In the last round of a truly memorable season Jonathan Rea took his run of career race wins to 88, by securing all three race victories under the floodlights in Qatar, even though scoring his first win of the year took until round five, at Imola.
In the short Tissot-Superpole sprint race Rea led every lap and beat Alvaro Bautista by 2.027 seconds. In the 17-lap season finale he had pressure from two Ducati riders behind him but used his strong overall race package to push on in the final laps and take a winning margin of almost three seconds.
Rea’s historic fifth successive championship win was thus ended in a perfect way, especially after Rea started from pole position each time and Kawasaki won the Manufacturers’ Championship after Race One. He ended his year – which featured three races per weekend for the first time in WorldSBK – with 663 championship points, 165 more than his closest competitor.
Haslam had one positive and one tough experience on his final day in the KRT set-up, riding with skill and focus to come within 0.160 of a second of a podium finish in the ten lap sprint race.
Race Two had Haslam in the middle of the fight for the final podium place for a time, but after half race distance his front end grip dropped and he had to settle for ninth place. He ended his season seventh overall, with 281 points.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Seventeen race wins this year and two triples – Donington and here - so this is special, super-special. I am really happy and content because to be honest we never expected to get beaten so bad in the beginning. Even in the middle of the season we knew we needed to enter these last two rounds with a gap in the championship to fight for it, but what we expected we didn’t find. I am really happy with the package of our bike because in these last two races, with the longest straights in the championship, and the fastest circuits, we have proved that you need more than a fast engine to win. I am super-proud of all my team. This weekend we changed the base set-up so many times, from Race One to Superpole to Race Two; you would not believe me is I told you what we did. We turned the bike upside down and each and every time we had some positives and negatives, so it just shows our bike is working inside a good window.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “We struggled halfway through the final race because I lost my front traction and struggled to get it to stop and I kept losing the front, not off gas but just as I tapped the gas on. To be honest after that it felt like I was tiptoeing around the corners and when it came to a fight I had nothing to fight with, even through I was there. The season has had its ups and down and I have had a fundamental problem of trying to adapt my style to what is needed on this bike. Getting the bike stopped and battling has been one of the things I have struggled with and normally that is one of my strengths. But I have had some positive races, good battles in Australia, Misano and Aragon with Johnny. To win Suzuka this year has been fantastic. I had three good battles in the last three races of the year.”
Top Independent Rider in 2019, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing), helped his team to the Top Independent Teams’ title today, despite a technical issue preventing him from making it to the start of the Tissot-Superpole race. He battled strongly in the final race of the year and finished up fifth in the race and the final championship standings, with 315 points.
Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was 14th in the Tissot-Superpole race and 13th in the final full distance race of 2019. He ended his season in 11th place overall.
Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) finished his season with an 11th spot in the sprint race and repeated that in the in the 17-lap finale. He was beaten for 15th place in the championship by one point on the final day.
2019 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019
2019: Races 37, Wins 18, Podiums 34, Superpoles 7
Career Race Wins: 88 (73 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 168 (126 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 23 (19 for Kawasaki)
2019: Races: 37, Wins 0, Podiums 6, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 5 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 45 (7 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 3 (0 for Kawasaki)
7 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
5 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018 & 2019)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 146 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 433 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 88 – second overall