Rea scores third-in-a-row WSBK title

  Reigning World Superbike (WSBK) champion Jonathan Rea has successfully attained a third title, following the latest WSBK round at France’s Magby Cours Circuit over the weekend. It was Rea’s third consecutive Riders’ title.

Rea proved to be unbeatable from free practice on Friday and in the race he managed to win Superpole in the rain, placing him in the first spot on the starting grid and letting him win a race that he led from flag to flag.

Because of the heavy rainfall during the night and in the early hours, it was declared a wet race and all the riders used Pirelli Diablo Rain tyres. On the front, everyone put on standard tyres, whereas on the rear some relied on the standard solution and others preferred the development tyre.

At the start of Race 1, Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) moved solidly into the lead. Behind him were his teammate Tom Sykes and, trailing by more than six seconds, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) who managed to move from the seventh spot on the grid into third position. On the second lap, a crash by Michael Van Der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK) also involved Xavi Forès (BARNI Racing Team), but both were able to continue the race with their damaged bikes.

In the meantime, as the laps went by, Davies seemed not to be able to maintain the race pace and he progressively lost positions, leaving the third place slot to teammate Marco Melandri. In fact, during the fifteenth lap, Davide Giugliano (Red Bull Honda World Superbike) also overtook Davies and then it was Laverty and Michael Van Der Mark’s turn to do the same.

In the race finale, Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) got close to Tom Sykes and on the last lap he launched an attack twice on the rider from the Akashi-based manufacturer, finally managing to cross the line in second place with a gap of almost seventeen seconds behind the newly crowned 2017 WSBK champion.

Race 2 on Sunday was won by Davies, who after starting from the eleventh spot on the grid, managed to claw his way back up to the top spot. Rea didn;t have it his way and was forced to retire after contact with Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty.

Davies stormed from the midfield and moved into the lead about mid-race. Meanwhile Yamaha’s Alex Lowes fell in behind the Ducati rider ahead of MV Augusta’s Leon Camier. During the eleventh lap, Camier was forced to retire due to a technical problem, leaving the third step of the podium to Yamaha’s Michael Van Der Mark.

The duel for fifth between Leandro Mercado and Melandri saw the Italian Ducati rider come up  tops, Melandri finished behind the satellite Ducati ridden by Xavi Forés.

Rea who won a third straight title and 50th WSBK race said, “I have no words for how it feels right now. I just feel so honored to be riding for a manufacturer like Kawasaki, to be able to join the team and to win like this is amazing.”

He added, “I think the 50th race victory will get a little bit lost in the moment with the championship but I am equally as proud of that. To win three titles in a row, I have no words. I don’t think I’ll understand exactly what I’m doing until I look back on my career until I’m retired, but at the moment I’m with my team and still really eager to do more. So now we have to turn our attentions to 2018, and facing some bigger challenges and we’re ready for it.”

The remaining rounds of the WSBK are the Spanish round from 20 – 22 October and the finale in Qatar from 2 – 4 November.

2017 WorldSBK French Round, Magny Cours Race 1 standings:

1) J. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)
2) M. Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
3) T. Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team)
4) L. Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)
5) A. Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
6) E. Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia)
7) L. Mercado (IODARacing)
8) D. Giugliano (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)
9) M. Van Der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
10) C. Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
11) L. Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia)
12) R. Ramos (Team Kawasaki GoEleven)
13) R. De Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team)
14) J. Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team)
15) R. Russo (Guandalini Racing)
16) O. Jezek (Grillini Racing Team)
17) A. Andreozzi (Guandalini Racing)
18) A. West (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
RT) J. Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)
RT) X. Forés (BARNI Racing Team)

Race 2

1) C. Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2) A. Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
3) M. Van Der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
4) X. Forés (BARNI Racing Team)
5) M. Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
6) L. Mercado (IODARacing)
7) T. Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team)
8) J. Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team)
9) R. Ramos (Team Kawasaki GoEleven)
10) R. De Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team)
11) D. Giugliano (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)
12) J. Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)
13) A. Andreozzi (Guandalini Racing)
14) A. West (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
15) A. Badovini (Grillini Racing Team)
16) R. Russo (Guandalini Racing)
17) E. Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia)
18) O. Jezek (Grillini Racing Team)
RT) L. Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia)
RT) L. Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)
RT) J. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)

Riders standings after eleven rounds

  1. JONATHAN REA 456 KAWASAKI
  2. TOM SYKES 336 KAWASAKI
  3. CHAZ DAVIES 327 DUCATI
  4. MARCO MELANDRI 281 DUCATI
  5. ALEX LOWES 200 YAMAHA
  6. MICHAEL VAN DER MARK 189 YAMAHA
  7. XAVI FORÉS 169 DUCATI
  8. LEON CAMIER 146 MV AGUSTA
  9. JORDI TORRES 140 BMW
  10. EUGENE LAVERTY 127 APRILIA