Jonathan Rea continued his unbeaten run at Portimao in Kawasaki colors with victory in the Tissot Superpole race ahead of Alvaro Bautista and Alex Lowes.
Just like in race one, Rea made a great start from Pole and led into turn one ahead of Tom Sykes. The four-time champion immediately set a hot pace out front, and slowly started to edge away.
Lowes was lying in third and seemed to have similar pace to the leader, but was finding it tough to get ahead of the BMW rider. After spending a few laps behind, Lowes eventually got through on lap four and immediately pulled away from the growing group behind.
Sykes started to drop down the order in similar fashion to Saturday’s feature race, as Bautista, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Leon Haslam all made their way through in quick succession.
For Bautista, it was another superb recovery ride from ninth to second. The Ducati rider used his impressive straight line speed count once again to limit the points damage to championship rival Rea.
With only two laps remaining, Bautista had already made his way past Razgatlioglu and Haslam, and was firmly in contention for second place.
Bautista’s first attempt to get past Lowes was when he went round the outside going into turn one, but the Pata Yamaha rider held a tight line to stay ahead.
With passing opportunities quickly running out for Bautista, his best chance was to get a good exit out of turn fifteen heading into the final lap.
That’s exactly what the Spaniard did, as he closed Lowes down at turn fourteen and got great drive onto the main straight to take an important second place going into race two.
Behind the front three were the inseparable duo of Razgatlioglu and Haslam, who were once again locked in another tight battle. With Haslam getting the better of his fellow Kawasaki rider in the opening race of the weekend, it was the turn of Razgatlioglu to come out on top by the slender margin of three tenths of a second.
Sixth was the second factory Yamaha of Michael Van Der Mark, who pipped Sykes in the closing stages. Eighth was Sandro Cortese, with Loris Baz and Chaz Davies rounding out the top ten.
It was a superb comeback ride by Baz after starting sixteenth on the grid. The Frenchman had been quick all weekend, but crashes in free practice and qualifying hindered what could have been an even better result.