Kawasaki’s Johnathan Rea is one round away from World Superbike Championship history, by being the first rider to win three championships on the trot.
Rea won both races in Portimão, Portugal, and leads the championship by 120 points to Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes.
Sykes had a nasty off in FP3 at Turn 9, resulting in a displaced fracture of the little finger of his left hand, which appeared to get caught in the front wheel.
There was also plenty of flames.
Sykes’ injury meant he was not able to compete all weekend.
The championship will head to Magny-Cours for the Pirelli French Round in two weeks’ time, over the 29th September to 1st October weekend.
Race 2: Rea victor, ahead of Van der Mark and Melandri
The ‘15 and ‘16 WSBK Champion Rea won by almost six seconds to second-placed Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Ducati’s Marco Melandri third. (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
Championship contender Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) crashed out with three laps to go, which was another significant victory for Rea as he edges closer to a third successive WorldSBK title.
Van der Mark was delighted with his first podium with Yamaha after the Dutchman beat Melandri to the finish line by 3.367s. Just off the podium was Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), whilst Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) also featured in the top five.
VDM will now ride the Factory Yamaha M1, replacing an injured Valentino Rossi for the MotoGP round at Aragón, Spain.
Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia), Leandro Mercado (IODARacing), Anthony West (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Ayrton Badovini (Grillini Racing Team) and Takumi Takahashi (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) completed the top 10.
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) had a big midrace crash at turn 13, with Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) also going down shortly afterwards at turn 3.
Fores picked his machine up to finish 13th.
Race 2 Results: 1. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki 2. Michael Van der Mark – Yamaha 3. Marco Melandri – Ducati
Australians: 8. Anthony West – Kawasaki Puccetti
Championship point score: 1. Jonathan Rea- Kawasaki– 431 points 3. Tom Sykes – Kawasaki – 311 points 3. Chaz Davies – Ducati – 296 points
WorldSBK Race 1: Brilliant Rea ‘lost for words’
Rea utterly dominated the field in the opening race of the weekend, starting from pole position, and when the lights went out he didn’t look back.
Crossing the line on the opening lap with already a second lead, the 30 year old was able to take his ZX-10RR to new levels as he whitewashed the field over 20 laps at Portimao, with the Ducati pairing of Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri taking second and third.
It was Rea’s fourth win in a row in Portugal, and even the defending world champion was surprised at his pace today.
“I don’t know what to say,” said Rea.
“These weekends don’t come so often, the circuit is really difficult to get a perfect set up. I worked on myself and not just the bike over the weekend, but everything has worked well.
“I got a good start, put my head down from lap one and when I saw the gap on the first lap from my pit board I couldn’t believe it.
“Then it was hard to keep the concentration for the rest of the race, but it was very rewarding and if the gap stayed consistent I knew I had a bit to respond with.
“I’ve never had this kind of race in my life, so it’s amazing. The bike feels so nice, I am lost for words.”
Race 1 Results: 1. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki 2. Chaz Davies – Ducati 3. Marco Melandri – Ducati
Australians: 13 Anthony West – Kawasaki Puccetti
WorldSSP – Sofuoglu takes his fifth win of season to move to top spot
Reigning WorldSSP Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was in fine form as he notched up win number five of the season.
Sofuoglu rode his ZX-6R with caution in the early laps but ultimately beat championship rival Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) by just 0.08s, whilst Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) crossed the line in third.
Pole man Sofuoglu dropped back to fourth in the early stages with PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Mahias contesting the lead and Cluzel also getting in the mix.
Jacobsen would eventually fall back to finish fifth, behind fourth placed Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing), whilst Cluzel ultimately ran a lonely last few laps to third.
Mahias put some pressure on Sofuoglu on the last lap as the Frenchman sought to retain the lead in the general standings, but the Kawasaki rider was too strong as he showed his class for a narrow – but crucial – triumph.
Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing), Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), Lorenzo Zanetti (Team Factory Vamag), Christoffer Bergman (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) and Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Jenik – Against Cancer) completed the top 10.
In an incident packed 18 lap contest there were crashes for the likes of Stefan Hill (Profile Racing), Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing), Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing), whilst Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25) missed out on the race due to technical problems with his MV Agusta F3 675 machine.
The WorldSSP riders return to action at the Pirelli French Round in two weeks.
WorldSSP Results: 1. Kenan Sofuoglu – Kawasaki 2. Lucas Mahias – Yamaha 3. Jules Cluzel – Honda
Australians: Lachlan Epis – DNF; Giuseppe Scarcella – DNF