Press releases from the series organizers and the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the final round of the 2014 season at Qatar:
Guintoli wins race 1 to pile the pressure on Sykes
Doha (Qatar), Sunday 2 November 2014 – The penultimate race of the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Championship, the first ever to be held under floodlights has been won by Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) who pulled away in the final four laps to cross the line a lonely winner ahead of compatriot Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), in what was one of the most enthralling races of the season.
Thanks to his fourth win of the year, Guintoli is now only 3 points short of series leader and reigning champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), who completed the podium.
From the start it was Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) that led before Baz took his turn at the front. The first half of the race saw eight riders covered by a little over a second, before things settled down a little as Guintoli and Baz began to ease away.
Lap 13 saw Melandri pass Sykes much to the delight of the Aprilia pit garage, while at the front Guintoli and Baz remained locked together. The Aprilia RSV4 #50 overtook the Kawasaki ZX-10R #76 at the start of the fourteenth lap where it would remain.
Tom Sykes regrouped to claim the final podium spot as Jonathan Rea clung on valiantly to 4th ahead of Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) and Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), who were 5th and 6th respectively.
Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati) and David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) crossed the line separated by 0.011s in their own private EVO fight, the pair finishing 12th and 13th overall with the Spaniard taking the EVO class series victory.
Results: 1. Guintoli (Aprilia) 17 Laps/91.460 km in 33'46.738 average 162.456 kph; 2. Baz (Kawasaki) 2.650; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 3.955; 4. Rea (Honda) 4.805; 5. Giugliano (Ducati) 7.861; 6. Elias (Aprilia) 8.192; 7. Davies (Ducati) 8.991; 8. Melandri (Aprilia) 10.512; 9. Laverty (Suzuki) 15.978; 10. Lowes (Suzuki) 21.456; 11. Haslam (Honda) 25.977; 12. Canepa (Ducati) 29.085; 13. Salom (Kawasaki) 29.096; 14. Barrier (BMW) 39.270; 15. Staring (Kawasaki) 43.360; 16. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 46.206; 17. May (EBR) 1'16.323; 18. Toth (BMW) 1 Lap; RT. Andreozzi (Kawasaki); RT. Rizmayer (BMW); RT. Cudlin (Kawasaki); RT. Yates (EBR); RT. Corti (MV Agusta).
Guintoli does the double and takes the title
Doha (Qatar), Sunday 2 November 2014 – Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) is the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Champion after a nail biting season final race held under floodlights at the Losail International Circuit. The Frenchman took the lead on lap 5 and, courtesy of a strong race pace and a new lap record of 1’57.906, he pulled a solid gap on the chasing duo of Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) to take his first career double and the crown.
Sykes and Rea battled race long to determine the final spots on the podium with the Honda rider just edging the outgoing champion for second in final three laps.
Sylvain Guintoli: “I cannot believe it. I have been imaging this double win for the whole month. I never felt so good riding with this or any other bike before. I just enjoined it so badly. It has been such a hard work all season, trying not to make many mistakes. Tom has been very fast and consistent. After Laguna, when the gap was 44 points, it was a difficult situation. But we were back and in this last round I’ve shown I’ve got the speed and what it takes to win. I proved it to myself and I’m happy. I think the title will sink in later on but for now I’m just overwhelmed.”
Tom Sykes: “I don’t mind taking my hat off to a worthy champion. We have tried so hard all year and of course, a few incidents come to my mind now. But it is what it is. After the last few rounds, we knew Sylvain and Aprilia would have been strong. Unfortunately the outcome of today was… the winner takes it all. Sylvain, he did a great season. Obviously we’ve had some limitations today. I tried my best in Race 2, unfortunately it wasn’t enough. But that’s racing. Luckily this race is quite late in the year so I won’t be too hard on myself for too long. The start of the next season won’t be too far away and I’ll be putting my efforts into that.”
In the final standings Rea finished 3rd, one point ahead of Marco Melandri.(Aprilia Racing Team) Five riders fought hard for 4th with Melandri coming home ahead of Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) and Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia).
Newly crowned Superbike EVO winner David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) was once again involved in a titanic fight for the best classified EVO rider coming home ahead of Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati) in 11th, with Bryan Staring (Iron Brain Grillini Kawasaki) riding well to claim the 3rd EVO placing in a credible 13th overall.
Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki), Aaron Yates (Team Hero EBR) and Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia) all failed to make it to the finish line due to crashes.
