Press releases from the organizers and teams after the race and practice on Saturday at Magny-Cours:
#FrenchWorldSBK– Day 2: That’s a wrap! Rea takes the win and the title in style
Rea makes it four in a row in France, ahead of Sykes and Fores
Four of a kind: Rea took the fourth title in style
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) took the 2018 WorldSBK crown in style at the Acerbis French Round, slicing past teammate Tom Sykes in the early stages of Race One and imperious from there on in to take victory number 13 of the year. Unlucky for some, but far from it for the now four-time Champion. Sykes took second from his record-breaking pole, with Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) completing the podium after a three-way fight for third.
It was Sykes who got the holeshot from pole, getting a lightning start and leaving teammate Rea to trail him in second – albeit in very close company. Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) kept his P3 from the front row as they shot off the line, with Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) slotting into fourth as the field made their way around Lap 1. But Rea remained threatening in second and feinted a number of moves, before the reigning Champion pounced for the lead not long after.
Just off that fight at the front, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) took an early tumble, followed not long after by a DNF for Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) in that same mid top ten group. Rea was then pulling away from Sykes and Sykes from those on the chase as Fores hustled past Savadori and took over in third, but the Italian stayed close and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was beginning to hone in on that battle.
Rea crossed the line for win number 13 and his fourth crown in style, with Sykes just behind his teammate in another impressive 1-2 for Kawasaki. Fores was able to fight off Savadori, and both just stayed ahead of Davies by the flag. Davies needed to finish second to stop Rea taking the crown, but after a mid top ten qualifying and still recovering from a broken collarbone, it was a tall order. The Welshman nevertheless put together an impressive ride in difficult circumstances – much like his races in Portugal. His teammate Marco Melandri , after a tough qualifying, moved through from p12 on the grid to take sixth.
Seventh went to Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) as he moved up from tenth on the grid, getting past Toprak Razgatliouglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) at mid-distance and steadily pulling away from the Turk, who came home in P8. Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW) had been fighting him in the latter stages but couldn’t make it stick, and just at the end was pipped to ninth by Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia).
Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) took P11, ahead of Jordi Torres in P12 for MV Agusta Reparto Corse.
Four titles in a row, 13 race wins this season and two rounds still to go make for another amazing season for Jonathan Rea. See him race as the 2018 champion for the first time on Sunday in Race Two from Magny-Cours.
P1 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
"It's absolutely incredible, I don't have many words, we just played our cards perfectly this weekend with one lap pace and trying to be fast over the race but feel so blessed and lucky right now. I was just a young kid with a dream from Northern Ireland and now I'm four times world champion and its beyond my wildest dreams. Thanks to everyone for believing in me over the years, I couldn't have done it without you all. Thank you."
P2 - Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSK)
"Not a bad but slightly disappointed, for whatever reason we struggled a little bit in the race, we struggled at the beginning and when I wanted to attack we missed it. I spoke with the boys and I think we know what it is, but I enjoyed the race and like I said, when I tried to push I lost the front a couple of times and couldn't do what I wanted. I am happy with the race and for tomorrow I am very excited and motivated, starting from the third row tomorrow is all about aggression. But today is all about Jonathan Rea!"
P3 - Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team)
"It was a very hard race because the pace was so fast during all the race. At the beginning I was able to stay with Tom, but I felt a small drop on the front tyre and I decide to make my rhythm to the last part of the race. In the final laps I tried to defend my position and it was so good for me to be back on the podium after some hard races, and its good for me to have a good feeling for the rest of the season, and I am looking forward to tomorrow."
#FrenchWorldSBK at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours: Race 1
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +3.091
3. Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) +8.558
Rea Takes Four Of A Kind Championship Win
Jonathan Rea (KRT) secured a famous fourth FIM Superbike World Championship title at Magny Cours today by winning his 13th race of the season on his Ninja ZX-10RR. Rea is the second rider to have won four WorldSBK titles, but the only rider to have won four in succession. Tom Sykes (KRT) was a strong second in the 21-lap race, having earlier set a new track record while earning his 47th career Superpole win.
With Sykes and Rea 1-2 after Superpole, and both well under the existing lap record, the KRT duo took the race to their competitors from the startline. Rea passed Sykes early in the race, into the Estoril corner, and he ran up front from then on, sometimes at lap record pace. Rea set a 1’37.152 on his eighth tour of the 4.411km circuit to score his new lap record.
Rea’s win gave him 130 podiums in WorldSBK, bringing him level to the all time record, which he now shares with Troy Corser.
On the slowdown lap Rea celebrated his championship win with a game of cards against three of his own ‘alter egos’, wearing his racing suits and crash helmets representing each of Rea’s championship winning season with KRT, from 2015 onward.
Sykes, who has now recovered well from a training injury in the long summer break, pushed as hard as he could to stay in contention with Rea. He had to settle for second place after almost losing the front more than once, but recorded his first podium since Brno in July.
