WorldSBK UK Round: Race 2

Weather was again a factor in the Superpole race earlier in the day, giving the riders a lot of doubt when it came to tyre choice, some going for an intermediate option, and others preferring slicks. Jonathan Rea ( Kawasaki Racing Team KRT) finished the 10 lap shoot out fastest, with the BMW teammates of Tom Sykes, and Michael van der Mark finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.

WSBK
Picture courtesy of https://wsbk.hondaracingcorporation.com/

By the time race 2 started the weather had cleared up, with the sun back out. As in race 1, Rea was again with the hole shot into turn 1 followed by Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) who had moved up from 6th place on grid, and Sykes (BMW) in 3rd. Garrat Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) again was having an impressive weekend, in a solid 4th place.

Rea was trying to put the hammer down early on, but Razgatlioglu was responding with a series of fastest laps 1:28.452 and 1:28.418. With 20 laps to go Toprak Razgatlioglu made the same move, and in the same place on Rea as he had done in race 1. Rea now using the soft X tyre choice was finding better traction, and was able to stay with the Pata Yamaha rider, not letting him clear away as was the case in race 1, and keeping the gap to 0.2.

Further down the field, Lowes (KRT), and Van der Mark (BMW) were resuming the tussle they had in race 1, coming into contact again with each other, in the battle for 6th and 7th places. Redding (Aruba.it Ducati) was making steady progress from a grid position of 11th and now found himself in 8th.

Nearing the halfway point in the race, and Razgatlioglu goes wide into a corner, Rea accepting the open invitation, goes through to retake the lead. Jonas Folgers’ weekend goes from bad to worse, as he adds another DNF to it.

Gerloff now within striking distance of Sykes, gets by on him. Then with 13 laps remaining, absolute disaster for Rea who ran into turn 8 too hot, lost the front end and unceremoniously dumped his KRT machine into the gravel. He had looked comfortable in front, but the pressure from the Turkish rider behind was telling. Incredibly he picked up his bike, and rejoined the track in last place, with a mountain of work to do if he was to take any points away.

It was now Razgatlioglu clearing away out front, followed by Gerloff 2nd, Sykes 3rd, Redding 4th, and Lowes in 5th. Redding was making good time, and had closed right down on Sykes in 3rd. Further back, Lowes and Van der Mark were still battling it out for 5th place.

Inside the final 3 laps now and the gap between Sykes 3rd, and Redding 4th, was now down to 0.563. Would there be enough laps left for Redding to make the pass? Rea had not been able to make up any time, and was still languishing at the back of the field, no doubt frustrated at how his final race of the weekend was turning out.

WSBK
Picture courtesy of https://wsbk.hondaracingcorporation.com/

Final lap now, and with a gap of 2.9 back to the Texan in 2nd place, Razgatlioglu would not be caught, unless something major happened. Redding now right on Sykes, and looking for a way past, runs out wide into the Melbourne Loop and with it his chance for a podium place.

With enough fuel left in the tank this time, Razgatlioglu crosses the finish line to become the new championship leader, with it becoming the first ever Turkish rider to lead a WorldSBK championship. Gerloff gets his best ever finish in 2nd, and Sykes takes 3rd. Rea completes his miserable race in 20th.

Top 10 result:

  1. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  2. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
  3. Sykes (BMW)
  4. Redding (Aruba.it Ducati)
  5. van der Mark (BMW)
  6. Lowes (Kawasaki)
  7. Davies (Ducati)
  8. Rinaldi (Ducati)
  9. Haslam (Honda)
  10. Bautista (Honda)

Top 5 Championship

  1. Razgatlioglu  183 points
  2. Rea 181
  3. Redding 117
  4. Lowes 114
  5. Rinaldi 94

See you for round 5 of the WorldSBK championship in two weeks from Assen.

Round 4 WorldSBK Donington Park Race 1

World Super Bikes makes a welcome return to Donington Park after missing out last year due to the Covid 19 restrictions. The historic track, being the place where it all began back in 1988, hosting the first ever WorldSBK race.  Would we see history in the making this weekend?

Dramatic scenes at Donington. (Courtesy of: WorldSBK website).

Championship leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) was looking in scintillating form, setting the fastest time in FP 1, as well as in a wet FP3. With the heavens opening to make for a wet Superpole, it wouldn’t dampen Rea’s pace, topping the grid in an unbeaten time of 1:40.101. Completing the front row would be the BMW teammates, Michael van der Mark  1:40.626, and Tom Sykes in 1:40.763.

The weather for Race 1 was looking typically mixed for a British summers day. With a massive downpour earlier in the morning, the race was declared wet, even although by start time the track was dry in most places. Tyre choice would be crucial, and it seemed most of the grid was going for slicks.

Lights out, and it was Jonathan Rea who got the hole shot into turn 1, closely followed by the two BMWs of van der Mark, and Sykes. It was Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) with a wonder start who was grabbing all the headlines early on, scything through the field from a lowly qualifying position of 13th, by turn 1 he was already up to 5th place. Winner last time around in Misano race 2, Razgatlioglu (TR) wasn’t hanging about, getting past both BMWs by the end of the first lap.

T.R was now hunting down Rea, who nearly went down after his rear tyre hit a damp patch. Further back in the field it was still very close, Gerloff (Yamaha) was passed in the Melbourne Loop by Redding (Ducati) who subsequently went down at the top of Craner Curves. The damp track was causing havoc, who was going to be able to hold their nerve? Another crash through the Craner Curves and its Christophe Ponsson (Yamaha) who went down.

T.R was now caught up to Rea and made his pass on lap 2. Across the start/finish line to begin lap 3, Rea again slides at the top of Craner Curves, this time running off the track and down across the wet grass, somehow managing to avoid a massive crash, rejoins the track to remain in 2nd place. Razgatlioglu lays down the first marker by putting in a fastest lap of 1:33.292.