Final standings: 1. Guintoli 416; 2. Sykes 410; 3. Rea 334; 4. Melandri 333; 5. Baz 311; 6. Davies 215; 7. Haslam 187; 8. Giugliano 181; 9. Elias 171; 10. Laverty 161; 11. Lowes 139; 12. Salom 103; 13. Canepa 73; 14. Guarnoni 45; 15. Barrier 40; 16. Camier 37; 17. Corti 27; 18. Morais 24; 19. Andreozzi 22; 20. Foret 20; 21. Lanzi 19; 22. Staring 18; 23. Neukirchner 17; 24. Scassa 16; 25. Rizmayer 7; 26. Allerton 6; 27. Bos 5; 28. Toth 5; 29. Goi 5; 30. Russo 5; 31. Pegram 2; 32. Fabrizio 2; 33. Lanusse 1. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 468; 2. Kawasaki 431; 3. Honda 350; 4. Ducati 291; 5. Suzuki 234; 6. BMW 81; 7. MV Agusta 34; 8. EBR 2.
SYLVAIN GUINTOLI IS 2014 WORLD SBK CHAMPION ON HIS APRILIA RSV4
ROBERTO COLANINNO: "PROUD OF THIS GREAT ITALIAN VICTORY"
APRILIA DOUBLES ITS TRIUMPH AS MANUFACTURER WORLD CHAMPION
THIS MAKES 54 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR APRILIA AND 104 FOR THE PIAGGIO GROUP
Losail (Qatar), 2 November 2014 - It is a triumph, a double world championship win that was unimaginable just a few races ago. On the Losail track in Qatar Sylvain Guintoli completed a comeback that will go down in Superbike history and with two brilliant and undisputable wins in the two night races on the desert circuit he overtook Tom Sykes, earning the World Champion crown for the first time in his career.
Aprilia doubles the celebration by becoming the Manufacturer World Champion for the third consecutive year, reaffirming the undisputed technical superiority of the RSV4, the Italian bike that has rooted the best competition in the world since its rookie year in World SBK (2009), winning 7 World titles (three Rider and four Manufacturer). This world championship combination (Rider and Manufacturer) is the third one for the Aprilia RSV4 after sweeping the competition in 2010 and 2012 with Max Biaggi.
Roberto Colaninno, Chairman and CEO of the Piaggio Group (which Aprilia has been part of since 2005) had this to say about Sylvain Guintoli and Aprilia's victory: "I am very proud because with Aprilia once again this year a great Italian brand has dominated on a global level in motorsports. "This was a difficult championship right down to the end, that seemed to have been lost but was then reopened and that makes the result we achieved today even more exceptional, with two world titles won. My compliments to Guintoli - simply extraordinary. Romano Albesiano did a very good job. Along with his team he demonstrated his ability not only to design great motorcycles, but also to successfully take on the challenge of sport management. Since returning to Superbike in 2009 Aprilia has won seven world championship titles in six years. Today's two world championship titles reward the Piaggio Group's technological innovation skills, which once again dominated despite the fact that our rivals become fiercer every year. It's not by chance that - in just ten years - we have seen Aprilia win 28 of its 54 world titles and the Piaggio Group has taken a total of 32 world titles in just a decade. Now we are facing a new challenge entering MotoGP which is taking place a year ahead of schedule with respect to our previously announced plans. We will be entering the premier world championship with the same spirit we have always had: dedication, a desire to learn and grow and the awareness of our abilities and our heritage as a great Italian brand."
The night races in Losail were the culmination of a comeback that seemed impossible. After the American round at Laguna Seca the advantage Sykes (Kawasaki) had built up over Guintoli was 44 points, a huge gap with just three rounds left in the season. Since then the RSV4 and its riders were on the comeback trail, proving to be unbeatable. At Jerez and Magny-Cours Aprilia dominated the races winning three times with Melandri (and Guintoli second each time) and once with Guintoli (and Melandri second). These were extremely significant points that allowed Aprilia to catch up and overtake Kawasaki in the Manufacturer World Championship and Guintoli to turn up at the Qatar round trailing Sykes by just 12 points.
