Untouchable Rea takes race one victory at Portimao

by Robert Jones

Jonathan Rea produced an utterly dominating display to take his tenth victory of the year ahead of Chaz Davies and Michael Van Der Mark

After clinching a superb pole position a few hours earlier, Rea continued his dominating form at the Autodromo Do Algarve Circuit to extend his championship lead from 81 to 93 points over Alvaro Bautista

Rea led into turn one and never looked back, as the four-time champion set his fastest laps of the race in the opening stages.

While Rea was safely through turn one, the same could not be said for Bautista, who clipped the rear tyre of Alex Lowes after being squeezed on the inside by teammate Davies. 

Bautista did well to avoid a bigger incident, but in the process ran off track which caused him to lose multiple places before rejoining in sixteenth position. 

As Rea started to clear off into the distance, it was Tom Sykes in second with the fast starting Davies in third. However, the positions would soon change, as the Ducati’s extreme power advantage and Davies being supremely fast in the first two sectors, saw the Welshman take second at turn one. 

Credit: WorldSBK.com

The pass by Davies started a trickle down effect for Sykes, who then lost positions to Van Der Mark, Leon Haslam, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Lowes within a three lap span. 

The BMW was struggling to hold the pace of the group ahead, and things would go from bad to worse when Sykes crashed at turn thirteen. The 2013 champion remounted to salvage three points on a day where he and the team announced their contract extension until 2021. 

With the front three spread out, it was the battle for fourth that was now hotting up, as Bautista made light work of the midfield pack and was reeling in the trio ahead. 

The Spaniard rapidly closed down the Pata Yamaha rider and went ahead of Lowes after the Brit ran wide at turn six. With rear tyre grip becoming an issue for the Kawasaki duo of Haslam and Razgatlioglu, this provided the opening Bautista needed.

Bautista made light work of the Turkish rider for fifth, but found it more difficult with Haslam. With three laps remaining, Bautista produced a late braking move at turn four, but Haslam got good drive coming out of the corner and regained the position. 

As the pair started their penultimate lap, Bautista showed off the power of the Panigale V4 on the main straight as he drove by the Kawasaki with ease to claim what could be a vital thirteen points come the end of the year. 

Haslam went on to finish fifth, with Razgatlioglu and Lowes holding station in sixth and seventh respectively. Sandro Cortese struggled to convert his front row start, as he could only manage eighth ahead of teammate Marco Melandri and Michael Ruben-Rinaldi in tenth. 

Related articles

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More