Seventeen laps in the desert under artificial lighting, the air temperature was 28ºC and it was the penultimate round of the battle for second place between Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies.
Both Kawasakis got a strong start, with Jonathan Rea leading Tom Sykes into the first turn. Alex Lowes had three Ducatis behind him, with Xavi Fores ahead of the fight between Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies, a fight Davies won on the first lap, and Davies took the fight to Fores only to outbrake him into turn one of lap two. Rea set the fastest lap on lap two and ended the lapover a second clear of his teammate.
Alex Lowes took second place from Tom Sykes and a lap later, Chaz Davies sneaked past Sykes to take third place from him, and at the end of the lap, charging to second place for the start of lap five. Jonathan Rea was over two seconds ahead. Tom Sykes, also in the hunt for second place in the championship, saw a Ducati charge past him into turn one, the Barni Ducati of Xavi Fores taking fourth place. At the end of the lap, Marco Melandri made a close pass on Sykes, and Sykes was able to switch back on the inside of the Ducati out of the corner and pull alongside Melandri as they launched down the straight. The slight figure of Melandri tucked in behind the plastics and out-dragged Sykes's Kawasaki in a straight line. Sykes was back to sixth place and had Michael van der Mark change his target from Melandri to Sykes, nipping at his heels. Xavi Fores made a pass stick on Alex Lowes, taking the middle spot in the tight Davies, Fores and Lowes battle for second.
On lap seven, Michael van der Mark nipped a little too closely at Tom Sykes's rear wheel and the two bikes touched, van der Mark's front tyre to Sykes's rear entering a corner. Rear tyres tend to win fights like that and this was no exception and van der Mark's Yamaha, faced with a leant-over front tyre that was suddenly not behaving, gave up traction and the Dutch rider, a week after his MotoGP debut, found himself in the gravel.
A few laps later, lap eleven, with Rea extending his lead to over three seconds and the three-way battle for second anticipating the arrival of a hard-charging Marco Melandri, Xavi Fores suddenly stick is hand up, sitting up down the straight as his bike bounced a bit like the engine was punching it up and down, and he pulled over, ending the chance of Fores's first dry race podium. This put Tom Sykes up to fifth place. Further round the lap, Alex Lowes inexplicably crashed out, with his front tyre just losing grip on a corner that didn't look in any way out of the ordinary. Tom Sykes was now in fourth place and his hopes for second in the championship were renewed.
As Rea, Davies and Melandri all ran their own races, not close enough to challenge or be challenged, Eugene Laverty caught Sykes, bringing Lorenzo Savadori with him. Two laps from the end, Laverty pushed Sykes aside to take fourth place and Savadori followed him through the Aprilia-sized gap to push Sykes back to sixth. Meanwhile, Alex Lowes had started his bike back up only to crash out of thirteenth in a similar way to his first crash, only on a left hander instead of a right.
As the flag came out, Jonathan Rea took Kawasaki's first victory at Qatar, ahead of Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri and the trio were the first riders to go to the new style podium. Next Year, World Superbike's parc fermé will be in the paddock as part of the paddock show, and this weekend is the first test of the new system. Jonathan Rea thought it was "super nice" to ride through the crowds to Parc Fermé and stand on the podium with the fans cheering them on in the paddock. How nice the fans will think this will be when the podium is in a non-dry country, where the riders get to spray Prosecco, remains to be seen, however.
|1||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10RR|
|2||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale R||4.944|
|3||33||M. MELANDRI||Ducati Panigale R||10.405|
|4||50||E. LAVERTY||Aprilia RSV4 RF||12.052|
|5||32||L. SAVADORI||Aprilia RSV4 RF||12.339|
|6||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||15.587|
|7||81||J. TORRES||BMW S 1000 RR||16.789|
|8||05||S. GUINTOLI||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||17.869|
|9||2||L. CAMIER||MV Agusta 1000 F4||18.494|
|10||40||R. RAMOS||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||22.660|
|11||11||J. GUARNONI||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||36.011|
|12||45||J. GAGNE||Honda CBR1000RR||38.237|
|13||44||R. ROLFO||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||49.659|
|14||37||O. JEZEK||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||50.079|
|RET||22||A. LOWES||Yamaha YZF R1||2 Laps|
|RET||12||X. FORÉS||Ducati Panigale R||7 Laps|
|RET||35||R. DE ROSA||BMW S 1000 RR||7 Laps|
|RET||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Yamaha YZF R1||11 Laps|
|RET||34||D. GIUGLIANO||Honda CBR1000RR||12 Laps|
|RET||121||A. ANDREOZZI||Yamaha YZF R1||14 Laps|