The Ulsterman put in another strong performance to overcome the opposition and retain his pole position for Race 2, where he will look for a record-equalling 17th win in a season
The final Tissot Superpole Race of the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship took place at the 5.3km Losail International Circuit. With the sun only just beginning to set in the race, the battle for third overall in the Championship was far from over. Taking victory at the front of the field, it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who won the race, escaping at the front of the field in the early stages and building an unassailable lead.
Like in Race 1, there was drama before the race started, as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing), as the 23-year-old Turkish rider suffered a technical problem on the Warm Up Lap. He came into pitlane but was unable to make the start, ending his realistic chances of the finishing third in the Championship.
With the lights going out, Jonathan Rea got another magnificent start and breezed into the lead at Turn 1, with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) slotting into second and Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in third. Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) got a great start from row three and was running fourth, just ahead of Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK).
Lap 2 saw the field stretch out, with Rea leading comfortably at the front, whilst Alvaro Bautista got ahead of Leon Haslam down the front straight. It wasn’t long before the Spanish sensation took Alex Lowes, slicing under the British rider at Turn 12. Bautista was now second but didn’t look like he’d match Rea, whilst he was pulling away from the rest of the field. Two laps later, Bautista’s teammate, Chaz Davies, was beginning to make headway and up into sixth, ahead of Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) and Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha).
There was soon a big battle for third place, as Alex Lowes came under pressure from Leon Haslam. Haslam, aiming to get ahead of the rider who replaces him at KRT next season, was 0.6s a lap quicker than Lowes. Van der Mark in fifth place was now under serious attack from Chaz Davies, with the Welshman getting ahead of the Dutchman on the front straight with 4 laps to go. Now van der Mark had more pressure from behind, as Loris Baz came into the fight for the top six.
Unbeatable out front, Rea took a 16th win of the year ahead of Bautista in controlling fashion, the two separated by three seconds at the flag but both safe in their positions. Prevailing in the battle for third was Alex Lowes, seeing off Leon Haslam for the final Race 2 front row slot. Chaz Davies was a strong fifth and improves his Race 2 starting place by seven places.
Taking the honours in the battle for sixth was Michael van der Mark, who fought back hard to beat Loris Baz on the final lap. Heading up the third row, Baz needs a strong Race 2, whilst Sandro Cortese will start eighth ahead of Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven), who managed to take the final point-scoring position, after a big battle with Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) and Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura).
Top six after Tissot Superpole Race, full results here!
- Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
- Álvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
- Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
- Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
- Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
- Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
Watch the final race of the 2019 season and get ready for 2020 with the WorldSBK VideoPass!