Spectators get a fantastic race. (Courtesy of WorldSBK website).

Van Der Mark (BMW) was now right behind Rea after his excursion, and looking for a way past. Further back it was Leon Haslam (Honda) in 5th place clawing his way up to Sykes in 4th, while Gerloff in 7th was closing up to Alex Lowes (Kawasaki) in 6th. Both Razgatlioglu and Gerloff were using the slick soft X-tyre, and it was noticeable in their times.

With 20 laps to go, Razgatlioglu already held a gap of 3.1 to Rea, and was slowly applying more pressure, putting in another fastest lap of 1:32.706. The world champion would respond the next lap setting a new fastest lap of 1:31.441. It was turning out to be ‘anything you can do, I can do better.’

Again, with 18 laps to go Rea puts in another fastest lap of 1:30.648, reducing the gap to T.R to 1.948. He wouldn’t be giving up any time soon. With the track mostly dry now, faster times were being set. Razgatlioglu responded with 17 laps to go, setting a new fastest lap of 1:30.126. The drying track was still catching some riders out, with Andrea Locatelli (Yamaha) crashing hard, but he managed to walk away unhurt.

Another big moment for Rea at Redgate turn 1 with 15 laps to go, the rear stepped out, the slide is saved, but Rea lost valuable time to T.R. With the sun now shining down onto the track, the fans were being treated to absolutely sublime racing. Donington we missed you!

With 13 laps to go, van der Mark was getting closed down quickly by his team mate in 4th, and Lowes in 5th. Gerloff got through on Haslam with 12 laps to go. In a ding-dong battle, Sykes decides to make a move on his teammate, opening the door for Lowes, van der Mark now going from 3rd to 5th. All the while Gerloff was gaining on the trio.  Into the Melbourne Loop van der Mark runs in hot, and bumps shoulders with Lowes, somehow both riders managed to stay on, but this allowed Gerloff to gain a place – moving up to 5th.

Meanwhile at the front with 11 laps remaining, Rea puts in a new fastest lap of 1:28.908, hoping to claw his way back to T.R. The gap now at 3.4. Immediately the next lap T.R responds with a 1:28.815, not allowing Rea to have any momentum. Tito Rabat (Ducati) retires due to a mechanical problem.

With 9 laps to go Lowes makes a move on Sykes, out-braking him into the Melbourne Loop – pushing him wide, this in turn leaves Gerloff space to dive inside Sykes, going from 3rd to 5th in one corner. Last corner, turn 12 (Goddards) and Gerloff drives up the inside of Lowes, aggressive riding by the Texan – now on for a podium.

Razgatlioglu now lapping Jonas Folger (BMW) with 8 laps to go, showing no signs of slowing down. The gap to Rea now at 3.9. Drama for Gerloff going into turn 12 with 7 laps to go, he loses the front end and goes down, managing to get back on track now in 8th position, no doubt seething under his helmet after all the work he did earlier.

Lap 18 of 23 and the gap between Razgatlioglu to Rea now at 4.2, with Rea seemingly having accepted his 2nd place, or possibly not able to respond anymore to Razgatlioglu’s lap times – tyre wear almost certainly an issue for both riders now.

With 5 laps remaining Alvaro Bautista (Honda) had steadily moved up to 7th from a grid position of 16th, although he had Gerloff looking to make a pass on him, which he did, pushing him back a position. Gerloff was now hunting down Haslam in 6th place with only 4 laps remaining. Meanwhile at the head the gap between Razgatlioglu and Rea was now up to 5.0.

Last lap – late drama, Razgatlioglu’s bike looks to be spluttering from low fuel, he managed to cross the line, but lost the gap he made to Rea, who crossed in 2nd place.  Lowes the local lad, gets 3rd place for his 200th WSBK start.

Sportsmanship between first and second place. (Courtesy of: WorldSBK website).

There is a star on the Turkish flag, and Razgatlioglu no doubt surely is one, with a bright future ahead of him. After an action packed race 1, what will the Superpole race, and race 2 bring?

Race Results:

  1. Toprak Razgatlioglu – Yamaha
  2. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki
  3. Alex Lowes – Kawasaki
  4. Tom Sykes – BMW
  5. Michael van der Mark – BMW
  6. Leon Haslam – Honda
  7. Garrett Gerloff – Yamaha
  8. Alvaro Bautista – Honda
  9. Lucas Mahias – Kawasaki
  10. Axel Bassani – Ducati

Out – Jonas Folger – BMW, Tito Rabat – Ducati, Andrea Locatelli – Yamaha, Scott Redding – Ducati, Christophe Ponsson – Yamaha.

Championship Standings:

  1. Rea – 169 pts
  2. Raz – 154
  3. Red – 104
  4. Low – 104
  5. Rin – 86

 

(Featured image – courtesy of: BBC)

Superb Racing from Estoril with Round 2 of WorldSBK

CrewOnTwo and ThePitCrewOnline wish to send our condolences following the passing of Moto3 rider Jason Dupasquier following Saturday’s incident during the qualifying 2 session at Mugello after he sadly succumbed to his injuries. Our thoughts are with his family and his teammates.

 

Victory in Race 1 of Round 2 of the WorldSBK championship at Estoril went to Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) when he claimed his second win of the season with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) coming in second and reigning World Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) completing the top three with just one second separating the trio.

Picture courtesy of BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team

Even though Rea got a good start off the line, it was Redding who got the jump on Rea on the opening lap quickly followed by Raz with Redding and Raz then breaking away by the end of lap 1. Rinaldi passed Rea on lap 2 with Rea taking the place back on the following lap, it was then a thrilling three way race between the trio until the end of the race.

A good start was had by Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) moving from 7th to 5th on the grid but unfortunately he then moved down the grid eventually finishing in a respectable 13th place.

Having fought his way through the field, Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) finished 4th after a battle with Rinaldi who came in 5th ahead of Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) in sixth.