In the current championship points, Rea has 445 points, Chaz Davies 315, Michael van der Mark 293 and Sykes 260. One more race remains at Magny Cours, on Sunday the 30th of September.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was eighth today, Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) 14th, Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) 15th and Jeremy Guarnoni (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 17th.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It is absolutely incredible to win four. Sometimes even after winning back-to-back championships, or three in a row I have to say it is hard to find words to speak about what you have just done. It is like we are riding the wave now with our Ninja ZX-10RR, with incredible people around me. Whilst I always dreamed of being in this position I never thought it to was realistic. It was so fitting that Guim, the team manager, allowed my dad to come and collect the team award on the podium. I got really choked up when he came up because it just reminded me of growing up in Northern Ireland and travelling all round with my parents to motocross races. Then getting my first pro ride in roadracing, and my parents letting go. But they have always had my back. So that was super-nice. Pere and my team gave me a great bike this weekend and the target was clear. We have been in this position before, so there was no kind of nervousness or anxiety around, it was really positive energy. On track Fabien has been analysing what we can do and the team worked super-hard all weekend to get the best out of the bike when the tyre was dropping. In the hot conditions, at the end of the race, that is what we worked towards today. The feeling with the bike just kept coming and I was able to knock it off on the last lap and take it all in. I was aware of the crowd there and what I was about to achieve so that last lap there I thought about winning the championship. It is incredible, and incredible journey.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “Not a bad day but I am slightly disappointed that we suffered a little bit during the race. I settled into a good rhythm but when I wanted to attack, we missed it. I have spoken to the boys and I think we know what it is. I certainly enjoyed that race. When I tried to push I lost the front a couple of times. I am happy with the way the race went today, with this in mind. I am excited and motivated for tomorrow. I think we can improve our set-up a little bit. We need to start from the third row so it is all about a little bit of aggression. Today is a day for Jonathan Rea. He has had four fantastic years, kind of flawless years, and he has pushed very hard and made a very good job. Congratulations to him, his family and his side of the garage. Tomorrow we will have a go and try to win.”
Strong rides to fourth and ninth for Savadori and Laverty in Race 1 at Magny-Cours
Milwaukee Aprilia took a front row start for Race 1 at Magny-Cours ahead of a solid points finish for both riders
Strong Free Practice pace saw Lorenzo Savadori automatically through to Superpole 2 shootout on Saturday, while teammate Eugene missed out and took part in Superpole 1.
Eugene looked set to progress to the shootout with good initial pace, but made an error in mistaking his final lap as good enough to progress, before he was pushed out of the top 2 in the last moments of the session, lining up P13 on the grid. A tight Superpole 2 session however saw a rapid Lorenzo take a season-best result of P3 behind Sykes and Rea with a 1'36.564, sitting on the front row for the first time this year.
At the start Lorenzo held position behind the Kawasakis ahead, finding his rhythm with a full tank of fuel, a recurring issue in previous races. Eugene lagged at the start, dropping to P14 in the first laps. Lorenzo lost P3 to Fores on Lap 2, and from that point matched him lap for lap on pace. Davies in P5 began to close in, but Lorenzo rallied his speed and rhythm to deny him and take another season-best result with a well-earned fourth place and 13 points.
Eugene behind had a more tense race, dicing with Gagne, Razgatlioglu and Baz. A crash for Rinaldi moved Eugene up a place, before he found his way past Gagne and Camier to take P11. Lowes ahead crashed out, giving Eugene P10 and a good shot at bigger points. The middle stage of the race saw him battle with Baz and then Razgatlioglu, finding a way past both to take P8 before the latter passed on the final lap to put Eugene in his final position of P9 with 7 points.
For Race 2 Lorenzo and Eugene line up P1 and P6 respectively on Rows 1 and 4, under the reverse grid rules. With a great opportunity from the sharp end of the grid and a strong performance in Race 1 to draw on, a podium finish is the team's goal in the final European race of the 2018 WorldSBK season.
Race 2 at #FrenchWorldSBK starts at 15:15 local time (GMT +1) on Sunday 30th September
Shaun Muir - Team Principal
“We knew qualifying was going to be challenging. Eugene just missed out yesterday on Superpole 2, we made a rookie error similar to earlier this year; he put a good lap in in SP1 which we thought was good enough but then he got bumped down at the end. Starting from P13 he paid the price for it when we knew he could have been on the first row. On the other side of the garage Lorenzo was building and building, put a qualifier in and did a fast lap good enough for P3 on his own without a tow, which was really positive.
I think Lorenzo was the star of the day, he got a good start and held his own with a full fuel tank which he has been working really hard on. Fores got past and they were on identical pace, but considering what happened in Race 1 at Portimao he used his head, came home fourth and held of Davies, and I applaud him for that. He starts from pole tomorrow which he deserves and we’ll be hoping for another good performance from him.
Eugene rescued the bad situation he qualified in. He struggled with his race pace and battled up to ninth, which puts him P6 for tomorrow. Race pace will be a factor for him tomorrow no doubt, but with him starting higher up hopefully we can get both riders at the sharp end and certainly a podium shot with Lorenzo.”
