Having won the opening two races of the weekend at the French venue, Jonathan Rea only needed to finish inside the top three to ensure he headed to the season finale with an unassailable margin of 62 points.
Rea was in a prime position to achieve that feat, having qualified on pole position with Redding starting outside the front row in fourth.
However, Redding was in a league of his own in the opening stages of the race, passing Michael van der Mark at the Adelaide hairpin on the opening lap before reeling in second-placed Alex Lowes at Turn 1 on the following tour.
On lap 3, Redding lunged up the inside of Rea at the Turn 9 hairpin, forcing the Kawasaki off the racing line and clinching the lead in the process.
Second place should have been enough for Rea to seal the title, but the 33-year-old appeared to struggle for pace on a drying track and ran wide at several corners, allowing first Loris Baz and then Redding’s Ducati teammate Chaz Davies to pass him and demote him to fourth by lap 14.
Rea tried to fight back in the final five laps and brought the deficit to Davies under a second, but a mistake on Turn 1 on the penultimate tour allowed the Ducati rider to open up a gap once again.
Rea closed the gap back again on the final lap, but not sufficiently enough to attempt a move, the two…