The end of an exciting, albeit very strange, MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season is upon us with one round left in Estoril, Portugal on the 16-18 October.
Round 7 held at Magny-Cours, France on the 2-4 October proved to be full of thrills and spills with Championship leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) winning the Superpole Race and Race 1 on the Saturday further extending his championship lead and then Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) winning Race 2 on the Sunday bringing him back into contention for this year’s title.
The conditions were wet on the Saturday and after a tense Superpole Race it was Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) who topped the charts with Jonathan Rea in third position.
Both the BMW’s riders got off to a great start in Race 1 but unfortunately at Turn 1 Laverty was taken out by a falling Sykes after being hit by Garrett Gerloff thus ending what could have been a fantastic race for the BMW riders. Gerloff was able to continue riding but crashed a few laps later thus ending his race also.
Jonathan Rea went on to win the race followed by Loris Baz in second, Alex Lowes third, Chaz Davies fourth, Scott Redding fifth and Toprak Razgatlioglu in sixth.
Race 2 saw Scott Redding fight back to claim a superb victory after an exciting race with Loris Baz claiming his second 2nd place podium of the weekend and after a nail biting duel to the end of the race, Chaz Davies claimed the last podium place just ahead of Jonathan Rea.
Redding is still in contention for the championship title but he will need to win all three races at Estoril in order to stop Jonathan Rea claiming his 6th consecutive world championship title.
With Loris Baz’s double podium, it means that he is still in with a shout of the title in the Independent Riders’ Championship. Baz is 31 points behind Michael Ruben Rinaldi and with three races to gain points from at Estoril, the title could go either way.
As we head to Estoril for what will arguably be a thrilling end to a fantastic season of racing, changes are afoot in the paddock.
After four years at PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team, Michael van der Mark is heading to the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team alongside existing rider Tom Sykes. As yet no replacement for van der Mark’s seat has been announced by the Yamaha team.
There is also the potential of an independent BMW Team making it’s way onto the grid which could open up the opportunity for new riders to enter the World Superbike paddock.
Replacing Xavi Fores in the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team is Lucas Mahias who is moving from WorldSSP where he won the Championship in 2017 and finishes 2nd in this year’s championship for the Kawasaki team.
Making his debut appearance at Estoril, a circuit he has not competed at before, will be Belgian rider Loris Cresson for the (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) team riding a Kawasaki ZX-10RR. The 22 year has competed in WorldSSP for the last three years.
Make sure you set your alarms for next weekend’s racing at Estoril.
Featured Image courtesy of Ducati