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Superpole 2 result: 1'36.64, P3 on grid
Race 1 result: P4, 13 points
Best race lap: 1'37.474
Race 2 grid: Pole position
“Qualifying was really positive. Third today was the maximum for us, but I’m happy to return to the first row. It is a good reward for the team who worked really hard to repair the bike after my crash this morning, and they prepared a perfect bike for qualifying.
In the race we struggled with rear grip for a long time, I tried to stay in a podium position but the Kawasakis were far ahead and I was nearly on the limit to keep up.
It was difficult to pass Fores for third again and I had to manage the gap behind to Davies, but P4 was a good result after the previous race and I hope to make another step tomorrow from pole.”
Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Superpole 1 result: 1'37.617, P13
Race 1 result: P9, 7 points
Best race lap: 1'38.146
Race 2 grid: P6 - Row 2
“I made a mistake in SP1, I thought I was safe because the gap to third was so big but then Razgatlioglu caught me off guard and pushed me down to P13 which was a shame.
Starting low down was difficult but I made some headway and made it through to P9. I had a couple of battles on the way and it was basically damage limitation and a tough race.
The reverse grid will help us and gives me a better chance for a result from P6, but we need to make a step forward on the rear tyre. It just wasn’t working properly today and I didn’t have confidence in it, so hopefully the guys can get on top of it tonight and we’ll have a better time tomorrow.”
Davies 5th and Melandri 6th in Race 1 at Magny Cours with the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team
After a day of practice, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team resumed action today at Magny Cours (France), home of the 11th round of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship, for the first of two scheduled races. Chaz Davies, despite not being at his 100 percent physically due to a double collarbone injury, showed resilience starting from second row to recover positions and fight for the podium until the checkered flag. The Welshman finished in fifth position, less than two seconds behind third place. Marco Melandri also mounted a solid comeback after encountering some difficulties in Superpole. Starting from 12th position on the grid, the Italian climbed back to sixth, finishing just behind his teammate.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi, after showing good competitiveness both during practice and qualifying with the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team, was forced to retire due to a technical problem, which resulted in a crash without serious consequences. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team and the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team will resume action Sunday, September 30, at 10:10 (CET) for one last warm-up session ahead of Race 2, which is scheduled to start at 15:15.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 5th
"We did all we could to close down on Fores and Savadori, and in the middle of the race I was starting to get a sniff of a podium. Towards the end, however, we couldn't really put it all together as I was struggling a bit with engine brake and I couldn't ride as smoothly as I would've liked. It's a shame we couldn't have a battle, but overall I'm happy with our performance. Physically I'm not at 100 percent but I felt pretty decent during the race, so now we'll try to make the bike a little bit calmer and take advantage of the start from front row tomorrow."
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 6th
"It was a difficult race, but in the end also a positive one. After a bad Superpole, starting in 12th position definitely made it harder for us. In the first laps, I was struggling under braking and couldn't pass, which made us lose some time. Then, I found my rhythm, posting strong lap times and making some nice passes, but we couldn't bridge the gap entirely and get on the podium. I'm optimistic for tomorrow, as we'll start from front row. That said, we still need to improve the setup a bit in order to be more aggressive."
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #21) – DNF
"If we take into account the weekend so far, we can be happy because we've shown good speed on this track. On the other hand, I'm a bit sad because a technical problem penalized us during the race. I'm a bit bruised after the crash, but I'll try my best to finish the season on a high note tomorrow. Knowing we can be competitive will give me an extra boost for Race 2."
Marco Zambenedetti, Technical Coordinator on track for Ducati Corse
"Despite some difficulties encountered in practice, we managed to improve our competitiveness in race configuration and both our riders gave their all on track. Chaz barely missed the podium and extended his advantage in the fight for runner-up, and Marco also showed a strong pace after the early laps to recover positions. We'll analyze the data to allow both of them to improve and take advantage of the front-row start in Race 2."
Hard Fought Seventh for Van Der Mark in Tough Magny-Cours Encounter
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team riders Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes endured a challenging Race 1 at Round 11 of the FIM World Superbike Championship in Magny-Cours today. Van der Mark overcame rear grip issues to pick up vital championship points in seventh place, whereas Lowes was left frustrated after a lonely ride to 18th place following a crash just two laps into the race.
It was Lowes that took an early advantage today, with the 28-year-old Briton securing fifth position on the second row of the grid in the final Superpole shootout. Van der Mark was unable to match the qualifying pace of his Pata Yamaha teammate and started today's 21-lap race from tenth position on the fourth row.
A lack of rear grip from the start of the race meant that van der Mark was unable to maintain contact with the leading group, becoming embroiled instead in a frenetic battle for sixth with Toprak Razgatlioglu, Marco Melandri and Loris Baz. The Pata Yamaha rider eventually forced his way to the front of the group and had managed to pull a small gap on his pursuers by mid race distance. However, a missed gear in the closing stages allowed Melandri back through and van der Mark was forced to settle for seventh at the finish.
