At the Pirelli Spanish Round it was triple World Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) who took the victory in Race 2 on Sunday to complete a fine weekend at the Circuito de Jerez. A commanding performance in a restarted WorldSBK race at the resurfaced 4.423km Spanish track gave Rea maximum points – as he was joined on the podium by Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
Northern Irishman Rea therefore notched a double win at a venue where he had not previously scored a victory before the Round 12 weekend, the KRT man riding in a confident and relaxed manner having wrapped up an unprecedented third successive title three weeks ago in France. Rea went from ninth on the grid to first place by the end of the first lap, overtaking Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) cleanly at the second attempt to remain at the front from early in lap 2.
Rea did not look back from there and crossed the line 2.7s seconds ahead of Melandri, who got the better of his teammate Davies in the final stages of the race. The result gave Kawasaki the 2017 WorldSBK Manufacturers’ title.
There were good battles throughout the field behind the front runners with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) finishing fourth and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) fifth. Van der Mark was sixth after leading on the first lap and having had a clash with Melandri early in the race.
Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) was seventh, after a good battle with 2014 World Champion Sylvain Guintoli – who returned to action on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR this weekend. Frenchman Guintoli will also ride for Kawasaki Puccetti Racing at the final round of the season in Qatar next month. Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) and Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) completed the top ten.
Davide Giugliano (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) was given a ride through penalty after speeding in pit lane having been forced to return to his garage due to an issue midrace. He eventually finished 17th, after suffering a DNF on Saturday. Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) was 18th after he crashed out on the first lap of the restarted race.
A red flag had been shown after first lap incidents in the initial race, which saw Davies and Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) both down at turn two and then Dominic Schmitter (eighty one HPC-Power Suzuki Racing) needing assistance from medical staff at trackside after crashing heavily on the Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Davies’ team worked hard as the riders prepared for a restart 20 minutes after the original race had begun, with the Ducati Panigale R requiring some quick repairs in order for the Welshman to return to the starting grid for the second getaway. Laverty was also due on the grid for the restart however he had to return to pit lane for another tweak to his Aprilia RSV4 RF just before the second start – as his tough season continued. He eventually restarted from pit lane and was ultimately unable to finish the shortened 19 lap second race.
The last round of the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship – the Acerbis Qatar Round – takes place from Thursday 2nd November to Saturday 4thNovember, under the floodlights in the desert at the Losail International Circuit.
P1 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)
“My bike today was incredible, we made a big change over night with the front of the bike and it gave me all the confidence and on the brakes. I needed a very good first lap but my pace was incredible, I have no words. I want to thank the whole team, the bike today was incredible”
P2 – Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
“It was a tough race, I was trying to fight for the win but I knew Jonny was going to do so well. I tried to pass the other riders but it was hard and I spent too long with van der Mark, he took some hard lines. After this I lost so much time and I knew I would’t be able to catch Jonathan. It’s hard because we knew we had the pace.”
P3 – Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
“It was an interesting race. We got another good start and made it count in the first couple of laps, I tried to stay with Jonny and in the end we couldn’t do it. With the championship so close between me and Tom, I didn’t want to make any risks but overall I am really happy.
#JerezWorldSBK at Jerez: Race 2
1. Jonathan Rea Kawasaki
2. Marco Melandri Ducati +2.732
3. Chaz Davies Ducati +3.974
Championship Standings after Race 2, Round 12
1. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki (506 points)
2. Chaz Davies (GBR) Ducati (363 points)
3. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki (363 points)
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of Dorna WSBK Organization Srl