WSBK: Rea double sets up world title chance in France

Jonathan Rea won both World Superbike races at Portimao in Portugal.
Jonathan Rea won both World Superbike races at Portimao in Portugal.

Jonathan Rea will have his first opportunity to secure a record third World Superbike crown at Magny-Cours in France in two weeks’ time after completing a stunning double at Portimao.

Rea turned the screw with a majestic performance as he followed up his dominant win in Saturday’s opening race with another powerhouse display in race two on Sunday.

Kawasaki's Jonathan Rea is within touching distance of a record third successive World Superbike Championship.

Kawasaki's Jonathan Rea is within touching distance of a record third successive World Superbike Championship.

After powering through from the third row, the Kawasaki rider wrapped up his brace by 5.8 seconds from Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha), with Marco Melandri claiming the last rostrum place on the Aruba.it Ducati in third ahead of Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia).

Rea’s team-mate and nearest challenger Tom Sykes missed both races in Portugal after suffering a finger injury in a crash in free practice on Saturday, while Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Ducati) missed the chance to move into second place in the championship when he crashed out of second place in race two.

With three rounds remaining, Rea is now 120 points clear at the top from Sykes, with only a maximum of 150 points on the table.

Barring a major disaster, the 30-year-old will become the first ever rider in the history of the World Superbike Championship to win the title in three consecutive years.

Rea has once again been the standout performer in 2017, with his fourth double of the season extending his tally of wins this year to 11.

The French round of the championship takes place from September 29 to October 1.