Jonathan Rea produced an authoritative ride as he led all the way in the opening race at the final round of the World Superbike Championship in Qatar on Friday evening.
The five-time world champion, who qualified on pole position on his Kawasaki ZX-10RR, secured his 15th victory of the season in style, wrapping up the Manufacturers Championship for the Japanese marque in the process.
Britain’s Alex Lowes, who held second place for much of the race on the Pata Yamaha, was picked off by the hard-charging Chaz Davies with five laps to go under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit.
Davies quickly cut the deficit to Rea, with the Aruba.it Ducati rider closing the gap to less than one second.
However, Rea was able to respond and he did so emphatically, upping the ante to establish a cushion on the final laps.
The 32-year-old won by 2.7 seconds from Davies at the finish, with Lowes – who will join Rea at Kawasaki in 2020 – completing the rostrum.
Alvaro Bautista finished a lonely fourth on the Aruba.it Ducati, eight seconds back on Rea and 9.5 seconds ahead of Leon Haslam (Kawasaki) in fifth.
Michael van der Mark rounded out the first six on the Pata Yamaha.
Eugene Laverty came home in ninth place on the Team Go Eleven Ducati.
Toprak Razgatlioglu recovered to finish 11th on the Puccetti Kawasaki after running off the track following a mistake, denting his chances of claiming third in the standings behind Rea and Bautista.
Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad) crashed out after clipping the rear of Haslam’s Kawasaki on lap two, while Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha) slid out of fourth place on lap six.
Spain’s Jordi Torres was ruled out before the race started after slipping off on the warm-up lap on the Pedercini Kawasaki.