There was zero pressure for Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea as he entered the final round of 2017 World Superbike at Losail International Circuit in Qatar.The 30-year-old Northern Irishman had already clinched the title at Magny-Cours, France, with two rounds remaining. This put him in the history books as the only rider to win three consecutive WorldSBK titles.
Rea was quickest Friday, and followed that up with pole on Saturday. The ZX-10RR pilot then won both races for a total of 16 victories and 24 podiums in 2017 World Superbike, with six of those double wins.Throughout the Rea Reign of WSBK, he collected 556 points – the most of any rider since WorldSBK began in 1988. Rea bumped Colin Edwards’ 2002 record of 554 points in a single season.“The points tally is nice but the championship is the main thing,” Rea said following his double victory. “To win 16 races in a season, more than 50% of the races, is not normal. That’s the biggest thing I take away. This year, like I keep saying, I have no words.“It has been feeling normal to be here on the podium and that is kind of scary. Right now is my time, so I really am enjoying the moment. Next year it could easily be somebody else so we really need to enjoy this and celebrate an incredible year. I know how difficult it is when things are not coming naturally, and it is an uphill struggle, so that is why I am so grateful to Kawasaki for this opportunity. It is a huge team effort. In a few weeks’ time we can start turning our attention to 2018.”Joining Rea on the podium in race one was the Aruba.it Racing Ducati duo of Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri, respectively. In race two, Davies finished second, followed by Pata Yamha’s Alex Lowes.In the final 2017 World Superbike points tally, Rea finished 153 points ahead of Davies, and 183 ahead of the other Kawasaki ZX-10RR pilot, Tom Sykes, the 2013 WorldSBK Champion.
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!