This is how Jonathan Rea can win fifth WorldSBK title in Magny-Cours

It's match point for Jonathan Rea at Magny-Cours - here is how the Kawasaki rider can win the 2019 WorldSBK title over Alvaro Bautista in France

Jonathan Rea - Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10RR

There are three rounds and nine races of the 2019 World Superbike Championship remaining but this weekend’s WorldSBK Magny-Cours round represents the first ‘match point’ for Jonathan Rea over Alvaro Bautista.

The Kawasaki Racing rider comes into the French weekend – the final European event of the year – with a 91-point lead over rival Bautista, creating an ambitious but certainly achievable opportunity to hit a ‘high five’ closer to home.

Number crunch: The maths behind a Magny-Cours WorldSBK title

There is a total of 186 points available from the remaining nine races, which means Rea needs a margin of 125 points by the end of the weekend to be crowned WorldSBK champion for a fifth time.

That means Rea needs to out-score Bautista by 34 points at the conclusion of the three races this weekend.

Throwing in some hypotheticals, if Rea was to win all three races – at a total of 62 points – Bautista can take it to Argentina by finishing all three races on the podium. 

Other permutations include two fifth places in Race 1 and Race 2 mean Bautista has to finish on the podium in the Superpole Race to stay involved.

Of course, this all very much depends on Rea winning all three races, whilst it is entirely possible one or both could experience DNFs to keep the calculator tapping going on right up to the chequered flag.

Strictly speaking, there is perhaps a greater chance of Rea wrapping it up at the penultimate Argentina WorldSBK round. Then again, rain has been forecast this weekend…

2019 WorldSBK manufacturers’ title up for grabs

If you’re expecting to see Alvaro Bautista producing a ‘nothing to lose’ ride in an effort to destabilise Rea, you’ll probably end up disappointed as competition for the manufacturers’ title remains very much alive.

Indeed, despite Bautista’s indifferent form, the support of Chaz Davies (and in one case Michael Ruben Rinaldi) has allowed Ducati to remain much closer to Kawasaki. In fact, just two points split the two coming to France in the Japanese marque’s favour.

It’s an interesting gauge of what could have been had Bautista not experienced so many DNFs because if he had finished all of those races – even if it wasn’t a victory – it would have kept things nice and close right to the end of the year. 

In the absence of a riders’ title, Ducati will putting their all into getting would be its first WorldSBK title since 2011.

Jonathan Rea to surpass Carl Fogary’s WorldSBK record

Rea has already joined the greats of Superbike with his dominant turn over the past four seasons, but a 2019 WorldSBK title would see him surpass ‘King’ Carl Fogarty to become the first person to win five WorldSBK titles. And they have been consecutive.

Whether Fogarty would have gone on to achieve more is a point for conjecture but there is little doubt Rea – after years of wrestling with an inconsistent Honda package – has found an extraordinary level of consistency and speed, regardless of whether he’s had the best bike and not the strongest competition.

Interestingly, there is a good chance this would be Rea’s second WorldSBK title without winning the highest number of races. In 2016, Chaz Davies managed 11 wins – despite finishing third overall – to Rea’s nine. For now, the difference between Rea and Bautista sits at 11 to 15.

It’ll be the fourth time in a decade someone other than the champion won the highest number of races. In 2014, champion Sylvain Guintoli won five races to Tom Sykes’ eight and 2012 winner Max Biaggi achieved five, compared to Marco Melandri’s six.

WorldSBK Pirelli French Round, Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours Event Schedule (Times local GMT+1)
Friday 27 September
9:00 - 9:30WorldSSP 300FP1 (Group A)
9:45 - 10:15WorldSSP 300FP1 (Group B)
10:30 - 11:20WorldSBKFP1
11:30 - 12:15WorldSSPFP1
13:30 - 14:00WorldSSP 300FP2 (Group A)
14:15 - 14:45WorldSSP 300FP2 (Group B)
15:00 - 15:50WorldSBKFP2 
16:00 - 16:45WorldSSPFP2
Saturday 28 September
09:00 - 9:20WorldSBKFP3
09:30 - 09:50WorldSSPFP3
10:00 - 10:15WorldSSP 300FP3 (Group A)
10:25 - 10:40WorldSSP 300FP3 (Group B)
11:00 - 11:25WorldSBKSuperpole
11:40 - 12:05WorldSSPSuperpole
12:20 - 12:40WorldSSP 300Superpole (Group A)
12:50 - 13:10WorldSSP 300Superpole (Group B)
14:00WorldSBKRACE 1
15:15WorldSSP 300Last Chance Race
Sunday 29 September
09:00 - 09:15WorldSBKWarm-up
09:25 - 09:40WorldSSPWarm-up
09:50 - 10:05WorldSSP 300Warm-up
14:00WorldSBKRACE 2
15:15WorldSSP 300RACE

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