Johnathan Rea Takes the final win of the weekend as championship leader Toprak Razgatlioglu crashed out
It was sunny and dry conditions at the Portuguese circuit, the championship contenders were not where they’re used to being, Scott Redding was on the middle of the front row in second, Toprak Razgatlioglu was in sixth and Johnathan Rea was starting in tenth. Rea had also gone for the harder rear tyre compared to Redding and Toprak, would this tyre choice be a key factor to get back on form?
The lights went out, but immediately went off, causing confusion on the grid and a quick restart procedure was taken after a glitch with the lights. Second time round and the lights went and it was Andrea Locatelli who took the holeshot into turn one with Redding following in second, but immediately went into the lead, Johnathan Rea was able to make up six places in five corners, he then attacked Toprak into turn 11 and was starting to look for a pass on Locatelli which he was able to do into turn one.
Johnathan Rea made a very impressive move at Craig Jones to take the lead of the race, but then Redding and Toprak took Rea on the start finish straight, it was like Race One all over again. Toprak attacked Redding into turn one but had a huge moment and dropped to third, then Scott ran wide into turn five and Rea was back into the lead of the race. Scott was wide again into turn 11 and was now in third.
Toprak was beginning to close the gap on Rea but ran wide at turn 11, Redding was struggling to stay with the pace of Rea and Toprak was pushing hard to try and get back in-front of the champion. On lap eight Toprak was able to out-power the Kawasaki of Rea and retake the lead of the race, how would Johnathan respond?
Rea responded immediately into turn 11 and Toprak was unable to get back in-front. Redding set the fastest lap and was back with the front two. Rea set the fastest lap of the race on lap nine and was beginning to set a rhythm, Redding attacked Toprak but Toprak went back in-front and they both lost time, but Toprak was back on the pace chasing his title rival.
Drama struck as Toprak went down at turn 15, just as Rea did in Race One; it was quickly shown that Toprak’s front mud guard had broke off and went under his front wheel and caused him to go down, Toprak again going out of a race with no fault of his own.
There was now a battle for third place between Locatelli, Baz and Bautista. Locatelli was heading the battle, but was passed by Baz and Bautista and it was now between the two former MotoGP riders, Baz looking for a third consecutive third place, and Bautista looking to avenge his crash yesterday in the third place position.
With five laps Rea was far out in-front with Redding in a secure second place, but Baz and Bautista were swapping places as they were both hungry for the last podium spot. They were side-by-side into turn one with the Frenchman coming out on top. Alvaro was attacking again into turn one but Baz kept going back through.
Bautista went up the inside of Baz into turn five, but went a little bit wide and Baz went on the kerb and tried to retake Bautista and made contact with the Honda and Bautista went down! The incident was under investigation, but it meant that Baz was in a safe third place.
Johnathan Rea took the victory, his first long race win since Assen race two. Scott Redding crossed the line in second and Loris Baz crossed in third. Andrea Locatelli was in fourth and Garrett Gerloff was in fifth place. Superpole race winner Michael Van Der Mark finished in sixth, Michael Rueben Rinaldi was seventh, Leon Haslam finished in eighth. Bassani and Laverty rounded out the top ten.
Toprak now leads the championship by 24 points ahead of Johnathan Rea and Scott Redding has closed the gap to 53 points, with two rounds to go it could still be any of the three riders to lift the title.
Featured Image: WorldSBK.com