Guintoli's incredible comeback for the world championship title began with victory in Race 1. Off to a good start (fourth in the first lap), Guintoli overtook Sykes, his direct competitor for the title, who had been in front of him in the fifth lap and then Rea (in the ninth lap) and race leader Baz with 5 laps left to go. From that point on it was a gallop to victory which earned another 9 points made up on Sykes. At the start of Race 2 Aprilia's Frenchman was three points behind Sykes in the standings, a minimum gap which his authoritative and aggressive win annihilated. Sylvain took the lead in the fifth lap and from that point on it was a gallop toward the finish line and the win. In the end Guintoli took the world championship with 416 points against the 410 Sykes had racked up.
Marco Melandri, dominator in recent races, ended his weekend at Qatar with an eighth and fourth place, hindered by problems with grip that he was unable to resolve.
Sylvain Guintoli's first career World championship title had been building over the last two seasons. After a 2013 season which had him fighting for victory until a series of injuries to his shoulder hindered his race for the title, the French rider took advantage of his apprenticeship astride the RSV4 in the season that has just come to an end. Consistent, fast and determined, Sylvain conducted a season that was made incredible by his comeback, arriving at the title in the very last race. Supported by the team led by Romano Albesiano, skilfully exploiting every opportunity and taking advantage of his vast experience in the racing world, Sylvain Guintoli became the second Frenchman (after Raymond Roche in 1990) to win a factory derivative Rider World Championship.
Sylvain Guintoli: "The feelings right now are truly incredible. Today was a great day, two fantastic races where I felt stronger than I have ever felt in my life. I was able to be fast without any trouble and lap times were just coming easily to me. Coming to Aprilia last year was a great opportunity for me and before my shoulder injury I was in the battle for the championship so it was a shame to lose so much ground because of my physical conditions.
This year my fitness was perfect so I was able to be consistent and demonstrate our potential. I really began to believe after Magny-Cours, in fact I was certain: we were fast, I felt good and my team gave me great support. Today I showed that I am the fastest on the track. Winning the Title by 6 points is symbolic but it is extremely important for me after all the recent controversy.
I want to thank a lot of people, starting with my family who gave me stability and had faith in me, as well as supporting me in these months of high pressure. I am grateful to Aprilia. They provided me with the best bike I have ever ridden and a team that has become like a second family to me".
With the titles won today the manufacturer from Noale now totals 7 World Superbike championships in the last five years and takes its extraordinary collection to 54 world championship titles won in just over twenty years.
For the Manufacturer World Championship Aprilia racked up 11 wins (5 for Guintoli, 6 for Melandri) and another 16 podiums for a total of 468 points against Kawasaki's 431, Honda's 350, Ducati's 291, Suzuki's 234, BMW's 81 and MV Agusta's 34.
The new Aprilia Racing adventure in World Superbike began in 2009 with the development of the innovative RSV4. With its exclusive 65 degree V engine and a chassis derived from years of racing experience, the Aprilia Superbike marked a turning point in the super sport bike world. Already capable of winning in its rookie year, the RSV4 broke the WSBK bank in 2010, its second season in the championship, taking both the World titles up for grabs: Manufacturer and Rider with Max Biaggi. This was the start of a long series of wins. Biaggi - the first Italian to win the World Superbike championship - doubled the Rider title in 2012 and the RSV4 once again took the World Championship for manufacturers in 2012, 2013 and again this year in 2014.
Seven World Championship Titles (3 Rider and 4 Manufacturer), 41 wins, another 89 podiums and 10 pole positions make up the extraordinary World SBK spoils of a unique bike, created to dominate both on the track and on the road.
In all Aprilia boasts 54 World Titles (38 in MotoGP, 7 in Superbike and 9 in off-road disciplines) which make it one of the most victorious brands ever on a global level in motorcycle racing. The Piaggio Group's extraordinary trophy case, thanks to Aprilia as well as its other historic brands, Moto Guzzi, Gilera and Derbi, now contains 104 World Titles to make it the most decorated European motorcycle manufacturing group.
The Ducati Superbike Team concludes the 2014 Superbike season positively today at Losail
Losail (Qatar), Sunday 2 November 2014 – The final round of the 2014 Superbike World Championship took place today at the Losail International Circuit, with the evening’s races proving positive for the Ducati Superbike Team. Chaz Davies crossed the line in fifth and seventh position, Davide Giugliano fifth and eighth.