The new BMR M 1000R of Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) showed strong pace throughout the race fighting his way to claim 7th place ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) after having his Superpole race time deleted and starting 18th on the grid.

The youngest rider on the grid, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), who had his superpole time deleted too, came home 11th place, his best WorldSBK race result so far five seconds clear of Leon Haslam (Team HRC).

The top six following WorldSBK Race 1:

  1. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
  2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) +0.877s
  3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.915s
  4. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +9.518s
  5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +13.636s
  6. Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) +17.177s

Day 2 at Estoril saw the Superpole race take place with reigning World Champion Rea taking pole with an all time lap record, his second pole position in two races and his 29th career pole with Redding coming in 2nd followed by Raz completing the front row of the grid.

A great result from Gerloff who starts 4th on the grid after a great session with Sykes 5th and then Rinaldi completing the second row of the grid.

The lights go out for Race 2 and Rea fights back and claims his 103rd WorldSBK victory with Redding crashing out from 2nd place having got off to a great start and taking the lead into turn 1. Rea was forced to go wide at turn 4 by Rinaldi who went up into 2nd place behind his teammate with Gerloff up into 3rd. Unfortunately, on the second lap Gerloff lost control of his bike and made contact with Rinaldi forcing both riders to retire.

On lap 14 Rea briefly got ahead at turn 1 of Redding with Redding passing at turn 2 but turn 3 sees Redding run wide allowing Rea to get ahead. Redding lost the front of bike at turn 4 and we saw him slipping down the field where we eventually see him finish in 14th. The British rider was then given a six-second penalty for a jump start in Race 2 meaning he was classified 16th place.

Michael van der Mark Picture courtesy of BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team

Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) closed up on Rea in the closing stages of the race but Rea was able to hold onto his lead and claim his second victory of the season. Raz, having recovered rather well from his double long lap penalty for a jump start at the start of the race, came in 3rd, his third podium of the weekend. A great weekend for Raz and the Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK team.

Lowes strong start to the season continued when he came home in 4th place finishing just 1.6 seconds ahead of Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) in fifth, his best result of his debut season so far with Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) coming in 6th.

Bautista battled his way from starting 18th on the grid to finish an impressive 7th ahead of Sykes with Laverty coming in 9th with the Moto2 World Champion Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) finishing the top ten.

The top six following WorldSBK Race 2:

  1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  2. Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven)
  3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK)
  4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK)
  6. Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)

A brilliant weekend of WorldSBK racing and luckily we haven’t got long to wait until Round 3 which is the weekend of the 12th / 13th June at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”, Riviera Di Rimini, Italy.

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The Kawasaki and Jonathan Rea partnership

As we know Jonathan Rea has won six consecutive World Titles in World Superbikes and must wait until the 2021 season to achieve his 100th career World Superbike race win after crashing in the final event of the 2020 season.

Jonathan Rea Estoril WSBK. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

That is a pretty impressive achievement in any sport but in order to achieve this any driver or rider cannot achieve this on their own, they need to be part of a team that that works together as one with the drive and ambition that they will win races and they will win driver’s and constructor’s championships and of course you have to have a combination of the right team and the right bike in order to achieve any of this.

Did you know that not only has Jonathan Rea won six consecutive rider’s World Titles in World Superbikes but that Kawasaki have won six consecutive constructors World Titles in World Superbikes too?

To me, this says that both Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki have worked together and together they have achieved these amazing achievements but what is Kawasaki’s history in bike racing?

Kawasaki have a long history of motorbike racing which goes back to 1961 when they entered an All Japan Motocross race on a racing bike based on the Kawasaki B7, they started competing the following year and at the first race meeting of the MFJ Hyogo Prefectural Motocross Race in 1963, the top six positions were filled by Kawasaki B8 riders.

Jonathan Rea the Estoril 2020 Press conference Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

The famous Kawasaki racing colour of lime green was developed in 1968, previous to this Kawasaki race bikes had been painted red. At the Daytona 200 in 1969 all the A7RS and A1RAS factory race bikes were in the official lime green colour and have been to this day.

In 1973 the KX was born. The KX was the result of the formation of a new development department set up in 1972 charged with creating a motocross racer. Sales started in 1973 and the development of the KX series continues to this day.

1973 also saw Gary Nixon take the AMA Superbike title in the AMA Road Racing Championship having won three races on a H2R which was a two-stroke three-cylinder bike which was given the nickname “Green Meanie” by it’s racing rivals.

From 1978 to 1982 GP250 and GP350 World Grand Prix racing was pretty much dominated by Kawasaki on KR250’s and KR350’s which were ridden by Kork Ballington and Anton Mang. Between the two classes the riders took an impressive eight world championships and Kawasaki won the manufacturers title in the GP250 class four years in a row. A truly impressive achievement.

Success continued in the AMA Superbike championship when back to back titles were won in 1981 and 1982 with Eddie Lawson on the KZ1000J and KZ1000S1 respectively and the following year on the new GPZ750 after a change in the regulations, which was ridden by Wayne Rainey. The Kawasaki was the dominant bike and earned Kawasaki it’s third consecutive title.

During the same period Kawasaki also dominated the Endurance World Championship with their KR1000 endurance racer with the French endurance team, Kawasaki France Performance. In 1981 and 1982 the Kawasaki riders took all the top positions and 1983 saw Kawasaki sweep the podium at the Le Mans 24 hours. Kawasaki had won the manufacturers title for three years running and were beginning to make a habit of winning consecutive titles!

Jeff Ward, former AMA Motocross 125 and AMA Motocross and Supercross 250 champion, took back to back class titles on a KX500 thus becoming the first rider in AMA history to win four different crowns.

