Chaz Davies dominates Qatar WorldSBK but Jonathan Rea crowned King
The penultimate Race of the 2016 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship got off to a shining start under the stars and floodlights of the Losail International Circuit. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) won the race in dominant style with a 3.9-second margin over the newly crowned 2016 World Champion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team).
The Northern Irishman wrapped up his second consecutive title with a stunning second place finish at the desert circuit and now joins the ranks of Carl Fogarty, Fred Merkel and Doug Polen as a consecutive WorldSBK Championship winner.
Davies got off to a flying start, leading into the first corner with Nicky Hayden (Honda World Superbike Team) overtaking Rea on turn 1. Rea was quick to fight back and retook his position in second, with his sights set on Davies in first.
Championship contender Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) didn’t get his best start after an uncharacteristically bad qualifying in fifth saw him only make up one place at the beginning of the race.
By lap 3, the struggling Yorkshireman was overtaken by Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and dropped back to fifth as his title chances melted away as he fell behind.
Guintoli’s incredible pace didn’t falter as he pushed ahead to hunt down Hayden who was sitting third and by lap 8 the Frenchman got into third, to settle into Yamaha’s maiden podium position finish.
Tom Sykes found pace a little too late in the race and overtook the Kentucky Kid on the closing laps to take fourth place with Hayden in fifth. Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) finished in sixth with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) ending Race 1 in seventh.
Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) came home in eighth, ahead of Michael van der Mark (Honda World Superbike Team) in ninth. Lorenzo Savadori (IodaRacing Team) finished in tenth with Leon Haslam (Pedercini Racing) coming in close behind in 11th.
Haslam had a great start, finishing the first lap in 11th from 16th on the grid and continued progressing to fight in top ten on the following lap, before finally dropping back again to his finishing position.
2016 STK1000 Cup Winner Raffaele De Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team) had a positive second WorldSBK outing of the season with a P12 finish, while Alex De Angelis (IodaRacing Team) locked out P13. Roman Ramos (Team GOELEVEN) and Josh Brookes (Milwaukee BMW) picked up the last points in P14 and P15.
Race Two: Davies takes third triple in a row | Sykes second and WSBK runner-up
The final race of the 2016 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship had it all; Ducati dominating proceedings, a Pedercini Kawasaki flaming inferno and an admirable show of team spirit by the current World Champion.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing- Ducati) shattered the competition from beginning to end, even after the race was restarted. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki racing Team) was given a ray of hope when his teammate and newly crowned World Champion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) let him pass on the final corner to take second and the overall runner-up spot.
Rea and Davies dragged each other off the start into the illuminated first corner, fighting for the lead. Davies got ahead but Rea was quick to retake control at the front. Lorenzo Savadori (IodaRacing Team) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) ran wide into the first corner together, while Honda World Superbike Team’s Nicky Hayden had to start the race from the pit lane after an early evening engine change exceeded his season’s allocation.
Entering the first corner of the second lap, Rea ran into trouble running off track as Davies got ahead, setting the fastest laps. The Kawasaki rider rejoined in P13 and immediately began attacking to recover positions. With the Welshman away in front, Sykes made a dash to catch Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) who was promoted to second after Rea ran off.
Leon Haslam (Pedercini Racing) had a good pace, reaching a respectable fifth place from P16 on the grid, before Saeed Al Sulaiti’s Pedercini Kawasaki caught fire, just as the Qatari had reached P15. The race was red-flagged while the track marshals cleaned up oil spilled from Al Sulaiti’s bike.
After fifteen minutes, the race restarted for a ten-lap dash to decide the final victor of 2016. Davies and Sykes shot to the front maintaining their first and second positions, while Rea recovered his poor restart, to set a new lap record on his hunt towards the front.
Chaz Davies – P1
“Winning these last six race in a row I’ve kind of proved a point. I’ve proved that the Panigale is a competitive championship package, as we knew it was when I signed a few years ago. I have proved to myself that I can win more than just one race at the odd track and we have had 11 wins, six in a row, it’s been incredible. It is something special and it is not easy to achieve one double, let alone three in a row. So hats off to Ducati, all my team have done a fantastic job this year, they have never stopped believing me and have always been looking for the next level.”
Before long it was a KRT battle for second as the teammates pushed each other and overtook each other at every opportunity. On the final lap, Rea put on an incredible show of team spirit and slowed right down to let Sykes – who had fallen three seconds behind – to catch up and take second, to secure the runner-up spot in the Championship.
