Magny-Cours, France – Kawasaki star Jonathan Rea became the first rider in the history of the World Superbike series to win three consecutive titles, clinching the series with a dominating 50th career win in Race 1.
Rea was forced to retire from the second race, however, which became a Chaz Davies benefit, moving the Ducati Team rider up to within nine points of Tom Sykes on the second Kawasaki and giving him a real shot at the runner-up spot in the championship with two rounds remaining.
South African Sheridan Morais put in another sterling performance to qualify second in World Supersports and finish eighth in the race, while Dorren Loureiro posted a hard-fought 13th in World Supersport 300 and Capetonian Jared Schultz rode the wheels off his Kawasaki, which was almost 20km/h off the pace, to finish 30th.
Rea charged to an emphatic win, more than 16 seconds ahead of second placed Marco Melandri (Ducati Team), with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) third.
Rea made a determined start from pole position and soon pulled clear of the rest of the pack, keeping the hammer down over the 21 laps of the race in the wet and then drying conditions to remain unchallenged at the front, taking his 12th win for the season.
It was a truly gritty ride from Rea’s team-mate Sykes as he returned to action, having had surgery on a finger injury less than two weeks previously after his crash at Portimao. Sykes completed the podium after just losing out on second place to Melandri in the closing stages. Leon Camier was Five seconds off the rostrum positions after another excellent ride for MV Agusta, with Yamaha Factory rider Alex Lowes rounding out the top five.
Aprilia riders Eugene Laverty and Leandro Mercado finished sixth and seventh respectively, with Davide Giugliano eighth on the ‘official’ Red Bull Honda. Michael van der Mark crashed second Yamaha Factory R1 early in the race but but remarkably fought back to finish ninth, ahead of Chaz Davies on the second Ducati Team Panigale.
Davies posted an excellent win in the Sunday race, taking control in the opening stages and not looking back from there, eventually crossing the line three seconds ahead of nearest challenger Lowes, with Van der Mark thrtid after a great battle between the Yamaha pair.
Davies charged through the field from 11th on the grid for his 27th World Superbike win in tricky conditions as rain fell sporadically over the 4.411km Magny-Cours circuit during the race. Behind him Lowes and Van der Mark contested second, with Lowes 1.55s in front when it mattered.
Ducati privateer Xavi Fores was fourth, beating the works machine of Melandri, with Mercado, Sykes, Jordi Torres on the works BMW, Kawasaki privateer Roman Ramos and Raffaele de Rosa on the second works BMW making up the top 10.
Laverty crashed early in the race at turn 16 and Rea seemed to clip the fallen Aprilia, causing the newly crowned triple world champion to retire to pit lane with a broken footpeg, while Laverty picked up his RSV4 and kept going to finish 17th.
Yamaha privateer Niki Tuuli followed up on his first World Supersport pole result by taking his maiden win in the series despite intense pressure from works Yamaha rider Federico Caricasulo in the closing stages.
American rider PJ Jacobsen on an MV Agusta completed the podium after coming from ninth on the grid to crossing the line 5.692s adrift of the winner, while Yamaha Factory team leader Lucas Mahias finished fourth and moved to the top of the championship standings by nine points from the absent Kenan Sofuoglu, with two rounds remaining.
Jules Cluzel (Honda) was the second French finisher in fifth, just ahead of r Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta) and Michael Canducci (Kawasaki) to the line, with race-winner Tuuli’s Kallio Racing colleague Sheridan Morais eighth; Kyle Smith (Honda) and Luke Stapleford (Triumph Daytona 675) rounded out the top 10.
Defending world champion Kenan Sofuoglu missed the race after a crash in Superpole in which he suffered fractures to his hip; instead he was flown home to Turkey for surgery.
WORLD SUPERSPORT 300
With just two rounds remaining Marc Garcia (Yamaha) made a big step towards his title fight, as he took a stunning victory in the closing laps.
Mika Perez (Honda) took the lead in the opening laps; as the fight for the victory in the 12 lap thriller developed, there were nine riders in with a chance of finishing in the top three positions - and one second covering the top four.
Alfonso Coppola (Yamaha), who could have taken the title at Magny-Cours was up at the front for most the race but the chasing pack wouldn’t let him break away, and the battle boiled down to the final lap as Garcia shot through to take the win.
Early leader Robert Schotman made it an all-Yamaha podium with his first top-three finish in the series.