Lowes was battling within the leading group from the start, but his podium challenge came to a premature end when the Pata Yamaha rider crashed at turn 15 on lap two of 21. The 28-year-old Briton remounted to rejoin the race, but at the back of the field and 55 seconds down on the race leader. A points scoring finish proved an impossible task today, with Lowes eventually crossing the line in 18th place. The fact that he maintained a consistent pace over the full race distance will pay dividends for Lowes however, as his crew will use the race data to refine further the set up of his Yamaha YZF-R1 ahead of Race 2 tomorrow.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 7th + 14.733
"It was a really difficult race here in Magny-Cours today. This morning we tried a few things on the bike that didn't work as expected, so we switched back to the set up from yesterday for qualifying. My Superpole lap felt quite good but the lap time just wasn't there and that meant I started the race today from the fourth row of the grid, which isn't ideal. From the start I was struggling for rear grip and that made for a long and tough race. Now we need to sit down with the guys, carefully analyse the data and find a solution, even if that means making big changes to the bike ahead of warm up tomorrow. I hope we can make a step overnight and that this will allow us to fight once again for the podium in Race 2."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 18th + 1:12.942
"I made a strong start from the second row of the grid and was able to maintain my position on the opening lap, but then I made a small mistake at turn 15, touching the kerb on the inside of the corner, and it unsettled the bike enough to bring me off. That was my day pretty much done in terms of a result, but I managed to remount and finish the race. We'll look at the data from the race tonight and, hopefully, we can find a solution to the issues I'm having on corner exit, as this would make a big difference in the race tomorrow."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK - Team Principal
"There's no question it was a tough race here at Magny-Cours today. Of course, as our riders and the R1 have gained so much competitiveness, victories and podiums over the course of the season, the expectation and target is always higher than today's result. In the end it's the World Championship, there are many very high quality riders and factory machines and we only need to be missing a very small piece of the jigsaw and we suffer, as we saw with Michael today. He rode his heart out for 21 laps, but it wasn't enough, so he and his crew will try to understand what they can do to find a couple of tenths in rhythm for tomorrow, when starting from the second row will be a huge help.. Alex has ridden a very solid weekend, looked in good shape in terms of challenging within the podium group but, unfortunately, a small mistake on lap 2 had a big consequence. He was able to rejoin and, as always he dug in and made sure he completed the race. Now we need to press "reset" on both sides of the garage and push as hard as we can tomorrow."
Top ten for Baz and Gulf Althea BMW in race 1 at Magny-Cours
Magny-Cours (France), Saturday 29 September 2018
Racing at home this weekend, at the Nevers Magny Cours circuit in France, Gulf Althea BMW rider Loris Baz crossed the line tenth in the first Superbike race of this eleventh world championship round. Alessandro Delbianco has qualified eighth for the final Superstock 1000 race of the season, taking place tomorrow morning.
Superpole 2: Having qualified directly for today’s second phase of the Superpole, Baz completed a total of six laps during the 15-minute session. His best time, set on the qualifying tyre, was a 1’37.055, thanks to which he concluded the session in eighth place, translating into a third row start for race one.
SBK – Race 1: Baz unfortunately lost a few places off the line, lying twelfth through the first corners. Determined to make up the lost ground, the Frenchman was back up to eighth by lap three. Maintaining a constant pace, and finding himself ninth towards mid-race, Loris caught and passed Razgatlioglu on lap eleventh, moving back up into eighth. The second part of the race became more challenging, the Frenchman suffering from a lack of grip at the front and vibration at the rear of his bike; as a result, and despite his best efforts, the Frenchman crossed the line in final tenth place today.
STK1000 Qualifying: feeling confident after having concluded practice in fourth place overall (1’40.235) Delbianco worked hard with his technicians during the afternoon’s qualifying session. The Italian completed a total of 12 laps, the best of which a 1’40.243. Thanks to this result, he concluded the session in eighth place, and so will line up on the third row of the grid for tomorrow’s race.
“I’m not particularly happy with today’s race. My pace through the first laps was quite good, and I was able to stick with those immediately ahead of me. But then, after about ten laps or so, I lost grip at the front and also lost weight balance at the rear, which caused vibration. I got to the finish line but unfortunately couldn’t hold onto ninth, crossing the line in tenth place in the end. I couldn’t hold my speed through the sections where I am generally able to, so we’ll try to understand why that was and work to resolve this for tomorrow’s race.”
"I’m pleased because we’re going well at this track, which I consider one of my favourites. We have great pace and I’m confident for the race. Unfortunately, I’m still not doing well with the qualifying lap, we’re only eighth on the grid but I’ll do my best, as ever, also because I’d like to close the season with a solid result.”
Camier and Gagne in the points at Magny-Cours
Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours, France
The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team came away from Race 1 at Magny-Cours with a double points finish after Leon Camier claimed eleventh place, with Jake Gagne close behind in thirteenth position.
Earlier in the day, both riders showed improved pace from yesterday with Camier topping Superpole 1, with Gagne only a few tenths behind in P4. Camier would ultimately qualify in eleventh place for Race 1 with a best time of 1’37.398 in Superpole 2.
