KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes finished first and second in the opening race under the floodlights at Losail, with Rea equalling the existing record of 17 wins in a single season with his 11th consecutive victory. Sykes also extended his own all-time WorldSBK Superpole winning total to 48 today, in his final WorldSBK weekend with KRT.
With Sykes on pole and Rea alongside him the start of the race Rea took the holeshot into turn one and from then on ran at his own pace to ensure his latest win in what has been a remarkable fourth straight championship season.
Despite using up some of his front tyre life in his push to the front today Rea was able to keep his pace and composure to the end to record his 56th race victory for Kawasaki – a record for a single rider with a single manufacturer in WorldSBK. Eleven race wins in succession also moved Rea’s recent record of ten consecutive races on by one.
Sykes was on strong form from the start at Losail this weekend and extended his career Superpole record with a 1’56.124 lap in SP2 that just edged our Rea by 0.131 seconds.
In the race Tom was able to keep a clear space back to two battling riders and he finished just 1.424 seconds from Rea. Sykes was over 1.2 seconds from eventual third placed rider Alex Lowes, as he managed his pace to ensure he would finish second for a Kawasaki 1-2.
Race two will take place on Saturday the 29th of October 2018, again under the floodlights at 19.00 local time.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) proved to be the top independent rider in race one, finishing tenth, while Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 12th. Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) placed 14th for two championship points, while rookie rider Gabriele Ruiu (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) scored a point for 15th.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “There is a lot of hard work done to arrive in this position. It is really difficult; to build the package, the team atmosphere and a feeling with the bike. This weekend I have not quite felt myself on the bike and I said to my guys yesterday evening that this game is so much about confidence. We have been lucky this year in that I have had such a great feeling with the bike and that we have had that little bit extra. That gives you confidence and you are able to ride in a certain way. That is how it is done; that confidence the bike gives me, working with the team. Every time we are struggling, or my confidence is down, my crew chief Pere Riba finds a way to re-invent that, and turn things around. I am really grateful for that. People can find a good team and a good bike, and a good team can find a good rider, but trying to put all the elements together is really difficult. But I certainly have that with the Kawasaki Racing Team.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “I think overall we made a good race. Yesterday in the long run there was myself and another rider who destroyed the front tyre, so today I think it all went to plan. This morning in FP4 we used a set of tyres from yesterday, the pace was there, improving all the time. Then the qualifying tyre went into the bike for Superpole and instantly when that tyre goes in I go to my more natural riding style, and everything becomes easier. That was nice to win Superpole. In the first, probably eight, laps I felt like we could have pushed on a little bit harder in some of the fast right corners but I just kind of knocked it back a fraction – which I think proved a good idea. I saw the gap closing behind me a fraction at one stage so I pushed to finish second.”
2018 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2018: Races 25, Wins 17, Podiums 22, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 71 (56 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 134 (92 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 25, Wins 1, Podiums 8, Superpoles 6
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 108 (107 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 48 (48 for Kawasaki)
6 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
4 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017 & 2018)
4 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 127 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 380 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 81 – second overall