Last Round of 2016
Kawasaki Riders Go 1-2 In The Final Rankings After Double Podium
A remarkable year for Kawasaki and KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes was rounded off by a 1-2 finish in the Riders’ Championship, as Tom retained his overall second place with a second place finish. He came home just ahead of Rea after a shortened ten-lap race two at Losail.
In 2016 Kawasaki and its official KRT squad won all the major titles on offer – for riders, manufacturers and team. The championship 1-2 for Rea and Tom was the final part of the overall winning package for the Ninja ZX-10R. Remarkably, all this on-track success came in the first year of a new model, which was only launched a year ago.
The final race of the year got underway on schedule at 21.00 local time in Qatar and was planned for 17-laps. After an oil spill the red flags came out and the track had to be cleaned. A shorter 10-lap restart began almost 45 minutes after the first, and with full championship points issued.
Rea had run-on early in the first red-flagged race and was down in ninth on the grid for the restart instead of the pole position he had earned on Saturday. Tom was second off the grid in the restart and harried eventual winner Chaz Davies, the only rider who could catch and pass Tom to take second in the points.
As Rea improved his pace and looked to win the final race of his second back-to-back championship season, he overtook Tom and closed in on the lead of Davies. Unable to catch and pass before the final flag he eased up and Tom secured second place to maintain his overall second in the championship.
Tom Sykes ends the final race of the season with a second position on the podium to match his overall second in the drivers championship.
With both KRT riders on the podium their 2016 statistics grew again and made happy reading for rider and manufacturer alike. Toms’ latest podium gives him 20 for the season, including five wins. He has earned eight more Superpole wins in 2016 and six fastest laps.
In the final Manufacturers’ Championship standings, Kawasaki has 582, 65 more than the nearest rival.
“To finish runner up has a better ring to it than third and Kawasaki has gone 1-2 in the Riders’ Championship this year. It was a strange weekend in some ways but finally in the first part of race two, which eventually got red-flagged, I was preparing for a longer race. I think our pace at the end could have also been quite good over 17-laps. In the restart to finally do some 1’57 laps was something unexpected. After Jonathan passed me he was closing in on Chaz but obviously when he looked at Chaz’s lap time he would have had to do something special to win. Jonathan has had two great seasons and he has been the man to beat. It was a very good gesture from the other side of the team and this is something that I appreciate so much.”