Race 1 – The first of the evening’s races got underway on the floodlit track at 7pm local time and in slightly cooler conditions than yesterday (air temperature 27°C, track 30°C). Starting from pole position, Giugliano got off the line well but lost a few positions through the first turn, lying sixth by the first split, positioned just behind his teammate Davies, in fifth place. Both were able to get into a strong rhythm and soon got caught up in something of a battle with each other, oscillating between fifth and seventh position for almost the entire duration of the 17-lap race. Giugliano got past Davies during the course of lap ten, and was then able to pass Elias and Melandri in the final stages to cross the line in final fifth position. Davies concluded the evening’s first race in seventh place.
Race 2 – Conditions were similar for the second race, which took place at 10pm local time. A strong start for Giugliano positioned him third through the opening laps. Davies was seventh during the first laps and while he gave chase to Melandri immediately ahead of him, Giugliano moved in on leaders Guintoli, Sykes and Rea. On lap eight, Chaz and Davide found themselves together again, sixth and seventh, and enjoyed another battle as in race 1. At about six laps from the end of the race, the two Ducati men were part of a group of five riders all lying within a second of each other. Unfortunately, a drop in rear tyre grip for Giugliano in the final laps prevented him from doing more and he concluded in eighth position. Davies, pushing hard, passed Elias a couple of laps from the line before getting into a battle with Melandri that went all the way to the line. The Ducati man finished the final race of the season in fifth place, just 85 thousandths of a second behind Melandri.
The 2014 World Superbike season thus concludes with Chaz Davies on 215 points, taking overall sixth position in the final standings, and Davide Giugliano closing in final eighth place (181 points). In the manufacturer’s championship, Ducati concludes in fourth position with a total of 291 points. During the season the team has made constant progress, achieving two pole positions, six fastest laps and a clutch of six podium finishes.
Although the 2014 season has now come to a close, the Ducati Superbike Team will return to the racetracks on 17 and 18 November, when its winter testing programme will commence at the circuit of Aragon, Spain.
Quotes after the races:
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 7th, 5th
“In race 1, from the mid-race point, I was constantly on the verge of losing the front. It seemed like the tyre dropped off and then continued to get worse through the final stages. We changed a few things for race 2 and tyre behaviour went back to normal, as it had been in practice. Race 2 was a good battle, one of the most fun races of the year I think. Although I was losing along the straight to Marco and Toni, I tried to make up for it in other areas and we had good pace throughout. It’s a positive note on which to end the season, at a track at which is difficult for us on paper. This gives us confidence going into winter, and we will continue to build on what we’ve got right now.”
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – 5th, 8th
“Race 1 went really well. I think we made a very good race considering that before the start we had no idea what we would be able to do today. So the result was clearly positive. In the second race we struggled a bit more. We opted for the same tyre but there was a big drop in performance from mid-race onwards. It was a pity because I’d started strongly and was able to stick with the leaders through the initial stages. I hoped I could do more towards the end but it was impossible. Anyway, we’ve finished the season by bringing home two good results, I also battled hard with my teammate Chaz and I’m pleased with the outcome; I think it’s a good base from which to start next year’s work.”
Ernesto Marinelli (Ducati Superbike Project Director)
“After having achieved pole yesterday evening, these final two races of the season did not go as well as we’d hoped. We knew that this track was not particularly favourable for us, with it being difficult to pass anywhere other than along the straight. But in analyzing the data, the lap times of both Davide and Chaz show that the podium was within reach, we were just missing a little consistency. If we consider the entire season, I’m pleased with the work we’ve completed, despite not having brought home a race win, which is our objective. The team has worked hard and we have two riders who have grown significantly together with the bike and the team. This cohesion is extremely important as we begin our winter testing, in preparation for next season.”
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki concludes 2014 season under Qatar’s lights
A dramatic conclusion to the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Championship saw Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes both achieve a ninth place finish each in the day’s two races at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
A relatively uneventful race one left Laverty circulating in tenth for the majority of the first half before advancing on Honda’s Leon Haslam for ninth. With changes made to his Yoshimura-powered machine in the two hour window, Laverty started the season’s final battle strongly. His intent to hunt down the leaders for his last podium in the Championship, however, was cut short by a crash at turn six on the third lap, calling time early on his final outing aboard his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki.
Showing impressive pace on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 as the season finale drew to a close; Alex Lowes consistently matched the lap times of the front running group in the late evening race. The disappointment of the previous day’s qualifying, however, impacted his race day, his ninth place finish barely reflecting the efforts of both team and rider. A bad start to the day’s opening race had initially seen Lowes drop to 13th, but the Suzuki racer soon regrouped, closing up to his teammate to round out the top 10 in the last third of the race and retaining the position to the flag.
