After ending a 24-race win drought on Saturday, Rea was battling Toprak Razgatlioglu to make it two in a row during Sunday’s Superpole sprint.

But their intermediate tyres on the drying track proved no match for a brave slick gamble by newly crowned champion Alvaro Bautista, who swept past them both on the penultimate lap.

Rea was then the only rider that could stick with Bautista’s Ducati by the closing stages of race two, but their looming victory showdown was halted 5 laps early due to red flags for Eugene Laverty’s accident.

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“I gave everything. We can be quite satisfied with our efforts this weekend to go 1-3-2. Good overall points for the weekend,” said the Kawasaki star. “The conditions [this weekend] were almost like nothing I’ve ever seen in my career! Tyre decisions, pit stops [Race 1], red flag in Race 2.

“From my weekend, I’m really happy with my team and the way I’m riding the bike. Even in Race 2 with Alvaro, I felt stronger everywhere but the start-finish line.

“They were taking so much time, but through Turn 1, Turn 2 and even Turn 3, with the traction, an area we’ve really struggled with in the past, I had more grip and the tyre was very linear."

Rea added: “It was [still] everything I could do to be [behind Bautista again] by Turn Four, by taking too much risk and using up some tyre. But even doing that the tyre wasn’t dropping, so kudos to Pirelli.

“I think bringing these harder construction tyres for Phillip Island is the way forward. The race might be a little slower, but to stay in the 1’31 flat lap times, right to the end, was really very good.

“I think we have to be really satisfied with our effort this season. Of course, I made a few mistakes along the way but also I think the final result highlights where we are.

“We need to improve, but we were more or less 25 points away from Toprak Razgatlioglu at the end of the season - the guy who won the championship last year.

“This year there was a new weapon to fight at the front [Ducati and Bautista] so we need to maximise all we can. The team has been fantastic, and in the tough moments we have shown how strong a team we are.”

The six-time world champion finishes the season third overall, with six race wins. The Ulsterman was 27 points from Razgatlioglu but 99 from Bautista.

Team-mate Alex Lowes completed the final podium of the season in third and was sixth in the world championship.