Following a severe rain and sand storm on Saturday morning in Qatar, it has been announced that WorldSBK race two has been cancelled at Losail International Circuit. With the storm hitting the Losail track in the morning, conditions deteriorated and therefore a difficult decision was taken to cancel the final race of the day.
Unfortunately, this signals an early end to the 2018 season, and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) will end the season with 545 points and 17 victories.
“It was a difficult situation today. From one side it is frustrating not be able to finish the season when you are geared up to race but on the other side conditions are really difficult out there, especially at Turn 15. It did not seem like it was draining at all and every time they tried to clean the track, water was coming up from the gravel bed. It was frustrating for the fans also, because they are not getting a Superbike race tonight. But safety is paramount. We can look back at our season and be really proud of our efforts. Because this race was cancelled today we also finished our season with a race win from yesterday.”
The cancellation of the race confirmed Ducati’s Chaz Davies as second in the 2018 WSBK Championship. Davies took two wins and 12 podiums overall this season for a total of 356 points.
The Qatari round also marked the last race of the Panigale R, which in WorldSBK has collected 107 podiums overall and 28 wins in six years. Chaz will test the Panigale V4 at Aragon on November 14-15 and Ducati will continue the development program with Alvaro Bautista at Jerez (Spain) on November 26-27.
“Safety must come first, even though it’s a bit anticlimactic and I’m sorry for the fans here at the track and at home, but to cancel the race was the right decision today. We sealed P2 in the championship, I’m very happy about that, and most of all I’m really excited about a new challenge with the V4. I can’t wait to ride it in a couple of weeks!”
The cancellation of the final race of the 2018 season meant van der Mark missed the chance, albeit an outside one, to challenge for second place in the championship standings, but the Pata Yamaha rider was happy to finish third, which exceeded the expectations he had at the start of the year.
Michael van der Mark
“It was absolutely the right decision to cancel Race 2 today. Our championship was already decided and the track conditions weren’t getting any better, especially turn 15 where there was a lot of standing water. It’s a shame to end the season in the pit box, but safety must come first. We set some goals at the start of the year, to fight for podiums, to fight for a win and to finish top five in the championship. We’ve done all of that and more and I’m really happy to have ended the season third in the championship. The team can be proud of their achievements this year, because we’ve improved a lot and had both riders winning races and finishing on the podium. Now we need to continue to work, looking for further improvements so that we come back even stronger in 2019.”
Tom Sykes and Kawasaki seal divorce with a kiss
Tom Sykes signed off his long WorldSBK relationship with Kawasaki with a second place finish on Friday, before the surprise of no final race today. Tom won the 2013 title with KRT, missed out on two more by incredibly small margins and has ridden on official Kawasaki WorldSBK machinery of some kind since 2010. He has scored 34 career wins, all with KRT, and is the all-time record holder for Superpole wins, with 48.
Tom will undertake a new adventure in 2019 and in appreciation for his efforts inside the KRT squad the team had special T-shirts made to commemorate his achievements on Ninja machinery. Tom finished this championship season in fourth place overall, missing out on his final chance to take third place once the second Losail race was cancelled.
2018 WSBK Championship Points Standings (Final)
- JONATHAN REA 545 KAWASAKI
- CHAZ DAVIES 356 DUCATI
- MICHAEL VAN DER MARK 333 YAMAHA
- TOM SYKES 314 KAWASAKI
- MARCO MELANDRI 297 DUCATI
- ALEX LOWES 248 YAMAHA
- XAVI FORES 230 DUCATI
- EUGENE LAVERTY 158 APRILIA
- TOPRAK RAZGATLIOGLU 151 KAWASAKI
- LORENZO SAVADORI 138 APRILIA
- LORIS BAZ 137 BMW
- LEON CAMIER 108 HONDA
- JORDI TORRES 98 MV AGUSTA
- MICHAEL RUBEN RINALDI 77 DUCATI
- LEANDRO MERCADO 70 KAWASAKI
- ROMÁN RAMOS 65 KAWASAKI
- JAKE GAGNE 64 HONDA
- YONNY HERNANDEZ 28 KAWASAKI
- PJ JACOBSEN 21 HONDA
- LEON HASLAM 14 KAWASAKI
- DAVIDE GIUGLIANO 11 APRILIA
- NICCOLÒ CANEPA 7 YAMAHA
- FLORIAN MARINO 5 HONDA
- KAREL HANIKA 5 YAMAHA
- GABRIELE RUIU 5 KAWASAKI
- MAXIMILIAN SCHEIB 3 MV AGUSTA
- BRADLEY RAY 3 SUZUKI
- LUKE MOSSEY 2 KAWASAKI
- ONDREJ JEZEK 2 YAMAHA
- ALESSANDRO ANDREOZZI 1 YAMAHA
Race direction statement
“Following the World Supersport race, the safety commission (FIM, Dorna WSBK Organization and SBK® riders) met. Due to an increase of standing water, as well taking into account the difference between power and tyres of WorldSBK and WorldSSP bikes, this led us to decide racing would not be safe in these conditions.”