Kawasaki stopped participating in works entries from 1983 to 1988 but they entered the Endurance World Championship in 1988 and came back with a bang dominating the field for three consecutive years winning the title on the ZXR-7 which was the new TT-F1 racing machine in 1991, 1992 and 1993. Kawasaki also entered the Suzuka 8 Hours race in 1993 with Scott Russell and Aaron Slight giving Kawasaki their first win in this race.

The AMA Superbike Championship was won again in 1992 by Kawasaki with Scott Russell riding a ZXR750 which had been prepped by Rob Muzzy and the following year saw the pair take the Superbike World Championship by storm on a ZXR750R and take their first World Superbike victory when they won the title in their first year of competing.

Kawasaki were certainly taking the bike racing world by storm showing that when they entered whichever realm of championship, they were the team to beat.

Kawasaki Motocross picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

The first World Motocross title came for Kawasaki in 1995 when Stefan Everts on a KX250 dominated the championship with five victories. The following year saw Sebastien Tortelli, on a KX125, win the class championship stepping up the following year to the 250 class and taking the world title on the KX250.

In 2001 Kawasaki took it’s first world title in the AMA Supersport Championship with Andrew Pitt riding the green machine. In the same year Kawasaki cleaned up in Motocross with James Stewart on a KX450F taking the Supercross title; Ryan Villopoto took the Supercross Lites West title and Ben Townsley the Supercross Lites East title on the KX250F. WoW!

Ryan Villopoto, a multi-time Supercross Lites and Motocross Lites champion on KX250F’s, stepped up to the 450 class in 2009. After a couple of seasons perfecting the bike, success came in 2011 with the first of four back-to-back Supercross titles. Ryan Villopoto truly was in a class of his own in the motocross world aboard the green Kawasaki.

After a 20 year absence from the World Grand Prix road racing scene, Kawasaki returned in 2002 on Ninja ZX-RR machines competing in the MotoGP class and started to make steady progress in it’s classes over the next few years.

In the Superbike World Championship series upon a Ninja ZX-10R in 2012, Tom Sykes just missed out on the title by a small margin but completely made up for it the following year when he took the World Superbike title with 9 race victories and 18 podium finishes giving Kawasaki it’s first world championship in Superbikes in 20 years.

The 2012 Supersport World Championship was won by Kenan Sofuoglu on a Ninja ZX-6R and in 2015 he took five wins this season to take the title again followed by a successive title in 2016 with six wins. The world was taking notice of Kawasaki and the true potential the ZX-6R machines held.

Ana Carrasco (DS Kawasaki Junior Team) Is on the verge of creating history

In 2017 the Supersport 300 World Championship was established. In the 2018 season history was again made when Ana Carrasco became the first female rider to win a race on a Ninja 400 and then made history again later in the season when she took the title and became the first female rider to win a title in the history of the FIM world championship racing.

A truly outstanding achievement by both Ana and Kawasaki with Kawasaki once again paving the way forward in the motorbike racing world.

2019 saw Kawasaki claim it’s second consecutive title in this class with Manuel Gonzales at the helm when he became the youngest ever FIM Road Racing Champion. A fabulous achievement in what is considered an ultra-competitive class.

For the first time since 1993, Kawasaki Racing Team won the Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race in 2019 on Ninja ZX-10RR’s in what was a closely fought battle with the top three teams all completing 216 laps. Alongside, Team SRC Kawasaki France finished in 12th place taking the title in the 2018-2019 Endurance World Championship. Kawasaki was showing the world their bikes were not only made for road racing but for long distance racing too.

Back in the Motocross scene, Eli Tomac took back to back titles in the 2017 and 2018 AMA Motocross Championships on a KX450F and the following year upon the new KX450 he took the title again with 11 wins and 19 podium finishes. Another third successive title for Kawasaki.

Jonathan Rea at Portamao 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

We then come to the Jonathan Rea era of motorbike racing. Jonathan joined the Kawasaki Racing Team in 2015 competing in the World Superbike Championship and took the motorbike racing world by storm by winning the title in his first year with Kawasaki with 14 race wins and 23 podiums.

 

 

In 2016 Jonathan took his and Kawasaki’s successive World Title with 9 wins and 23 podiums; the triple world title was claimed in 2017 with 16 wins and 24 podiums and then in 2018 a fourth consecutive title was claimed by Jonathan and Kawasaki with 17 wins and 22 podiums.

Jonathan Rea Estoril WSBK 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

Kawasaki and Jonathan had not finished re-writing history when in 2019 they had a record five consecutive rider’s and manufacturer’s titles and in 2020 history was re-written once again when an incredible sixth consecutive rider’s and manufacturer’s title was claimed by Kawasaki and Jonathan. Jonathan has continued to re-write history with most wins in a season, most points in a season and most podiums in a season.

A truly impressive achievement by both Kawasaki and Jonathan Rea.

Karen Bristow

 

 

 

Jonathan Rea – The Art of Psychological Racing

As the great Julian Ryder once said about racing at the highest level: “Talent will get you onto the stage, but winning is a matter between the ears”.

Jonathan Rea at Aragon 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

It is quite possible that Jonathan Rea has modelled his WorldSBK career on that line, and then some.

In 2020, given all the uncertainty that has gone with it, this attribute was overlooked by TV broadcasters (and in the interests of outright entertainment of the viewers, perhaps rightly so). However, as the dust has now settled on the season, it is high time to salute this remarkable, and ruthless attribute in Jonathan Rea’s arsenal:

The ability to read and control the championship.

Whilst Rea’s detractors will often highlight his supposed lack of charisma, however they cannot criticise or belittle his ability to know exactly what is needed to be done on track in any given scenario.

Few have the ability and it is the preserve of only the greatest champions: think Mick Doohan, Valentino Rossi or Carl Fogarty in the motorbike world – Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost from Formula 1. Jonathan Rea is the same.

They do not “see red” when a rival overtakes them. They do not panic and adopt a “win it or bin it” attitude. They can even accept that some days they will not be spraying the champagne on the podium.

