As we headed to Magny-Cours, it was quite clear that Jonathan Rea would be ending the day as the 2017 World Superbike Champion. He just had to win the race, and that’s exactly what he did.
His utterly dominating performance has spread throughout the season, and he wrapped up his third title with a win at the French circuit, sixteen seconds ahead of Marco Melandri in second. The race was once again more like a series of parade laps, which saw Rea take the win from Melandri and Tom Sykes.
On the final lap, an actual race sprung into life, as Sykes and Melandri battled for second place. Sykes was actually looking racy, which is something we haven’t seen for a while as he desperately tried to defend his line against the aggressive Italian. At one point, it looked as if Melandri would take the both of them out as he made his first move on
Sykes, with both of them heading for separate lines leading to an almost-collision into the corner. The pair battled throughout the final lap, but yellow flags in the final sector meant Sykes couldn’t try to overtake, leaving Melandri the victorious out of the two.
Another solid performance from Leon Camier saw him cross the line in fourth. Rumours are circulating that he may be heading to the Honda World Superbike team, along with Loris Baz who also hasn’t been confirmed. Camier is in desperate need of a good ride, and one of the most well deserving riders on the grid.
Speaking of the Honda WSBK team, they had an overall successful weekend since upgrading to the Fireblade SP2. With the news that Stefan Bradl will be sitting out the rest of the season due to injury, American Jake Gagne returned in his place but was forced to retire. Davide Guigliano also made his World Superbike return on the second Honda, and brought it home in a more than respectable eighth place, showing that the team are really starting to make improvements and could well be extremely competitive next year.
Chaz Davies really struggled in race one. After opting for the Pirelli development rear tyre, he dropped down the order as he ran around in third. He apparently suffered electrical problems while swapping from a wet to a dry map, but full details are unclear.
Although the title race is over, the race for second powers on between Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies.
World Superbike race one:
- Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team – 40:06.523
- Marco Melandri, Aruba.it Racing Ducati +16.316
- Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing Team +16.666
- Leon Camier, MV Agusta Reparto Corse +22.133
- Alex Lowes, Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team +41.210
- Eugene Laverty, Milwaukee Aprilia +1:02.101
- Leandro Mercado, IODARacing +1:02.281
- Davide Guigliano, Red Bull Honda WorldSBK Team +1:05.775
- Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK +1:09.271
- Chaz Davies, Aruba.it Racing Ducati +1:17.429