A drier but windy Losail circuit greeted the Championship for its concluding race day of the 2014 season, with the humidity dropping by almost half from Superpole’s 80% high, to a mere 47% for the opening race. Sylvain Guintoli claimed the 2014 Superbike World Championship title by taking both race victories and granting Aprilia the Manufacturers’ silverware in the process. Althea’s Niccolò Canepa snatched race one’s EVO trophy at the line while the race two win went to the overall EVO Class winner, Kawasaki’s David Salom.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki now returns to its UK headquarters to begin preparation for the 2015 Championship, and a week of testing scheduled at Jerez, in Spain from Monday 24th November, with its new rider pairing of Lowes and Randy de Puniet.
“Race one was poor, I really struggled with the front tyre and ninth was all I could manage - we came strong in the second half of the race but it was too little too late. We changed to a different front tyre for the second race and the feeling was much better. I was going to be in that fight for fourth and I was desperate to cling on but I had issues with the rear entry grip and it suddenly came around on me. It was a strange crash as I’ve never crashed like that before and it was a disappointing way to end the season.
“I was desperate to get on the podium this weekend, and I was pushing for that, to try and reward the team with another podium. It hasn’t been the best of years, with just a win at Phillip Island and then a podium at Sepang, the boys deserved much more as they have been working hard. I never really like to say that our luck was out, but sometimes this year it did seem that way. Thanks to the whole team and all the sponsors for never giving up and I’m just disappointed we couldn’t finish on a high!”
“Tenth and a ninth may not look as good on paper but it doesn’t tell the whole story. The front tyre started to cut up with about eight laps to go in race one which made it quite hard work, so I just had to get the bike to the finish. For the second race Lez made some great changes to the bike and it felt a lot better, we tried a different front tyre that I’ve not raced all year but once I got used to it, after the first six laps, it was probably the best I’ve ridden since Donington, so a nice way to finish the year. I was just a few seconds off the guys who finished in fourth place so I’m quite happy with that, I dug in until the last lap of the last race of the year and it has given me a bit of confidence going forward to testing.
“Thanks to the whole team, to Suzuki, Voltcom and Yoshimura for all their hard work this year, and I’m looking forward to coming back much stronger at Phillip Island for next season.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Not the results that Crescent Racing, Suzuki, Voltcom and all our very loyal partners were looking for today, but some very encouraging signs for next season from Alex, especially in race two. He had struggled in race one, but the team made some changes to the chassis balance for race two which clearly improved the bike. The end result was really a residual of the qualifying crash and the poor grid position because Alex and the GSX-R’s pace at the end of race two was good enough for fourth place, but the gap was just too far away after the initial laps. Alex has been taking a more measured approach, and the decision making processes and consistency of pace today auger really well for 2015.
“Eugene’s season stared with a win, ended with an unfortunate crash and that reflects the inconsistency and bad luck that we have suffered over the course of the year. It’s been a pleasure having him, John and Pip as part of the team and everybody at Voltcom Crescent Suzuki wishes him all the best in his new career as a MotoGP™ rider.
“We move on to new regulations next year which we feel will suit the GSX-R and we begin testing very soon in Jerez with Alex and, of course, we are very excited about Randy de Puniet’s first ride with the team.”
Team Hero EBR End Their 2014 WSBK Season Under Qatari Floodlights
Team Hero EBR signed off from their debut season in the World Superbike championship under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit with Geoff May finishing 17th and 16th in the evening’s two races while Aaron Yates suffered two crashes, the latter in race 2 resulting in him been taken to hospital for further checks.
The weekend had up until today been the most positive of the season to date, with Geoff taking his EBR 1190RX into Tissot-Superpole for the first time and looking as though a point scoring finish was possible.
Both races did however show that the EBR machines have evolved as the season has progressed and there are a lot of positives to be taken.
In summary the season has been a huge learning experience for everyone involved, and the Team Hero EBR wishes to thank all of its partners for making their debut World Superbike season.
Geoff May – “I gave it everything in both races and we were once again just outside the point scoring places. I want to thank everyone in the team, especially my guys here with from America this weekend for all their hard work and determination during the season. I’m not sure what 2015 holds but I looking back on 2014 it’s been a great challenge and one that I have really enjoyed. Making it into Superpole here was one of my objectives so I am happy for this.”
At the time of writing the Aaron was being taken to the local hospital for further checks and an update on his condition will be given in due course.