Starting from eleventh and fourteenth on the grid respectively for Race 1, Camier and Gagne managed to make up places in the opening lap, both riders finding themselves in the fight for the top ten in the early stages.
Unfortunately for Camier, he had a moment after Rinaldi crashed on the third lap, losing a couple of seconds which cost him several positions. Despite improving his pace after this setback, eleventh place was the the British rider could manage on the day.
Gagne was able to lap at a similar to his teammate for long periods in the race, before a lack of grip caused him to slow in the final few laps, with the American crossing the finish line in thirteenth place.
After today’s race, Camier moves to 95 championship points and is thirteenth in the championship standings, while Gagne is in seventeeth place in the riders championship on 51 points.
The riders will be looking to challenge for a top ten place in Race 2 tomorrow which starts at 1515 local time (GMT +2).
Leon Camier 2
I got a good start in Race 1 today, but on the third lap RInaldi crashed in front of me which cost me a few positions. As I passed him, the rear of the bike had a massive moment so I thought there was oil on the track, raised my hand to warn the other riders and they all went past. It set me back a bit, so after that I concentrated on closing the gap. I could set a good pace in the middle stages of the race, but eleventh was the best I could do given the earlier setback. Our bike setting today was better than yesterday, so we'll keep in this direction and go for it again tomorrow.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Jake Gagne 45
We got the bike working a lot better today in FP4, and on race tyres in Superpole I managed to set a real good pace which helped for the race today. My start in the race was one of my better ones and I could make up a few places, but as we got to the middle of the race and the tyre grip went away, I struggled a bit. In the final few laps the lack of grip meant I made a few mistakes and I lost a place to Torres, but we know where we need to improve. I need to be smoother, hit all my points and if I do this I'm sure we can be stronger in Race 2.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
We managed to give both Leon and Jake a more comfortable setting for today, with both of them being more competitive than we were yesterday. During the race Leon had an early setback when Rinaldi crashed, which in the end would have seen him fighting around eighth place but eleventh was the best we could do today. Also for Jake, in the early part of the race he was in the top ten and was competitive, we just need to find a way for him to manage the second half of the race better. We'll continue to work on things and aim to get both riders a bit further up the results sheet tomorrow.
Four of a kind: Jonathan Rea secures 2018 WorldSBK Championship crown
Northern Irish rider makes history once more
After facing one of his toughest challenges yet, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has secured another stunning feat, taking his fourth consecutive MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship title by a sensational 130 points.
At 31 years of age, the racer from Ballymena in Northern Ireland is continuing to make history with the unstoppable combination of his racing talent and the ZX-10RR. Since joining Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK in 2016, Rea has been a winning machine, taking four back to back world titles and 52 victories in four seasons. Making history in 2018 by breaking the overall victory record of 60 wins in WorldSBK with a race one victory at Brno, he has now become only the second rider to take four titles in the world’s fastest production based motorbike championship, and the first to do so consecutively.
2018 has proven to be his biggest challenge, as himself and his Provec Racing squad have been working around the new regulations which were introduced this season – aiming to create more parity throughout the class. Adding extra challenges, Rea took it all in his stride and despite a tough opening round at Phillip Island Grand Prix which saw him hindered by the flu and a pre-season finger injury. Leaving Australia with a top five and second position finish, he was ready to bounce back in Thailand.
Chang International Circuit was the setting for the second round of the season, and Rea was back to his best in race one – taking the victory by 1.5s after a strong fight from Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) and Chaz Davies’ (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) Panigale R machines. However race two threw up some challenges, as his Ninja machine had some brake issues in the Thai heat meaning he could only secure a top four finish. Leading the championship charge as the series headed to Europe, there was never a doubt Rea was the man to beat.
Beginning what was set to be an intense part of the season, the British rider once again took the victory in race one as the series took on MotorLand Aragon in a stunning performance. But the reversed grid rules offered a challenge to Rea in race two, and he was unable to match Davies’ pace as he took second position in Spain. With the championship heading straight to TT Circuit Assen for a back to back race weekend, Rea was ready to take on his new crown as the King of Assen. With a stunning record around the Dutch circuit, a win in race one meant he was the most successful rider at Assen. But he was unable to stop team-mate Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in race two, after the British rider put on a stunning performance.
Taking on Ducati territory at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrai di Imola for round five, Rea found his time to shine in 2018. Taking a double victory around the notoriously tight and twisty track, he also secured his 59th WorldSBK win and got one step closer to the overall win record. Stunning with his pace around the technical Italian circuit, he was able to leave Imola with a 47 point championship lead and on the verge of making more history.
Welcoming a return to his home turf of Donington Park, Rea had a more difficult weekend in Leicestershire – suffering from arm pump. Unable to hold off the stunning pace from debut winner Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), Rea left the United Kingdom with a second and third position finish but an extension of his championship lead. Determined to be back on top in round seven, Automotodrom Brno was a weekend of ups and downs in Rea’s title chase. Experiencing ecstasy in race one, with his 60th victory to secure him the overall win record in WorldSBK, he saw heartbreak in race two with his first DNF of the season following a coming together with his team-mate.
