Britain’s Jonathan Rea secured a crushing double victory in Portimão in Portugal, after easing away from the chasing field in Sunday’s second World Superbike race.
While his first win of the day came in tense, dramatic circumstances, Rea was never troubled after passing Davide Giugliano for the lead on lap 10 at turn one.
A pulsating three-way fight for the lead ensued in the first half of the race but Rea pulled clear to the tune of several tenths a lap to east home 5.4 seconds clear of Giugliano, who equalled his best finish in the class with a comfortable second place.
It had taken Rea three goes at out-braking the leader at turn one before he eventually made it stick, the third of which saw him run off track, handing the initiative back to Giugliano and Britain’s Tom Sykes.
The Italian seemed intent to prove he could cut it on a Sunday early on after a string of strong qualifying performances, as he led Rea and Sykes in the opening laps.
Sykes gambled with a rear tyre choice before the race, opting for the ‘B’ rear compound in the afternoon after choosing the ‘A’ – Rea’s choice for both races – in race one.
It initially appeared the choice backfired but it later transpired, a damaged wheel rim caused his rear tyre to slowly deflate, capping a weekend which may have ultimately extinguished any realistic thoughts of catching his team-mate in the championship standings.
Sykes moved past Giugliano to go second a lap after Rea but it soon became clear that he was unable to whittle away the 0.7s deficit. Instead Sykes began slipping down the order as his pace dropped by a full second on lap 13.
Five laps later and Sykes was the slowest of the top-13 men on track and had soon handed the final podium spot to Leon Haslam. The Englishman would eventually finish a demoralising eighth, his Donington momentum all but extinguished.
While Giugliano held his own among the Kawasakis, Chaz Davies struggled to hold on to the front three and soon fell back into the clutches of Leon Haslam. Although he benefited from Sykes’ late troubles, Britain’s Chaz Davies won’t be satisfied with finishing five seconds behind his team-mate.
Michael van der Mark capped a fine turnaround with fifth place after a race long battle with Sylvain Guintoli. From 13th on the grid, the Dutchman made his way to eighth early on, before climbing two places on the final two laps.
Behind the Honda duo, Jordi Torres capped a solid debut appearance at the challenging Portimão circuit with seventh while Leandro Mercado almost pipped the rapidly fading Sykes for eighth. The Argentinean lost out at the line by 0.6s.
Outside the top ten, it proved another challenging day for Alex Lowes. Coming off sixth on the grid, the Englishman soon dropped down the order to 15th position on the first lap but managed to recover 13th at the flag.
Leon Camier’s afternoon went from bad to worse as he retired early on for the second time in a matter of hours with machine problems.
RESULTS from round seven in Portugal:
1. Jonathan Rea GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 20 laps
2. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +9.384s
3. Chaz Davies GBR Aruba.it Racing Ducati 1199R +13.753s
4. Davide Giugliano ITA Aruba.it Racing Ducati 1199R +27.818s
5. Sylvain Guintoli FRA PATA Honda CBR1000RR +28.141
6. Matteo Baiocco ITA Althea Ducati 1199R +39.665
7. Ayrton Badovini ITA BMW Italia S1000RR +40.829s
8. Leandro Mercado ARG Barni Ducati 1199R +43.401s
9. Michael van der Mark NED PATA Honda CBR1000RR +59.025s
10. Jordi Torres ESP Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 +62.769s
11. Alex Lowes GBR Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +61.388s
12. Leon Haslam GBR Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 +62.769s
13. Randy de Puniet FRA Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +99.537s
14. David Salom ESP Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +103.681s
15. Nico Terol ITA Althea Ducati 1199R +105.940s
16. Roman Ramos ESP GO Eleven Kawasaki ZX-10R+109.326s
17. Niccolo Canepa ITA Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10R +1 lap
18. Christophe Ponsson FRA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +1 lap
19. Gabor Rizmayer HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR +1 lap
20. Imre Toth HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR 5 laps
DNF. Santiago Barragan ESP Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10R 5 laps
DNF. Leon Camier GBR MV Agusta F4 RR 18 laps
1. Jonathan Rea GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 20 laps
2. Davide Giugliano ITA Aruba.it Racing Ducati 1199R +5.416s
3. Leon Haslam GBR Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 +6.689ss
4. Chaz Davies GBR Aruba.it Racing Ducati 1199R +10.445s
5. Michael van der Mark NED PATA Honda CBR1000RR +14.122s
6. Sylvain Guintoli FRA PATA Honda CBR1000RR +14.265s
7. Jordi Torres ESP Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 +16.213s
8. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +19.384s
9. Leandro Mercado ARG Barni Ducati 1199R +19.998s
10. Matteo Baiocco ITA Althea Ducati 1199R +27.332s
11. Roman Ramos ESP GO Eleven Kawasaki ZX-10R +28.904s
12. Ayrton Badovini ITA BMW Italia S1000RR +31.138s
13. Alex Lowes GBR Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +34.252s
14. Christophe Ponsson FRA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +56.181s
15. Nico Terol ITA Althea Ducati 1199R +62.679s
16. Randy de Puniet FRA Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +63.200s
17. Niccolo Canepa ITA Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10R +63.488s
18. Gabor Rizmayer HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR +1 lap
19. Imre Toth HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR +1 lap
DNF. Santiago Barragan ESP Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10R 12 laps
DNF. David Salom ESP Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 16 laps
DNF. Leon Camier GBR MV Agusta F4 RR 19 laps
|1||Jonathan Rea||Kawasaki Racing Team||330|
|2||Tom Sykes||Kawasaki Racing Team||206|
|3||Leon Haslam||Aprilia Racing Red Devils||199|
|4||Chaz Davies||Aruba.it Ducati Racing||184|
|5||Jordi Torres||Aprilia Racing Red Devils1||131|
|6||Sylvain Guintoli||PATA Honda||113|
|7||Matteo Baiocco||Althea Ducati||88|
|8||Michael van der Mark||PATA Honda||85|
|9||Tati Mercado||Barni Ducati||85|
|10||Alex Lowes||Voltcom Crescent Suzuki||80|
|11||Davide Giugliano||Aruba.it Ducati Racing||73|
|12||Ayrton Badovini||BMW Italia Motorrad||63|
|13||Nico Terol||Althea Ducati||54|
|14||Roman Ramos||GO Eleven Kawasaki||47|
|15||David Salom||Pedercini Kawasaki||42|
|16||Leon Camier||MV Agusta RC||40|
|17||Xavi Fores||Aruba.it Ducati Racing||38|
|18||Randy de Puniet||Voltcom Crescent Suzuki||22|
|19||Santiago Barragan||Grillini Kawasaki||17|
|20||Troy Bayliss||Aruba.it Ducati Racing||15|
|21||Michel Fabrizio||Althea Ducati||13|
|22||Sylvain Barrier||BMW Italia Motorrad||10|
|23||Christophe Ponsson||Grillini Kawasaki / Pedercini Kawasaki||7|
|24||Imre Toth||Team Toth BMW||5|
|25||Gabor Rizmayer||Team Toth BMW||3|
|26||Niccolò Canepa||Team Hero EBR / Grillini Kawasaki||3|
|27||Larry Pegram||Team Hero EBR||2|
|28||Jed Metcher||Race Center Kawasaki||2|