Sykes Misses Championship Win By Six Points
The 2014 FIM Superbike World Championship fight went right to the wire and despite scoring two third places KRT rider Tom Sykes was unable to defend his crown and lost out by only six points. Loris Baz (KRT) finished second in race one and fifth in the overall championship standings. A great season end for KRT SBK Evo rider David Salom, as he secured the title with two strong rides on his Ninja ZX-10R, including best Evo performance in race two.
After two 17-lap races of full commitment under the floodlights Sykes finished the SBK season in second place overall, with a total of eight race wins, more than any other rider.
Sykes could not match new champion Sylvain Guintoli’s pace in each race at Losail but showed his determination to fight all the way with his double podium. As well as his wins Sykes took 16 podiums in 24 races and scored five Superpole wins.
For Baz a podium finish in second place in race one was followed up by seventh in race two, after he and another rider had been run off track in the first corner. In his last race for KRT he battled back to finish seventh, overtaking many riders on the way. Loris finishes the year with eight podium finishes to his credit.
KRT SBK Evo class rider David Salom scored a fantastic championship win at the first attempt in the Evo category after just one race had been completed at Losail. He has now taken 13 Evo race wins on his Ninja ZX-10R after edging out his lone rival in the second race at Losail. In the combined results David was 13th and 11th at Losail and 12th in the combined SBK rankings.
Tom Sykes: “We gave it everything at the final round and no regrets. We made the podium in both races and pushed as hard as the bike and set-up would allow. We had some really good lap times in race two but Sylvain had a better pace. It is what it is and the races today had the most significant outcome of all. I am disappointed but there is only so much you can do. We knew this weekend would be hard work and there is no disgrace in what we did, unfortunately it just wasn’t quite enough. Luckily the winter is not too long and we will come out fighting next year.”
Loris Baz: “In race one I could not finish with Sylvain because my front tyre had been used up. In race two another rider hit me in turn one I had to pick up the bike and then went straight. It was a shame because I had a really good pace. I lost six or seven seconds in that lap and finished only nine second behind Guintoli, so I lost all my time there coming back through the traffic. It was a big comeback, but not enough.”
David Salom: “Winning the Evo class was a nice reward because all year we pushed very hard. Everybody in the team and Kawasaki worked all year for this. We took a lot of points in the middle of the championship to let us win with more comfort. I tried to win the first race to win the championship that way but my front tyre was very worn. In race two I tried to pass Canepa in the middle of the race but he re-passed me and I sat behind him to wait. I made my pass over the line and it worked this time. It was a great way to finish the year and big thanks to everybody for their great efforts.”
Marino Third In The WSS Championship After Final Round
Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki San Carlo Puccetti Racing Team) had to settle for an eighth place finish in the 15-lap WSS race at Losail, as the highest placed Kawasaki rider proved to be Roberto Rolfo (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki) in sixth place. Florian Marino (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) is the highest placed Kawasaki competitor over the 11-round season, in third place, after he finished 11th in today’s race.
The 5.380km Losail circuit proved a tough challenge on raceday as Rolfo scored sixth place in the first-ever floodlit WSS event, having qualified in ninth place.
For Kenan Sofuoglu his choice of race tyre determined that he would not be able to stay with the front-runners as he started the race from eighth place on the grid and could not move forward as he expected pre-race. Kenan therefore rounded out his often unlucky 2014 season in eighth place overall in the points, with one win to his credit.
Florian Marino could not find the set-up he wanted to allow him to compete at the front either, after suffering two big pre-race crashes. His 11th place gave him enough points to hold onto third place overall even though he did not get his much desired first race win this year.
Roberto Tamburini (San Carlo Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) was ninth at Losail and he finished 11th in the championship, tied with two other riders on exactly 70 points.
Patrick ‘PJ’ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) was 12th at Losail and that was enough to make him sixth in the final points table, two points ahead of Rolfo. Jacobsen, Rolfo and Sofuoglu finished within five points of each other.
Christian Gamarino (Team Go Eleven) scored 14th place in Qatar and finished inside the top 15 places overall. Mason Law (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) was the final Kawasaki points scorer today, in 15th place.
Recently crowned Superstock 600 FIM European Champion Marco Faccani (San Carlo Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) did not finish the race
Kenan Sofuoglu: “We had a lot of question marks about which tyre to use in the race and I do not think I made a good choice. I think eighth was a disappointing result for the final round. I could not push like I wanted to from the beginning to the end especially after a few laps when I had little grip on the bike. This season was a hard season and it is over today. In two weeks’ time we start the 2015 season with some testing. That will be a completely different season and with the support of Kawasaki I think it is going to be a good one.”
