Press releases from the series organizers and teams after the final round of World Superbikes at Qatar:
Maiden win for Torres in Race 1 after spectacular battle with Rea
The Spaniard ends Great Britain's winning streak as Sykes claims final podium place.
The penultimate race of the 2015 WorldSBK season has been won under floodlights at the Losail International Circuit by Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), with Jonathan Rea and his KRT team-mate Tom Sykes joining him on the podium. Sykes led from the start, before being passed by Rea and Torres, the Spaniard pulling off an incredible move around the outside of the former champion into turn one at half distance. Interestingly, Torres’ maiden win in WorldSBK maintains Aprilia’s 100% record of podium finishes at the Qatari venue, with the Spanish flag waving at the top for the first time since 2012 at Miller Motorsports Park, when Carlos Checa won the first race. 2015 World Champion Rea gave chase but had to be content with second, his 65th podium.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) came out on top in the fight for fourth with Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) completing the top 6.
Xavi Fores (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) converted his maiden front row start into a solid 7th, the Spanish rider finishing the race three seconds ahead of compatriot David Salom (Team Pedercini), Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing), Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia), who completed the top 11 after their own four way fight from start to finish.
The final point scorers were Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Gabor Rizmayer (BMW Team Toth), Christophe Ponsson (Team Pedercini) and Gianluca Vizziello (Grillini SBK Team).
Alex Lowes was riding superbly in 3rd in the first half of the 17 lap encounter until his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki hit problems at turn 1 on lap 8.
There was drama at the start for Leon Camier who suffered a technical problem on the grid after the warm up lap with his MV Agusta Reparto Corse machine, the British rider will hope to make amends in the final race of the season.
Haslam ends the 2015 WorldSBK season with a win
Second place Davies claims runner-up spot as Rea suffers first DNF of the season.
The final FIM Superbike World Championship race of 2015 was won on the final lap after another race-long fight as Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), who took his second win of the year – the fifth of his WorldSBK career – beat Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team). In securing 2nd, the Welshman also claimed the runner-up spot in the final standings ahead of Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), who came home third. Leon’s winning margin was 0.110s and his victory gave Aprilia a double win in the season finale, just as they had one year ago under Qatar’s floodlights.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike) completed his debut WorldSBK year with another strong showing, the Dutchman finishing fourth after running in the leading group for the first 12 laps, before dropping back a little in the closing stages.
The other big news of Race 2 was Jonathan Rea’s first DNF of the season, which put an end to his hopes of setting a new outright points record in the series; the 2015 World Championship had to pull out on lap 6 as his KRT machine suffered a technical problem.
Sylvain Guintoli was fifth on his last race for Pata Honda. The 2014 champion ended the night’s second 17-lap encounter a fraction of a second ahead of Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing), who took a season’s best sixth.
Seventh was Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), who equalled his previous best result of the season, while 8th to 10th went to Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati), David Salom (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) and Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia).
The final point scorers in Race 2 were Christophe Ponsson (Team Pedercini), Gianluca Vizziello (Grillini SBK Team), Gabor Rizmayer (BMW Team Toth), Imre Toth (BMW Team Toth) and Alex Phillis who scored his first WorldSBK championship point.
Xavi Fores (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) did not compete in Race 2 after withdrawing through illness while Alex Lowes retired his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki at the end of the opening lap. Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was able to start the second encounter but he too to finish for the second time today.
Davies and the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team close the 2015 SBK season as championship runners-up
Doha (Qatar), Sunday 19 October 2015 – The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team closes the 2015 World Superbike season in style. Chaz Davies closes the final races of the season, at the Losail circuit in Qatar, in fourth and second place, confirming second position in the overall championship standings, while Ducati consolidates second place in the manufacturer’s championship. Xavi Forés, suffering from a virus, crosses the line seventh in race 1.
Race 1 – The first of the evening’s races got underway at 7pm local time in hot and dry conditions (32°C air temperature). Chaz, fourth on the grid, lined up for his 100th Superbike race start. Getting away well, he was lying third through the initial stages. A few laps into the 17-lap race he found himself part of a group together with the two Aprilias. Fifth at the mid-race point, the Welshman passed Haslam on lap 10 to move into fourth place, a position that he was able to hold to the line. Closing race 1 just behind Sykes meant that Davies headed into the season finale with a 13-point advantage over the Kawasaki rider.