That last one may come as a surprise to some, but it is true.

Michael van der Mark, Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes at Magny-Cours WSBK 2019. Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

Immediate glory on the track, these few know, pales in comparison to lifting the championship trophy at the end of the season. Their place in the standings is the only thing that matters.  It consoles them, when a race weekend heads south. You can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices when they give answers either on the grid or in the interviews in the build up to race day.  They are fixated on it. It’s the obsession which pushes them further than the others.

This ability has been showcased on multiple occasions throughout Rea’s career. Perhaps the most clear example came in 2019. Whilst all and sundry had written off his title chances, after Alvaro Bautista’s incredible run of 13 wins from the opening 16 races, Rea’s head never dropped. By ensuring that he constantly mopped up the next best places, he had put himself in prime position to catch Bautista as an when the Spaniard’s incredible run came to an end.

The patience and discipline shown in sticking to what needed to be done ensured that, despite Bautista’s early-season dominance, Rea was never more than a couple of victories away from taking the lead in the championship.  Once that happened, Rea hit the racers’ zenith. Such was the confidence in himself and his team, it was inevitable he’d hit his own ‘purple patch’

As has been the case for the past three seasons – Chaz Davies(left) is the only rider who can challenge Jonathan Rea (right) for the title.

In 2020, the championship battle required a different tactic. With the Kawasaki being more competitive at the start of the season, Rea was able to trade early-season victories with Scott Redding. Once his rival faltered and a gap in the standings had been established, Rea defaulted to prioritising scoring only as many points as he needed to keep Redding behind. He was content enough to let other riders go up the road, safe in the knowledge that his rival could not score sufficient points to make any meaningful inroads (if any at all) to his lead.

Described like that, it is a brutal suffocation of his rivals. Yet there is a fine art to it – and is very difficult to spot on track. Certainly to a casual observer. Rea has to always ensure that his rival (Redding in 2020, Tom Sykes in 2015) finished behind him.

You cannot afford to ride slow with this tactic, let’s make that clear.

If someone puts together a string of qualifying-style laps in an attempt to break away from the field, Rea uses his judgement to let them go. He has a target pace to ride to, with a small margin to increase pace should he need to recover places later in the race.

Many riders attempt to employ this tactic. Few succeed. Even fewer succeed year after year. As racing goes, this is psychological warfare: Grind down your opponent until he believes you are always that little bit better or faster than him. When a rival cracks – as Sykes and Redding did respectively – it looks sudden and spectacular as the defeated challenger loses heart and finds himself falling back through the field – or worse crashing out.

This kind of moment ensures that race result which ultimately seals the championship, but it has taken weeks, sometimes months to grind the opponent down to such a state.

Jonathan Rea Celebrating his six WSBK titles. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

You cannot pull that off overnight. Neither can you be taught it. A state of mind. You have to be utterly ruthless with your opponent – yet at the same time make it so subtle very few can spot what you’re doing until its too late.

Jonathan Rea – a true master of his art.

Ed Hocknull

Jonathan Rea’s Six Consecutive World Titles

Jonathan Rea at Portamao 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

Having been born with racing in his blood with his father, Johnny a former Road Racing Champion and Isle of Man Junior TT winner, his grandfather sponsoring Joey Dunlop and his great-grandfather being a regular competitor on the Ulster Grand Prix circuit, it was little wonder that Jonathan Rea went on to be one of the greatest road racers that we have seen. An amazing achievement from someone who wasn’t even sure if he wanted to go into road racing!!!

Having been riding for his entire road racing career for Honda Racing and for six of those years in World Superbikes, Jonathan Rea made the switch to Kawasaki Racing Team in 2015 and took the racing world by storm.

In the 2015 World Superbikes Championship season there were 26 races of which Jonathan won the first race at Philip Island and there started an incredible run for the Irishman of 23 podiums, 14 of them of which were on the top step and 7 on the 2nd step. Jonathan amassed an incredible 548 points this season, just a few short of the all time record and he bagged his first World Superbike Championship three rounds early at Jerez in Spain. A very impressive start with the Kawasaki team.

Jonathan Rea Misano WSBK. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

In 2016 there were 26 races of which Jonathan won 9 of them with 9 second place finishes and 5 third places, a total of 23 podiums and at the end of the season which went down to the wire and was decided in the last race of the season at Qata, he was crowned World Champion again and now joined a select group of double World Champions: Carl Fogarty, Troy Baylis, Max Biaggi, James Toseland, Troy Corser, Colin Edwards, Doug Polen and Fred Merkel.

Jonathan is now one of only four World Champions who have had back to back championships, he joins this illustrious group of riders alongside Fred Merkel, Doug Polen and Carl Fogarty.

Again in 2017 there were 26 races of which Jonathan won an impressive 16 of them with an incredible 24 podiums in total. During this year Jonathan had the largest points finish in the history of the championship breaking Colin Edwards 2002 record and was crowned triple world champion. Jonathan was now in a very select group of triple World Champions alongside Carl Fogarty and Troy Baylis. Jonathan being the only rider to have had three consecutive world titles.

Jonathan Rea celebrating at the Estoril GP WSBK 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

2018 sees the World Superbikes series hold 25 races, an incredible 17 of which were won by Jonathan equalling the most number of wins in a season previously set by Doug Pollen in 1992. Having been on the podium 22 times this season, Jonathan earned his fourth world title. The only other person in World Superbike history to have won four titles is Carl Fogarty. A truly incredible achievement for both riders. Jonathan, again, being the only rider to have had four consecutive world titles.

Jonathan wasn’t finished yet. In 2019 there was a record 37 races that season. Having got off to a slow season points wise due to the arrival of Ducati’s new rider, Alvaro Bautista, who dominated the first four rounds of the season, Jonathan went on to win 17 races this season and was on the podium an incredible 34 times with 16 second place finishes and one third place. A truly outstanding achievement and one which earned him his fifth World Championship by the time they got to Magny Cours.

