Jonathan Rea is one victory away from setting a new WorldSBK points record for a single season after winning race one at Losail. The world champion totally dominated Friday night’s opening race to claim his fifteenth win of the season but extraordinarily, his and Kawasaki’s first ever success at Losail.
Having taking pole position by a considerable margin, Rea was always going to take some beating in the race itself and true to form, the Ulsterman stormed into an early lead and wasn’t seen again. The focus shifted to the battle for second in the championship with Tom Sykes running second to his team-mate, although he was quickly coming under pressure from the group behind.
Three laps in, the Yorkshireman was overhauled by Yamaha’s Alex Lowes with key rival Chaz Davies following straight through into third. With the Ducati rider soon taking care of Lowes and moving into a comfortable second, Sykes was now forced into a damage limitation exercise, a job made slightly easier by a crash for Lowes at turn sixteen.
Marco Melandri would complete a double podium for Ducati in third but Sykes wouldn’t even claim the consolation prize of race two pole position, the Milwaukee Aprilias of Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori ambushing him three laps from home. The Kawasaki man was forced to settle for sixth, leaving him ten points adrift of Davies heading into Saturday night’s season finale.
Jordi Torres recovered from an early excursion at turn one to finish seventh ahead of Sylvain Guintoli with Leon Camier and Roman Ramos rounding out the top ten.
WorldSBK 2017: Acerbis Qatar Round – Race One Result
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