Aprilia ended the season on a high note, with Jordi Torres scoring his first World Superbike win in Race 1 and Leon Haslam taking victory in Race 2. Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes finished second and third, respectively, in Race 1 while it was Aruba.it Ducati’s Chaz Davies and Sykes going two and three in Race 2.
Rea and Sykes shot out to the front off the start and Sykes claimed the early lead with Rea trailing in second after an early pass by Davies. The fight behind between Davies, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes, Torres and Haslam provided some early fireworks, riders changing position a number of times before settling into the event.
Lowes ran strong early on and paced as high as third for a period, but a mechanical issue later in the race forced him to pull off track and eventually out of the race.
Davies worked hard to retain podium position but Torres and Haslam were hounding the Ducati mid-way through the contest. With 10 laps remaining Torres was able to get ahead of Davies for third and Haslam followed quickly after. Torres was riding on another level though and when he got ahead of Davies faced a 2.6 second gap to the two Kawasakis in front.
It took Torres about three and a half laps to catch up to the Kawasaki duo. He was helped by Rea somewhat, the 2015 title winner making a very late-braking move on Sykes for the lead which nearly pushed Sykes off track. Rea waved his hand in acknowledgement that the move was less-than-cordial, but didn’t relinquish the front.
Torres later slipped past Sykes coming down the straight into Turn 1, making an outside move work to slip into second-place. The following lap he was able to dispatch Rea as well for the lead.
Rea kept glued to the Aprilia’s rear tire during the closing laps and on the final rotation Rea made a move to regain the lead. Torres answered back immediately and the two carried the battle to the final corner, where Rea made an aggressive pass that caused him to run wide, allowing Torres to shoot up the inside and pin it to the line.
Davies would end in fourth followed by Pata Honda’s Michael van der Mark in fifth. Haslam dropped back to sixth by the checkers followed by Ducati replacement rider Xavi Fores in seventh.
World Superbike Qatar Race 1 Results 2015
1. Jordi Torres (Aprilia)
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki)
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
4. Chaz Davies (Ducati)
5. Michael van der Mark (Honda)
6. Leon Haslam (Aprilia)
7. Xavi Fores (Ducati)
8. David Salom (Kawasaki)
9. Leandro Mercado (Ducati)
10. Sylvain Guintoli (Honda)
11. Ayrton Badovini (BMW)
12. Randy de Puniet (Suzuki)
13. Gabor Rizmayer (BMW)
14. Christophe Ponsson (Kawasaki)
15. Gianluca Vizziello (Kawasaki)
16. Alex Phillips (Kawasaki)
17. Imre Toth (BMW)
Rea, Davies and Sykes pulled off the line hard in Race 2 with Haslam and Torres in the mix as well. This top-five would remain hard at work throughout much of the race, joined later by Van der Mark.
Haslam and Davies fought hard for third-place in the opening lap, with the Ducati rider coming out ahead and chasing down Sykes in second. Davies continued to apply the pressure and on Lap 2 he was able to claim the front from Rea entering Turn 1. Rea and Davies would battle closely as the race progressed while behind Haslam got ahead of Sykes for third. Sykes held to fourth while Torres and VDM chased in fifth and sixth.
Running order remained steady for a number of laps, until Haslam made a move on Rea for second-place with 13 to go. Not long afterward Rea dropped off unexpectedly and pulled into the pits, marking his only DNF of the season owing to an apparent mechanical issue. He was just five points from becoming the all time points winner in World Superbike.
Davies, Haslam, Sykes, Torres and VDM forged on, but Van der Mark dropped off the pace slightly during the latter stages. Haslam began to line up a final lap move on Davies well before reaching the end, getting good drives off the final corner down the straight to draft past the Ducati as they reached the line. Though Haslam would attempt to grab the lead a number of times before the end, Davies was always quick to respond.
Sykes and Torres both appeared to have some fight left as well, but with two laps remaining Torres lost control and went down while in fourth. Sykes stayed glued to the battle at the front, but was unable to mount a serious bid for the lead and finished third.
Davies led with Haslam in second into the final lap and Haslam remained fairly steady throughout the rotation, not attempting anything before the opportune final corner. There the Aprilia dove ahead of Davies for the outright lead on exit and he was able to power down the straight and keep Davies from any attempt at retribution.
Van der Mark finished in fourth followed by his teammate, Sylvain Guintoli, in fifth.
World Superbike Qatar Race 2 Results 2015
1. Leon Haslam (Aprilia)
2. Chaz Davies (Ducati)
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
4. Michael van der Mark (Honda)
5. Sylvain Guintoli (Honda)
6. Leandro Mercado (Ducati)
7. Randy de Puniet (Suzuki)
8. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati)
9. David Salom (Kawasaki)
10. Ayrton Badovini (BMW)