Qatar WSBK: Rea leads dominant Kawasaki 1-2

Reigning World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea took his 11th consecutive victory in Race 1 at Qatar from Tom Sykes and Alex Lowes, who beat Eugene Laverty to the final podium spot in a thrilling last-lap duel.

Qatar WSBK: Rea leads dominant Kawasaki 1-2

The opening Losail race marked Rea's 17th win of the year, which equals Doug Polen's record from 1991.

Starting first and second, Rea and Sykes changed positions off the line and the former led the rest of the race, his victory bid never at risk.

Rea quickly built a lead of over a second but didn't pull away further, eventually finishing the race 1.4s from Sykes.

Behind the Kawasaki duo, Lowes and Laverty had a race-long fight for third place.

Laverty was ahead for most of the race as he passed Lowes on the opening lap and later breezed past the Yamaha on the main straight a few laps after Lowes had made a successful move to retake position.

Lowes never let Laverty escape and passed him on the last lap at Turn 4, only for the Milwaukee Aprilia rider to launch a successful counter-attack two corners later.

But Lowes was able to overtake again into Turn 12 and Laverty made a mistake at the final turn, nearly crashing, before settling for fourth.

Xavi Fores kept fellow Ducati rider Marco Melandri at bay for the whole race only to dramatically drop down the order on the last lap, finishing 13th.

Melandri took fifth, with Loris Baz (Althea BMW) charging through the field to sixth - a run that included a pair of overtakes on Chaz Davies (Ducati) and Michael van der Mark (Yamaha) in a single lap.

Davies struggled in the late stages and was passed by van der Mark as well to end up eighth.

Jake Gagne (Honda) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Puccetti Kawasaki) completed the top 10.

Leon Camier (Honda) crashed while Maximilian Schieb, who has replaced Jordi Torres at MV Agusta, also retired.

Race 1 results:

Pos. Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 United Kingdom Jonathan Rea  Kawasaki 33'34.913
2 United Kingdom Tom Sykes  Kawasaki 1.424
3 United Kingdom Alex Lowes  Yamaha 3.705
4 Ireland Eugene Laverty  Aprilia 4.723
5 Italy Marco Melandri  Ducati 10.579
6 France Loris Baz  BMW 13.173
7 Netherlands Michael van der Mark  Yamaha 14.557
8 United Kingdom Chaz Davies  Ducati 17.216
9 United States Jake Gagne  Honda 17.277
10 Turkey Toprak Razgatlioglu  Kawasaki 18.179
11 Italy Lorenzo Savadori  Aprilia 24.924
12 Argentina Leandro Mercado  Kawasaki 30.183
13 Spain Xavi Fores  Ducati 34.931
14 Spain Roman Ramos  Kawasaki 46.851
15 Italy Gabriele Ruiu  Kawasaki 58.890
Ret Chile Maximilian Scheib  MV Agusta 9 Laps
Ret United Kingdom Leon Camier  Honda 10 Laps
Qatar WSBK: Sykes beats Rea to final pole of 2018

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