Jonathan is the only rider in the history of the Championship to have achieved five world titles and indeed five consecutive world titles, and he was now truly in a class of his own.

Jonathan Rea Estoril WSBK. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

During this year, Jonathan also took part in the Suzuka 8 Hour event for Kawasaki with teammates Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu.

In a dramatic ending to the race, Jonathan, who was riding the final leg of the race, slid off after another bike had deposited fluid on the track with just two minutes of time left in the event and the race was red flagged. As the Kawasaki team did not make it back to the paddock within the stipulated five minute window, it lead to Yamaha’s team of Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark and Katsuyuki Nakasuga being declared winners.

Kawasaki appealed the decision as official data showed Jonathan’s team were leading by 18.720 seconds from Yamaha. The appeal was upheld and the trio were finally declared the winners.

Jonathan Rea Estoril WSBK 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

Yet still there was more to come from the Northern Irish rider. Although 2020 has been a somewhat unprecedented year for all motorsport, having started the season at Philip Island at the beginning of March where we saw Jonathan crash out of Race 1 and win Race 2, there was then a long break before racing finally got underway again in Spain at the end of July/beginning of August.

In the remaining 23 races of the season, Jonathan won 10 of those with a total of 17 podiums and rode straight into the record books with his sixth consecutive World Championship at the season ending Estoril with two races to spare. Again the only rider in the history of the Championship to have achieved this. A truly awe inspiring achievement.

Jonathan has also set all time records for race wins, points, podiums and fastest laps. In 2018 Jonathan took his 60th career win at Brno surpassing the record of Carl Fogarty.

Jonathan Rea Celebrating his six WSBK titles. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

Having crashed in the final race of the 2020 season, Jonathan will have to wait until the 2021 season to achieve his 100th career World Superbike win.

Jonathan is arguably one of the most talented young racers in any class of competition today.

Karen Bristow

What makes Jonathan Rea a success – from the fans

When Jonathan Rea took the 2020 World Superbike Championship for the sixth time it made him the most successful World Superbike Rider in the history of the series. He is also credited with the highest number of race wins in the Championship.

Before moving to Superbikes, Rea was runner up in World Supersport in 2008 on the Ten Kate Honda and previously took the HM Plant Honda to be runner up in the 2007 BSB Championship.

In 2012, Rea made two MotoGP appearances replacing the injured Casey Stoner. He finished both inside the top ten – 8th in Misano and 7th at Aragon before making his return to World Superbikes.

So what is it that has helped the 33 year old from just outside Larne to be so successful? We asked our social media followers their thoughts, and there were clear themes – dedication, commitment, riding style and race craft as well as a supportive team and family.

@Simon46storm called out dedication, commitment and being surrounded by a supportive team.

@vickster1984 also suggested the support of a team who understand you as a person and are willing to learn and grow with you, has played a part.

Earlier this year, Rea said himself ‘I’m really happy at Kawasaki, it suits the way I work. I have a great support network around me, and my mechanics are incredible. When things aren’t going well, instead of feeling the pressure of why we aren’t winning, they are really pushing me up and helping me. That helps you in the tough times”

 

Jonathan Rea is set to break all the records in WorldSBK history.

As well as the team, @LJHammond1 attributed Rea’s success to being fast and smooth, and conserving his tyres. He tweeted: ‘Fast, smooth, conserves his tyres (Sykes often out-qualified him and remained in contention until the closing laps when his tyres went off but Rea’s didn’t), wins most of his races and usually finishes when he can’t win (unlike Davies who often crashed from a winning position)’.

It is true – Rea can set a pace that affords him a comfortable lead yet crucially conserves the tyres, and undoubtedly this has been a strong contributor to his consistency. That said he is not averse to baring his teeth and showing aggression, the second race at Aragon in September this year (2020) was a case in point.

As well as the team, we cannot overlook the role family plays. @FifiSimbaBSD says “I think having children grounds you…..children don’t care how many races you have won when they want to play…” Family truly is important to Rea – two years ago, after clinching his fourth WSBK title he dedicated the win to them and said “My family sacrifice a lot to be here, trailing after me, supporting my dream, but I’m really proud to have them with me. They ground me in such a great way. It means a lot.”

With her tweet, @RSnugglebutt talks about his love for what he does, and how at the end of 2019 he said he would enjoy winning for as long as it lasts – he certainly has a great attitude, and it’s really apparent he has the love for the job as much as ever.

@MarkLawrence77 says it is down to hard work and along with @DoubleMRacing, reckons Rea should have gone to MotoGP (the latter also said he could still have been winning and adds ‘might as well set your World Championships in stone, keep winning so you are unbeatable with World Champs’).

Jonathan Rea 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

So what is next for the man who grew up in Ballyclare? Well, in June he renewed his contract on a multi season deal, so surely achieving a century of career victories must be in his sights (he’s currently on 99), and a seventh title in 2021 would bring him to the same number of consecutive titles achieved by Giacomo Agostini between 1966 and 1972. We are eagerly anticipating the start of the 2021 season to see how he does.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our question, but my favourite response to the question of what makes Jonathan Rea so successful has to be the one from @Paulmur22095740 who quite simply said… “Him!”

Laura Sawyer

A little bit of Jonathan Rea history

Jonathan Rea at the 2020 Philip Island Test. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

Jonathan Rea, it seems, was born with racing in his blood. His father, Johnny is a former Road Racing Champion and Isle of Man Junior TT winner, his grandfather sponsored Joey Dunlop and his great-grandfather was a regular competitor on the Ulster Grand Prix circuit. It was little wonder then that Jonathan was only 2 ½ years old when he first sat on a bike barely able to reach the handlebars!

By the time he was six, Jonathan was racing in motocross and was runner up in 1997 in the British 60cc Motocross before moving up the classes, very successfully too.

