Jonathan Rea eased to his seventh consecutive victory in race one at Magny Cours on Saturday, securing an unprecedented fourth straight World Superbike title. The Ulsterman led a dominant Kawasaki 1-2 ahead of team-mate Tom Sykes, ensuring he has an unassailable 130-point lead over Chaz Davies with just five races remaining.
Kawasaki had enjoyed a comfortable advantage over the competition on Friday and they proved too strong during Superpole as Sykes grabbed his 47th career pole, denying Rea who claimed he had ridden one of the best laps of his life to take provisional pole. The Yorkshireman took the holeshot once the opening race got underway but he wouldn’t lead for long.
The championship leader hit the front on lap two with a sensational move through Estoril, scything up the inside of Sykes, and Rea gradually eased away to take his 13th victory of the season, while Sykes’ second place confirmed a historic fourth consecutive title for the 31-year-old, the first time that achievement had been reached in WorldSBK history.
Davies had shown strong pace in the closing stages to join the podium battle between Xavi Fores and Lorenzo Savadori but the Spaniard would ultimately hang on for Barni Ducati, securing his first rostrum since Aragon in April. Savadori’s wait for a WorldSBK podium goes on but fourth did earn him pole position for race two on Sunday, while Davies will go in search of a consolation win from second on the grid after finishing fifth.
Marco Melandri recovered from a disastrous start to the weekend to take sixth ahead of Michael van der Mark’s PATA Yamaha while Toprak Razgatlioglu edged out Eugene Laverty and home favourite Loris Baz to finish eighth.
WorldSBK 2018: Acerbis French Round: Race One
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