But off the back of his DNF, he went onto win four races in a row. Stunning under the Californian sunshine of Laguna Seca, Rea was untouchable around the fast and flowing circuit and he looked to be riding his ZX-10RR on rails. Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli was the setting for round nine, and the round before the summer break. Important to enter the break off the back of a strong weekend, Rea was once again unstoppable with his team and he took a stunning double victory, although had to work for it in race two.
After nine weeks away from racing action, the Nolan Portuguese Round welcomed a sensational return to action for Rea, and he was able to secure his third consecutive double victory in Portugal. On top of this, it was his fifth and sixth consecutive victory in 2018 and he now had one hand on the world title after a sweltering weekend at the undulating track.
Returning to the scene of the track which saw Rea take his 2017 crown, Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours took on another huge importance for the Northern Irishman. But he was on such a roll heading to France, it was hard to see anyone stopping him, and no one did. Rea was crowned world champion in France for the second season in succession, writing even more history as he takes a sensational fourth back to back title.
Is there any stopping Rea? As he continues to make history and headlines, you can congratulate him with: #RE4CH4MP.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK):
"It's absolutely incredible, I don't have many words, we just played our cards perfectly this weekend with one lap pace and trying to be fast over the race but feel so blessed and lucky right now. I was just a young kid with a dream from Northern Ireland and now I'm four times world champion and its beyond my wildest dreams. Thanks to everyone for believing in me over the years, I couldn't have done it without you all. Thank you."
WorldSSP: Caricasulo clinches pole ahead of Mahias and Cluzel
It looked like some home glory was on the cards in WorldSSP, but the Italian made a late lunge to the top
Italian Caricasulo rains on the French parade in Superpole
Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) took Tissot-Superpole 2 by storm at Magny-Cours, leaving it late to blast to the top of the timesheets but then deposing home hero and teammate Lucas Mahias in style. Mahias starts second in a last chance saloon weekend for the reigning Champion if he hopes to retain his crown, with the front row locked out by compatriot and key contender Jules Cluzel (NRT). Points leader Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing Team) was bumped down to the second row after a crash.
Caricasulo’s late lap was unmatchable for Cluzel, who had been up in the first sector before fading slightly as he found some traffic and everything coming down to the duel between the two. They’re only four points apart in the title fight, too, with a lot to play for on Sunday – and Mahias is the joker in the pack on the front row. The reigning Champion’s shot at the title is now a seriously long one, with Mahias 46 points down on Cortese…but there are still 75 on the table.
Cortese had his own dramas in qualifying, however. The German will be lining up fourth after a crash in Superpole put paid to his chances of improving, just ahead of Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team). They’re joined on the second row by an impressive performance from Frenchman Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha), who was sixth fastest at his home round, with Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Pucctti Racing) a late improver to move up from P12 to seventh.
He’s just ahead of Raffaele de Rosa, who put MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag in P8 and that despite a spectacular crash – rider ok – that caused the Red Flag to come out for a few minutes mid-session. Ayrton Badovini, de Rosa’s teammate, was close company in ninth.
Hannes Soomer (Racedays Honda) was the top European Supersport rider as he completed the top ten, beating Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) and Thomas Gradinger (NRT) to the honour.
With the title contenders scattered over the first two rows and points leader Cortese one of those lacking a clear view of Turn 1, it could be a race to remember at the Acerbis French Round on Sunday.
Pole Position - Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team)
"I am really happy about today, the bike is working really well, it's fast and I have a good rhythm. I didn't believe I could be so fast in qualifying, but my bike is easy to turn so I am happy and really confident for tomorrow."
#FrenchWorldSBK WorldSSP at Circuit de Nevers Mangy-cours: Tissot-Superpole
1. Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) 1:40.416
2. Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) +0.152
3. Jules Cluzel (NRT) +0.327
GRT Yamaha Dominate Qualifying in Magny-Cours
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team riders Federico Caricasulo and Lucas Mahias dominated proceedings today in Magny-Cours, with Caricasulo claiming pole position for Round 10 of the FIM World Supersport Championship and teammate Mahias qualifying in second place to lock out the front of the grid. Alfonso Coppola bounced back from a difficult day yesterday to qualify 27th for tomorrow's 19 lap race.
It was Mahias who struck first today, topping the timesheet in FP3 and setting himself up for the 15-minute Superpole session. The Frenchman, sporting special leathers and a unique helmet design to commemorate his home race, also set the pace early in qualifying, flying to the top of the timesheet when the session was resumed following a red flag.
Mahias looked to have pole position secured as the session drew to a close, but an incredible last lap from Caricasulo saw the Italian scything through traffic to dip under the existing pole record and deny his teammate pole position for his home race.
It was the exact opposite of Imola earlier in the season, when it was Mahias who denied Caricasulo the honour of starting his home race from the front of the grid.
Tomorrow is critical for Caricasulo's championship aspirations. The Italian lies third in the standings and just 20 points behind series leader Sandro Cortese, a gap he is keen to close further with a strong result in the race.
