For the third WorldSBK season in a row, Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes will fight it out for runner-up spot in the championship chase as Jonathan Rea has already clinched his championship hat-trick.
In 2015, Davies clinched it by 17 points but last year it was the Kawasaki man’s turn but the result came after Rea slowed in race two and allowed Sykes to pass, which was enough for him to grab a two-point advantage.
The Aruba Ducati rider has already said that he hopes there will be no ‘games’ like last season and the pair can go head-to-head but you can bet that KRT boss Guim Roda will have a strategy in his head to try and secure back-to-back one-twos for the squad.
Sykes himself has been on the receiving end of narrow losses. In 2012, Max Biaggi beat him to the title by half a point after torrential rain at Monza saw half-points awarded. The Huddersfield man says he is ready for Qatar, a track that is flowing so his still-injured hand should be less of a problem.
“This is the final round of the year and the season has passed by almost without realising it in some ways. My hand is feeling better than it did in Jerez where all those many changes of direction meant things were not ideal. I was still not fully myself at Jerez but I am looking forward to the last races,” said Sykes.
“Losail is a lovely venue and I really enjoy riding at night under the lights. I also enjoy the general layout and the weekend timetable. In the final round we will try to get the bike settings to suit my riding style in the best way possible. I have gone quite a way to try and change my riding style to suit the changes that came in this year. In Qatar we will see if we can get the bike set-up to do the rest. Right now we’re working toward making sure we take the runner up slot in the final championship standings.”
Davies won both races under the desert lights last season - doing everything he could to take second place – and hopes it is just down to the best team and rider combination at the weekend. He and Sykes are dead level on points at 363 each. In the event of a draw, Davies will grab it on race wins seven to two.
“I’m looking forward to the last round. I do like racing in the lights at night, as it brings a different element to it. In the last couple of years, the Panigale R has been really competitive in Qatar. We improved quite a lot over there and last year we finally had a really strong pace, which led us to a double win,” said Davies.
“We didn’t seize second place in the championship back then because we headed into the last round trailing by a few points, but this time we’re even, so it’ll be exciting. We’re looking forward to the battle and we’re ready to put up a fight.”