So why did Jonathan make the switch to road racing in 1997 then?

Well during a tea break one day with his mechanic, they spotted an ad in a magazine asking for a young rider for the 125 class with Red Bull. Far from being enthusiastic about the idea himself, it was Jonathan’s mechanic who persuaded him to apply insisting that he would be really good at road racing. Jonathan put a few words and a resume together and sent it off.

Still not a hundred per cent sure that he wanted to go into road racing, Jonathan went to Ron Haslam’s Race School at Donington Park where he rode a CB500 in effort to start to understand a road bike and ascertain whether or not road racing was for him.

Jonathan Rea Estoril 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

Incredibly, out of hundreds of applications, Jonathan was one of only 20 picked and he spent the day at Rockingham. Five were then selected, Jonathan being one of them, for another try out at Cartagena in Spain where Jonathan was successful and joined Red Bull Rookies along with two other riders.

It wasn’t long before it could be seen that making the switch to road racing was a good move by Jonathan. A British Superbike ride on a factory Honda Fireblade was set up by Red Bull in 2005 in which Jonathan took pole and despite missing two races, finished 16th in the series. The following year Jonathan finished 4th in the BSB Championship in what was only his second year of road racing.

In 2007 Jonathan rode for the Harris factory team where he had his first podium victory at Mondello Park and finished 2nd in the BSB Championship. Jonathan’s motocross mechanic was definitely right to persuade Jonathan to send off that application, he obviously saw something in him.

Also during 2007, Jonathan competed in and won with his teammate, Ryuichi Kiyonari, a three hour endurance race and the pair were subsequently entered into the Suzuka 8 hour race on a Honda factory bike.

Later in 2007 Jonathan signed a three year deal with Ten Kate Honda riding in the Supersport World Championship for the 2008 season and then progressing onto the Superbike World Championship in 2009 and 2010 having turned down a ride with the factory Xerox Ducati WSBK team and the option of riding for HM Plant Honda and Rizla Suzuki in the British Superbike Championship.

It wasn’t long before Jonathan had his first win in WSSP which came at Brno followed by two further wins at Brands Hatch and Vallelunga. Of the twelve races he competed in during this year, Jonathan had six podium finishes, three wins, one second place and two thirds.

At the end of the 2008 season Jonathan switched to the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda WSBK team therefore making his WSBK debut at Portimao in the final round of the 2008 Championship.

In 2009 Jonathan had two third place podiums before his first WSBK win at Misano. A further win in Germany and then one second place and five third place finishes meant that Jonathan finished fifth overall in the Championship, second best rookie of the season behind Ben Spies (who won the WSBK Championship).

Jonathan Rea at Aragon 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

The 2010 season ended slightly better with Jonathan finishing fourth overall having had ten podium finishes, four of which were wins, five second place finishes and one third.

Of 18 races in the 2011 season, Jonathan only managed a podium five times, two of which were wins and three second place finishes and ended the season down in 9th overall but the following season he finished fifth overall with six podiums. The 2013 season was not good again when he finished in 9th overall again with only one win during the season but two second places and one third.

In what would be his final year with Ten Kate Racing in 2014, Jonathan was on the podium nine times having had four wins, one second place and four third places finishes and finished 3rd overall – his best result in WSBK to date.

Jonathan made a brief appearance in MotoGP when in 2012 he had his debut for the Repsol Honda Team replacing an injured Casey Stoner in two races at San Marino where he finished 8th and Aragon where he finished 7th.

Having been riding a Honda for his entire road racing career, in what would turn out to be a career changing move, Jonathan moved to the Kawasaki Racing Team in 2015 with Tom Sykes as his teammate. In his first year with the Kawasaki team, we saw Jonathan dominate the season with an impressive twenty-three podiums, fourteen of which were wins, seven second place and two third place and his first WSBK Championship. WoW!

Jonathan Rea 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

The rest, as they say, is history – Jonathan went on to win the WSBK Championships in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. The first person to have won six consecutive WSBK Championships.

Jonathan has gone on to break records in WSBK with most wins in a season, most points in a season and most podiums in a season.

A truly awe inspiring achievement from someone who wasn’t sure if he even wanted to go into road racing!!!

Karen Bristow

Jonathan Rea wins his 6th Consecutive WorldSBK Title

Round 8 of the WorldSBK took place at Estoril and in order to keep the championship alive and stop Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) from claiming his 6th consecutive World Title, Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) needs to win here this weekend.

It was an incident packed Superpole where we saw both Rea and Redding crash out with both bikes badly damaged. Fortunately for Rea, he had set a lap time before his crash which meant that although he was unable to get back out on track to set any further lap times, he started from 15th on the grid unlike Redding who started at the back of the grid having not set a time.

Claiming his first ever pole was Toprak Razgatlioglu for the (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) ahead of Leon Haslam (Team HRC) and Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team).

Race One

The starting grid for Race 1 looked like this:

Row 1 : Razgatlioglu : Haslam : Gerloff Row 2 : Davies : Rinaldi : van der Mark

Row 3 : Lowes : Bautista : Fores Row 4 : Sykes : Folgar : Baz

Row 5 : Caricasulo : Laverty : Rea Row 6 : Mercado : Ferrari : Morais

Row 7 : Takahashi : Granado : Cresson Row 8 : Redding

With 21 laps of racing, Race 1 got underway with Razgatlioglu getting off to a great start and in the lead at the first corner with Rinaldi up to 2nd and Gerloff in 3rd. Rea had moved from 15th place to 7th and Redding into 15th.

By Lap 2 Rea has moved up to 5th place having taken Lowes and van der Mark and passing Haslam into 4th place the following lap. Turns 9 and 10 sees Rea pass Rinaldi up into 3rd.

