The last race of the season wasn't without thrills as Nicky Hayden had to start from the pitlane after using too many engines and a Kawasaki caught on fire after blowing up down the main straight.
Chaz Davies hit the first turn first but Rea took the lead from him ahead of Sylvain Guintoli, Tom Sykes and the fast Ducati of Xavi Fores. A lap later, Jonathan Rea lost braking into turn one and ran off into the run-off, rejoining in thirteenth place, gifting second place to Guintoli who then lost it to Sykes.
After a few fastest laps, Davies had a growing gap at the front while Rea charged through the middle of the pack, but after seven laps, Saeed Al Sulaiti's bike blew up on full chat down the long straight. With smoke pouring out, it looked like it was leaking oil and when the bike caught fire in the gravel trap, it was definitely oil. The main straight being turned into the bottom of a frying pan necessitated a red flag and the race would restart after the quick start, one minute of pitlane opening and one mechanic on the grid, a sighting lap then a ten lap race with new clutches for everyone.
As Rea returned to his garage, he immediately jumped off his bike and charged into his garage and gesticulated wildly, seemingly exceedingly unhappy with his bike. Davies lost his huge lead and the almost certainty of victory and Sykes lost the almost certainty of getting second place in the championship. Rea restarted in ninth place with Davies, Sykes and Guintoli making up the front row.
As with the first start, Chaz Davies led from the start ahead of Tom Sykes and Leon Haslam. Jonathan Rea made it through to sixth place, pushed about by Alex De Angelis, but as De Angelis went off at turn four, Rea closed the gap and took fifth of Guintoli then, on the second lap, fourth off Xavi Fores on his way to breaking the lap record on a light bike with fresh tyres. Another lap record and passing Haslam and the front three were together, Davies, Sykes and Rea.
Jonathan Rea looked for a way past Tom Sykes throughout the fourth lap, swapping places back and forth, but on the fifth lap, Rea forced past Sykes at turn ten and left no room for the switch back. Rea then stared at a one point two second gap to Chaz Davies, knowing that beating Davies would give his teammate Tom Sykes second place in the championship, but Sykes in third would give Davies the vice-champion position.
Lap eight of ten and Rea had caught Davies with two seconds back to Sykes. Sykes was safe in third as Sylvain Guintoli was almost four seconds further back in fourth place. Rea looked for a weakness in Davies for two laps but realised on the last lap that he was not going to pass the Ducati Panigale and that Davies was about to get his third double win in a row. Rea then played the role of a team player and looked back for his teammate. Dropping off Davies, he started show-boating, pulling wheelies and looking for Sykes.
Tom Sykes was four seconds back and four seconds is a long time in racing. Rea slowed enough for Sykes to eventually catch him up and he set up a nice photo opportunity for Kawasaki, letting Sykes take his second place and denying Chaz Davies a hard-earned second place.
Chaz Davies won every dry race since the summer break, eleven victories in 2016 to Jonathan Rea's nine, and he finished the championship in third place thanks to Kawasaki essentially deciding the result by gently suggesting to Rea that it would be nice for Sykes to get second place.
Winter will be spent discussing team orders once again and wondering what would have happened if Ducati had got the Panigale sorted out sooner.
|1||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale R|
|2||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10R||5.855|
|3||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10R||6.376|
|4||50||S. GUINTOLI||Yamaha YZF R1||8.493|
|5||91||L. HASLAM||Kawasaki ZX-10R||11.862|
|6||81||J. TORRES||BMW S1000 RR||12.232|
|7||69||N. HAYDEN||Honda CBR1000RR SP||13.599|
|8||12||X. FORÉS||Ducati Panigale R||14.210|
|9||35||R. DE ROSA||BMW S1000 RR||14.282|
|10||22||A. LOWES||Yamaha YZF R1||14.414|
|11||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Honda CBR1000RR SP||15.169|
|12||32||L. SAVADORI||Aprilia RSV4 RF||19.401|
|13||2||L. CAMIER||MV Agusta 1000 F4||22.236|
|14||40||R. RAMOS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||25.995|
|15||21||M. REITERBERGER||BMW S1000 RR||29.701|
|16||99||L. SCASSA||Ducati Panigale R||33.205|
|17||4||G. VIZZIELLO||Kawasaki ZX-10R||44.627|
|18||9||D. SCHMITTER||Kawasaki ZX-10R||44.753|
|19||56||P. SEBESTYÉN||Yamaha YZF R1||45.186|
|20||119||P. SZKOPEK||Yamaha YZF R1||1'00.135|
|RET||17||K. ABRAHAM||BMW S1000 RR||1 Lap|
|RET||15||A. DE ANGELIS||Aprilia RSV4 RF|
Results (at red flag):
|1||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale R|
|2||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10R||2.743|
|3||50||S. GUINTOLI||Yamaha YZF R1||3.360|
|4||12||X. FORÉS||Ducati Panigale R||4.134|
|5||35||R. DE ROSA||BMW S1000 RR||9.107|
|6||81||J. TORRES||BMW S1000 RR||9.145|
|7||15||A. DE ANGELIS||Aprilia RSV4 RF||9.767|
|8||91||L. HASLAM||Kawasaki ZX-10R||9.915|
|9||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10R||10.353|
|10||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Honda CBR1000RR SP||10.736|
|11||2||L. CAMIER||MV Agusta 1000 F4||11.318|
|12||40||R. RAMOS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||16.428|
|13||21||M. REITERBERGER||BMW S1000 RR||18.788|
|14||17||K. ABRAHAM||BMW S1000 RR||21.244|
|15||69||N. HAYDEN||Honda CBR1000RR SP||22.554|
|16||99||L. SCASSA||Ducati Panigale R||22.559|
|17||4||G. VIZZIELLO||Kawasaki ZX-10R||25.448|
|18||32||L. SAVADORI||Aprilia RSV4 RF||28.930|
|19||22||A. LOWES||Yamaha YZF R1||29.521|
|20||9||D. SCHMITTER||Kawasaki ZX-10R||29.627|
|21||56||P. SEBESTYÉN||Yamaha YZF R1||37.281|
|22||119||P. SZKOPEK||Yamaha YZF R1||1 Lap|
|RET||25||J. BROOKES||BMW S1000 RR||2 Laps|