A second Portimao race win of the weekend for Jonathan Rea (KRT) saw him extend his championship lead while his team-mate Tom Sykes took another fifth place finish to keep fourth position in the overall points ranking.
Portimao proved to be as fruitful as ever for Rea this weekend. Since he joined Kawasaki in 2015 he has won six Portuguese races in a row, on a Ninja machine of some sort, and seven in a row at Portimao overall.
Rea’s 12th race win so far in 2018 extended his all time winning record in WorldSBK to 66. He has earned full points for six races in succession recently, scoring doubles at Laguna Seca, Misano and now Portimao.
After his first race victory on Saturday Rea had to start race two from ninth position, which made today’s race a more combative affair in the early laps. Chaz Davies led for the first 11 laps across the line, with first Sykes and then Rea challenging behind. Rea made a pass stick on lap 12 and then eased out a lead as the podium order changed behind him. Michael van der Mark eventually finished second, Marco Melandri third.
With Sykes feeling more comfortable with his machine settings today he had greater confidence in the battles for the podium places. He was in a fight for fourth right to the end and he was just 4.834 seconds from the winning race time today.
With the Sunday race having started at 15.15, as opposed to 13.00 on Saturday, the conditions were slightly different, which meant the race was both slightly slower than Saturday’s event and more closely contested.
In the championship Rea now has 420 points, Davies 304 and van der Mark 284, with three rounds and six races remaining. Jonathan will have his first opportunity to close out the championship at the following round in France, if results go his way. Tom is fourth in the points, with a total of 240.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) crashed out at T10 and did not finish race two, but is still ninth overall in the championship. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) scored the last point on offer today for 15th place, with Yonny Hernandez (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 16th. Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) fell, remounted and then retired later in the race.
The 11th round of the 13 round championship takes place at Magny Cours in France, between the 29th and 31st of September.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “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.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “We made a massive step with the bike today. We had good speed all weekend but suffered over 20 laps. We did not have the information, so yesterday we struggled with the front and finished about 13 seconds back. Today, we took nearly ten seconds off of that. We came a lot closer and basically we had a lot more information, and learned from it. We had consistent speed in race two and the bike gave me a lot of warning and feedback. I want to thank my team for this. I suffered a little bit on those last two laps and I think Davies also dug a little deeper with his pace. I tried a few little things to pass but almost losing the front three times in two laps is probably enough. I was just trying to create an opening but he defended well on the last lap.”
2018 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 20, Wins 12, Podiums 17, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 66 (51 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 129 (87 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 20, Wins 1, Podiums 6, Superpoles 4
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 106 (105 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 46 (46 for Kawasaki)
5 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016 & 2017), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
3 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017)
3 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016 & 2017)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 122 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 372 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 79 – second overall