WSBK: Jonathan Rea doubles up at Portimao to close in on fourth world crown
Jonathan Rea made it six World Superbike victories on the spin as he completed a double at Portimao in Portugal.
It was Rea’s third successive brace as the Ulster rider powers towards a record-equalling fourth world crown, which would see him draw level with Carl Fogarty.
The factory Kawasaki rider, who started from row three based on the reverse grid rules following his dominant win in Saturday’s opening race, scythed through the field before becoming involved in a battle with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Ducati).
Rea, who had forced his way up to third by the end of the first lap, caught Davies and the pair exchanged passes before the reigning champion was able to make a break after a clinical pass at Turn 10 on lap 12.
From there, Rea held station at the front until the finish, with PATA Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark also finding his way past Davies to slot into second.
The Dutch rider began to close the deficit slightly to Rea, but the Ulsterman was able to respond and he went on to secure his 12th win of the season by 1.1 seconds.
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 (Sykes). 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,” added Rea, who was also celebrating winning six races in a row for the first time in his career.
“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.”
Marco Melandri demoted his Aruba.it Ducati team-mate Davies to fourth, with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) and Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) completing the top six. Eugene Laverty finished seventh on the second of the Milwaukee Aprilia machines.
Rea now leads Davies by 116 points with three rounds and 150 points to play for.
Round 11 of the championship will take place at Magny-Course in France from September 28-30.