Rea makes Qatar a double – Sets new season points record
Davies takes second and becomes 2017 runner-up
Lowes third – Sykes crashes out on Lap 3
Rea finishes 2017 season with a dominant win, two seconds ahead of Chaz Davies, with Alex Lowes completing the podium. The result nets Rea 16 race wins of the season and the highest ever point score in a WSBK season, with 556 points to his name.
2017 Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) also made history once more this season as he has secured the most points in one season, surpassing Colin Edwards’ record from 2002. Taking the double victory at the Acerbis Qatar Round, Rea finishes the season with 556 points. He secured 16 victories and 24 podiums throughout the 2017 season, six of which are doubles, 2017 also marks Rea taking his third consecutive WorldSBK title.
Davies made an incredible start as he shot from eighth on the grid to first within the first two corners, but Rea soon took control of the race on lap four and he did not look back from there.
Jonathan Rea – 2017 Champion, P1
“The points tally is nice but the championship is the main thing. To win 16 races in a season, more than 50% of the races, is not normal. That’s the biggest thing I take away. This year, like I keep saying, I have no words. It has been feeling normal to be here on the podium and that is kind of scary. Right now is my time, so I really am enjoying the moment. Next year it could easily be somebody else so we really need to enjoy this and celebrate an incredible year. I know how difficult it is when things are not coming naturally, and it is an uphill struggle, so that is why I am so grateful to Kawasaki for this opportunity. It is a huge team effort. In a few weeks’ time we can start turning our attention to 2018.”
With 14 laps to go Welshman Davies survived a big wobble – with perhaps the biggest save of the season – holding his nerve to continue on the pace and ultimately wrap up second place in the race and second place in the final championship standings.
Chaz Davies – P2
“We sealed second position in the championship, which was our goal going into this round, so I’m very happy. It’s been another tough race. I probably made the best start of my career, then got my head down while keeping an eye on Sykes’ position. I nearly crashed at turn 5, it felt like a rodeo but we hung on to it. Once I saw Sykes was out, I just tried to control the gap as second place was the best we could do today. Thanks to Ducati and Aruba.it for another exciting season, I’m looking forward to 2018.”
Lowes got the better of his Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team colleague Michael van der Mark in the second half of the race and finally finished 1.658s ahead of the Dutchman.
Alex Lowes – P3
“Yesterday’s race was really hard to take for me because, honestly, I felt really good all weekend and I just made a mistake in the last corner when trying to challenge Chaz Davies. Unfortunately, it was a little mistake that had a big consequence. It was hard mentally to come back today and push hard as I knew starting from tenth was going to be difficult. In the first six laps, I didn’t feel as good on the bike as I hoped to. I was losing time to the riders in front but then I felt really strong and I was coming forward all the time and was able to match the leaders’ pace. It is fantastic to get a podium after the crash yesterday; the team and Yamaha fully deserve it and I am happy to end the season like this and go into the winter break with a smile on my face and motivated next year to fight the top guys at every race!”
Michael van der Mark – P4
“It’s been a good last race of the season and I am happy with fourth place after coming from 12th on the grid. I had a really good start and a strong first lap, plus I was feeling so much better with the bike today than yesterday and my pace was quite good. I tried everything to follow Chaz Davies but could not close the gap and Alex was closing quickly behind me, then he passed me and I couldn’t stay with him because I had used up my rear tyre. To finish the season with Alex on the podium and myself in fourth is really good because in the last couple of races we have improved so much with the R1. We have been more consistent and it gives us something to build on during the winter and for the new season with the new rules. I am looking forward to testing again and already I am thinking about Race 1 in Phillip Island next year!”
Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) ended the season on a high in fifth place, whilst Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was 5.688s behind the Spaniard in sixth place.
Marco Melandri – P6
“Despite the great work done with the team in these three days, we couldn’t find grip and in Race 2 we had to manage a few extra issues. I didn’t have much traction at maximum lean angle, and even on the straight the bike was moving a lot and I couldn’t open the throttle at 100 percent. I would have liked to finish the year with a different result but, looking at the bright side, we had some memorable races and we still have plenty of room for improvement. Now we’ll recharge to start winter testing, which will be very important, in our best shape. We want to be title contenders in 2018.”
Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) beat Sylvain Guintoli (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) to seventh by less than half a second, overcoming the Frenchman on the last lap.
Eugene Laverty – P7
“I felt such a potential for the bike heading into Race Two, and it was a disappointing result really. We made the same forward steps overnight that we’ve been making all weekend, but there was something really strange going on with the rear tyre. I did what I could with the electronic to help me grip, but I haven’t had a Pirelli act like that before where it was jumping, and that needs investigating. It was a decent battle with Guintoli for seventh and I was able to utilise the bike’s power to get past, but it wasn’t where we should have been. The bike was working well in areas that we’ve struggled previously such as fast corners, but I didn’t have a rear tyre to make use of the bike that I had. It’s been a positive year for us overall. I’m looking forward to the 2018 season; we will work very hard over the winter and from Phillip Island our target will be the podium. Everyone is very dedicated and determined in this team and I’m confident we will have a good year.”
Leon Camier completed his last race with MV Agusta Reparto Corse in ninth place just ahead of Roman Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven).
“I was happy with the progress made today in warm up because we improved the feeling with the front-end of the bike and the rear grip got better, too. My start to the race was pretty good, but unfortunately I found myself on the outside at turn two and that cost me a couple of places. Because of that, I ended up losing a couple of seconds from the group ahead. It was kind of a bummer, because I think we could have stayed with them and battled for a better finish. But nevertheless I’m happy because we made a lot of progress throughout the weekend and I learned a lot, so thanks to the team and Honda for inviting me back for one more race this year.”
A huge crash for Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) at Turn 5 in the early running meant his last race with BMW ended in the gravel, the Spanish rider seen bravely walking away after the massive highside.
On the third lap Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) crashed out of third place at turn 14, ending his hopes of challenging Davies for the championship runner-up spot.
Tom Sykes – DNF
“We started this final weekend so well but things just turned against us. In race two the bike felt much better. Initially I missed a bit of lap time but the bike was coming to me. I was just in a fast turn, clipped the white line and fell. People are running up and over kerbs here but I go and touch a white line and lose the front. It has been one of those things. The lap times were right there for the race today because we had made slight modifications from yesterday, so I cannot believe the way it finished. Jonathan has had an incredible season this year, he has done a fantastic job.”
Davide Giugliano (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) was declared unfit due to gastroenteritis and therefore the unwell Italian missed out on the last race of the year.
Davide Giugliano – DNS
“It’s a real shame that I was unable to take part into this final race of the season, but unfortunately the gastroenteritis has been debilitating me for a few days now, and today I was in no condition to compete. I want to thank Honda and the team for this great opportunity to get back to the World Superbike paddock this year, it has been a pleasure to work with such a great squad. The boys have done an incredible job and Ronald has put together a great group of people. It has been a tough year for all of them no doubt, but I’m sure things will turn around for the better soon and I think we have done a good job with the bike in these few rounds together, which will hopefully set things into a good direction for the future.”
Lorenzo Savadori – DNF
“I’m not sure exactly what was wrong with the bike in the race. We had an electronic issue in the warm up session and there was a problem on my sighting lap to the grid. It was an unlucky result for us, because the bike felt good. I made a slow start and I went wide at the first corner where I lost a lot of positions. I was starting to make up positions quickly and my pace was good, but the race was over on the second lap when it stopped on the straight. It was not a simple year for us, but we have learnt a lot. The first half of the year we didn’t make much progress and for sure we could have been better. The second half of the year after testing was like a new season for us, and was much better. The race yesterday was good for us, and I hope we can keep up good performances next year. We need to work a lot over the winter to reduce the gap to the guys at the front, but I am positive because the team has been great this year and we have learnt so much.”
The WorldSBK riders will be back in action at the first round of the 2018 season at Phillip Island in Australia next February.
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.