Razgatlioglu is pulling out a lead on 2nd place Gerloff by lap 4, van der Mark and Davies both take Haslam pushing the Honda rider down to 7th. Redding is now up into 12th place but unfortunately on the next lap we see him slow and pull over at the side with what looks like mechanical issues. Rea just needs to finish the race now in a points position to become world champion.

Van der Mark is hot on the heels of Rea but lap 8 sees van der Mark go down into the gravel at turn 7 and out of the race. Rea takes Gerloff on lap 9 and now has his sights firmly set on the leader. Haslam takes Lowes on the inside closely followed by Bautista and Davies passes Gerloff and starts to chase down Rea.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu winner of Race One Estoril, WSBK 2020, Chaz Davis second, and Garrett Gerloff Third. Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

The start of lap 12 sees Davies pass Rea up into 2nd place and a few corners later Rea runs wide allowing Gerloff to slide past on the inside. Lap 14, Razgatlioglu has a 4.3 second lead over Davies in 2nd place and at Turn 1 Rea takes 3rd place back from Gerloff but Gerloff is not giving up and is glued to Rea’s rear and the following lap takes the place back.

On lap 17 Haslam takes Lowes at Turn 1 but a few corners later runs wide allowing Lowes to take the place back. Razgatlioglu has the race under control and is riding a superb race. Bautista goes down and into the gravel at Turn 6 on the following lap thus putting an early end to his race for the 5th time this year.

We see Haslam and Lowes switch places on the next two laps in their fight for 5th place but it is Razgatlioglu who is the comfortable winner today with over a 4 second lead ahead of 2nd place Davies, Gerloff in 3rd and Rea in 4th.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has now secured his 6th consecutive WorldSBK World Title and is a very deserved Champion indeed.

Race Two

After a brilliant race one, Race 2 is set to be as nail biting too and with 21 laps to go the starting grid looks like this:

Row 1 : Razgatlioglu : Gerloff : van der Mark Row 2 : Davies : Rea : Redding

Row 3 : Bautista : Haslam : Rinaldi Row 4 : Lowes : Fores : Sykes

Row 5 : Folgar : Baz : Caricasulo Row 6 : Laverty : Mercadi : Ferrari

Row 7 : Morais : Takahashi : Granado Row 8 : Cresson

A fantastic start by Razgatlioglu who is first into Turn 1 with Davies up into 2nd and van der Mark in 3rd. 4th place Rea makes contact with van der Mark going into Turn 10 but both riders manage to keep hold of their bikes. By the end of the lap Davies has taken the lead from Razgatlioglu.

Lowes is on the heels of van der Mark on the following lap and Redding is looking to get past Rea. At Turn 4 on lap 3, 3rd place Gerloff goes into the gravel at Turn 4 putting an early end to his race.

By lap 7 Davies is pulling out a comfortable lead. Rea is now closing down Razgatlioglu and lap 8 sees Rea take the place on the start/finish line only for Razgatlioglu to take it back again. Lap 9 we see Rea repeat the overtake on the start/finish line but going into Turn 1 he loses it going up the inside of Razgatlioglu and sliding across the track. Rea manages to rejoin the race but is now in 16th place.

Van der Mark is up into 4th place by lap 10 with Lowes 5th. Bautista and his teammate, Haslam, are fighting for 6th position. Lap 13 is unlucky for Baz and Folgar who both clearly have mechanical issues and are both slowing down and then pull off the track.

Redding is reducing the gap on Razgatlioglu and Turn 7 on lap 14 Lowes goes into the gravel, he tries to rejoin the race but is unable to. What is this going to mean for the manufacturers championship now that both Rea and Lowes are out of the race? Fores has to finish the race in order for Kawasaki to win.

Lap 17 sees Redding take 2nd place from Razgatlioglu, Razgatlioglu is in fighting form and nearly gets the place back but in the end is unable to. With two laps to go, Ducati are 1st and 2nd and the battle for 6th place is hotting up between Rinaldi, Haslam, Fores and Caricasulo.

Chaz Davis, Winner of Race Two, Scott Redding second and Toprak Razgatlıoğlu third at the 2020 Estoril WSBK round. Image courtesy of Ducati

The final lap finally comes and Davies has a 3 second lead over 2nd place Redding and he takes a very comfortable and well deserved win.

Kawasaki win the manufacturers title over Ducati by 1 point. An extremely close and well fought championship battle.

Another brilliant race and a fantastic final weekend of racing to end the 2020 WorldSBK Championship.

Standings

The Driver’s / Team Standings at the end of Round 8 at Estoril on the 17/18 October looked like this:

Pos

Rider

Points

Pos

Team

Points

1

Jonathan Rea

360

1

Kawasaki

392

2

Scott Redding

305

2

Ducati

391

3

Chaz Davies

273

3

Yamaha

330

4

Toprak Razgatlioglu

228

4

Honda

166

5

Michael van der Mark

223

5

BMW

101

6

Alex Lowes

189

6

Aprilia

4

7

Michael Ruben Rinaldi

186

8

Loris Baz

142

9

Alvaro Bautista

113

10

Leon Haslam

113

11

Garrett Gerloff

103

12

Tom Sykes

88

13

Xavi Fores

61

14

Federico Caricasulo

58

15

Eugene Laverty

55

16

Leandro Mercado

24

17

Marco Melandri

14

18

Jonas Folgar

19

19

Sandro Cortese

14

20

Sylvain Barrier

12

21

Maximillan Scheib

11

22

Takumi Takahashi

6

23

Matteo Ferrari

5

24

Christophe Ponsson

4

25

Roman Ramos

4

26

Lorenzo Zanetti

3

27

Valentin Debise

2

28

Eric Granado

1

29

Xavier Pinsach

1

Featured Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

The WorldSBK Season Finale heads to Estoril

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.

Chaz Davis at Magny-Cours, WSbK 2020. Image courtesy of Ducati

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.

Michael van der Mark at the 2020 WSBK Magny-Cours round. Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

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