2016 World Superbike Champion

2016 World Superbike Champion | Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea
Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea

Heading into the World Superbike season finale at Losail in Qatar, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea has a cushy 48-point lead over teammate Tom Sykes.

The Northern Irishman was quick from beginning under the floodlights in Qatar, claiming the eighth pole of his career. Come Saturday’s opening race, Rea only needed a few points to secure his second-straight title; he finished second behind Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Chaz Davies, who claimed his second-consecutive double.

Rea’s feat allowed him to secure his second-straight World SBK title. He became only the fourth rider to complete back-to-back titles, the last arriving 17 years ago. Rea now joins Carl Fogarty (twice), Doug Polen and Fred Merkel in that exclusive club.

Following race one, Rea said: “It is incredible to have won back-to-back championships. It is very raw right now because I have not had time to take it in, but to have such a year like I had last year – and then this year with the new bike – I think we faced a lot more challenges this time.

“I am really happy and proud of our work because this bike was so new. To win in the first year of a new model is incredible and I want to thank Kawasaki for building such a good base bike. I expect to go from strength to strength. It felt like we really had to win the championship this time so I have to thank everybody all around me in the team. I want to thank each and every one of them.”

As for the Qatar SBK races, Ducati’s Davies doubled; joining the Welshman on the race-one podium were Rea and Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team’s Sylvain Guintoli; the Frenchman Guintoli entered the history books after claiming Yamaha’s maiden podium finish.

In race two, Rea’s teammate, 2013 World SBK Champion Tom Sykes, finished second, followed by Rea.

Following the season finale, Rea said: “It is incredible to have won back-to-back championships. It is very raw right now because I have not had time to take it in, but to have such a year like I had last year – and then this year with the new bike – I think we faced a lot more challenges this time.

“I am really happy and proud of our work because this bike was so new. To win in the first year of a new model is incredible and I want to thank Kawasaki for building such a good base bike. I expect to go from strength to strength. It felt like we really had to win the championship this time so I have to thank everybody all around me in the team. I want to thank each and every one of them.”

Rea finished his championship-winning season with 498 points–51 ahead of Sykes, and 53 ahead of Davies.

Kawasaki's Jonathan Rea at Qatar SBK
Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea

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