Xavi, from third place on the grid, was lying seventh after the first lap. The Spaniard, getting into a good rhythm, and despite the fact that he was very weak due to an intestinal virus he contracted over the weekend, did all he could to improve his position. Unfortunately the gap between himself and the Aprilias immediately ahead of him gradually increased and, especially in the final stages, Xavi no longer had the physical strength to push and close the gap. He closed the race in seventh place, a great result considering his physical condition.
Race 2 – Unfortunately the physical effort of having completed race 1 only worsened Xavi’s physical condition and so, despite his desire to obtain a good result in race, he was unfortunately unable to start race 2.
Chaz thus moved up one place on the grid to start from third. Lying third through the first corners, he quickly passed both Kawasakis to take the lead by the end of lap one. The Welshman had to defend himself first from Rea and then from Haslam but, thanks to modifications made to his Panigale R before race 2, he was able to hold the lead all the way to the final corner where, unfortunately, a small error gave Haslam the chance to pass and take the win. Chaz nevertheless achieved his goal, crossing the line 0.110 of a second behind Haslam to clinch second place in the final championship standings.
As the 2015 championship concludes in Qatar, Davies lies in overall second place, having scored a total of 416 points, 5 race wins and 18 podiums. Xavi Forés positions 19th, having earned 47 points in the five races he has run this season. Ducati consolidates second position in the manufacturer’s standings with 471 points.
Quotes after the races:
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 4th, 2nd
“I’m really happy; we came here with the aim to finish second in the championship and we did just that. In race 1 I struggled to be honest but, after making a few changes before race 2, the suspension on my Panigale R was better and I could push harder, though it was still definitely one of the hardest races of the year. I’m just sorry I made a small mistake in the final corner, leaving the door open for Haslam who got me in the final metres. But that’s ok. It’s been a great season, we’ve been consistently up front, fighting for podiums and all of the guys in Ducati have worked really hard to provide us with a great package. Collecting more than 400 points over the season, despite the DNFs, is not at all bad. But we can always improve of course! We have work to do over the winter but I’m confident and excited about starting the 2016 season!”
Xavi Forés (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #112) – 7th, DNS
“To be honest I did all I physically could have done in race 1. I tried to push but it became increasingly difficult and I was very nauseous by the final laps. So although I hoped to do a little more today, I simply wasn’t able to with my physical condition the way it was. I’m really sorry because I wanted to improve on the results I’d scored at Aragon but it wasn’t possible and I had to make the difficult decision, together with the team, to not participate in the second race…”
Ernesto Marinelli – Ducati SBK Project Director
“The final race was a really exciting one. Chaz was amazing and battled all the way to the last corner, making some incredible passes. To have scored second place in both the rider’s and manufacturer’s championships is an important achievement. Without the hard work of everybody in Ducati Corse and the entire team it would have been impossible to do this and so we thank them and Chaz, who has always ridden the Panigale to the max. It was a real pity that Forés contracted a virus that weakened him so much the night before the races. He had completed a solid weekend and I’m sure he could have done very well in the races if it hadn’t been for this setback. Now our focus will turn to development for next year, which is almost upon us, strengthened by our 2015 results and by the partnership with Aruba. We must look ahead to next season with optimism, we have a lot of work to do but I’m sure that we will face it with the passion and tenacity that has helped us up until now.”
Stefano Cecconi – Team Principal
“This final race had us on the edge of our seats from the first to the last lap and this meant that we could forget for a minute that it really was the season finale. We’ve had a really great 2015 season of which we can be proud. The thanks goes to the team, our riders and everyone working at home who made all of this possible. I want to personally thank Xavi Forés who really did more than his physical condition should have allowed him to, and to our great Chaz Davies who, with this last, incredible race, definitely put on a show for all of the fans and the Ducatisti in particular. Soon we will start our winter tests and we cannot wait to have Davide Giugliano back on track with us too. With the team complete, we’ll be ready to lay the foundations for next season.”
APRILIA FINISHES OUT THE 2015 SUPERBIKE SEASON WITH A DOUBLE WIN
JORDI TORRES TAKES HIS FIRST WIN IN RACE 1, LEON HASLAM AHEAD OF THE REST IN RACE 2
Losail (Qatar), 18 October 2015 – The Losail International Circuit hosted two decidedly exciting races. It was an all Aprilia triumph, with Jordi Torres sealing his first Superbike win in Race 1 and Leon Haslam winning Race 2.
