2019 Qatar WorldSBK Race 1 Result: A Battle Of Endurance

Jonathan Rea has won the first WorldSBK race of the weekend at Qatar, resisting the pressure from Chaz Davies and Alex Lowes to hold on and break away in the final laps.

Rea got a fantastic start off the line, leaving the Yamahas of Alex Lowes and Sandro Cortese behind. The slow Yamahas allowed Tom Sykes to get his BMW ahead into Turn 1, but Sykes ran a fraction wide and was bumped out on the exit, letting the Yamahas back underneath.

Rea pushed to stretch an advantage, but couldn't shake Alex Lowes, no matter how hard he tried. Sandro Cortese followed at a modest distance, while the hard-charging Chaz Davies was quickly up to fourth after getting fantastic start to compensate for a poor qualifying, starting from twelfth on the grid.

Davies was the fastest man on track for those early laps, first hunting down and then passing Sandro Cortese. The GRT Yamaha rider made the mistake of trying to up his pace, crashing out shortly after being passed by Davies.

From there, the hunt was on. Lowes continued to chase Rea, while behind them Davies closed in. Rea tried to up the pace, but for lap after lap, Lowes matched whatever pace the reigning champion could manage. All the while, Davies drew ever closer.

As the race neared two thirds distance, Rea upped the pace once again. This time, it was a little too much for Lowes, especially as the Pata Yamaha rider also had to deal with the Aruba Ducati of Davies, who had by now arrived on his tail. On lap 13, Davies sliced surgically up the inside of Lowes at the final corner, putting himself in the perfect position to drive out of the last turn and onto the front straight.

For a couple of laps, it looked like Davies might catch Rea, but in the end, the Aruba Ducati rider had used up too much of his tires coming through to put himself in podium position. In the last three laps, the podium riders stretched apart, Rea eventually winning by over 2 seconds ahead of Davies, while Lowes slipped back another couple of seconds behind the Ducati to take third.

Alvaro Bautista crossed the line in fourth, after a lonely race once he had gotten past the group consisting of Toprak Razgatlioglu, Michael van der Mark, and Leon Haslam. The battle for fifth would eventually be won by Haslam on the Kawasaki, winning a fierce duel with Van der Mark in the last couple of laps.

Loris Baz would take a strong seventh, having chased down the battle for fifth, but never got close enough to launch his own attack. Razgatlioglu put himself out of contention on lap 12, running wide at Turn 6 when he locked the front and had a massive moment trying to get the bike stopped, forced into the gravel and rejoining to finish eleventh.

Razgatlioglu's mistake and Lowes' podium shook up the battle for third in the championship. Rea has already been crowned champion, and Bautista is safe in second, but Lowes now has a firmer grasp on third, 7 points clear of teammate Michael van der Mark, who is in turn 10 points ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu.

Two more races remain on Saturday. The Superpole race, and then the last race of the 2019 WorldSBK season.

There was a strange incident on the warm up lap, Jordi Torres highsiding out at Turn 1, and forced to retire.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR  
2 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale V4 R 2.732
3 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 5.423
4 19 A. BAUTISTA Ducati Panigale V4 R 8.043
5 91 L. HASLAM Kawasaki ZX-10RR 17.720
6 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1 17.738
7 76 L. BAZ Yamaha YZF R1 18.176
8 28 M. REITERBERGER BMW S1000 RR 20.479
9 50 E. LAVERTY Ducati Panigale V4 R 24.500
10 2 L. CAMIER Honda CBR1000RR 29.320
11 54 T. RAZGATLIOGLU Kawasaki ZX-10RR 33.166
12 33 M. MELANDRI Yamaha YZF R1 34.673
13 21 M. RINALDI Ducati Panigale V4 R 42.661
14 23 R. KIYONARI Honda CBR1000RR 50.020
15 52 A. DELBIANCO Honda CBR1000RR 54.485
16 9 D. SCHMITTER Yamaha YZF R1 1'08.582
RET 36 L. MERCADO Kawasaki ZX-10RR 6 Laps
RET 11 S. CORTESE Yamaha YZF R1 5 Laps
RET 66 T. SYKES BMW S1000 RR 16 Laps
RET 81 J. TORRES Kawasaki ZX-10RR  
Round Number: 
13
2019
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