Tom Sykes – P2
“I was missing some pace but I just focused on the race but the red flag was sure difficult. I missed a lot of time on Friday with some brake problems and never really rode the bike to 100%. We suffered on the front end but what can I say. In the race in the first part I was setting myself up for the long distance, so I didn’t push so hard at the beginning to save the tyre. In the restart I knew we were a little bit in trouble because we have missed some pace all weekend. I dug deep and had good initial speed but Jonathan pushed hard and was going for the win and I could see what was happening. He was closing Chaz down and Chaz was responding. It was a fantastic gesture by the other side of the garage to do this you know. I am quite speechless and being a gentleman I really, really appreciate this kind of gesture. I will remember it until I am very old. We have lost championships in the past from team orders from other manufacturers so to have this and for it to gift us second in the championship, a one-two for Kawasaki in the championship. It has been a heck of a season for Kawasaki!”
Jonathan Rea – P3
“The red flag saved us and starting again from ninth I was completely pumped to make a good race. The pace was good, I felt really good on the bike and then on the last lap I knew that barring a mistake from Chaz I knew that there was no way that I could get through cleanly so I played the clever game. I knew the maths and wanted to be a team player. Without team orders, speaking inside the team like gentlemen I knew that it was more important for the big picture that we have a one-two. So I am very happy for myself because I have achieved my target. I am happy for Kawasaki with the one-two in the championship because I think it is the first time. I am also happy for Tom because he has played a key role in Kawasaki’s success. Thanks to everybody. I am looking forward to going home now to recharge my batteries, but I enjoyed that race!”
Guim Roda, Kawasaki Team Manager
“This is the first year of the current model Ninja ZX-10R’s introduction and it has taken the Manufacturers’ title, plus first and second in the championship. Sometimes, there are in life bigger things than your own interests, and that makes life magic and exciting. Today it was possible, for the first time ever, for Kawasaki to finish first and second in the Riders’ Championship. Be sure next year the competition will be there again and Rea and Sykes will provide a big show to the world again. Congratulations to Tom and congratulations to Johnny – you give the team something we lost in the past.”
Further behind, Guintoli brought his Yamaha home in fourth ahead of fifth-placed Haslam. Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) finished in sixth with the Kentucky Kid picking up seventh.
Sylvain Guintoli – P4
“It was a shame about the red flag that’s for sure, because, even more so today we had a very strong pace on used tyres but were lacking the outright pace with the new tyres. For the first race, it was a perfect race for me, a perfect start and a perfect first-half anyway. I had a really good start and didn’t lose too much in the opening laps, managed to hang in there and then when the red flag came out, it was on two or three laps where I had been catching Tom and pulling away quite a lot from fourth, so it looked and I felt really good. In the restart I tried to fight as much as I could but our pace with new tyres just wasn’t strong enough. It’s a shame, it would have been a podium without the red flag but we’ve finished on the strongest performances of the year and I feel like I’m ready to fight another day.”
Jordi Torres – P6
“Today’s race went fairly well. It was just a shame I messed up the start, in both heats. In the restart, someone also made contact with me and I lost ground as a result. But I quickly got back into a rhythm and gradually made up some places, pushing 100% to finish sixth. So I made a good recovery and am pleased with how we’ve finished the season, sixth in this race but also sixth in the championship.”
Nicky Hayden – P7
“It has not been an easy day. Towards the end of the race yesterday we started experiencing a little bit of a problem. We hoped it was due to some changes we made but as soon as I went out in the warm up it was still there so I only did one lap and that was it. The team had to change the engine and we had to start from the pit-lane, which is not nice but those are the rules! I got away pretty well, was chipping away and making some moves and luckily for me the race was red flagged. I was back in the group although still back in 15th place but again I started chipping away and had some nice battles and in the end I was seventh, which from pit-lane is definitely not bad! I also was able to make up a couple of places on the last lap and that was nice, too. All things considered, given the time we also lost in warm up, it was not an easy day but we salvaged something. I want to thank the team, all my crew, the sponsors and everybody behind me: I’m now looking forward to next year.”
Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) came home in eighth, while Raffaele De Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team) picked up a solid collection of points in ninth, with Lowes rounding out the top ten.
