Both Gulf Althea BMW and Milwaukee Aprilia teams enjoyed excellent points finishes in Qatar, as the 2018 World Superbike Championship (SBK) came to a dramatic end in the desert.
The second race was abandoned after phenomenal thunderstorms forced the organisers to make a tough decision and call off the race, which, for both Gulf teams, was a shame, as both bikes would’ve enjoyed a front row start.
According to SBK rules, the top-three in race one are demoted to row three for the start of race two; therefore, Eugene Laverty and Loris Baz, whom finished fourth and sixth respectively, were denied their opportunity to lead from the front and their quest for a victory.
Both riders enjoyed strong races, with Laverty, clinging onto a podium place, defending robustly against the charging Alex Lowes; however, with his front tyre giving up in the final embers of the race, Lowes was able to nab third-place on the last lap. While disappointed not to end the season finale on the podium, the Northern Irishman won a significant haul of points for himself and the Milwaukee Aprilia team.
Laverty, with a pole position and two podiums this season, finished in eighth position in the championship standings.
Meanwhile, French ace, Loris Baz, ended his campaign in the fashion that his second-half of the year merited with another sterling display. The 25-year-old charged through the field, a run that included a pair of overtakes on Ducati’s Chaz Davies and Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark in a single lap.
Loris Baz enjoyed a double-points finish in Argentina. There, he and the other Gulf other riders were visited by a strong contingent of Gulf Oil Argentina guests. Loris’s best weekend of the season at his home race in Magny-Cours, narrowly missed out on top-10 championship finish, but had luck been in his favour during the first half of the season, the Frenchman would have been comfortably higher.
He finished just a point behind Laverty’s team-mate, Lorenzo Savadori, who finished 11th in Qatar.