World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea has won his first ever race in Qatar at the Losail International Circuit with another dominant performance on the factory Kawasaki.
The 30-year-old, who made history by wrapping up his third consecutive world crown in France in September, stormed off the line from pole position and immediately began to pull away at the front.
Rea disappeared into the distance under the floodlights and closed out his 15th victory of the season in emphatic style by 4.9 seconds, leading home Aruba.it Ducati pair Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri.
Another victory for Rea in Saturday’s final race of 2017 would see the Ballyclare man set a new record for the most points ever accumulated during a WSBK season, which is currently held by American Colin Edwards.
Rea, who also achieved Kawasaki’s maiden victory at Losail, has now chalked up 53 World Superbike victories in his career – 38 with Kawasaki – and is only six wins behind the all-time record held by Carl Fogarty. He has also become the second most successful rider ever, moving ahead of Australian great Troy Bayliss, who won 52 races during a chequered career.
The Ulster rider bagged his maiden wins at Jerez in Spain last month with a sublime double and has now also ticked off a win in Qatar, which was the only circuit remaining on the current calendar where Rea had never previously tasted success.
Toomebridge man Eugene Laverty finished fourth ahead of his Milwaukee Aprilia team-mate Lorenzo Savadori, while Tom Sykes completed the top six on the second of the KRT machines.