Sandro Cortese has been crowned the 2018 World Supersport champion after finishing second to Lucas Mahias in this evening's dramatic Qatar season finale.

Cortese, competing in his debut WSS season, was confirmed as champion when title rival Jules Cluzel crashed on the final lap while trying to pass the German for second place.

Cortese began the race with a five-point lead over Cluzel, the Frenchman chasing his first world crown and Cortese seeking to add the 600cc title to his 2012 Moto3 championship.

An earlier rain storm delayed both warm-up and the race, with numerous streams of water crossing the otherwise dry track - forcing riders to lift their machines in some corners - when the race action got underway at 18:15 local time.

Cortese and Cluzel were frontrunners throughout the shortened 12-lap showdown, with pole starter Mahias fighting back to the front after running wide at turn one.

The championship duel saw numerous hard-but-fair passes, title momentum swinging firmly in Cortese's favour when Mahias took the lead with three laps to go.

Cortese could afford to finish third, behind Cluzel, if Mahias won. The Kallio Racing competitor was thus happy to see Mahias build a lead, while Cluzel became ever more agitated to get ahead of Cortese and close down Mahias.

Cluzel made frequent passes but was never able to break clear of his rival, who was back holding second place as the last lap began.

The title fight was then decided when Cluzel made a lunge at Turn 7, but lost the front of his NRT Yamaha and fell.

Worse was to follow when Cluzel crashed again after remounting - this time a nasty highside after crossing a stream of water than left him holding his leg, meaning outgoing champion Mahias snatched second in the world championship.

Mahias' GRT Yamaha team-mate Federico Caricasulo was promoted to third place by Cluzel's exit, with the fallen Frenchman's team-mate Thomas Gradinger inheriting fourth.

Corentin Perolari, fastest in warm-up, and Hector Barbera completed the top six.

The tricky conditions contributed in seven riders failing to reach the finish.

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