Having clinched a second World Superbike title in race one in Qatar, Jonathan Rea says he rode with his heart while using his head to help Tom Sykes secure second in the riders' championship to deliver Kawasaki's first one-two.
In a frantic ten-lap restarted race two, after the initial start was red flagged by Saeed al Sulaiti's blown Pedercini Kawasaki dropping oil at turn one, Rea reeled in leader Chaz Davies to within a couple of tenths of a second but entering the final lap he eased off to enable team-mate Sykes to finish second and with it clinch the runner-up spot in the championship over Davies.
The already-crowned champion produced lap record pace around Losail while catching Davies with nothing to lose but opted to repay his team's efforts to secure a maiden one-two for Kawasaki as well as the manufacturers' crown in 2016.
“I rode with my heart, rode like I can,” Rea said. “In a ten-lap race, starting from ninth place, the maths did not stack up well. I got beaten-up in the first two corners and spent too long behind Leon Haslam and Tom. Chaz had a bit of a gap on me but I closed it right down.
“When I saw it was not possible to win I decided to work for the team and Kawasaki. We rode a really, really fast race here. A lap record, a pole position and a world championship came our way this weekend, so Qatar has been pretty good to me.”
Despite conceding second place in the final race of the year to Sykes, Rea still won the World Superbike title but a comfortable 51 points in the final standings.
Rea became the first rider to successfully defend the World Superbike riders' crown since Carl Fogarty in 1999.