Jonathan Rea has been stripped of his podium finish during the first race of the World Superbike Championship round in Jerez after stewards belatedly deemed him responsible for his incident with Alex Lowes.

The defending champion was involved in an entertaining tussle with Pata Yamaha’s Lowes for third right up to the closing stages when he left it late to target an inside move at the notorious final corner left-hand hairpin, today named after Jorge Lorenzo.

However – as many have done in the past – the pair made contact, with a hapless Lowes coming off the R1 and into an effective retirement.

Rea went on to cruise across the line in third place but was visibly shaken by the incident in the immediate aftermath. Nonetheless, with the result quickly declared, it appeared he’d hold onto the finish only for stewards to reconvene in the hours after the race to reverse that decision.

As such, Rea is bumped off the podium to fourth place, making it the first time in 34 races – since Thailand 2018 – that he has been reached the chequered flag and been classified outside the top three.

Moreover, he will be forced to start the short 10 lap Superpole Race from the back of the 19-rider field rather than from pole position.

The decisions were made as they collectively give back to Yamaha as a manufacturer, even if Marco Melandri bizarrely ends up becoming the biggest beneficiary by securing a third-place finish in race one and earning a second place start for the Superpole Race.

As for Lowes, the Briton is nursing shoulder pain but is expected to make the start tomorrow, this time from the front row.