Chaz Davies took his seventh World Superbike win of the season in tricky conditions at Magny-Cours, while newly-crowned three-time champion Jonathan Rea was forced out on lap two.
Davies was struck with an electrical issue in Saturday’s wet race, and finished a lowly 10th as a result while Kawasaki rider Rea crusied to a 50th WorldSBK win to wrap up a historic third world title.
Starting from 11th as a result of woes, Davies scythed through the pack to sixth on the opening lap, battling hard with world champion Rea for the position.
Rea was running in eighth behind Milwaukee Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty as they headed into Turn 15 at the end of the second lap when his compatriot highsided in front of him.
The world champion was left powerless to avoid Laverty‘s stricken Aprilia, damaging the rear brake on his Kawasaki and forcing him into retirement for the first time since suffering a tyre failure at Donington Park in May.
At the front, Yamaha’s Alex Lowes had jumped pole man Leon Camier on the opening lap, with the MV Agusta rider holding off a hard assault from Lowes‘ team-mate Michael van der Mark.
By lap four, Davies had stromed into the lead and immediately began to open up an advantage, though spots of rain had appearaed by this point.
Camier kept Lowes at arm’s length for the next handful of laps, but was forced to retire with a mechanical issue on lap 10 while running in third spot.
Davies continued to lead by close to four seconds while the Yamaha duo fought hard over second spot.
Lowes held his resolve against van der Mark, the Dutchmans’s challenge eventually fading in the closing stages. With the rain intensifying, Lowes was able to put Davies under some pressure.
However, the drops of water soon abated and Davies’ pace improved in the final few laps to hold onto a 27th career WorldSBK win, while Lowes and van der Mark held station for Yamaha’s first double podium since 2011.
Barni Racing’s Xavi Fores put his Saturday DNF behind him with a fourth in race two, while Marco Melandri just pipped Leandro Mercado for fifth after a great battle between the pair.
The injured Tom Sykes crossed the line in seventh to secure Kawasaki the Teams’ title for 2017 and keep his lead over Davies in the battle for second in the standings at nine points heading to Jerez.
Jordi Torres came from the back of the grid to finish eighth on his BMW ahead of Roman Ramos and his Althea team-mate Rafelle De Rosa, with Davide Giugliano heading team-mate Jake Gagne in 11th for Honda’s first double points finish since Laguns Seca race two.
Alessandro Andreozzi, Anthony West and Ayrton Badovini took the remaining points ahead of Riccardo Russo and Laverty, who remounted after his lap two crash. Team-mate Lorenzo Savadori retired on the last lap with a bike issue.