With the Riders’, Manufacturers’ and Teams’ awards now wrapped up at the previous round in Argentina both KRT riders aim to finish the season on a high.
Having already won 16 races on his way to his unprecedented fourth successive championship in 2018, Rea now needs just one more victory to equal the record for the most wins scored in a single season. Two more wins would put him out on his own, and set yet another new record.
Jonathan’s own personal ambition at this late stage of another successful season is to exceed the 556 points he scored in 2017. He is more than capable of doing that as things stand, as he has 520 points already and two more wins would take him to a total of 570.
Earlier this year Rea matched, and then exceeded, the record of all-time WorldSBK race wins. He now has 70 in all. At the previous round, at the brand-new circuit of San Juan Villicum in Argentina, Rea took his fifth successive double win; another feat no rider had managed before.
Tom will aim for two more race wins to add to his current career total of 34 - all for Kawasaki. Sykes is set to take part in his final race weekend inside the Kawasaki Racing Team structure, having been part of the official Kawasaki WorldSBK set-up since 2010.
In 2013 Tom became the first Kawasaki competitor since Scott Russell in 1993 to win the Riders’ World Championship and came incredibly close to securing it twice more, in 2012 and 2014.
Sykes has already won a race this season, at Assen, and has scored seven podium finishes through the year. He has secured an all-time record of 47 Superpole qualifying performances in WorldSBK and has the opportunity to add another this coming Friday.
With Rea the champion since the Magny Cours round Sykes sits fourth in the rankings after Argentina. Tom is looking to simultaneously overturn a 30-point disadvantage to the rider in overall third place, Michael van der Mark, and keep the eight-point advantage he enjoys over fifth placed rider Marco Melandri.
As well as being the only WorldSBK venue to feature floodlit races; the Losail International Circuit is the only one with races that take place on Fridays and Saturdays - rather than the more usual Saturdays and Sundays. Hence the Losail WorldSBK weekend, and the entire competitive season, will conclude after race two at Losail on Saturday the 27th of October,
On the final weekend of the year young talent Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) is looking to repeat his podium performance from race one in Argentina, having taken his first ever podium at Donington Park earlier in the season. Razgatlioglu is eighth overall and wants to remain in that position at the end of the year.
Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki), Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) and Gabriele Ruiu (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) will also compete hard in Qatar for the final chance of points’ scores in the 2018 season.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “The last round is coming and I am very excited about it because it is one of my favourite circuits – favourite events, to be honest. The evening event features a more laid back approach from everyone. It is a round I look forward to taking my family to because during the day we get to spend a little bit of time beside the pool, before going out to do the job. Losail is a great track, very flowing and it should suit the nature of our bike. Argentina was an amazing weekend but also very tough because I got really sick and took a few days to get over that. I have been out on my KX450 motocross bike since then and I am feeling pretty good now. After an incredible season I want to try to finish it off on a real high and have a few weeks of downtime before we start winter testing. Before any of that, it is very important to do a great job in Qatar. Like the previous races we go there with the aim to try to win.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “I love racing out there in Qatar. It is such a nice environment. I spend the day resting and then go and race around in circles under the floodlights. It is all right! It will certainly be an end of an era and it struck me that Losail would be my last race weekend with Kawasaki when we raced in France recently. We are certainly coming to the end of a very good era and we have had a good run together. We will see how it goes but hopefully I can get two strong results, not just for myself but also for the guys in Kawasaki. Riding under the floodlights felt weird the first year we did it but we have been doing to for so long now we are all used to it. The lights are so bright you still use a dark visor!”
2018 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2018: Races 24, Wins 16, Podiums 21, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 70 (55 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 133 (91 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 24, Wins 1, Podiums 7, Superpoles 5
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 107 (106 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 47 (47 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: 126 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 378 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 80 – second overall