Raffaele De Rosa – P9 (2016 SSTK1000 Champion)
“I’m really pleased, also because yesterday’s race was difficult, though it helped us prepare well for today I think. I made a good start and was doing well in the second chasing group when the race was red-flagged. When the race restarted I didn’t get away as well and the race pace was even quicker. When I looked at the times on my dash I realised just how fast we were going. Anyway I tried to stay focused and make up as many positions as possible. I leave here happy with the work we’ve done and also pleased with today’s race result. I want to thank Genesio again for having given me this opportunity.”
Michael van der Mark (Honda World Superbike Team) finished in P11, Savadori came home in P12, while Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) locked out P13.
Alex Lowes – P10
“A disappointing weekend for me in terms of results, but honestly it pretty much sums up my year. I had a problem with the starts which meant that I got away slow, normally on this bike it has been a strong point for me this year, so that in itself was disappointing. Because I didn’t get a good start, I was in turn one with van der Mark on the inside and Savadori on the outside and I literally had nowhere to go, we all came together and I ran off track. It’s a racing incident, one of those things, and obviously I got lucky with the race being red flagged. In the restart, to come from the back of the grid to 10th place in 10 laps was quite good, it’s the best pace I’ve had all weekend, very similar to Sylvain and after yesterday that’s really positive because obviously he outperformed me then, so to close that gap right up today is good. It’s been a disappointing year as a whole but the team have worked really hard, it’s really nice for them to get their first podium and although my results weren’t great I think I rode well this weekend – I’ve not made any mistakes and I’ve brought the bike home as best as I could. It is what it is, I feel fit and healthy, the best I’ve felt all year so I’m looking forward to winter testing and upping my game next year!”
Michael van der Mark – P11
“I had a really good start in the first race but I had a big moment in turn one as I got hit from behind. I was way back again and was struggling to get up to speed. After the red flag we changed a little bit the bike setup for the second start and I got away quite well again, but even with new tyres I struggled to find the right grip. It was quite frustrating, because I thought we would have made quite a step forward but thing simply didn’t work today. Of course, I wish the season and my journey with Honda would have ended with a better result, but fourth in the championship is a great achievement and I want to thank all the guys for the hard work they have done. I think we can be really happy with what we’ve done this year.”
Roman Ramos (Team GOELEVEN) and Markus Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team) picked up the final points in P14 and P15.
Markus Reiterberger – P15
“Today’s was a tough race. I don’t know what happened. In the first heat I was doing OK but then the race was red-flagged. I then made a bad start in the second heat and lost a lot of positions. I recovered a little but only finished 15th, which I’m not happy with of course. I’ve just lost my feeling with the bike and any changes we make don’t really improve that so there’s a lot of work to do. I want to thank Genesio and the entire team for all their help, as well as my sponsors and everyone else who’s supported me this season.”
After a thrilling finale, WorldSBK will now recharge their batteries before the new season return to Phillip Island in February in 2017.
Race Two Results:
R. De Rosa
…Josh Brookes – Retired
2016 World SBK Final Standings
J. Rea Kawasaki 498
T. Sykes Kawasaki 447
C. Davies Ducati 445
M. Van Der Mark Honda 267
N. Hayden Honda 248
J. Torres BMW 213
D. Giugliano Ducati 197
L. Camier MV Agusta 168
X. Forés Ducati 151
Savadori Aprilia 150
… 14 J. Brookes BMW 89
… 17 A. West Kawasaki 64
2016 World SBK Final Manufacturer Standings
MV Agusta 168
Kyle Smith takes season finale race win | Sofuoglu second
The final WorldSSP race of the season was an edge-of-the-seat thriller that saw Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) come out victorious over current World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) by just 6 thousandths of a second. Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) finished in third to secure the overall runner up spot in the 2016 FIM Supersport World Championship.
It was pole-sitter Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) and Sofuoglu who took off side by side at lights out, but got caught up in the first corner as Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25) shot away at the front. Pole man Stapleford ran into trouble on turn 10, ending his race early.
Runner-up contenders Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Cluzel battled for second place and quickly joined by Smith, who had worked his way up from fifth on the grid, as they crossed the line together into the second lap. The Brit had the quicker pace and by the end of the lap had overtaken Baldolini and began to pull away. Cluzel was able to maintain his pace in second but Krummenacher couldn’t and began to fall back through the order, fighting for fourth with his other rival PJ Jacobsen (Honda World Supersport Team).
