A double Portimao race win for Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea saw him extend his championship lead/ The track is a happy hunting ground for the Ulsterman; since he joined Kawasaki in 2015 he has won six Portuguese races in a row and seven in a row at Portimao overall.
After his dominant race victory on Saturday Rea had to start race two from ninth position, which made Sunday’s race a more combative affair in the early laps. Ducati’s Chaz Davies led for the first 11 laps across the line, with Tom Sykes and then Rea challenging behind on the Kawasakis. However, Rea pounced on Lap 12, taking the leading and building a gap as the podium order changed behind him. Michael van der Mark eventually finished second, Marco Melandri third.
Jonathan Rea said: “The run right now is incredible. It was a really tough race, as I had to fight a lot in the beginning. I made a very good start and had good track position early on. At turn five an opportunity opened up behind two riders and I found myself right behind Tom. He proved very hard to pass. I made a pass stick in T13, and chased Chaz down within a lap. Then it took me so many laps to go past him because he was braking so late, and his bike was so fast in the straight. Once I got past I just concentrated on making a couple of clean laps and setting my rhythm.
“The pace today was a little bit slower because the temperature had risen a bit and also I used the tyre a little bit more coming through the pack. I put everything into the race and managed to get 25 points, so I am really happy.”
The win was Rea’s 12th race victory so far in 2018 and extended his all time winning record in WSBK to 66. He has earned full points for six races in succession recently, scoring doubles at Laguna Seca, Misano and now Portimao.
In the championship Rea now has 420 points, Davies 304 and van der Mark 284, with three rounds and six races remaining. Rea will have his first opportunity to close out the championship at the following round in France, if results go his way.
The next round, the 11th of the 13 round championship, takes place at Magny Cours in France, between the 29th and 31st of September.