Magny-Cours WSBK: Rea claims third title with dominant win

Jonathan Rea has been crowned World Superbike champion for a third year in a row after crushing the opposition in a wet first race at Magny-Cours.

Kawasaki rider Rea became the first rider in WSBK history to claim three consecutive titles, his tally putting him level with Troy Bayliss.

His 50th career victory also puts him only nine wins behind record-holder Carl Fogarty, the only man to score four titles.

Following a shower on Saturday morning, the race started under wet conditions but with no more rain falling on track.

Rea, who was guaranteed to clinch the title with a victory, made a lightning start from pole, with Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies both passing front-row starter Leandro Mercado to slot in behind.

The fight for second place was closely contested between Sykes and Davies in the early stages, with the latter holding the position for three laps before losing out.

At the front, Rea had vastly superior pace, leading by 2.4s after the opening lap, more than five seconds in three laps and extending his gap to over 10s by lap 6.

He then continued to rapidly pull away from Sykes, who in turn separated himself from Davies.

After losing second to Sykes, Davies suddenly slipped multiple seconds a lap off the pace, and dropped four places in short order.

His Ducati teammate Marco Melandri took over third from him, the Italian recovering from 12th on the grid, but by this stage was running 10s behind Sykes.

However, he gained a lot of ground on the Kawasaki rider, closing the gap to less than a second with three laps remaining.

Melandri tried to sneak past on the inside of the long Turn 2 left-hander, but ended up making contact with Sykes's rear tyre.

He then made a move on the final lap at the hairpin and, even though Sykes came back on the exit of that turn, Melandri again passed the Kawasaki rider later on and secured second.

At the front, Rea eventually won by 16.3s ahead of Melandri, with Sykes returning from his Portimao injury with a third place.

MV Agusta's Leon Camier passed Yamaha rider Alex Lowes for fourth and then stayed close to Melandri and Sykes. 

Lowes in fifth was further 19 seconds behind, but still comfortably ahead of Eugene Laverty's Aprilia.

The Irishman passed Mercado for sixth late in the race, the Argentinian settling for seventh from second on the grid.

Lead Honda rider Davide Giugliano was eighth, with Michael van der Mark (Yamaha) fighting back from an early crash to take ninth.

The Dutchman was running fifth after Lap 1 but fell on the exit of the hairpin, his spinning bike also catching out Xavi Fores (Barni Ducati).

Davies continued to struggle until the end, and was only 10th at the chequered flag, over a minute down on Rea.

Race 1 results:

1 united_kingdom Jonathan Rea  Kawasaki 40'06.523
2 italy Marco Melandri  Ducati 16.316
3 united_kingdom Tom Sykes  Kawasaki 16.666
4 united_kingdom Leon Camier  MV Agusta 22.133
5 united_kingdom Alex Lowes  Yamaha 41.210
6 ireland Eugene Laverty  Aprilia 1'02.101
7 argentina Leandro Mercado  Aprilia 1'02.281
8 italy Davide Giugliano  Honda 1'05.775
9 netherlands Michael van der Mark  Yamaha 1'09.271
10 united_kingdom Chaz Davies  Ducati 1'17.429
11 italy Lorenzo Savadori  Aprilia 1'30.899
12 spain Roman Ramos  Kawasaki 1'39.111
13 italy Raffaele De Rosa  BMW 1'40.891
14 spain Jordi Torres  BMW 1'54.311
15 italy Riccardo Russo  Yamaha 1 lap
16 czech_republic Ondrej Jezek  Kawasaki 1 lap
17 italy Alessandro Andreozzi  Yamaha 1 lap
18 australia Anthony West  Kawasaki 1 lap
Ret  united_states Jake Gagne  Honda 2 laps
Ret  spain Xavi Fores  Ducati 4 laps
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About this article
Series World Superbike
Event Magny-Cours
Track Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours
Drivers Jonathan Rea
Teams Kawasaki Racing
Article type Race report