Florian Marino: “Third in the championship but it is not the way I wanted to finish the year, in 11th place at Losail. The last ten laps were quite stressful because I knew I could lose third in the championship but we got to the end OK. I have improved in myself this year and I have had four podiums. I know I have the potential to win races. I can take some good points from this season and thanks to all the team for their hard work and belief in me. Going back home with a championship top three is not so bad.”
Rea ends 2014 World Superbike season in style with Qatar podium
Pata Honda rider Jonathan Rea finished as runner-up in this evening’s final World Superbike race of the season at Losail in Qatar, securing third place in the championship, as French rider Sylvain Guintoli took the title with a double race victory.
Rea had finished in fourth place in the first 17-lap outing under floodlights at the 5.380km Losail International Circuit after a blistering start on his Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP from seventh place on the grid.
In race two, Rea got another great launch off the grid and led the race in the early stages before dropping back to third. However, knowing that he had to fight for every available point, Rea got back past outgoing champion Tom Sykes to finish three seconds behind Guintoli and take third place in the series by a single point from Marco Melandri.
Rea’s Pata Honda team-mate Leon Haslam finished race one in 11th place after struggling with front end grip throughout the 17 laps, but the British ace had to fight even harder for tenth place in race two.
After a good start from sixth place on the grid, the 31-year-old was forced off the track at the first corner by Frenchman Loris Baz and had to recover from last position. His hard-fought finish leaves Haslam seventh overall in the final points standings.
Jonathan Rea - 4th and 3rd
I’m really, really happy and what a way to finish the season here in Qatar under the lights. With the atmosphere here, hanging around the hotel pool during the day, it just makes me realise how lucky I am to have this amazing job and to be here. I just want to thank my team for putting their best efforts in this year - they gave me a bike that I could really enjoy riding and we’ve developed the CBR a lot through the year. And at the end of the season I was really happy to finish a lot on the podium and to take back third in the championship. I’m really happy for that and it sets me up for next season in a really good way.
Leon Haslam - 11th and 10th
At the start of race two, Baz was going to wipe about five riders out and he came right across me. I had to lift up because he was going to hit me and we both went off the track. Coming through from last place to tenth wasn’t the best way to finish the season but we certainly made some good changes to the bike from race one to race two. We should probably have opted for the softer tyre like everyone else and I ended up in a bit of a lonely race in tenth for the last few laps. But it was fun coming through the field in the first part of the race and we secured seventh in the championship which was the main thing. The results have been a little disappointing but I think we’ve all worked really well this weekend and just had a bit of bad luck.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
What an exciting day it’s been, taking third place in the championship after two fantastic races. In the first race, Jonathan finished just off the podium after battling all race long but he closed the gap to Melandri to six points for third in the championship. In race two he had another fabulous start and led for a while, finally fighting with Sykes for a lot of laps for a place on the podium. But it was also a race-long battle for third in the championship. Leon’s evening was a little more difficult and he had a front tyre problem in the first race. Race two was a lot better in terms of performance, but he had some problems with Baz at the beginning, which compromised his result. But it was great to see him so determined to fight back through the field after that.
Van der Mark rounds off stunning season with dominant Qatar podium
Pata Honda’s Michael van der Mark concluded his domination of the 2014 World Supersport championship with a classy and dominant win under the floodlights at Losail in Qatar this evening.
Starting from second place on the grid, the 2014 World Supersport champion shot into an early lead on the first of 15 laps at the 5.380km Losail International Circuit and was never headed, breaking the old 2009 lap record no fewer than three times.
His Pata Honda team-mate, Lorenzo Zanetti, finished in seventh place this evening. The 27-year-old Italian battled for a podium position in the opening laps but was unable to sustain his challenge after losing rear grip.
Zanetti finishes the season in fourth place overall in the championship points standings, but has the satisfaction of having taken a popular race victory at his home round of Imola in May.
Meanwhile, van der Mark’s emphatic victory this evening over Thailand’s Ratthapark Wilairot, on another Honda CBR600RR, and Jules Cluzel, who finished third, was his sixth of the season, to go with four second places – the lowest position in which the 22-year-old has finished all year.