Well supported by his RSV4 RF, the Spanish rookie managed the first part of Race 1 well, maintaining his pace and paying particular attention to tyre wear. This was the choice of a veteran which bore fruit at the end of the race when Jordi caught up his rivals one by one until finding himself in the lead six laps from the end. It was the position he would hold onto until the chequered flag came out. In Race 2, on the other hand, Torres crashed just two laps from the end as he was battling for the podium.
Leon Haslam was the protagonist in Race 2, after having to settle for sixth place in Race 1. Getting off the line well from the second row, Leon stayed in the lead group with a blinding pace (the fast lap he put on the sheets was 1’58.068) moving back and forth between first and second place. After a long duel with Davies, Haslam took advantage of his RSV4 RF's better acceleration to overcome his countryman and win his second race of the season.
Leon Haslam finishes out the championship season in fourth place, followed by team mate Jordi Torres who was named best rookie of the season. Aprilia is third in the Manufacturer championship.
Leon Haslam: “We knew that the Aprilia would be fast here, even if my weekend didn't get off to the best of starts. We worked hard to get back on track but unfortunately in Race 1 I had some trouble braking that caused me to stress the system as well as my arm, which suffered in the second part of the race. The changes we made before Race 2 turned things completely around. The RSV4 was working great and it wasn't difficult to maintain a good pace. I kept on attacking down to the end when I pushed hard to finish my season the way it had begun. We've had our ups and downs this season but we never let up. This win is the just reward.”
Jordi Torres: “I am really happy about the win in Race 1. Not only because of the personal result, which is fantastic, but for my team. I have found a second family with Aprilia. The guys worked hard all season to help me grow and learn the many new lessons of this championship. I knew I had a good pace, but I was sure that my rivals would not give up. At the last turn I expected Rea to attack and I decided to brake hard, staying on the inside. Incredibly, he braked even harder, but I had a better line and that let me stay ahead of him. Winning after a duel with the great names in the championship is something that I had always hoped for. It's a shame about Race 2. I didn't have the same feeling with the front and, pushing hard to stay in the lead group, I crashed.”
Van der Mark ends debut WSBK season strongly under Qatar lights
Michael van der Mark continued the impressive finish to his debut World Superbike championship by taking his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP to two top five finishes in today’s final races of the 2015 season at Losail in Qatar.
The races were won by Jordi Torres and Leon Haslam but, starting from ninth place on the grid for both 17-lap outings, van der Mark was able to maintain the superb pace he had shown in the opening three free practice sessions, taking fifth place in race one and improving to fourth in race two.
It was only when the grip from his rear tyre began to drop off in both outings that the 22-year-old Dutch ace was forced to reduce his pace but, with a points haul of 80 points from the final seven races of the season, van der Mark retains seventh place in the 2015 WSBK championship standings.
For his team-mate Sylvain Guintoli the Qatar races marked his final World Superbike outings on the CBR. The French rider suffered from technical problems during free practice and qualifying and started tonight’s floodlit races at the 5.380km Losail circuit from 13th on the grid.
Guintoli was able to improve on his grid position to take tenth place in race one but enjoyed a much more positive second encounter, matching the lap times of the leading riders and eventually crossing the line in fifth place, behind his Honda team-mate, but ahead of van der Mark in sixth place in the championship points table.
Michael van der Mark - 5th and 4th
The weekend has been great after we started really well on Friday. The CBR felt good and the pace was strong and we were able to improve on Saturday, except in Superpole, which wasn’t so good. Tonight in race one I didn’t have the same grip as the other guys in the early laps so I had to push hard and that used up the tyres too quickly but I was able to finish in fifth. For race two we changed the bike a little bit and the pace of the front guys wasn’t as fast as in race one. I had the same kind of pace as those guys and I could stay with them but I couldn’t really get past. I kept pushing but in the last few laps the tyres were completely gone. I’m happy with two solid results for the end of the season and looking forward to start work for 2016 during testing next month.
