Superbike World Championship – Qatar

A final success for Rea

After missing the first round due to rain, the final of the Superbike World Championship in Qatar has enabled Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes to end the season with a final double victory.

The races

It was a pity that the final race of the season had to be cancelled and ironic that rain forced the organisers to refuse to start the race in the middle of the desert… “It stopped me from breaking two new records,” sums up Jonathan Rea. Winner of the first race of the weekend after his victories in the first and last rounds and crossing the finishing line ahead of his teammate, the world champion was hoping to break the all-time record for the number of victories in one season. He had to resign himself to sharing this honour with the American Doug Polen with seventeen successes. He also had to content himself with finishing twelve points away from the all-time record set in that same season. “It will be a challenge for the next season,” responded Rea. Tom Sykes also had a great finish to his adventure with Kawasaki with another Superpole and a place on the last podium. Toprak Razgatlioglu crossed the finishing line in tenth position. Barbera finished seventh in Supersport whilst the Japanese participant Okubo fell in the first round due to a problem with his bike’s transmission chain.

The championship

This is the fourth world championship victory for Jonathan Rea who has ended the season with a total of 545 points. For his final year with Kawasaki, Tom Sykes finished fourth with 314 points. Razgatlioglu has come up to ninth position with 151 points for his first Superbike season. Okubo came thirteenth with 39 points and Barbera seventeenth with 27 points in Supersport.

History

The final round of the Superbike World Championship in Qatar marked a turning point in the history of this championship which pits motorcycles derived from standard models against one another. A new format is to be introduced next year by the FIM and Dorna Sport, the promoter of the championship. Three races will be planned in 2019 over a single weekend. The first, which will be held on Saturday at 2 p.m., will mark the start of the festivities and will maintain the current format. The second, on Sunday morning at 11 a.m., will be in the form of a sprint and the third, in the same format as the first, will start at 2 p.m. “We have been planning to incorporate a third “sprint” race in the format of the WorldSBK for a long time and we are delighted that it is finally happening in 2019,” explains Daniel Carrera, Executive Manager of WorldSBK. “We try each year to guarantee exciting races for the fans and we believe that the addition of a spring race will enrich the WorldSBK experience. We are still working on the final adjustments to ensure that the new format is a definite success.”