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WORLD SUPERBIKES

Rea wins both races of the season in Qatar

Race One

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) produced a masterclass in the Qatari desert on Friday night at the Losail International Circuit, getting away brilliantly from pole to dominate the penultimate race of season and eventually cross the finish line a clear 4.944s distance ahead of second placed Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati). The Race 1 podium at the Acerbis Qatar Round was completed by Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati). Having set a new outright circuit record lap in Tissot Superpole 2 earlier in the evening, Rea pushed his Kawasaki ZX-10RR to the limits over the course of the 17-lap contest around the 5.380km Qatari track. He was untouchable at the front as he cruised away for his 15th win of a remarkable season.
Davies did his best to chase Rea down but would eventually finish a lonely second despite his best efforts – still a good result in his bid to secure the runner-up spot in the 2017 championship. His teammate Melandri crossed the finish line a further five seconds behind him.

Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) produced an excellent ride to fourth, missing out on the podium by under two seconds, whilst his colleague Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) was just behind him - completing the top five. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team), Sylvain Guintoli (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Roman Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) rounded out the top ten. In a drama-filled race there was cruel luck for Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) who pulled off track with a technical issue when challenging for a strong podium finish with seven laps to go. Shortly afterwards Raffaele de Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team) went down at turn 9 when riding in the top ten and then Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) crashed at the last corner of the lap when also in podium contention. Lowes picked up the Yamaha YZF R1 to go in search of valuable championship points but would crash again in the final stages. Earlier in the race Michael van der Mark crashed at speed at turn 9 meaning it was a difficult day all round for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team.

Race Two

The final race of the 2017 season at the Acerbis Qatar Round on Saturday night brought another win for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) as he crossed the line just under two seconds ahead of Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati), with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) in third. Rea the record of most points in a single WorldSBK season (556 points), beating the previous record set by Colin Edwards in 2002, as the Northern Irishman ends the year with 16 victories and 24 podiums in 2017. 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. 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.
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.

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. 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. Leon Camier completed his last race with MV Agusta Reparto Corse in ninth place just ahead of Roman Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven). 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.
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.

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