Sylvain Guintoli - 10th and 5th
It was a tough last weekend but there were definitely some positives. In the middle of race two we had a good pace, similar to the guys at the front, and that felt quite good. But we had some issues with the bike during Friday and Saturday unfortunately so it’s been a difficult weekend. At least in race two, despite a bad start, I was able to claw my way closer to the front and the pace was quite good. We changed a lot after race one – went for the softer tyre, changed the gearing and the swing arm length. But I got stuffed a bit into the first corner and then did my best lap mid-race. The weekend has been a reflection of the whole season really: we’ve had some good moments but some struggles too. In the end we stuck together as a team and worked really hard on three sides – the team, Honda and my self – and I’m happy with that.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Sylvain started in the middle of the pack in race one but wasn’t able to get into some really good lap times. In the second race he got into a good rhythm and matched the pace of the front riders which took him away from the second group for fifth place. It was a great effort after the problems earlier in the weekend and we wish him all the best in his new adventure for 2016. Michael had really good pace all weekend but we put some used tyres in for warm-up and that didn’t really work. He got a reasonable start in race one but had to settle for fifth spot. He was in the front group for race two though and had really good pace. But lap-by-lap, sector-by-sector he had to let go a bit as his tyre went, but he still finished in fourth place. I think he pushed to get the best possible result from the bike here and we’re happy to finish the season with these results. With Nicky Hayden joining Mikey for next season, we’ve got some exciting plans and a great line-up as we head into the winter tests.
Canepa and Team Althea Racing eighth in the final race of the SBK season at Losail
Doha (Qatar) 18 October 2015
Team Althea Racing took part in the final World Superbike races of the 2015 season today at the Losail International Circuit. Rider Matteo Baiocco was unfortunately unable to participate, having fractured three metatarsi on his right foot in a crash at the end of yesterday’s Superpole session, meaning that Niccolò Canepa was the team’s only representative on track today.
Race 1: The first of the day’s races took place in very hot and humid conditions. Canepa, from fourteenth on the grid, made a good start and held that position through the opening laps. Having moved into thirteenth by lap seven, the Italian was unfortunately forced to retire on lap twelve due to a technical problem.
Race 2: Having made changes to his Panigale R between races 1 and 2 and with the problem resolved, Canepa was ready for race 2. Having made a good start, he was lying twelfth in the opening laps. Getting into a consistent rhythm, he was able to make up a couple of positions over the course of the 17 laps of the race, to cross the line eighth in the final event of the season.
At the end of the 2015 championship, Matteo Baiocco concludes in ninth place in the general standings, with 139 points. Niccolò Canepa, having competed for Althea Racing from the Misano round onwards, positions 16th with 55 points.
Niccolò Canepa: “It’s been a really difficult weekend and this is not the best way to finish the season. We’ve worked a great deal over the weekend, changing a lot of things, also between today’s two races. Race 2 went better than the first, in that I was able to remain constant from start to finish. We made a step forward compared to race 1, in which a technical issue prevented me from finishing. I thank the Althea Racing team for the opportunity they gave me this season as otherwise I was without a ride half way through the year. I’m pleased to have been able to score two front row starts with the team. Now I look to the future.”
De Puniet equals season best at Qatar finale
Randy de Puniet concluded his final race as part of the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team by matching his season’s best performance, from Phillip Island, with a seventh place finish in race two at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit this evening.
Continuing the strong form shown throughout the Qatar weekend, de Puniet rode an impressive race aboard his Suzuki GSX-R1000 to close his 2015 rookie World Superbike campaign. Elevated to seventh on the grid, the Frenchman held his position for the duration of the second race, despite the challenge from the group around him, to take nine championship points. The opening contest began in a similar vein as he maintained his top-ten position from the outset. Battling with a five-strong group for eighth, he eventually dropped to 12th with three laps to go to collect four points at the flag leaving his season tally at 52 and in 18th position overall.
A blistering start to the first race of the night had seen Alex Lowes battle to a podium position – which would also match his season's best – to take third from Chaz Davies on lap four while holding off the charging three riders behind him for the next three laps. Unfortunately, the British racer was forced to retire his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R on lap seven with an engine failure. The bad luck continued into the final race of the year as Lowes brought his GSX-R into the pits after the sighting lap, failing to re-join the grid as the lights went out and bringing his season to an early close. Lowes concludes his second year 10th in the championship standings with 135 points.
