WSBK Qatar (2): Haslam snatches the last victory
The final race of the 2015 Superbike World Championship was marked by the fall of Torres, the abandonment of Rea, but also – and above all – by a magnificent duel between Davies and Haslam, of which the n ° 91 Aprilia emerged victorious. ! Second Superbike race Xavi Fores being sick, Chaz Davies inherits third place on the Qatari grid.
The final race of the 2015 Superbike World Championship was marked by the fall of Torres, the abandonment of Rea, but also – and above all – by a magnificent duel between Davies and Haslam, of which the n ° 91 Aprilia emerged victorious. !
Second Superbike race
Xavi Fores being reported ill, Chaz Davies inherits third place on the Qatari grid. All of his pursuers also gain a place following the withdrawal of Davide Giugliano’s replacement (!).
Departure : Jonathan Rea got a better start than Tom Sykes and dived into the lead in the first corner. Pressured by Chaz Davies, Tom retains second place. Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres chase the Ducati n ° 7, followed by Van den Mark, Randy de Puniet (!), Leandro Mercado, David Salom and Leon Camier. Sylvain Guintoli is 11th, Christophe Ponsson 19th and Alex Lowes already in the pits…
Davies passes Sykes at the end of the first loop and brakes Rea at the start of the second! Haslam hoists his RSV4 in front of the ZX-10R n ° 66. Torres and Van den Mark are in the wake of the English Ninja and are followed a few lengths by De Puniet on his GSX-R1000 n ° 14 !
In front, Rea begins the third lap trying to pass Davies on the outside braking the long straight (a little over 1 km!). But placed on the ideal trajectory, the Panigale n ° 7 keeps the lead at the exit of the first curve.
In third place, Leon Haslam is content to observe. The Aprilia rider is just ahead of Sykes, Torres and Van den Mark. The hunting party is four seconds away: it is made up of De Puniet, Guintoli, Mercado and Salom. Ponsson rides alone in 18th position.
The 4th lap starts very strongly: Davies, Rea and Haslam attack the first corner almost head-on! An excellent brakeman, Davies retains the lead in the race. Rea does not resist a particularly motivated Haslam … and even less the failure of his Kawasaki which forced him to return to the pits !
Annoyed, Jonathan coasted to his box and could not leave again to try to score the 5 points he lacked to beat Colin Edwards’ record: 522 points scored in one season (2002). The 2015 world champion records his only bubble during this last round.
On the track, Davies still leads the leading pack of Haslam, Sykes, Torres and Van den Mark. Eight seconds from there, Sylvain Guintoli dominates the second group where De Puniet, Mercado, Badovini and Salom roll. Christophe Ponsson reaches 16th place thanks to the retirements of Rea and Camier.
Haslam launched a new attack at the very start of the 7th lap but Davies took over the reins of the race in the twisty section. A small second behind, the two rookies Torres and Van den Mark spice up the race by overtaking each other on several occasions.
Aprilia n ° 91 tried again under braking at the end of the straight line on lap 9 but it was a lap later that Haslam managed to get ahead of Davies at the exit of the first curve. Unfortunately for the Englishman, a slight gap at the entrance of the first hairpin made him lose the lead of the race … Davies therefore leads again.
Behind Ducati n ° 7 and Aprilia n ° 91, Ninja n ° 66 remains curiously discreet. Dropped in the straight line, Tom Sykes is just catching up on the corners. Housed in the rear wheel of the factory Kawasaki for the majority of the course, Jordi Torres does not budge from his fourth place either..
Still fifth, "Magic Mike" and his # 60 Honda are more than a second behind the "Spanish Elvis" and his Aprilia # 81. "Guinters" circulate in a lonely sixth place while Randy de Puniet and Leandro Mercado compete for seventh place.
There are only four laps left to go and the duel between Haslam and Davies continues: Leon passes Chaz in the straight line, deviates slightly in the first curve and is passed by the factory Ducati … under the eyes of Tom Sykes who remains in the aspiration of the two Italian motorcycles.
Winner of the first Qatari round, Jordi Torres remains in ambush. The Spanish rider is only a few lengths away from the podium and from victory … A final 2015 victory strongly coveted by Haslam who continues to titillate Davies with two laps to go..
While the three Britons seem to raise the tone, Jordi Torres loses the lead and throws his hopes of – first – double in World Superbike in the gravel. The two Fireblades of the Honda Pata team driven Van den Mark and Guintoli now complete the Top 5.
Haslam throws himself a little too hard on the last lap, widens for the umpteenth time in the first curve but remains in contact with the Panigale. The No.91 knows he has the advantage in the straight line and therefore makes sure to attack the last corner with a slight lead over Davies, which he extends to the finish line..
Winner at the opening of the 2015 season in Australia, Leon Haslam returned to victory in the last race in Qatar. He is accompanied on the podium by vice-champion Chaz Davies and his great rival Tom Sykes, who finished in the World Top 3 for the fourth consecutive year..
While British fans are delighted to see a new WSBK 100% "Made in UK" podium, the French clan can be satisfied with the solid fifth place obtained by Sylvain Guintol, the reassuring seventh place for Randy de Puniet and the encouraging eleventh place by Christophe Ponsson !
Jonathan Rea comes out of his box to congratulate his former teammate Leon Haslam. Fourth in the championship, the n ° 91 has not found a handlebar for the next season … Unlike our Sylvain Guintoli who makes his world n ° 1 plate after a difficult 2015 season on Honda, but turns to an exciting season on Yamaha … Stay tuned !
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