Stunning ride from KRT rider secures the title in difficult conditions
Jonathan Rea charged to an excellent victory at the Magny-Cours circuit in France on Saturday to secure a historic third consecutive WorldSBK title, crossing the line over 16 seconds ahead of second placed Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) finishing third.
Rea made a determined start from pole position and soon pulled clear of the rest of the pack, keeping the hammer down over the 21 laps of the race in the wet-drying conditions at the Pirelli French Round to remain unchallenged at the front. His impressive performance gave him a 12th victory of the season and saw him become the first ever rider to win three successive WorldSBK titles.
It was a truly gritty ride from Rea’s teammate Sykes as the Yorkshireman returned to action with a third place result, having had surgery on a finger injury less than two weeks ago – after a Portimao crash. Sykes completed the podium after just losing out on second place to Melandri in the final stages of the race.
Five seconds off the rostrum positions was Leon Camier who had another excellent ride for MV Agusta Reparto Corse. Another 19 seconds back on his compatriot Camier was Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) who rounded out the top five.
Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) were sixth and seventh respectively, whilst Davide Giugliano (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) was the eighth rider home.
Early in the race there was a crash for Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), which also saw Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) go down, but remarkably Dutchman Van der Mark fought back to finish ninth, ahead of Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
Race 2 at the Pirelli French Round will get going at the 4.411km Magny-Cours track at 1pm local time on Sunday.
P1 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)
“I have no words right now. I sacrificed so much in my life to get to the levels to live my dream and to win a world championship, so to win three, I cant really explain my feelings. I want to say thank you so much to my team and to everyone back in Japan, and I want to thank my family to make sacrifices to let me live my dream. I’m so happy to take the victory as well as winning my 50th WorldSBK Race win, I’m just so happy about this stat.”
“It was a hard race as I had a good start but I was far away and the track conditions were difficult. IN the end I could catch Tom and it was a nice battle, With two laps to go we touched each and then on the last lap it was very good fun. To finish second in my first time on this bike in the wet is a great result.”
“Considering my injury I am very happy, I struggled a bit with corner entry. Our path crossed with Marco, and it was a good race. If someone had offered me this two weeks go, I would definitely have taken it, I don’t know how I’ve managed to ride a bike. We found something but I’m very happy and want to say thanks to Kawasaki.”
- Jonathan Rea Kawasaki
2. Marco Melandri Ducati +16.316
3. Tom Sykes Kawasaki +16.666
- Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki (456 points)
2. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki (327 points)
3. Chaz Davies (GBR) Ducati (302 points)
STK1000: Tamburini heads grid in France
Mike Jones on front row
Italian rider on pole and joined on front row by Sandi and Jones at Magny-Cours
In Superstock 1000 European Championship qualifying on Saturday afternoon at the Pirelli French Round it was Roberto Tamburini (PATA Yamaha Official STK 1000 Team) who took pole with a 1’40.205 lap.
The Italian will be joined on the front row by compatriot Federico Sandi (Berclaz Racing Team) and Australian rider Mike Jones (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team).
Frenchmen Florian Marino (Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team) and Jeremy Guarnoni (Pedercini Racing) qualified fourth and fifth respectively for their home race, with Italy’s Luca Vitali (Nuova M2 Racing) set to slot in behind them on row 2.
Maximilian Scheib (Nuova M2 Racing), Illia Mykhalchyk (TripleM Racing) and standings leader Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing -Junior Team) are on the third row, whilst Marvin Fritz (Bayer -Bikerbox Yamaichi) completed the top ten to head row 4.
Championship contender Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) missed the session due to injury (right shoulder dislocation) after a crash in FP3 earlier on Saturday and faces a fitness test on Sunday morning to see whether he can race. If passed fit he would start from the back of the grid.
Finnish rider on pole ahead of Morais, as Sofuoglu qualifies third and then crashes
As Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) qualified in pole position at the Pirelli French Round ahead of second placed Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing) there was drama as World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) had a heavy crash late in Tissot Superpole 2 for the WorldSSP class.
Tuuli will head the grid for Sunday’s race at Magny-Cours after lapping 0.152s ahead of closest challenger Morais.
With just over a minute on the clock the session was red-flagged and concluded early as Sofuoglu crashed between turns 8 and 9 and required assistance from marshals at track side. The Turkish rider, who leads the championship, was taken away to the medical centre for checkups.
On row two at Round 11, meanwhile, are Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) in fourth to sixth places respectively.
Frenchman Jules Cluzel heads row three in seventh place on the grid for his home race, in front of his fellow CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Christoffer Bergman, with PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) slotting in behind them in ninth.
The fourth row will feature Alessandro Zaccone (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Michael Canducci (Puccetti Racing Junior Team FMI) and Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team). Watanabe and Bergman were the two riders to make it through from the earlier SP1 session.
Pole Position – Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing)
“It was a really difficult day today with the weather, as it was wet and then dry. I was hoping it was going to stay wet and not be mixed, but my plan was to not change the tyre. It was my time today and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
WorldSSP Tissot-Superpole 2
- Niki Tuuli (FIN) Yamaha 1.43.833
- Sheridan Morais (RSA) Yamaha 1.43.985 (+0.152)
- Kenan Sofuoglu (TUR) Kawasaki 1.43.994 (+0.161)
WorldSSP300: Muel secures pole position in front of home fans
Alan Muel (Team MOTOXRACING) will lead the pack as the lights go out on Sunday at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, following a wet FIM Supersport 300 World Championship Superpole session, ahead of Paolo Grassia (3ENNE#Racing –Chiodo Moto).
The Pirelli French Round holds a lot of importance for Marc Garcia (Halcouier Racing) and Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) , as we could see the first ever champion crowned in the class, and it was a tough session for the pair.
Superpole One welcomed wild card Muel dominating the session with a lap time of 2.21.674, putting him over a second ahead of his competitors, as Manuel Bastianelli (3750 Made in CIV) joined the Frenchman going through into Superpole Two. Portuguese race winner Ana Carrasco (ETG Racing) had a tough wet qualifying session, and she will start Sunday’s race from 31st on the grid of 37 riders.
12 riders took the wet 4.4km circuit for the fight for pole position and all riders headed out for some apprehensive opening laps. Daniel Valle (Halcourier Racing) crashed at turn 12 in the closing seven minutes as himself and his team are fighting for the front row, whilst Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) stormed to the front of the timing screens with five minutes left on the clock. The Spaniard continued to improve his pace throughout the session, and was over one second in the lead in the closing minutes.
Championship contenders Marc Garcia (Halcourier Racing) and Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) had a tough qualifying session as they both finished in the bottom three, as Muel, Grassia and Perez head the front row following a stunning end to the session.
Yamaha riders Robert Schotman (GRT Yamaha WorldSSP300 Team) and Enzo De La Vega (GRT Yamaha WorldSSP300 Team) head the second row, with Borja Sanchez (Halcourier Racnig) in sixth despite a crash.
Ensure you keep up with all the sensational WorldSSP300 racing action on Sunday at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, with the WorldSBK VideoPass.
Pole Position – Alan Muel – Team MOTOXRACING
“I am so happy to take pole position at my home track. The Superpole was really good, and I am really hoping for a wet race tomorrow because we have good pace in the wet. I would like to say thank you to my team for the set-up and the bike they have provided.”
WorldSSP300 Tissot-Superpole 2
- Alan Muel (FRA) Yamaha 2.16.866
2. Paolo Grassia (ITA) Honda 2.17.161 (+0.295)
3. Mika Perez (ESP) Honda 2.17.161 (+0.977)