Chaz Davies extended his winning streak to five races with another lights-to-flag victory in Qatar but Jonathan Rea was the big winner with second place securing him back-to-back World Superbike Championship crowns. The Ulsterman clinched the title with a race to spare and with Tom Sykes finishing down in fourth, Davies has a real chance of snatching the runner-up spot in tomorrow’s finale.
Rea would appear to have discovered a new level of single lap performance in the closing stages of the season with the Kawasaki rider claiming his second pole position in a row early on Saturday evening ahead of Nicky Hayden and Davies. The Ducati rider made light work of his grid deficit though, diving up the inside of Rea into turn one.
With his championship hopes already slim, Sykes needed to make inroads off the start line but instead, the Yorkshireman went backwards, losing fourth to the Yamaha of Sylvain Guintoli. His team-mate’s troubles eased the pressure on Rea who gave a spirited chase after the Ducati of Davies but the Welshman was far too strong, claiming his tenth win of the season. Rea cruised home in second though, becoming the first rider since Carl Fogarty in 1999 to successfully retain the WorldSBK title.
Guintoli overhauled Hayden mid-race to take third, handing Yamaha their first podium since returning to the championship, while Sykes outbraked the American at the start of the final lap to salvage fourth. Xavi Fores was sixth ahead of the second Yamaha of Alex Lowes while Jordi Torres held off Michael van der Mark for eighth.
WorldSBK 2016: Gaerne Qatar Round – Race One Result
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