World Superbike standings after the first race at Qatar:
Jonathan Rea led the championship by 48 points from Tom Sykes with only fifty points up for grabs today and tomorrow. The penultimate race of the year was held at night, just before Europe changed its clocks for winter.
The last qualifying of the year took place after the sun set over Qatar, with fifteen bikes and riders taking part in the first Superpole session, with Leon Haslam and Michael van der Mark the fastest men not to automatically qualify for the second session.
Chaz Davies, Jonathan Rea, Xavi Fores and Sylvain Guintoli complete the untimed session in the same order as they finished qulalifying yesterday. Tom Sykes
Chaz Davies takes provisional pole by less than five hundredths of a second from Jonathan Rea in the last timed session before Superpole. Leon Haslam, after a tough morning getting used to World Superbike after a long absence, is the quickest rider in Superpole one, with Michael van der Mark unable to improve on his morning's time as second favourite to advance to Superpole one. Tom Sykes continued to struggle, only managing to go ninth quickest, seven tenths off the pace.
Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies open the weekend with the two quickest times ahead of Michael van der Mark. Tom Sykes, Rea's only remaining challenger for the title, was thirteenth quickest.
Preview press releases of the final WorldSBK round this weekend:
As the Sun Sets on 2016, the Final Battle Begins
Qatar darkness brings the biggest gains as the Crown awaits
The Losail International Circuit of Qatar is the final battleground of the 2016 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship and everything is at stake as the ultimate battle for the title resumes. Located on the coast of the Persian Peninsula, just north of Doha, the circuit sees WorldSBK riders tackle 16 turns on 5.38kms of floodlit tarmac under the stars in the Arabian desert.
Which rider has exceeded pre-season expectations the most in the 2016 WorldSBK season?
For many inside the paddock and Leon Camier is the most popular and obvious response. Coming into the season there was little expected of the Italian manufacturer but eight top six finishes mean it is easy to see why Camier's performances are being hailed. The fortunes of MV Agusta in 2016 have surpassed expectations to such a degree that there is now the expectation rather than hope of podium finishes.
“I think a lot of our improvement this year comes down to personnel,” said Camier after the Jerez round of the championship. “Mainly it comes down to just having a little bit more structure in the team so they can get the changes done they needed to get done. The team is now more streamlined and Andrea Quadranti is the one boss. We brought in some extra staff and that has helped, but we knew last year what we needed to change with the bike and we've been able to make those changes this year.”
Jonathan Rea stands on the verge of defending his World Superbike title after finishing second at Jerez in Race 2. The Northern Irishman came out on top of a tussle with his Kawasaki teammate, Tom Sykes, and will enter the final round of the season with an almost unassailable 48 point lead.
Press releases from the organizers and teams after Sunday's races at Jerez:
Davies Can’t Be Beat at Jerez
- Unstoppable Ducati and the duelling Kawasakis -
Davies dominates the field in Jerez Race 2