Rea win helps Kawasaki claim manufacturer’s title
I wanted to help Kawasaki win as it has been a tough year and the team has been great, says delighted Rea.
It was a fabulous finish for Kawasaki Racing Team (KRT) in Race 1 of the Qatar round of the World Superbike Championship on Friday night.
As soon as the Briton and World Champion Jonathan Rea clinched comfortable victory in the 17-lap Superbike race, news trickled in that Kawasaki had also won the Manufacturer’s Championship.
The final round of the season at the Losail International Circuit which seemed to be about the battle between the riders suddenly saw the focus shift to the green outfitted team.
And the Kawaski riders and engineers surely deserved the victory considering their phenomenal run in the second half of the season. They had trailed the rest in the early part of the year thanks largely to a blistering run by Spaniard Alvaro Bautista and Aruba.IT Racing team of Ducati.
Ichiro Yoda, Kawasaki’s Senior Engineer, attributed the team’s victory to experience.
“We’ve plenty of knowledge from so many years of racing and know the requirements for different circuits, different tracks and different temperatures. We didn’t make too many changes to the bike because according to rules there’re many components you can’t change. Our data on different conditions and our predictions helped us perform well in the second half of the season,” said Yoda.
Jonathan Rea, who was the key for KRT right through 2019 credited the team and the bike for the success.
“It’s been great working with the Kawasaki family. It was difficult at the start of the season, but the team stayed focused and knew what they were doing and the results speak for themselves. The bike has so much variety. It performs well in different conditions,” he said.
The British rider said that as the World Championship had already been decided two rounds ago at the Magny Cours circuit in France in September, his focus was the manufacturer’s I title.
“I wanted to help Kawasaki win as it has been a tough year and the team has been great. I’m happy that we could add another title today,” he said.
Kawasaki tallied 636 points while Ducati was second with 594 points. Yamaha (431), BMW (245) and Honda (88) followed the top two.
Rea’s goal seemed to have spurred him to a great run from start to finish under the floodlights in Qatar. Starting from pole which he achieved with a quick lap time of 1:56.246 earlier in the evening, Rea could never be shaken from the leader’s position. He went under two minutes in 16 of the 17 laps on Friday. In fact the Briton clocked the fastest lap time of 1:57.511 which came on just his second time around the track.
“I had a good rhythm out there and the bike felt really good,” he said after his win.
Chaz Davies of Aruba.IT Racing who finished second credited his opponent.
“It was difficult to catch him. He set a good pace and just kept getting better,” said Davies after rallying from 12th position on the grid.
Davies’ final push came in the 13th lap where he sneaked past Alex Lowes of Yamaha. Lowes had done well to stay behind the leader for most of the race, but he was caught unawares by Davies’ sudden surge and could not catch up in the remaining laps.
The race also saw two crashes, Tom Sykes of BMW and Kawasaki’s Jordi Torres skidding on the track and exiting the race early.
Results: Superbike (Race 1)
|1. Jonathan Rea (GBR)||Kawasaki Racing Team||33:34.518|
|2. Chaz Davies (GBR)||Aruba.IT Racing – Ducati||33:37.260|
|3. Alex Lowes (GBR)||Yamaha YZF R1||33:39.941|
|4. Alvaro Bautista (ESP)||Aruba.IT Racing – Ducati||33:42.561|
|5. Leon Haslam (GBR)||Kawasaki Racing Team||33:52.238|