The weekend also saw Jonathan Rea grab a phenomenal double, making for eight consecutive victories in a row, and matching the best WorldSBK winning streak of Troy Bayliss in 2006.
The European Supersport Cup was another title decided on the weekend, as Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer ) was able to secure the overall Cup win by 16 points.
World Superbike at Magny-Cours
Chaz Davies started from second on the grid and immediately grabbed the holeshot, powering away from Michael van der Mark and Marco Melandri, while Race Two polesitter Lorenzo Savadori 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.
“It was an awesome weekend. With the pressure off I was able to ride a bit more aggressively. I put myself in great positions in the first laps and found great track position early on. It proved pretty hard to get past van der Mark, as he kept counter-attacking but once I got clear track I was able to catch up to Davies. But he had, again, proved quite difficult to pass. My team gave me the perfect bike today, also in terms of final gearing. Especially on the straight, I could really make some inroads into Chaz and draw alongside. I tried to outbrake him twice and just went long, missed the apex and then he cut back. So I readjusted the strategy a little bit to go and pass on one of the other corners. My bike was turning really tight and I could see he was struggling to find that apex in turn eight. Then I made my rhythm and rode to my pit board. It was a really nice feeling.”
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.
“It feels great to be back on the podium after a difficult few months. We had a tough summer with the double collarbone injury, but here we are, back on the box after a couple of races. Magny Cours is definitely not a friendly track for my kind of injury, because there are a couple of really hard braking areas followed by right-hand corners. The plan was to get a good start and drop the hammer for as long as I could, and we did that. We tried to make it a little bit difficult for Rea, hitting my marks and making sure that, if he tried to pass, he was on the limit just as much as I was. He made a few mistakes and I was able to cut back on the inside, but eventually he passed me and we lacked a bit of efficiency while turning and picking up the bike. We weren’t far off in the end anyway, so there’s a lot to be happy about. Now I’m really looking forward to Argentina.”
Van der Mark kept Rea and Davies in his sights until the closing stages of the race when the two leaders managed to pull a small gap on the Pata Yamaha rider, leaving him to cross the line in third for his tenth podium finish of the season. Van der Mark remains third in the championship standings, but now trails second-placed Davies by 26 points with four races remaining.
Michael van der Mark
“After such a difficult race yesterday, I’m really happy to finish off the Magny-Cours weekend with a podium today. We changed a lot on the bike ahead of warm-up this morning, but still I didn’t feel really comfortable on the bike. So Lez and my guys made a few more changes before the race; it was a bit of a gamble, but it paid off. I made such a good start, probably my best of the season, and I able to be aggressive from the first lap. I tried to get past Chaz, who was also quick off the line, but I couldn’t quite make it happen. Then Johnny passed me and I for the first time this weekend I felt like I had the bike I needed to fight with top riders. They were a bit stronger than me at the end, but I’m really happy with the improvements we made overnight and to have finished on the podium at the end of what had been a difficult weekend.”
Sykes pushed in the early laps to go from eighth on the grid to fifth. He passed Marco Melandri in the final two laps to add a fourth place to his second place finish on Saturday.
“Overall it was not too bad and consistently we were there, but it is a little bit of the same story as we had at previous events, where we have not got the initial lap time from the race tyre. Pirelli has two rear tyre solutions and we tried both of these of the races and finally our set-up is really quite good. It has advantages and disadvantages. I felt quite comfortable on the bike in race two, but I just missed a little bit of turning. I felt good while turning yesterday but missed a bit of edge grip. We started from row three and got through the traffic, but this race was a lot closer than yesterday and there were two guys in between Jonathan and me. It was nice to actually close some guys down at the front and make some passes at the end of the races, but we just lacked the initial speed again.”
Marco Melandri also put up a fight, fighting in the leading group until half-way through the race. The Italian eventually suffered some cornering issues, but gave his all to finish in fifth.
“I’m a bit disappointed because, while trying to improve the bike under braking compared with Race 1, we unfortunately took a step back in terms of handling. I was struggling in direction changes and, to make up for that, I was forcing a lot with the front. After the mid-point of the race, the front grip decreased significantly and I couldn’t do more. It’s a shame because a podium was within our reach, but we look ahead and we’ll try to be back on the rostrum in Argentina.”
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 crossed the line in seventh and saves some points from a mostly disappointing weekend, with Xavi Fores in eighth and as the top independent rider.
Leon Camier 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 closing out the top ten. Eugene Laverty crossed the line in 11th, with Toprak Razgatlioglu 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.
