Jonathan Rea crowned World Superbike champion for record fifth time at Magny-Cours in France

Jonathan Rea has won the World Superbike Championship for a record-breaking fifth time in a row.
Jonathan Rea has won the World Superbike Championship for a record-breaking fifth time in a row.
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Jonathan Rea has been crowned World Superbike champion for a record fifth time at Magny-Cours in France.

Rea won the final race to clinch the title after nearest rival Alvaro Bautista crashed out when he collided with Toprak Razgatlioglu.

Spaniard Bautista was left with nowhere to go after Razgatlioglu lost the rear of his machine, with Bautista running into the back of the Kawasaki.

Turkish rider Razgatlioglu had followed up his maiden WSBK victory on Saturday with another win in Sunday’s Superpole sprint race, with Rea finishing 0.3 seconds behind and Bautista coming home in fifth.

With former MotoGP rider Bautista ruled out of contention in the second 21-lap race, Ulsterman Rea needed to win to put the championship beyond reach.

He became involved in a tense battle with Dutch rider Michael van der Mark for the lead, but the 32-year-old eventually managed to open a slight advantage on his Kawasaki.

Rea had enough in reserve to maintain his lead until the finish, crossing the line to wrap up an unprecedented fifth world title success in successive years.

The Ballyclare man also secured the title at Magny-Cours in 2017 and 2018, although his latest triumph on Sunday was unexpected, with Bautista only needing to finish inside the top 11 to postpone Rea's title party until the next round in Argentina at least.

However, the stars aligned for Rea once more at the French venue and he has now surpassed Carl Fogarty’s record of four championship wins to take over as the most successful rider in World Superbike history.

It marked a stunning turnaround for Rea, who had no answer to Bautista and the all-new Ducati V4 at the beginning of the season, when the 34-year-old won 11 races on the spin to take charge in the championship.

Against the odds, Rea overturned a deficit of 61 points as he battled to retain his title and undoubtedly, it will go down as the greatest achievement of the Kawasaki rider’s illustrious career.

He was 0.8 seconds ahead of van der Mark at the finish of race two, with Briton Alex Lowes completing the top three on the second of the Pata Yamaha machines.

Chaz Davies finished fourth on the Ducati, four seconds behind Rea, while French rider Loris Baz (Ten Kate Yamaha) and Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha) rounded out the first six.

Eugene Laverty came home in 12th place on the Team Go Eleven Ducati.