WSBK: Rea doubles up in Qatar to set new points record
Jonathan Rea capped an historic triple title-winning season in perfect style as the World Superbike champion set a new points record in Qatar on Saturday night.
Rea wrapped up his sixth double success of 2017 under the floodlights at the Losail circuit near Doha with a sublime performance on the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR.
He set a new points record for the World Superbike Championship of 556 points, surpassing the previous benchmark of 552 points set by American Colin Edwards in 2002.
The 30-year-old, who started from row three following his victory in Friday’s opening race, made his trademark lightning-fast start as he hauled himself up to second place by the start of the second lap.
Rea began to hunt down early leader Chaz Davies and swooped through to lead on lap three when Davies was fortunate to stay upright on the Aruba.it Ducati following a massive moment. The Welsh rider was almost high-sided from the Panigale when his rear wheel let go but somehow held on.
He managed to regroup and slashed Rea’s advantage to 0.6 seconds, but the Ulsterman responded immediately on the following lap to extend his lead. With the points record within his grasp, Rea kept the hammer down at the front and soon put more daylight between himself and Davies.
Rea had enough in reserve to maintain his cushion and he ended the season as he began it at Phillip Island back in February win a win, securing his 16th victory and his 54th career triumph in World Superbikes.
Davies finished as the runner-up and also sealed second place in the final standings after Tom Sykes crashed out.
Pata Yamaha duo Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark were third and fourth respectively, with Xavi Fores and Marco Melandri completing the top six.
Eugene Laverty, who started the race from pole, finished seventh on the Milwaukee Aprilia.