The Dutch ace begins a new chapter in his career with the Pata Honda World Superbike team in 2015 and will test the team’s Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP for the first time in three weeks time at Jerez in Spain.
Michael van der Mark - 1st
It’s been a really great season. At the beginning we all knew that it might be possible to fight for the championship and we achieved it in an incredible way. Six wins, four second places and only one zero in the first round is a good record to finish with. The team showed how good they are and how good the CBR is. And even myself, I think I showed I had everything to win the title. Up to this weekend I really wanted to win my last race in World Supersport and now I’m really looking forward to a new step and a new adventure next year. I have a lot of work to do and a lot to learn, but I think I’ve grown a lot this year and I can’t wait for next season.
Lorenzo Zanetti - 7th
I had a good start to the race but after the first three or four laps I started to struggle with the rear tyre dropping. When this happens I start to push the front and I start to fight with the bike. We haven’t been able to find a solution to this all season and even though it’s possible to do a fast lap in qualifying, the race is often very different. It’s disappointing because I think I have had the potential all season to fight for the podium, but it has not always been possible.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Michael just showed this evening the true class of a world champion. He took the lead from the start and kept it until the chequered flag. The champion has made a superb exit from World Supersport and showed once again that he has been the best rider on the best bike all season. It’s a very exciting prospect to see him riding the bigger CBR Fireblade soon. Lorenzo had a tough time and his result was a little disappointing. He was battling in the early stages but couldn’t keep it going, which is a shame for him and the team.
Kawasaki And David Salom Are 2014 World Superbike EVO Winners
David Salom (KRT SBK Evo) ensured he would be the 2014 Evo champion after just one race at the final round of the Superbike World Championship in Losail, Qatar, by finishing 13th in the 17-lap race. Even with one race still to go David is 29 points ahead, an advantage which cannot now be overtaken.
Salom has been the convincing leader of this class-within-a-class virtually all season and has scored 12 Evo wins on the official Ninja ZX-10R machine. His best single result inside the overall SBK classification is eighth, which he achieved in the second race at Laguna Seca.
SECOND FOR FILM IN FINAL ROUND THRILLER
CORE” PTR HONDA’S Ratthapark Wilairot scored a brilliant debut podium second place at the final round of the World Supersport Championship at Losail in Qatar.
The only rider capable of staying with World Champion Michael VD Mark, Film said: “I felt really good this weekend from the very first session and enjoyed the race. Right from the start I had good pace and was able to keep with Michael. My Core” PTR Honda was fantastic and I pushed as hard as I could. This is great for me and I want to say thank you to my team for finding such a good set up and to all my Thailand fans, I am so happy today.”
Film finishes as the best PTR racer in 2014, taking ninth in the World Championship. CIA Insurance and PTR will announce its rider line up for 2015 in due course.
Simon Buckmaster, Core” PTR Honda team manager: “Film has been on the pace all weekend and we knew he could fight for the podium. He chased Michael for the whole race and with a lap to go he did the right thing and settled for second. It is fantastic that he ran the World Champion so close for the whole race. It is a great way to finish the season and now we will look forward to 2015.”
DISAPPOINTMENT FOR JACK AT SEASON FINALE
CIA INSURANCE HONDA’S Jack Kennedy retired out of the final round of the World Supersport Championship at Losail in Qatar in bitter disappointment.
Jack’s bike developed an oil leak after four laps and he pulled off the circuit. Jack said: “That was a really disappointing way to finish the season, especially after qualifying so well and then showing plenty of promise in warm up. We have enjoyed a strong second half of the season and we all deserved better than this – but this is racing and now I am looking forward to 2015 and coming back stronger than ever.”
Substitute Nasser Al Malki, standing in for Martin Cardenas, took a credible 16th place finish on this first outing in the World Championship. Nacho Calero finished 19th.
CIA Insurance Honda will announce its rider line up for 2015 in due course.
Simon Buckmaster, CIA Insurance Honda Team Manager: “Jack’s clutch lost its play right from the start and then the engine had an oil leak. We will investigate why. It’s not the way we wanted to finish the season but Jack’s shown his true potential in the second half of the season.
“Nasser took 16th after standing in at the last minute and racing in his national event as well. Well done to him for getting so close to the points, he can be proud of that.
“Nacho showed promise in warm up by going 1sec faster than qualification but he struggled to keep that speed in the race. He is a really nice guy and I am proud that we helped him achieve his first Championship points earlier in the year.”