Jonathan Rea claimed another WorldSBK double, his fourth in a row to remain unbeaten since the end of June, at the French round of the championship. With his Saturday success Rea was able to wrap up a historic fourth consecutive title and now his attention has shifted to loftier goals.
An assault on the record book
Rea's latest success has put him in a position to break the record for most points in a season, and also most wins in a year. The points record, which Rea holds from last year's campaign, is 556 points, and as a result he now needs 87 points to break that record. With 100 points available from the final two rounds of the year, including a visit to an all new circuit, it's definitely a big ask of Rea, but not one that is out of reach.
Rea is the man to beat and until his run of eight consecutive victories comes to a close, he will control his own points destiny. In addition to that he is also chasing Doug Polen's record for wins in a single season. The American's total of 17 wins in 1991 has stood the test of time, but is now seriously under threat. With Rea sitting on 14 wins thus far in 2018 he will need to win the final four races of the year to break the record. If he does, the points record is also his.
Carrasco makes history
It wasn't pretty at the end for Ana Carrasco with the Spaniard struggling in the final two rounds of the Supersport 300 season, but her 13th place finish at the flag was enough to claim the title by a single point. She made history by becoming the first ever female solo road racing world champion, with her mid-season purple patch of two dominant victories having been the difference in the title fight.
The final round of the year saw four riders come into the race with a chance of taking the crown, and with Carrasco starting from 25th on the grid, the championship leader wasn't the favorite to take the crown. Scott Deroue was in a title winning position before retiring with a mechanical failure but it was at the final corner that the title was decided.
Dani Valle made his move on Mika Perez for the win, and with the Spanish youngster relegated to second, it proved enough for Carrasco to prevail. The champion endured a difficult second half of the season, scoring 20 points in the final four races, but her speed and commitment mid-season was unmatched in 2018. Changes to the balancing regulations, including introducing a minimum combined weight of bike and rider, clearly hurt her charge in those final rounds, but when the checkered flag fell, she had done enough to make history.
For 2019 Kawasaki has confirmed their goal is to keep Carrasco in the class to defend her title with the DS Junior squad, and the champion has also said this is her preferred option.
A change can do you good
There was certainly change in the air at Magny-Cours. The rider market looks as fluid as ever but it is increasingly likely that there will be significant moves made in the coming weeks before WorldSBK resumes in Argentina.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi finished his campaign for the year with a trying weekend in France but his future looks secure with Ducati. Whether he remains in the Aruba.it Junior Team is still to be confirmed, with rumors that he could replace Xavi Fores at the Barni squad gaining momentum. The Spaniard was able to set aside any questions and concerns about his future by standing on the podium in Race 1, and while he has openly admitted to looking for a ride for 2019 this result could see teams banging on his door.
The MV Agusta squad is one option should he leave. The Italian manufacturer has not had a successful year with Jordi Torres, and are thought to be evaluating all options for next year. Torres has struggled in recent rounds with the larger profile rear tire. Changing direction is more difficult with it, and his results haven't matched Leon Camier's achievements on the same bike.
Yonny Hernandez sat out the French round after refusing to race and there was speculation that this might have had more to do with future career prospects rather than a problem for last weekend. The Colombian has a contract for next year with the Pedercini squad so it will be interesting to see how this develops over the coming weeks.
Tom Sykes was back at full fitness in France and his performance showed a marked improvement. The 2013 world champion is in talks with a handful of teams, with the Milwaukee Aprilia squad his seemingly his preferred option. The team are in the process of finalizing budget for next year and will confirm riders once they have a sponsor in place. Eugene Laverty looks almost certain to remain with the team.
It had been expected that the GRT Yamaha squad would confirm their ascension to the Superbike class at Magny-Cours. The announcement is still pending, with the team searching for finalization of finances. In addition to this Sandro Cortese, Federico Caricasulo and Lucas Mahias have all been linked with the ride, as well as Marco Melandri, but it seems age is working against the Italian. Whichever Supersport rider misses out on the seat will remain in the class with a leading Yamaha squad.
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