FrenchWorldSBK at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours – Race 2
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +1.804
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) +3.552
Championship Standings after Race 2, Round 11
Jonathan Rea 470
Chaz Davies 335
Michael Van Der Mark 309
Tom Sykes 273
Marco Melandri 250
Alex Lowes 213
Xavi Fores 194
Eugene Laverty 134
Lorenzo Savadori 125
Toprak Razgatlioglu 120
Jules Cluzel secured his fourth win of the season at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours as the Frenchman took a controlling victory to beat Championship rival and second place Sandro Cortese at the ACERBIS French Round, with fellow countryman Lucas Mahias third on the rostrum as teammate and pole man Federico Caricasulo crashed out on the final lap.
It was Mahias who grabbed the holeshot as the lights went out from second on the grid as he and Cluzel made it an immediate French 1-2 at the front, before the latter took the lead heading into Turn 5 on the opening lap. Further back, Championship leader Cortese didn’t get off to the best start but the German rider soon found his rhythm to reel in the leaders a couple of laps later, making his way up to P2 after consecutive passes on Mahias and Caricasulo at the Adelaide hairpin.
The four leaders had broken clear from home rider Corentin Perolari at the mid-stage of the race, with Cluzel still holding P1 from Cortese before the 2012 Moto3 World Champion made a move down into Turn 5. The Kallio Racing rider couldn’t make it stick though, but that didn’t stop the German trying it again a lap later, but the same happened – Cluzel getting the better exit to hold station. It was rinse and repeat for the duo a lap later as the two leaders in the Championship brilliantly fought for French honours.
Heading into the final lap, Cluzel had managed to get his head down to edge out a 0.7 advantage at the front, with Cortese suffering from front tyre wear which left him firmly in the clutches of the two GRT bikes behind. Then, late drama surfaced. Fourth place Mahias went for a pass into Turn 14 on teammate Caricasulo, the latter running a slightly wider line and losing the front trying to defend his position – hugely detrimental for the Italian’s title aspirations, who remounted to claim P13.
This left Cluzel to claim his fourth win of the season as the gap in the Championship between him and first place Cortese now stands at 11 points with two races remaining – Mahias claimed a home podium, his first since Thailand. Thomas Gradinger was fourth as he continues to impress in his rookie WorldSSP season, with Randy Krummenacher completing the top five after a difficult race.
Sixth was home rider Perolari, a great race for the Frenchman after battling with the leaders in the opening exchanges, with Raffaele De Rosa crossing the line seventh – the Italian losing ground in the Championship.
After his podium in Portugal, Kyle Smith could only manage eighth in France, with Hikari Okubo getting the better of teammate Hector Barbera – P9 and P10 respectively for the Kawasaki paring.
The title race remains tight as the paddock heads off to Argentina for a brand-new challenge – who will emerge victorious as Cortese and Cluzel go head-to-head once again.
FrenchWorldSBK WorldSSP at Magny-Cours – Race
Jules Cluzel (NRT)
Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) +1.746
Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) +1.903
WorldSSP Championship Standings after Round 10
Sandro Cortese (GER) Yamaha (169 points)
Jules Cluzel (FRA) Yamaha (158 points)
Randy Krummenacher (GER) Yamaha (140 points)
In an unbelievable WorldSSP300 race at the ACERBIS French Round, Ana Carrasco became the first ever female motorcycle racing World Champion after clawing her way back from P25 on the grid to finish P13 at the chequered flag, just enough to see the Spaniard beat Mika Perez by a single point. The fellow Spaniard lost out on a Championship winning P1 to eventual race winner Daniel Valle at Turn 15 on the final lap.
“This is amazing, I never thought I could finish the season with a victory. In the first part of the race I was always at the front, but in the middle I made a mistake so I fell back. But I thought to myself, ‘Dani, this is the last race of the season, so you have to put in 100%’, so I went for it and here we are! I want to say thank you to my team, my sponsors, all of the people who support me; this could never have happened if they weren’t with me, so thank you to everyone.”
As the lights went out, Tom Edwards got the holeshot from P3 on the grid to lead the field on the opening lap, with title contenders Scott Deroue and Perez slotting into P2 and P3. Meanwhile, Carrasco remained outside the top 20 as it looked like an increasingly difficult task for her to be crowned Champion.
But then, disaster struck for second in the title race Deroue with eight laps to go as he battled for the race lead, a mechanical failure leaving the Kawasaki rider having to pull into pitlane and out of Championship contention – desperately unlucky for the Dutchman.
This left Perez and Luca Grunwald as the only two who could oust Carrasco from P1 in the Championship, both of whom were in at the front of the leading pack. The battle for first kept changing in classic WorldSSP300 fashion, with the Championship standings adjusting corner by corner as Perez kept threatening the lead of the race – Carrasco now starting to make her way into the points with three laps to go.
The tension was palpable and heading onto the final lap as Perez needed the race win to claim the title. The Spaniard sat in fourth but soon carved his way to the front halfway through the lap – Carrasco meanwhile was P13. Perez kept his cool to lead heading into Turn 15, but Valle then made his move – making it stick, giving Perez no time to respond. Valle took his maiden victory, Perez was a distraught second as Carrasco came over the line in 13th to create history by a single point.
