WSBK: Jonathan Rea deliveres another dominating performance to win in Portimao.
Jonathan Rea has delivered another masterclass performance to claim his 90th World Superbike victory ahead of PATA Yamaha duo, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael van der Mark.
From pole position, Jonathan Rea got the perfect start, taking the holeshot ahead of PATA Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu and Ten Kate Yamaha’s Loris Baz. Further back, the field sorted themselves out throughout the opening tricky corners of the picturesque Portimao circuit, with Scott Redding right in the thick of it down in sixth.
The Aruba.it Racing Ducati rider looked to pass Alex Lowes into turn one, but couldn’t make his move stick on the Philip Island race winner, dropping back to sixth. Redding later made the move stick on the KRT machine, diving underneath at Portimao corner, and immediately set after the struggling Yamaha’s of Loris Baz and Michael van der Mark – who looked the most comfortable of the two.
Van der Mark suffered a huge moment on the run down the hill allowing the bright red Ducati V4 R to close right into the rear wheel of the PATA Yamaha. But that mistake didn’t slow the Dutchman down as he drew up alongside the Frenchman, banging elbows down the front straight. Despite the fighting, Redding couldn’t capitalise and everyone held position.
Lowes, who was running different tyre compounds to the leading field looked to pass Redding who was being held up by the two Yamahas, but for Redding, he was gifted a position as van der Mark made a costly mistake and dropped to sixth.
Meanwhile, Rea continued to do what he does best, slowly open the gap over his opposition, this time, Toprak Razgatlioglu who was running in a comfortable second position.
Loris Baz looked to be suffering with rear tyre grip, the Ten Kate Yamaha was moving around underneath the lanky Frenchman, allowing Redding to draft up alongside the Yamaha, using the Ducati power, and moved into third. Redding didn’t make it easy however, missing his braking point into turn one and put himself under pressure into turns two and three – but held on to third over Baz.
In the space of two laps, the battle for third became a six rider battle, with Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Tom Sykes joining the battle.
With 11 laps to go, Baz ran wide into turn one, dragging Alex Lowes into his mistake which in turn allowed van der Mark to pass the pair of them and set after Redding’s Ducati.
Baz once again found himself under pressure from Lowes by running wide at turn one. Lowes was able to capitalise on that mistake, passing Baz into the downhill turn five and promoting himself into fifth.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Rea was managing a comfortable gap over Toprak Razgatlioglu, who were in another race compared to the rest of the field.
Back to the battle for third, Scott Redding found himself under serious pressure from van der Mark who looked to retain third place and take the podium off the championship leader. Van der Mark was lacking straight line speed compared to the Ducati, but managed to pass the 2019 British Superbike Champion the penultimate corner after Redding made a carbon copy of the mistake van der Mark made earlier on in the race.
Loris Baz slipped back to seventh after Rinaldi squeezed passed the Frenchman and was now under serious pressure from former Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes, who was recovering from a shocking start from his fourth place grid spot.
Meanwhile, just up the road, Alex Lowes pulled a favour for team-mate Rea, passing Scott Redding into the hairpin at the top of the circuit. Redding was now under pressure from Rinaldi who just like Jerez, was starting to come strong towards the end of the race.
Redding’s issues under breaking looked to have transferred over to Portimao from Jerez, the rider from Gloucestershire was struggling to stop and turn his Aruba.it Racing Ducati, and was defending for his life against fellow Ducati Rinaldi, who looked to get passed any way he could.
Rinaldi drafted up alongside Redding with 2 laps remaining but as Redding looked to defend his fifth place, ran wide and dropped to seventh behind Loris Baz. Redding was now looking in his mirrors to the German manufacturer with WorldSBK veteran Tom Sykes aboard, who looked to nab seventh on the final lap.
Jonathan Rea crossed the line to start his 20th and final lap as he looked to claim his tenth victory at the Portimao circuit, with both PATA Yamaha riders comfortable in second and third.
Rea crossed the line to take victory and cut Redding’s advantage to eight points with Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael van der Mark finishing second and third. Alex Lowes came home in fourth ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Loris Baz, Scott Redding and Tom Sykes. Alvaro Bautista and Eugene Laverty completed the top ten with Chaz Davies in 11th and Leon Haslam in 12th.
Kawasaki’s Xavi Fores finished 13th ahead of the two GRT Yamaha Junior WorldSBK riders Garrett Gerloff and Federico Caricasulo.
The World Superbike championship returns tomorrow with the superpole race at 10am.
Featured image: Kawasaki