Jonathan Rea has clinched a historic fifth World Superbike championship crown thanks to victory in the final race at Magny-Cours.

After enduring 11 consecutive defeats to Alvaro Bautista at the start of the 2019 campaign, with Rea taking second place in 10 out of the 11 races, the Kawasaki rider kept patient until his opportunities arose.

Rea struck back with two wins at Imola to keep Bautista’s charge in check before pivotal rounds swung the momentum to the Northern Irish rider.

Bautista crashed out of Race 2 at Jerez before suffering an identical fate at Misano. Rea maximised his advantage with a triple victory at Donington Park, coupled with Bautista crashing out of Race 1, to see Rea wrestle the championship lead at the British track.

Disaster then struck the Aruba.it Racing Ducat rider when he collided with Toprak Razgatlioglu in the Superpole Sprint Race at Laguna Seca having already crashed in Race 1, suffering a painful shoulder injury, which denied him the chance to score points at the United States round.

With a dominant points lead over Bautista during the summer break, Rea duly tightened his grip on the 2019 title with two wins and a further second place at Portimao.

It meant Magny-Cours presented the reigning World Superbike champion his first chance to mathematically seal the title, the same place where he sealed last year’s crown, and following a pair of second places behind Razgatlioglu the Turkish rider inadvertently aided Rea by crashing out of Race 2 which also took out Bautista.

With the opportunity to take the 2019 title by winning Race 2 at the French round, Rea made no mistake with a gritty fight to see off Pata Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark to take an unassailable points lead.

Rea continues to create World Superbike history with his fifth consecutive riders’ title, the first rider to achieve that feat, as he also takes the outright record for most WorldSBK titles by surpassing Carl Fogarty’s four triumphs in the 1990s.

 

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