After a difficult day yesterday, when technical problems sidelined him from both free practice sessions, Coppola bounced back today with a solid performance in FP3. The Italian youngster improved his lap time by more than a second in qualifying, before a crash brought his session to a close. Coppola is now looking to end his season on a high tomorrow, with a good result in the race.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - P1 - 1:40.416
"I'm really happy because we did a lot of work on the bike yesterday to improve both my rhythm and my lap time and that paid dividends for us in qualifying today. I'm pleased with the lap that secured me pole position, but even more important is that I know I have good pace for tomorrow, in what will be a critical race for the championship."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - P2 - 1:40.568
"I'm happy to be starting from the front row but, of course, I'm a little bit disappointed to have missed out on pole position for my home race by such a small margin. I'm confident for tomorrow, because we worked hard during free practice to set up the bike for the race, but the bike also worked well in qualifying and it was possible to push hard for the lap time. It's a good result for the team and for Yamaha, because the two official riders are one-two on the grid for tomorrow. I'm expecting a bit of a fight with my teammate; he beat me to pole position for my home race but then I did the same to him in Imola, so I guess we're equal now!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team - P27 - 1:44.253
"Today was much better than yesterday when I missed both free practice sessions. This morning in the final free practice I managed one run of nine laps to get a feel for the bike and the circuit, with no stops for setting changes. The set up was good for qualifying, where I posted my best lap time of the weekend, improving by one second, but a crash meant I only got two flying laps. During tomorrow's warm up it will be important to find a good setting on the bike for the race."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - Team Manager
"Today was definitely a very good day! We have now reached a very good level, where we expect Federico and Lucas to be at the front from the first practice onwards. And they never disappoint, like today when we saw them qualify first and second on the grid. It shows that the team and Yamaha are working very well. Lucas posted a very fast lap time after the stoppage because of the red flag, but Federico managed to go just that little bit faster right at the end, securing pole position with an incredible lap, despite coming across traffic in the final sector. The team did a great job dealing with the red flag so close to the end of the session, quickly deciding on the correct strategy for both riders. Alfonso was unfortunate to crash in qualifying today, but he managed to improve his lap time after missing out on practice yesterday and he is focused for the race tomorrow. A great job by the riders and the team today, and thanks to Yamaha for giving us the package we need to be at the front. It is an important race for us tomorrow, but we start it from the front of the grid, and that's a big advantage."
KRUMMENACHER SCORES A SECOND ROW START FOR THE FINAL EUROPEAN ROUND OF THE SUPERSPORT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Magny Cours (France), 29 September 2018
The final European round of the Supersport world championship is underway at the French track of Magny Cours, the final rounds of the series set to follow at the brand-new San Juan circuit in Argentina (12-14 October) and the Doha track in Qatar (25-27 October).
Riders were out on track for practice yesterday in higher temperatures than they usually experience at the French track. The thermometer touched 20°C during FP1, and 24°C during FP2. Krummenacher scored a solid fourth place finish at the end of the two session, gaining direct access to Superpole 2.
Today brought a sudden drop in temperature. Krummenacher set the sixth fastest time in this morning’s practice, making the most of the session as he worked with his team to make final modifications ahead of Superpole 2.
At 2.25pm local time, riders were out for the all-important qualifying session. The Team Bardahl Evan Bros. rider set the fifth fastest time, stopped the clock on 1’41.258 (+0.842) and thus earning a second row start for tomorrow’s race.
The Swiss rider is pleased and confident he can achieve good results. The title fight is still wide open and Krummenacher currently lies fourth, with the same points tally as Federico Caricasulo, four points from Jules Cluzel and 20 points from leader Sandro Cortese. These final three rounds will therefore prove decisive, establishing which of these four riders will secure the championship title. Krummenacher continues to fight, with his usual determination, working hard with his team to achieve significant results.
#RK21: “yesterday’s and this morning’s practices were useful, allowing us to make some changes and me to find the right feeling with the bike. In Superpole I felt I could do well and am pleased with fifth place on the grid. I know I can take another step and will do with my team I’m sure, but for now I can say I’m feeling confident with respect to recent rounds. Tomorrow will be an important race in that there are four riders within 20 points of each other and, after this race, we only have two more to go. I’m ready and will give all I have to bring home as many points as possible.”
Superpole Seventh For Okubo
Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team riders Hikari Okubo and Hector Barbera finished their WorldSSP Superpole qualifying sessions in seventh and 15th place respectively, enjoying the good weather than has been ever-present at the Magny Cours round this year.
As the riders now make their final preparations for the last European-based race of the 2018 season, to be held on Sunday the 30th of September at 13.45 local time, Hikari will start from the third row and Hector from the fifth row.
At a track that was all new for him, in only his second race weekend with his Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team, Barbera had finished Friday qualifying 16th, improving one place in Superpole 1.
Okubo qualified directly into Superpole 2 and went from eighth after regular qualifying to seventh in Superpole.