2015’s eni FIM Superbike World Championship concluded under the Losail floodlights with Aprilia’s Jordi Torres and Leon Haslam taking the top step for one race each as the desert temperatures still registered 34°C on track despite the late night schedule.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki would like to thank Lowes, de Puniet and the entire WSBK team for their hard work and determination this season, Suzuki Motor Corporation and Yoshimura Japan for their valued partnership and all our partners for their unwavering support.
Randy de Puniet:
“I’m very happy to finish the year like that because it was a really difficult season. Race one I was fighting for eighth four laps before the end but I struggled with engine brake and the front tyre-life, so I finished 12th. Race two we made some adjustment with the engine brake and this was better, helped me to stop the bike better so I wasn’t pushing so much with the front tyre, my start was good and I finished seventh. It’s good, it was my best result since Phillip Island so I’m happy to finish on a good point. Thanks to all the guys in the team this year, it was not so easy for everyone so to finish a race like this is good for us all.”
“Thank you to the whole Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team for all their hard work and everyone at Suzuki and Yoshimura for their support over the last two years. It’s such a disappointing way to end the season as we had made a huge step yesterday and an even bigger one today, after a difficult day on Friday. We were fourth in warm up and sitting third in the first race and I felt comfortable enough with the bike to fight with the riders around me when the bike stopped. We changed the engine for race two but unbelievably on the warm up lap it tightened up and I had to pull into pit-lane. It couldn’t be a more disappointing way to end the year but I have learned a lot and I am riding well.”
Podiums For Rea And Sykes At The Final Round Of The Year
Jonathan Rea (KRT) ended his championship winning WorldSBK campaign with a second place and then his first DNF of an almost perfect season, finishing up with a final championship winning advantage of 132 points. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) scored two third places today to end his season in overall third place.
Under floodlights at the 5.380km circuit in Qatar Rea looked set to challenge for the opening race win all the way after he got into a personal battle with eventual winner Jordi Torres (Aprilia). He missed his target by only 0.726 seconds after 17 intense laps, attempting several passes on the final laps.
In race two Jonathan had his first technical issue this season and was forced to stop after a few laps, having been in a leading position once again and looking at recording another victory to add to his impressive haul this year.
For Sykes, the Losail Superpole winner once again on Saturday, a small issue in race one prevented him from maximising his potential but he still rode cleverly and quickly to record a third place finish.
Tom took a second podium place, once again in third, in race two, finishing only 0.388 seconds from the win. It left Sykes in third place overall at the end of a 13-round series.
It has been a remarkable season for the entire KRT squad and the Ninja ZX-10R. Of the 26 individual races run in 2015, Rea won 14 and Sykes four, with Kawasaki also winning the Manufacturers’ Championship for the first time.
Jonathan Rea said: “I gave 200% in race one and I can’t thank my guys enough because they worked hard to give me a really good bike. When Torres came past I made a really big effort to stay with him. Race two was a frustrating way to end the year but we have to be clever and look back at the amazing season we had, with so many race wins, and taking the championship. I wanted to win again in race two and we were doing enough in the beginning to manage our tyres better than the others. I am just a bit gutted that I missed out on the second race because it looked like a fun race to be part of! I would have liked the battle.”
Tom Sykes said: “There was too big a gap to bridge after the previous rounds in trying to take second place overall. In race one today the traction control turned itself all the way up to full and the power was being turned down so that explains why I was losing ground. I tried to compensate but in race two were we close to where we needed to be. The two guys in front made an incredible race, passing each other so close but still able to maintain a lap time. I have to be happy with the third place result, and only being three-tenths of a second off the win, on a circuit that is not my best. That is a big positive to take into the winter."
David Salom (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) was eighth in race one at Losail, and then ninth in race two, to finish his season in 14th place. Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki) had two DNFs today and ended his season overall 15th.
Debut WSS win for Smith in Qatar as season draws to a close
A thrilling floodlit WSS finale has been won by Kyle Smith (Pata Honda World Supersport Team), who took his first win in Supersport after a tense final lap. Smith had several moments but was able to fend of 2015 Supersport World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), taking the win by 0.971s at the flag. For Sofuoglu, who wrapped up his fourth World Supersport crown this year it, was his 69th career podium in second, while Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) secured the third place in the overall championship standings by taking the final podium spot.