Rounding out the podium was Manuel Gonzalez to make it an all-Spanish podium after recovering from a mistake midway through the race, with Maria Herrera producing a great ride to claim P4 at the flag. Fifth was Italian Luca Bernardi, with sixth place going to Grunwald who finishes fourth in the overall standings. Seventh place at Magny-Cours was Nick Kalinin, eighth was Dutchman Glenn Van Straalen, Enzo De La Vega claims ninth after leading his home race at stages, with fifth in the Championship Dorren Loureiro completing the top ten.
After a stunning and drama-filled final round of the 2018 WorldSSP300 Championship, history was created as Ana Carrasco takes the title. What a way to end another phenomenal season.
FrenchWorldSBK WorldSSP300 at Magny-Cours – Race
Daniel Valle (BCD Yamaha MS Racing)
Mika Perez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) +0.168
Manuel Gonzalez (Pertamina Almeria BCD Junior Team by MS) +0.259
WorldSSP300 Championship Standings after Round 8
Ana Carrasco (ESP) Kawasaki (93 points)
Scott Deroue (NED) Kawasaki (92 points)
Mika Perez (ESP) Kawasaki (80 points)
Markus Reiterberger and his 2018 season in the European Superstock 1000 Championship, as he leaves Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours as the champion. Taking the crown in the final round of the year, he showed out on track just why he’s taken this crown with his stunning domination and pace.
“It feels really good the race was awesome, I tried to do fast lap times but Sandi was really fast so I tried to not make any mistakes to try and take the victory so I could take the championship. Afterwards I saw that the gap closed up and I tried to win the race but then I made a mistake and I decided it was better to take home the championship, which was the right choice! So we are champion. I want to say thank you to my team, my family and everyone who has supported me.”
Hailing from Trostberg in Germany, Reiterberger first began racing in 2007 in the acclaimed Red Bull Rookies Cup with small levels of success. His first competitive victory came in 2009, in the Yamaha Cup and he was crowned champion of that same series the following season. Moving into the IDM and European Superstock 1000 Championships, he had found his calling and progressed throughout both series.
Re-entering the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship after half a season away as the reigning IDM champion, he was not short of confidence or momentum heading into the opening round of the season at MotorLand Aragon. With five years of experience in this paddock, the circuits were familiar to the 24 year old and with his championship winning team behind him, he was the man to beat.
Northern Spain in April was the setting of his first victory, crossing the line over two seconds ahead of the field as he secured his lead on lap nine of 13. He faced a battle from pole position but was able to eek out a comfortable lead over his rivals around the 5km track. With no time to rest ahead of round two, the paddock travelled to TT Circuit Assen for the MOTUL Dutch Round, and the German brought his A-Game.
Qualifying on pole position for the second time on the bounce, there was never a threat to Reiterberger’s lead as he got off the line in the 14 lap race and took his second victory of the season by over five seconds. With a ten point lead in the championship standings to his name already, he was flying on his BMW S 1000 RR.
However, like all true champions are set to face, Round Three at Imola was a challenge for Reiterberger. The tight, twisty and technical circuit doesn’t lend itself well to the Germans riding style and a top five finish was the best he could muster in Italy – leaving with just one points advantage in the standings.
Back on top form in the UK around the fast and flowing Donington Park, Reiterberger took a dominant win by over four seconds from pole position. Re-stamping his authority over the field, it was another lights to flag victory for the 24 year old and he was able to regain the all important confidence. But it wasn’t all plain sailing for him, as rain hit Automotodrom Brno just minutes before the lights went out – something he was not ready for. Despite this, he took a top four finish slipping back from podium contention early on; but his title lead didn’t slip too much with a nine point lead heading to Misano.
It was the championships return to Italy in July which was able to put one hand on the title for Reiterberger, as his fourth victory of the season gave him a 14 point lead and the chance to take the crown at the next race after the summer break.
After nine weeks away it was time for him to step up to the plate, as he had his first opportunity to secure the crown in Portugal. Portimao has been a tough track for the German in the past, and that proved to be the case in September. Getting off to a steady start, he wasn’t able to look comfortable on his BMW S 1000RR and could only secure third position. Putting up a sensational fight towards the end of the race, it wasn’t to be for the German, meaning it was all or nothing in France.
Delivering a determined and stunning ride to be crowned 2018 Champion in the eighth and final round of 2018, Reiterberger took the crown in France after a sensational performance. The King of STK1000, his season will not be one to be forgotten for a while!
STK1000 Race at Magny-Cours
Federico Sandi Ducati
Roberto Tamburini BMW +0.295
Markus Reiterberger BMW +1.308
STK1000 Championship Standings Acerbis French Round
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