The champion is not taking an early vacation just yet: Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) roared ahead to grab a phenomenal double at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship shut up shop for Round 11 and the European season. The Northern Irishman has now made it eight consecutive victories in a row, matching the best WorldSBK winning streak since Troy Bayliss did the same back in 2006.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) started from second on the grid and immediately grabbed the holeshot, powering away from Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), while Race Two polesitter Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) quickly fell down the order. But inside just half a lap Rea had already managed to climb into third position and set his sights on the race lead, eventually managing to outpace van der Mark at the Imola chicane in lap 3.
Davies leading, Rea in hot pursuit – the same scenario we’ve witnessed countless times across the years, and as recently as Race Two in Portimao. Even with an unassailable margin of points separating them in the standings, the pair fought as fiercely as ever. Rea singled out the Adelaide hairpin as the point to make his pass, but lap after lap the moment didn’t come, the Welshman forcing his Ducati in front on the exit every time, with the Kawasaki rider twice running in too hot. But then Davies opened the door in lap 12 through turn 9, and Rea emphatically put his foot in, flying into the race lead. With an open track ahead, the KRT rider was just too strong to match, with Davies crossing the line in second and van der Mark putting his R1 onto the podium again in third.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) couldn’t return to the rostrum after his P2 yesterday, but the move he put over Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) with one lap on the clock did net him P4 in Race Two, with the Italian following behind and completing the top five.
Savadori managed to steady his pace after a few dubitative opening laps and claimed sixth place, closing off his best weekend of the season. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) crossed the line in seventh and saves some points from a mostly disappointing weekend, with Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) in eighth and as the top independent rider.
Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) returns to the top ten for the first time since his injury in July, leaving Magny-Cours with a P9, with hometown boy Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) closing out the top ten. Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) crossed the line in 11th, with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in 12th.
That’s a wrap in France! WorldSBK now leaves Europe behind until 2019, but there’s still two rounds more to come, Round 12 kicks off at the brand-new San Juan Circuit in Argentina in just two weeks’ time.
P1 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“It’s incredibly, absolutely unbelievable and I want to thank all my team for getting me here today. I made some smart choices on the opening lap, and then I had a little tussle with van der Mark which let Chaz get a bit further away, but once I got onto the back of him he was so difficult to pass as he rode a perfect race, but I picked my moment after a few failed attempts and then got my head down. It was unbelievable. I was really worried about using the gold fairings today and the team were pushing really hard, so I thought I’d use my gold helmet as well and it paid off. I’m going to forget today, think about yesterday and go out and party really, really hard tonight.”
P2 – Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
“It was tough, very tough! I’m super happy and I knew it was possible to have a good rhythm at the start, but I needed to make a good start in itself, which I did and then put in a move at the first corner. Then I got my head down early to try and make a bit of a gap as I didn’t know how I was going to fair in the latter half of the race; I could see on my pit board that Jonny was closing but not overly quickly, and once he got side-by-side with me it was all about trying to make life as difficult as possible for him and hit my marks so that if he tried to overtake he’d run deep, which happened plenty of times. Once he got past I didn’t really have an answer for him, but overall I’m very happy for him as it’s been a long few months since Misano – it felt like we really earned this one.”
P3 – Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
“Really happy with today’s result as yesterday wasn’t so good. We changed a lot on the bike this morning but it didn’t feel so good, however for the race I got a really good start and was really aggressive; I thought my pace was good but Jonny and Chaz had a little bit extra. But anyway, I’m really happy to be on podium and hopefully next time out in Argentina we can be on the podium again.”