The aim for each Kawasaki Puccetti rider on Sunday is to make a strong start and stay with the fastest riders in the early laps, for a 19 lap race that is expected to be conducted in good weather conditions.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “Today was better because I got to make my best lap time, a second faster than before. My target was the second row, inside the top six, but I was seventh - so I am not that happy. But, really, I feel much better about everything today so I think I am able to do a good race on Sunday.”
Hector Barbera stated: “This track is a little bit more easy than Portimao but I am not really happy. Every time I go on the circuit it is better. We have made changes to my set up especially at the front. I have more feeling but I also have to just spend more time riding my bike. The bike is very good but I need to try more things. Each time I take to the track I understand more, including the tyres, although every reference on the track is new for me. I am ready for tomorrow and I think in this moment I have a better bike to start to race with.”
Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer) was 14th in Superpole 1, one place ahead of Barbera.
Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM) was 18th, Christian Stange (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) 19th and new rider for the EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki team, Kevin van Leuven, was 20t,h in a field of 30 riders. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) placed 25th and Javier Ezequiel Iturrioz (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) 26th on the grid.
Sebestyen makes strides at Magny Cours
Posted on 29th September 2018
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Peter Sebestyen missed going through to Superpole 2 today by only a tenth of a second to qualify in a career best thirteenth position. Sebestyen improved his time by over a second in Superpole 1 and will head up the fifth row of the grid for tomorrow’s 19-lap World Supersport race at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours.
Sebestyen said: “Today was a good day again for me, I am happy with the result. Superpole was fun for me and I could ride how I wanted. I made some mistakes but I am very calm about it because I know how I can improve for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to tomorrow because my race pace is good enough I think. I am very strong on the brake distances so I think I can pass more easily than before and I feel very good on the bike.”
It was another challenging session for British teammate Kyle Smith in Superpole 2 as he struggled to find some consistency. Smith improved into the .41s, qualifying in eleventh spot and remains positive ahead of the race tomorrow.
Smith said: “It’s turned out to be a difficult weekend. The biggest problem has been a sort of snowball effect. A small problem in Friday first practice has brought a problem in second practice which has brought problems today. I think the race is a different story. I’ll put on some fresh leathers tomorrow, get my head down, find some consistency and hope for a solid result to get some valuable points.”
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “Peter really pulled it out of the bag. This is by far his best qualifying and puts him in a really good position to get his first points finish and a good points finish at that. Really good job by Peter and his crew, Kor and Matia.”
“It’s been a challenging weekend with Kyle. It’s a combination of things, when you crash you have a loss of momentum and one thing leads to another. You lose time to confirm your setting changes and become comfortable from there. But all is not lost, the track temperature tomorrow might be cooler and how the tyres perform will be a factor, when the tyres go off Kyle is strong. So with a good start we are still looking to challenge inside the top six tomorrow. We’ll re -group, go over everything on the bike and put ourselves in a good position for two really good results tomorrow.”
WorldSSP300: Deroue ready to fight for the title from Pole position
Dutchman secures first honours of the weekend as championship rivals suffer
Double dutch honors on the front row as Deroue takes pole
The season finale for WorldSSP300 is set up to be a stunner after Superpole, with Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) starting on pole after a late lunge to the top, just ahead of compatriot and teammate Robert Schotman. The woman Deroue is chasing in the title fight, Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team), starts 25th after a tough Superpole 1 and will need to make a lightning start on Sunday. Luca Grunwald (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team) also starts further back, in P14.
Deroue made that count and struck in Superpole 2, deposing earlier leaders Tom Edwards (Nutec - Benjan – Kawasaki) and Mika Perez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team), who had set the initial pace. Edwards remains on the front row behind Deroe and Schotman, whereas Perez now heads up his fight for the title from the head of Row 2.
Joining the young Spaniard on the second row are Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team), Carrasco’s teammate, and top Yamaha qualifier Manuel Gonzalez (BCD Pertamina Junior Team by MS Racing). Loureiro especially could be one to watch. His teammate is leading the way – how will that come into play in the fight at the front?
Dani Valle (BCD Yamaha MS Racing) was seventh quickest and heads up Row 3, with the Spaniard having moved through from Superpole 1 as the fastest man in that session. He has Enzo de la Vega (GP Project Team) alongside him, with two-time race winner Galang Hendra Pratama (BIBLION YAMAHA MOTOXRACING) completing the third row in P9. The top ten is completed by perennial frontrunner Borja Sanchez (ETG Racing).
Andy Verdoïa (Samurai-YART Racing) took 11th, with Superpole 1 graduate Walid Khan (Nutec - Benjan – Kawasaki) completing the top 12 but unable to set a time after a crash on his out lap.
Now we wait as the incredible 2018 WorldSSP300 season concludes on Sunday, with everything on the line. And we’ve already seen that anything can happen!
Pole Position - Scott Deroue (Motorport Kawasaki)
"Yesterday we had a good day but in the end in the last lap I crashed and my bike as completely finished. My team worked so hard to prepare the bike and to build a new bike, they worked until 2am so I need to thank them. The bike felt great today and finally to take a pole position after Assen last year which is one and half years ago so I'm really happy and I can't thank them enough."