Full throttle and straight into Doha as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship prepares for its final round of the 2018 season under the floodlights at Losail International Circuit.
We might have already crowned our world champion, but there’s plenty more to play for in Qatar with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) looking to break even more records, and the small matter of the runner-up to be decided. Preparing to battle in the desert around the 5.3km circuit, the floodlit track will guide our riders towards the end of what has been a sensational season.
For 2018 WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea it’s no ordinary weekend, and he is on a winning streak like no other. Taking his 10th win in a row last time out in Argentina, he is now looking to take the most wins in one season (17), which is a record that has stood since 1991. On top of this, he is hoping to beat his own record of 556 points scored in one season; on 16 wins and 520 points it all seems very possible for the 31 year old. Securing the win – and then the double – for the first time in Qatar last season, it’s hard to look past Rea and his ZX-10RR for the victory. With podium tally of seven out of the last eight, he’ll continue to be one to beat.
Gunning for the runner-up spot in the championship chase, Chaz Davies (Aruba.itRacing- Ducati) will be preparing for his final race weekend with the Panigale R twin, ahead of the introduction of the V4 machine next season. A landmark event for Ducati, the British rider will want to pull out all the stops to end 2018 with a bang. Holding a 24 point lead over third position Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), Davies will be hoping to repeat his performance from 2016 in Doha as he dominated under the floodlights.
But one man who will be out to stop Davies is Michael van der Mark, as he is already on for securing his best ever finish in WorldSBK – his best being fourth overall in 2016. Currently sitting 24 points behind Davies, the runner-up spot is possible but it will be a big task for the Dutchman. Yet to stand on the podium at Losail in the WorldSBK class, he took a fourth position finish here last season as he equalled his best result over the line. But with a lights to flag win here in WorldSSP, he has the pace and experience to take him to the top. Determined to end his strong season on a high, he will hope it not just his birthday he is celebrating on Saturday.
As part of the WorldSBK event program, all the fans can enjoy and get closer to the riders and teams in the Paddock Show activities organized by WorldSBK that will be scheduled during the weekend as well as the Prize Giving Ceremony to crown the champions on Saturday at 9pm.
Gaze up at the giant screens mounted throughout the grandstand and paddock area and take in the live race commentary to make sure you don’t miss a single update on the leaderboard.
Also, this year, all spectators will have the chance to win the possibility to access the Grid and the Pit Wall Canopy for all WorldSBK races simply by purchasing their ticket, then filling in a ballot which can be found at the LCSC official merchandising tent at the Paddock Show.
Grandstand tickets cost QR100 for the 3 days with free Paddock entry (children 11 years-old and under are free) and this year there is also the possibility to buy one day ticket only.
On-line tickets can be purchased at www.lcsc.qa and during the event at the ticket booths of the circuit.