Ducati rider lights the way in drama-filled season finale
The final race of the 2016 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship had it all; Ducati dominating proceedings, a Pedercini Kawasaki flaming inferno and an admirable show of team spirit by the current World Champion. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing- Ducati) shattered the competition from beginning to end, even after the race was restarted. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki racing Team) was given a ray of hope when his teammate and newly crowned World Champion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) let him pass on the final corner to take second and the overall runner-up spot.
Rea and Davies dragged each other off the start into the illuminated first corner, fighting for the lead. Davies got ahead but Rea was quick to retake control at the front. Lorenzo Savadori (IodaRacing Team) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) ran wide into the first corner together, while Honda World Superbike Team’s Nicky Hayden had to start the race from the pit lane after an early evening engine change exceeded his season’s allocation.
Entering the first corner of the second lap, Rea ran into trouble running off track as Davies got ahead, setting the fastest laps. The Kawasaki rider rejoined in P13 and immediately began attacking to recover positions. With the Welshman away in front, Sykes made a dash to catch Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) who was promoted to second after Rea ran off.
Leon Haslam (Pedercini Racing) had a good pace, reaching a respectable fifth place from P16 on the grid, before Saeed Al Sulaiti’s Pedercini Kawasaki caught fire, just as the Qatari had reached P15. The race was red-flagged while the track marshals cleaned up oil spilled from Al Sulaiti’s bike.
After fifteen minutes, the race restarted for a ten-lap dash to decide the final victor of 2016. Davies and Sykes shot to the front maintaining their first and second positions, while Rea recovered his poor restart, to set a new lap record on his hunt towards the front.
Before long it was a KRT battle for second as the teammates pushed each other and overtook each other at every opportunity. On the final lap, Rea put on an incredible show of team spirit and slowed right down to let Sykes- who had fallen three seconds behind- to catch up and take second, to secure the runner-up spot in the Championship.
Further behind, Guintoli brought his Yamaha home in fourth ahead of fifth-placed Haslam. Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) finished in sixth with the Kentucky Kid picking up seventh. Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) came home in eighth, while Raffaele De Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team) picked up a solid collection of points in ninth, with Lowes rounding out the top ten.
Michael van der Mark (Honda World Superbike Team) finished in P11, Savadori came home in P12, while Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) locked out P13. Roman Ramos (Team GOELEVEN) and Markus Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team) picked up the final points in P14 and P15.
After a thrilling finale, WorldSBK will now recharge their batteries before the new season return to Phillip Island in February in 2017. Until then, stay up to date with the latest news and videos on WorldSBK.com.