October 2016

2016 Qatar World Superbike Notes - And So It Ends

Jonathan Rea confirmed his status as one of the all time WorldSBK riders by claiming back to back crowns on Saturday but in the final race of the season it was Chaz Davies who claimed the spoils.

For Davies was a seventh win in the final eight races of the season and sixth in a row but ultimately the Welshman came up just two points short of Tom Sykes in the fight for second in the standings.

Those final points came courtesy of a gift from Rea to his teammate. On the final lap Rea conceded second to Sykes and as a result the 2013 champion was able to finish ahead of Davies and give Kawasaki their first every one-two in the end of year standings. Given the relationship between Rea and Sykes it came as surprise to some to see Rea make such a gesture but it showed again the close knit nature of the Kawasaki team as a whole.

For Davies it always seemed as if winning races was more important than finishing second in the championship but the Ducati rider had to deal with some difficult circumstances. A red flag midway through the race when Saeed al Sulaiti's engine exploded meant that Davies had to regroup having seen a commanding lead nullified. Starting from pole position Davies was pushed all the way by Rea throughout the opening nine laps of the restarted race but on the final lap he eased off to let Sykes through for a formation finish over the line behind Davies.

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2016 Sepang MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Mr. Nice Guy and Mambo Number Nine

2016 has been a weird season. Eight different winners in MotoGP, in eight consecutive races. Tire issues in Argentina causing the race to be split into two parts. A mass false start in Moto2 at the first race of the year in Qatar. Torrential rain at Assen causing the race to be abandoned. Bike swap shenanigans at the Sachsenring, and wet tire degradation at Brno. With all that happening, why would anyone expect the Sepang round of MotoGP to be any less weird?

The expectation of weirdness has also meant that everyone has half expected there to be a ninth winner in MotoGP. Fans and journalists have come to accept this as the new normal, that every race throws up a new surprise. A ninth winner would fit in perfectly with the string of surprises we have seen this year. The question is, of course, who might it be?

With six of the ten factory riders on the grid already having won a race, and the Aprilia RS-GP still too far off the pace to compete for victory, it came down to two realistic candidates: Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro, and Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso. With the Ducati being the faster bike, and already having racked up a win and several podiums, Dovizioso was the betting favorite. But both were regarded as long shots.

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