Though Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea claimed his third-straight World Superbike title three weeks ago at Magny-Cours in France, the Northern Irishman shows no signs of slowing down.Rea, who joined Kawasaki 2015 after six years with Honda, doubled this past weekend at Jerez WorldSBK during the 12th of 13 rounds. This was Rea’s 14th victory of the season, and also his fifth double.
In total, Rea has 52 SBK wins, equaling him with three-time Champion Troy Bayliss for second place in total WorldSBK wins; Carl Fogarty holds the record with 59.With his win, Rea also helped Kawasaki clench its third-consecutive Manufacturer’s Championship.Joining Rea on the race 1 podium were Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Chaz Davies and the other factory Kawasaki ZX-10RR Ninja pilot Tom Sykes. In race two, Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Marco Melandri finished second, and Davies third.Jonathan Rea, says: “Kawasaki won the Manufacturers’ Championship today and it is not just the bike, the rider, the management, the crew chief, it is every single person inside the team and at the factory race department in Japan.“Everyone has made this result and I am super-proud to be a part of it. In the race I had a really nice hash tag on my dash today for a little bit more motivation on the grid. My mechanics were building me up right before I left the grid and I knew today I had to go. I feel like I steered the bike around today. The win came from my crew chief Pere Riba because he asked me to trust him with some front geometry changes and a front tire change. It was awesome.”The 2017 World Superbike Championship now heads to the final round under the floodlights at Losail, Qatar, November 3-4.Following are the official WorldSBK race recaps:
2017 Jerez World Superbike Results, Race 1
Saturday’s racing at the Pirelli Spanish Round saw Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) register his first victory as the recently crowned 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Champion, taking advantage of a late technical issue for provisional race leader Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). With his first ever win at Jerez, Rea was joined on the podium at the end of a restarted Race 1 at Round 12 by Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team).On his way to equaling Carl Fogarty’s career podium record of 109 rostrum results in WorldSBK Rea took over at the front after Melandri pulled off with a problem with four laps to go.Rea had taken control of the restarted race in the early stages and led for several laps before Melandri made a move with 13 laps to go at turn 9 up the inside of the Northern Irishman. Davies then followed Melandri through to overtake Rea, but Rea soon responded to retake the Welshman and slot back in behind the Italian.As Melandri chased his second race win in 2017, since his return to WorldSBK at the start of the year, cruel luck saw him pull off towards the end of the race, leaving Rea to take the glory. Sykes produced a solid ride in third place as he continues to recover from wrist and finger injuries sustained in Portugal in September, with Davies crossing the line just under 0.5s ahead of him in second.It was another strong performance from Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) as he collected more good points on the Yamaha YZF R1, crossing the line fourth, 3.677s ahead of his teammate Michael van der Mark who was fifth.2014 World Champion Sylvain Guintoli’s return to action on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR saw him finish a creditable sixth, in the first of four races he will ride for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing at the final two rounds of the season.The top ten was rounded out by Milwaukee Aprilia duo Lorenzo Savadori and Eugene Laverty and Spanish pair Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) and Roman Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) – in seventh to tenth places respectively.Turn 13 proved to be unlucky for Takumi Takahashi (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) as he lost the front end of his Honda CBR1000RR, though he picked it up to finish 16th. Takahashi’s Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team colleague Davide Giugliano was an unfortunate late retiree.In the initial race start a turn 6 crash on the first lap involving Ayrton Badovini (Grillini Racing Team) and Raffaele de Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team) brought out the red flags. After a short break the race was recommenced with a quick restart procedure with the riders keeping their focus in the clear conditions in Andalusia on the resurfaced Jerez track, though neither Badovini nor De Rosa made it back onto the grid.
2017 Jerez World Superbike Results, Race 2
At the Pirelli Spanish Round it was triple World Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) who took the victory in Race 2 on Sunday to complete a fine weekend at the Circuito de Jerez. A commanding performance in a restarted WorldSBK race at the resurfaced 4.423km Spanish track gave Rea maximum points – as he was joined on the podium by Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).Northern Irishman Rea therefore notched a double win at a venue where he had not previously scored a victory before the Round 12 weekend, the KRT man riding in a confident and relaxed manner having wrapped up an unprecedented third successive title three weeks ago in France. Rea went from ninth on the grid to first place by the end of the first lap, overtaking Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) cleanly at the second attempt to remain at the front from early in lap 2.Rea did not look back from there and crossed the line 2.7s seconds ahead of Melandri, who got the better of his teammate Davies in the final stages of the race. The result gave Kawasaki the 2017 WorldSBK Manufacturers’ title.There were good battles throughout the field behind the front runners with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) finishing fourth and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) fifth. Van der Mark was sixth after leading on the first lap and having had a clash with Melandri early in the race.Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) was seventh, after a good battle with 2014 World Champion Sylvain Guintoli – who returned to action on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR this weekend. Frenchman Guintoli will also ride for Kawasaki Puccetti Racing at the final round of the season in Qatar next month. Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) and Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) completed the top ten.Davide Giugliano (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) was given a ride through penalty after speeding in pit lane having been forced to return to his garage due to an issue midrace. He eventually finished 17th, after suffering a DNF on Saturday. Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) was 18th after he crashed out on the first lap of the restarted race.A red flag had been shown after first lap incidents in the initial race, which saw Davies and Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) both down at turn two and then Dominic Schmitter (eighty one HPC-Power Suzuki Racing) needing assistance from medical staff at trackside after crashing heavily on the Suzuki GSX-R1000.Davies’ team worked hard as the riders prepared for a restart 20 minutes after the original race had begun, with the Ducati Panigale R requiring some quick repairs in order for the Welshman to return to the starting grid for the second getaway. Laverty was also due on the grid for the restart however he had to return to pit lane for another tweak to his Aprilia RSV4 RF just before the second start – as his tough season continued. He eventually restarted from pit lane and was ultimately unable to finish the shortened 19 lap second race.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!