Lucas Mahias finished a lonely 4th after running at the front aboard his MG Competition Yamaha early on, while PJ Jacobsen (CORE'' Motorsport Thailand Honda) and Nico Terol (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) rounded out the top 6.
Roberto Rolfo signed off from his 2015 duties with another solid 7th aboard the Lorini Honda, while Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25), Marco Faccani (San Carlo Puccetti Kawasaki) and Fabio Menghi (VFT Racing Yamaha) completed the top 10.
11th went to Dominic Schmitter (Team Go Eleven), who just missed out on a top 10 finish in a drag race to the line; the Swiss rider came home ahead of Sergio Gadea (Team Lorini), Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing Team), Abdulaziz Binladin (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Kevin Manfredi (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda), taking the final point scoring places in the last race of the year.
Gino Rea (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda) was unable to convert his front row start into a result, dropping to 11th at the start before crashing on lap 9.
Smith takes maiden CBR victory in final 2015 World Supersport round
Kyle Smith took an emphatic and impressive maiden World Supersport win in this evening’s final race of the 2015 season at Losail in Qatar, beating world champion Kenan Sofuoglu and Lorenzo Zanetti to the top step of the podium.
Starting from fifth on the grid for the 15 lap race around the 5.380km Losail circuit, Smith spent the early laps battling with fellow Honda rider Patrick Jacobsen. He passed the American on lap six and Lucas Mahias a lap later before hunting down Sofuoglu and Zanetti at the front.
Smith, 24, took the lead on lap nine and was able to eke out a slender lead before a much anticipated Sofuoglu fightback in the closing stages. However, the British rider was able to keep the Turk at bay and retain his lead, eventually crossing the line one second ahead of the four-time world champion.
Kyle Smith - 1st
I had no idea I might win tonight – Kenan [Sofuoglu] had such fast pace yesterday in qualifying. I thought I could run for the podium positions but I didn’t think I could beat Kenan. A few laps in I felt really comfortable with the CBR and felt like I had the pace so I just pushed all the way to the end. I felt good in the early laps but struggled to get past PJ [Jacobsen]. We made a big change for this race – something we haven’t tried all season – but it definitely made a big improvement. I knew Kenan was behind me for the last couple of laps, and he’s not a good man to have behind you! But I just kept my head down and tried to make no mistakes and came home with a victory and I’m just so happy. I want to thank all the guys at Ten Kate and Honda and I hope to be up here again n ext season.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
That was a very surprising race and Kyle was immediately up to speed and passing one guy after another, eventually taking the lead. He never gave it away and won his first World Supersport race! It was an amazing way to end the season because honestly in practice it didn’t look like Kyle could challenge for the win. We thought that a podium position was possible but this race just shows his talent and the potential of the CBR and we are all really, really happy.
CIA Landlords Insurance Honda looking to 2016
Sun, 18 Oct 2015
GINO REA crashed out of a podium challenging position with nine laps to go of the 12th and final round of the World Supersport Championship at Losail in Qatar.
The Londoner had got off to a slow start, falling back to 10th from third on the grid, but was scything through the field to join the front-runners when he crashed out. Gino said: “I am gutted really. The race got off in the worst way it could. My clutch bit and I had to grab and go again. Then at the end of the first lap Baldolini hit me and ran me wide.
“I then got my head down and was pushing hard. I’d just got by Terol and was coming on to the front group but I was carrying so much corner speed that I lost the front. We tried really hard to finish the year on a high and I think we had the pace, but it was more bad luck. After all the effort we went to get a front row start I am really sorry for the whole team.”
Kevin Manfredi, who had suffered technical issues all weekend, was the best CIA Landlords Insurance Honda finisher in 15th place, taking his first Championship point. Aiden Wagner retired at the end of lap one and Stefan Hill did well to finish his first ever World Supersport race in a creditable 16th place.
The series now breaks for winter before the 2016 season start. The CIA Landlords Insurance Honda team will take time to build up to a Championship challenge and announcements on rider line up will be made soon.
CIA Landlords Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “Gino rode well all weekend and qualified third. Despite a bad start he was looking to challenge for the podium and it is a shame for him and the whole team that he crashed out.
“After a difficult weekend it was good for Kevin to score his first Championship point. We are really pleased for him. He’s been a pleasure to work with.
“It’s really long gearing here and Aiden burnt out his clutch off the line and had to retire at the end of the first lap. He’s a rider with a bright future.
