Jonathan Rea produced a scintillating ride in the final race of the weekend at Magny-Cours to take his sixth win in France and a fifth World Superbike Championship in the process.
Rea made a great start and took the lead heading into turn one, before Pole sitter Toprak Razgatlioglu tried to regain the lead around the outside at Adelaide Corner, but had a huge moment on the brakes and ran wide.
Instead it was the Yamaha of Michael Van Der Mark who came out of the hairpin in the lead, with Rea and Alvaro Bautista behind.
It looked a near impossible task for Rea to win the championship today, as the Kawasaki rider needed to win the race and have Bautista not score.
However, on lap three the impossible was suddenly a reality, as Razgatlioglu who was looking for a hat-trick of wins this weekend made a move down the inside of Bautista at Chateaux D’Eau but lost the front, leaving the Spaniard with nowhere to go as the pair collided.
With both rider’s looking in great shape to challenge for the win, the mistake by Razgatlioglu ended any hopes that Bautista had of prolonging the championship battle to the next round in Argentina.
The collision meant that riders behind had to take avoiding action, which resulted in Van Der Mark and Rea having a substantial lead at the front.
Rea and Van Der Mark went produced some brilliant racing over the next few laps, with multiple lead changes happening at Adelaide Corner and Imola Corner in particular. The battle between the two, soon became a group of three when Alex Lowes reeled in the leaders.
With six laps remaining, it was Rea in the lead and for the first time was starting to slowly edge away from the two Pata Yamaha’s. Lowes tried everything to stay in touch, but was the first to lose ground.
Van Der Mark on the other hand was only losing a tenth per lap, but Rea was making the difference in the third and fourth sector, which ultimately led to victory for the new five-time champion.
Van Der Mark and Lowes held on for second and third ahead of Aruba.it Ducati rider Chaz Davies. The Welshman was the fastest rider in the final laps of the race, but was the rider most affected by the earlier incident and eventually ran out of laps.
Fifth was local favorite Loris Baz, who continues to impress and picked up his second top five finish of the weekend for Ten Kate Racing.
Sixth was Italian veteran Marco Melandri, who was back to the form we expect in race two. Melandri came out on top of his battle with Leon Haslam and Tom Sykes who finished seventh and eighth respectively.
Rounding out the top ten was Leon Camier in ninth place for the Moriwaki Althea Honda team with Jordi Torres in tenth.