Rea wins sixth consecutive Superbike World Championship


ESTORIL, Portugal (Reuters) - Jonathan Rea clinched a record-extending sixth Superbike World Championship for the Kawasaki Racing Team after title challenger Scott Redding retired with a technical issue at Estoril on Saturday.

Britons Rea and Redding had crashed in the Superpole session earlier in the day and Redding's Ducati developed a technical issue in the race leading to his retirement.

Rea, who started the weekend with a commanding lead in the standings, only needed three points from the three races to put first place out of reach for Redding, and the 33-year-old managed to finish fourth despite starting 15th on the grid.

"I have no feeling right now... It's been an incredible journey this season to go through," Rea said.

"I just wanted to thank World SBK, Dorna, all the circuits, the organisers to get racing because in the middle of what everyone has experienced this sport always comes second but we managed to race and I really miss the fans.

"It's for all of them and my Kawasaki Racing Team for keep pushing this season. We started behind like last year but never gave up and it's been a hell of a journey... So happy."

Rea was also looking to clinch the title with a 100th career race win but Yamaha's Turkish rider and pole sitter Toprak Razgatlioglu took his first victory since the opening round at Phillip Island in Australia.

Rea will have the chance to claim that milestone win in the Superpole race or in Race Two.

The 2020 season originally had 13 events in the calendar but was reduced to eight due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the last seven being held in Europe following a five-month hiatus after the opening round in Australia.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

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