Jonathan Rea is set to become the first successful defending World Superbike champion since Carl Fogarty when he secured consecutive world titles in 1999.

Even if sole World Superbike title rival Tom Sykes wins both races at the final round in Qatar Rea requires just two points to seal a second straight world championship, which led to Sykes effectively conceding the title race being over after Jerez due to the 48-point deficit.

Knowing the championship should be a formality assuming he avoids DNFs at Losail - with Rea's lowest finishing position in 2016 being fourth place in race one at Magny-Cours - the Northern Irish rider is looking to finish the year in style as he prepares to match Fogarty's achievement of successfully defending the World Superbike crown and becoming the first rider to do so in 17 years.

"I am happy to finish the season here at Losail because it is a circuit that I really enjoy. The atmosphere of Qatar - being a night race, in the middle of the desert, surrounded by five star hotels - is cool," Rea said. "All my family will be there and a lot of my friends are making the trip as well because I hope to cap off an amazing season with the championship win. That is what we have been working hard for all season. The races in Qatar give us our chance to try and do that.

"We have just come off the back of a good weekend in Jerez where I was on the podium for the first time ever, and on the podium twice. I feel really equipped to go out and do a good job at Losail because I really enjoy the track and I feel we can aim high this weekend."

Rea has never tasted victory in Qatar with his best results being two second place finishes (race two in 2014 and race one in 2015), while only one reigning World Superbike champion has won in Qatar which was Troy Corser in 2006.


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment