WorldSBK: Jonathan Rea Seeks Sixth Straight Title as the Paddock Arrives in France.
It’s advantage Jonathan Rea as the championship leader looks to take his sixth World Championship crown.
WorldSBK head to Magny-Cours this weekend where Jonathan Rea will look to convert his 51-point lead into a sixth championship crown. Any potential crowning moment will have to wait until after the Tissot Superpole race at the earliest as he will need to be 87 points clear of Scott Redding to clinch the title.
Jonathan Rea can re-write history in more ways than one though – the Kawasaki rider can be the first rider to win a century of races if he wins all three. Rea, who currently stands on 97 wins will also surpass 300 races this weekend after the Superpole race.
Scott Redding approaches the weekend at Magny-Cours inexperienced at the French venue, only completing laps on a road-spec Panigale V4 during a track day. However, for the brit, Magny-Cours is home to a long straight after turn four which should work to his Ducati’s strength. Turn five is a tight first-gear hairpin which also should suit the ‘turn and squirt’ setup of the Ducati. Redding should take solace and confidence in the fact that Ducati is the most successful manufacturer in Magny-Cours, chalking up 16 wins, the last coming from Chaz Davies in Race 2 of the 2017 round. Ducati will remain hopeful of adding to the impressive tally come Race 1 on Saturday.
An in-form Chaz Davies will look to build upon his successful weekend at Catalunya in which he won his 31st WorldSBK race in the final race of the weekend. Davies has come into form characteristically towards the end of the season and has been the top Ducati rider across the previous two rounds at Aragon and Catalunya.
Honda head into the French round as heavy underdogs as the Japanese Motorcycle giant has won just twice at the French track, the last triumph was 14 years ago in 2006 with James Toseland in Race 1. Honda has secured three pole positions, the last one with this weekends title elect Jonathan Rea back in 2011. In 2019, its best result came from the injured Leon Camier with seventh position in Race 1, but with a stronger machine this year, already proven to have podium potential, Honda will look to the French round optimistically, as they aim for their best result of the season, whilst Leon Haslam will look to repeat his Honda podium at Magny-Cours from Race 2, 2014.
BMW Motorrad team will come in as favourites, Three times on the podium, the German manufacturer is a strong contender to pick up a first win at the track this year. Their last podium came last year with Tom Sykes finishing in third position in Race 1. BMW only started from the front row in 2012 when the recently retired Marco Melandri qualified in second position. Without any significant stats, can BMW correct these at a successful track for Tom Sykes?
While the Riders’ World Championship looks sealed, the Manufacturers one is still up for grabs with Kawasaki heading Ducati, who chase close behind. Kawasaki holds 316 points with Ducati a further 20 back after the Italian team made inroads at Catalunya. Kawasaki though is the in-form team at the French track having clinched the Championship here three times. With 11 wins and eight pole positions. Their last win was more recent than title-rivals Ducati having last won in 2019 with Jonathan Rea winning Race 2. Kawasaki won both races in 2019 as it was a first Independent Kawasaki victory for Toprak Razgatlioglu in Race 1.
WorldSBK action kicks off on Friday with free practice one at 10:30-11:20. The action continues in the afternoon at 15:00-15:50. Saturday kicks off with the third and final practice session in the early morning at 09:00-09:20 with Superpole Qualifying scheduled for 11:00-11:25. Race One begins on Saturday at 14:00, while Sunday’s action begins with the traditional morning warm-ups at 09:00-09:15 with the Tissot Superpole race a short two hours later at 11:00. The weekend concludes with Race 2 at 14:00. (All times are LT.)
You can view the weekend live on Eurosport UK 2 along with Free-to-air Quest TV and of course the WSBK VideoPass.
Featured image: KRT