LUSAIL, Qatar – Jonathan Rea put a bow on another World Superbike championship season by winning the season finale Saturday at Qatar’s Losail Int’l Circuit.
The victory, Rea’s his 17th total victory between superpole and regular races, was far from easy as he had to battle with Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista for the honor of standing at the top of the podium to wrap up the season.
Bautista led the field into turn one, but he ran wide and opened the door for Rea to snatch the lead away after the opening corner. Rea and Bautista found themselves knee deep in a battle for the lead, but Rea continued to lead the way.
By lap four the battle for the lead had settled down with Rea in the lead and Bautista trying to stay in the hunt. Behind them, Chaz Davies was now running third and closing on the lead duo. Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Bautista tried to steal the lead away from Rea with 13 laps left, but run wide in turn one and again allowed Rea to take the lead back. Bautista tried again two laps later, but Rea continued to hold the race lead.
With Rea and Bautista swapping the lead, Davies was suddenly right behind the leaders and in the hunt. Bautista, meanwhile, finally made a move stick and took the lead briefly in turn one. Rea returned the favor a few turns later, regaining the lead as Davies got ever closer.
Now back in the lead, Rea set about distancing himself from the Ducati pair of Bautista and Davies. He was aided by Bautista and Davies battling for second, with Davies emerging with the position with four laps left after slipping by Bautista in turn 15.
That proved to be the final pass for position in the top-three, with Rea holding serve to claim the victory in the season finale for World Superbike. Davies and Bautista completed the podium for Ducati behind the Kawasaki rider.
Behind the podium trio, Lowes crossed the line in fourth for Yamaha while Toprak Razgatlioglu finished fifth for Turkish Puccetti Racing.