Rea right back on track
Nearly two months after his triumph at Laguna Seca, Jonathan Rea made his comeback to competition in Portimao – and at the same pace. With two wins and a second place, the Kawasaki rider further increased his lead in the World Superbike Championship.
At the end of a long summer break, Jonathan Rea took the handlebars of his Kawasaki with the same appetite. In Portugal, the quadruple world superbike champion even came one step closer to a fifth star. Clocking the best time during the tests, he won the first two races of the weekend before securing second place in the last heat. “The team did a great job again,” said the Brit. “The conditions were tricky because it was very hot and the track lacked grip, but we managed to find interesting technical solutions to overcome the problem.” On Saturday afternoon, Rea broke away right from the start of the race taking advantage of a crash in the first lap by Alvaro Bautista, his opponent in the title race: “I found myself fairly quickly with a lead of several seconds that I then tried to manage.” Once again winner of the Superpole race Sunday morning, the Kawasaki rider ended the weekend with a duel to the finish with the Bautista’s Ducati. “It was a great fight,” he explains. “But in the last laps I preferred to secure second place and focus on the championship.” Less at ease on the Portuguese track, Leon Haslam chalked up three fifth places after signing the fourth time during the qualifying session. “I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t make it to the podium on Sunday afternoon,” said the Brit. “I lacked a bit of confidence in cornering and I was not able to keep pace with the riders ahead of me.” Toprak Razgatlioglu got better and better throughout the weekend. Sixth at the finish of the first race, he finished fourth in the Superpole race before taking the podium of the last heat on Sunday afternoon. In Supersport, Lucas Mahias also made it to the podium. The Kawasaki rider who fought end-to-end with the two Yamaha’s ridden by Caricasulo and Krummenacher finished third less than one second behind the winner. His teammate Hikari Okubo finished seventh.
Jonathan Rea attacked the last part of the Superbike World Championship the same way he finished the first half of the season: by increasing his overall lead. With only four races to go, the four-time world champion is now 91 points clear of Alvaro Bautista, his most serious rival in the title race. Leon Haslam stays in fifth place with a capital of 229 points. Sixth, Toprak Razgatlioglu follows close behind with 223 points. In Supersport, Lucas Mahias is in fourth place with 98 points, just ahead of Hikari Okubo, fifth with 82 points.