Sofuoglu was briefly caught up behind other riders in fifth, but it didn’t take him long to begin his assault back towards the front. With three laps to go, the Turkish rider hunted down Smith who was over a second in front. Smith didn’t let the Kawasaki rider get away and retook his lead with two laps to go, initiating the beginning of an epic shootout for the win as the lead alternated. Both riders crossed the line side by side with Smith taking the win by just 6 thousandths of a second!
Jacobsen won the battle with Krummenacher for fourth, while the Swiss rider took fifth in the race and third overall in the Championship. Ayrton Badovini (GEMAR Balloons – Team Lorini) finished the race in sixth ahead of Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in seventh.
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Christoffer Bergman came home in eighth while Massimo Roccoli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) finished ninth, while Baldolini rounded out the top ten. Ondrej Jezek (Team GOELEVEN) claimed 11th with Loris Cresson (RPM84) completing his fourth WorldSSP race in P12. Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) came home in P13 ahead of Kyle Ryde (Schmidt Racing) and Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing) who picked up the seasons last points in P14 and P15.
WorldSSP will restart their engines for the new season at Phillip Island in February 2017. Until then, stay up to date with the latest news and videos on WorldSBK.com.
Kenan, the most successful WorldSSP rider of all time, added to his records at this race. He now has 38 career race wins, 78 podiums in all, 30 pole position starts, 94 front row starts of all kinds and 27 fastest laps. And above all, his five world championships – the most recent three while riding the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.
Kenan Sofuoglu – P2
“That was a good race and I enjoyed it. At the beginning of the race I had no rear grip. I do not know what the reason was, but after a few laps, when I saw that everybody’s tyres had dropped, I got more confidence and came back. I had to push very hard to catch Smith and on the last lap it was not easy. Just before the last corner I made a mistake due to chattering and then on the last corner I had to give way because I knew he was right by my side. I tried again on the straight but it did not happen, and by such a small margin. For me it was a very good race. I think everybody enjoyed it and it is also what the class needed. I can be happy with the result today because we are champions already, we took another podium and that is always a good thing.”
Patrick Jacobsen – P4
“Today I did the best that I could. The team really worked well but fourth was the maximum I could get. I tried to stay with the front runners at the beginning but I simply didn’t have the pace nor feeling to push really hard and ride like I wanted to. It’s a shame not to have made second place in the championship, but I want to thank the team, Honda and all the boys for a great opportunity and all their hard work this year.”
Randy Krummenacher – P5
“I was, from lap one, on the limit. I was fighting with the set-up of the bike, not the other riders. Every corner was like that. If I pushed more it was not working, going wide or spinning from the rear. Right now it is hard to accept that I have lost the possibility of second overall but today, more was not possible. Overall, I can be happy with third in the championship, as it is a kind of podium finish. This was the first season in this paddock for me so we missed out with some experience but it is difficult to understand why we struggled at this race.”
World Supersport 2016 Manufacturer Final Standings
MV Agusta 203
2016 Champions celebrated in Qatar
The desert arena that is the Losail International Circuit, hosted the final showdown of the 2016 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship on the 28th-30th October. Jonathan Rea was crowned World Champion for an incredible second consecutive time on Saturday, in Race 1. It was a special achievement for fans to bear witness as WorldSBK hasn’t seen a consecutive title winner since Carl Forgarty won, back to back in 1998 and 1999.
Starting his title defence off with a double win at Phillip Island in February, the 29-year-old Northern Irishman defended his crown in Qatar after an incredible season that saw him claim 9 wins, 23 podiums and two pole positions. He was presented with his 2016 Superbike World Championship trophy by Mr Enrique Aldana, COO-CFO of Dorna WSBK Organization.
Kenan Sofuoglu won the 2016 FIM Supersport World Championship for a fifth time, cementing his legendary status in WorldSSP history. He was crowned in Jerez and his season has seen him achieve 9 podiums and 6 wins.
The 2016 Riders’ Champions were celebrated on the 30th of October in a live Prize Giving Show in front of the entire WorldSBK Paddock and fans present at the Losail International Circuit. Joining Jonathan Rea and Kenan Sofuoglu on stage were the Tissot- Superpole winners, Pirelli Best Lap winners and Manufacturers’ winners of both classes.
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.