WorldSBK, Magny Cours: Saturday – Rea seals third successive title with race 1 victory
Jonathan Rea charged to an excellent victory at the Magny-Cours circuit in France on Saturday to secure a historic third consecutive WorldSBK title, crossing the line over 16 seconds ahead of second placed Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) finishing third.
Rea made a determined start from pole position and soon pulled clear of the rest of the pack, keeping the hammer down over the 21 laps of the race in the wet-drying conditions at the Pirelli French Round to remain unchallenged at the front. His impressive performance gave him a 12th victory of the season and saw him become the first ever rider to win three successive WorldSBK titles.
It was a truly gritty ride from Rea’s teammate Sykes as the Yorkshireman returned to action with a third place result, having had surgery on a finger injury less than two weeks ago – after a Portimao crash. Sykes completed the podium after just losing out on second place to Melandri in the final stages of the race.
Five seconds off the rostrum positions was Leon Camier who had another excellent ride for MV Agusta Reparto Corse. Another 19 seconds back on his compatriot Camier was Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) who rounded out the top five.
Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) were sixth and seventh respectively, whilst Davide Giugliano (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) was the eighth rider home.
Early in the race there was a crash for Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), which also saw Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) go down, but remarkably Dutchman Van der Mark fought back to finish ninth, ahead of Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
Race 2 at the Pirelli French Round will get going at the 4.411km Magny-Cours track at 1pm local time on Sunday.