Kenan Sofuoglu will not be competing in this race, having fractured his hip in yesterday's Superpole two session. It is unlikely he will be able to fight for his sixth title in the remaining two rounds after this weekend, either. The grid lined up without him, everyone behind his third place moving up a spot and the weather threatened to make things interesting, as the start was declared dry while clouds licked around the edges of the track.
Notes on Jonathan Rea wrapping up his third WorldSBK title from our man on the ground at Magny-Cours:
Press releases from the organizers and teams after WorldSBK race 1 and qualifying for WorldSSP:
WorldSBK standings after the first race at Magny-Cours:
As the track dried out, World Supersport Superpole had twenty riders competing for two promotion places.
Magny-Cours was cold and wet as Jonathan Rea set out to try to retain his title and become the first rider to ever win three World Superbike titles in a row. Rea needed to score five points more than Tom Sykes and be within ten points of Chaz Davies to hoist the trophy. A win would guarantee it.
Tati Mercado was sixth quickest in the wet session this morning, putting him firmly at the top of the promotional prospects in Superpole one. Ayrton Badovini was unfortunately declared unfit after a crash this morning. With no wet qualifying tyres, who would skip the mid-session tea break?
Kenan Sofuoglu was quickest in the untimed wet session, ahead of Jules Cluzel and Lucas Mahias, taking the top spot after the chequered flag came out. Cluzel was the only rider within half a second of Sofuoglu's time, with Mahias a further two seconds off his pace.
Jonathan Rea led Leon Camier and Tom Sykes by over two seconds in a very wet untimed session with had two red flags that sent Ayrton Badovini and French wildcard Matthieu Lussiana to the medical centre.
Press releases from the teams and series organizer after the first day of practice at the French round of WorldSBK: