needs a strong race two, whilst Sandro Cortese will start eighth ahead of Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven), who managed to take the final point-scoring position, after a big battle with Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) and Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura).

Top six Tissot Superpole SPRINT:
1.      Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2.      Álvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
3.      Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
4.      Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
5.      Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
6.      Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team

Jonathan Rea, WorldSBK sprint race, Qatar WorldSBK 2019

WorldSBK Race 1:  Rea victorious after all-British fight for WorldSBK supremacy in race 1

The Ulsterman’s win gave him a 15th victory of the season and Kawasaki a fifth consecutive Manufacturers’ Championship, but he had to work for it…

The 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship launched racing action at Losail circuit in Qatar, with the first of three races getting underway on Friday night. With first and second in the title race sorted, all eyes were focussed on the battle for third, with the three protagonists spread out across the top ten.

Taking the win in convincing fashion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) led from lights to flag, giving Kawasaki the Manufacturers’ Championship.  Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Ducati) came from 12th to second in an impressive fightback, whilst Alex Lowes (PATA Yamaha) came home third.

Before the race even began, Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) crashed on the exit of turn one on the warm-up lap. The Spaniard high-sided on his own accord, in the middle of the pack, and retired luckily unhurt to the pits.

Steaming off from pole position, Jonathan Rea took the hole-shot down to turn one, fending off a fast-starting Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team). However, Alex Lowes and Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) got ahead of the BMW rider and the front four were as they were. Other good getaways came from Chaz Davies, up from 12th to sixth and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing), from tenth to seventh.

At the beginning of lap two, there was drama for Sykes, as he clipped the back of Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) at turn one, as the two out-broke themselves. Chaz Davies was up to fourth, whilst Haslam had slipped back into the clutches of Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) courtesy of his collision with Sykes, running seventh and eighth.

It would be heartache for Cortese on lap six, as the German rider crashed out of fourth place at turn seven, after just being passed by Davies. This promoted Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) to sixth, before the Dutchman scythed ahead of Razgatlioglu to pinch fifth. The battle for third, however, was looking like it would go the way of Alex Lowes, who was up in second, whilst teammate van der Mark and 2020 Pata Yamaha replacement Razgatliolgu were fifth and sixth. There was more despair downfield for Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura), who suffered a technical problem on the front straight.

Into the second half of the race, the gap at the front was still the same, with no move made from Lowes just yet. The duelling Brits at the front were running their own pace, whilst Lowes was using the time to see where his rival was strong. Chaz Davies was still running a solid third, although he was incrementally closing the gap to the leaders.

With eight laps to go, Haslam took sixth place from Razgatlioglu at turn one, using the slipstream to get the job done. The ‘Pocket Rocket’ now set his sights on van der Mark ahead of him, whilst Razgatlioglu had to keep his eyes open behind him, as Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) zeroed-in, just ahead of a revitalised Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team).

With six laps to go, Toprak Razgatlioglu got it all wrong going into turn six, with his bike snapping sideways in an aggressive manner. The Turkish rider took to the gravel and somehow kept it upright, but slipped from seventh to 13th, seriously hurting the 23-year-old’s chances of third overall in the championship. In the battle for fifth, Leon Haslam was now ahead of van der Mark, passing the Dutchman with five laps remaining.

Davies passed Lowes, parking his Ducati down the inside and began to hunt down Jonathan Rea out front, immediately slicing the gap to under a second. Davies was particularly quick in the middle sectors.  All the time, Alvaro Bautista was having a lonely race in fourth place.

Despite closing down the gap to Rea, Davies couldn’t get the better of the Northern Irishman’s metronomic consistency. Rea took another victory in 2019, his fourth at Losail and gave Kawasaki the Manufacturers’ Championship, with Davies second and Lowes third. Alvaro Bautista was fourth in a quiet race for the Spaniard behind the all-British podium, whilst prevailing in the battle for fifth was Leon Haslam, seeing off Michael van der Mark on the run to the line.

Loris Baz was a strong seventh place, whilst it was a classy eighth place for Markus Reiterberger, with his first top ten since the Tissot Superpole Race at Imola. Ninth place went to Ireland’s Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven), who had a strong ride into the top ten, whilst Leon Camier (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) made it all manufacturers represented inside the top ten. Toprak Razgatlioglu recovered to 11th.

Top six, WorldSBK Race 1:
1.      Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2.      Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
3.      Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
4.      Álvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
5.      Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
6.      Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)


Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) took his second race win of the season, at the floodlit Losail circuit, but the Frenchman’s win was overshadowed by Randy Krummenachers (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha) fifth-place finish that was enough for him to secure the 2019 SSP World Championship at the final round. Krummenachers consistency throughout the season handed him the title as well as the Pirelli best lap award for the year as well.

Krummenacher, Jonathan Rea and Gonzalez, World Champion line up, Qatar 2019

Words WSBK

Pics GnG