“It was always going to be difficult for Stefan to come here but to finish 16th is really good and he is a talent to look to for the future.
“A big thank you to the team sponsors for supporting CIA Landlords Insurance Honda this year. To all the guys in the team, I am proud of them as always and I know we will look to challenge for the title in 2016.”
Sofuoglu Second Under The Losail Lights
Recently crowned World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) took his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R to second place in the 15-lap floodlit race at Losail in Qatar, finishing less than a second from the race winner Kyle Smith (Honda). Kenan’s runner-up spot ensured that Kawasaki would win the Manufacturers’ Championship in WSS with the Ninja ZX-6R.
Kenan led for eight laps and also had to fight off the attentions of third places rider Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta) to take what was his ninth podium of the season. Kenan took five race victories in 2015 and ended his season with a winning advantage of 37 points.
From the start Kenan took the holeshot and tried to push clear but he was dragged back into a three rider battle, which then became four as Smith came through to lead. On what proved to be a less than optimum choice of a harder tyre set-up than most of his rivals Sofuoglu was unable to make a final push take him to and past Smith at the flag.
Kenan ended the season with a points total of 233, and points scoring finishes in all 12 races.
Marco Faccani (San Carlo Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) was ninth in Qatar, Dominic Schmitter (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki) 11th. Christian Gamarino (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki) crashed out of contention on lap seven.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “We are a little disappointed not to win the race but the good thing is that Kawasaki has won the Manufacturers’ title. That was the main goal and I am very happy for the team and for Kawasaki. The lap times that we saw here with the soft tyre in practice were incredible, but we thought the harder tyre would be better around Doha for 15 laps. It seems everybody else used the soft tyres bar me and one other rider. It was a big mistake to use the hard tyre because at the beginning of the race I could not push like I wanted and I could not go away after seven or eight laps. But no problem, we achieved our targets this year.”
Sunday's Words & Pictures
Leon Haslam #91 - Aprilia Racing Team - Red Devils
Race 1 6th Race 2 1st
“We knew that the Aprilia would be fast here, even if my weekend didn't get off to the best of starts. We worked hard to get back on track but unfortunately in Race 1 I had some trouble braking that caused me to stress the system as well as my arm, which suffered in the second part of the race. The changes we made before Race 2 turned things completely around. The RSV4 was working great and it wasn't difficult to maintain a good pace. I kept on attacking down to the end when I pushed hard to finish my season the way it had begun. We've had our ups and downs this season but we never let up. This win is the just reward.”
Jordi Torres #81 - Aprilia Racing Team - Red Devils
Race 1 1st Race 2 DNF
“I am really happy about the win in Race 1, also for my team. I have found a second family with Aprilia. The guys worked hard all season to help me grow and learn . I knew I had a good pace, but I was sure that my rivals would not give up. At the last turn I expected Rea to attack and I decided to brake hard, staying on the inside. Incredibly, he braked even harder, but I had a better line and that let me stay ahead of him. Winning after a duel with the great names in the championship is something that I had always hoped for. It's a shame about Race 2. I didn't have the same feeling with the front and, pushing hard to stay in the lead group, I crashed.”
Chaz Davies #7 - Aruba.it Racing - Ducati SBK Team
Race 1 4th Race 2 2nd
“I’m really happy; we came here with the aim to finish second in the championship and we did just that. After making a few changes before race 2, the suspension on my Panigale R was better and I could push harder. I made a small mistake in the final corner, leaving the door open for Haslam who got me in the final metres. It’s been a great season, we’ve been consistently up front, fighting for podiums. Collecting more than 400 points over the season, despite the DNFs, is not at all bad. But we can always improve of course! We have work to do over the winter but I’m confident and excited about starting the 2016 season!”
Jonathan Rea #65 - Kawasaki Racing Team
Race 1 2nd Race 2 DNF
“I gave 200% in race one and I can’t thank my guys enough because they worked hard to give me a really good bike. When Torres came past I made a really big effort to stay with him. Race two was a frustrating way to end the year but we have to be clever and look back at the amazing season we had, with so many race wins, and taking the championship. I wanted to win again in race two and we were doing enough in the beginning to manage our tyres better than the others. I am just a bit gutted that I missed out on the second race because it looked like a fun race to be part of! I would have liked the battle.”