Jonathan Rea took a double victory today at Portimao – his fourth of the season.
Weather affected the first race – and after twenty action-packed laps, that saw the first flag-to-flag race of 2015, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) took his ninth victory of the season, coming home 9.384s ahead of team mate Tom Sykes and with an even bigger margin on Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Team), who completed the podium.
More than two thirds of the encounter saw the Kawasaki pair play a game of cat and mouse until, with 6 laps to go, the few drops – that were already falling down – turned into heavy rain. All but Sykes came in to change to wet tyres with Sykes following suit the following lap. The duo fought it out until Sykes made a mistake caused by a small and temporary technical problem, allowing Rea to notch up his 24th career win.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) who completed the podium after a titanic fight with Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) in the early stages.
Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) was fourth ahead of Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike) and Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing Ducati).
Ayrton Badovini brought the BMW Motorrad Italia entry home in 7th ahead of Leandro Mercado, who experienced his first ever flag-to- flag race on the Barni Racing Ducati.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) recovered to 9th after an off track excursion as Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) rounded out the top-10 after running wide in the early stages of the race.
Jordi Torres was the first of the factory Aprilia riders in 11th, the WorldSBK rookie just beating team mate Leon Haslam who fell and re-joined on his first lap after changing to wet tyres. Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), David Salom (Team Pedercini) and Nico Terol (Althea Racing Ducati) completed the point scorers.
The conditions for this afternoon’s second WorldSBK race were almost perfect as the earlier rain had disappeared. The full 20-lap encounter on a dry circuit was won in the end by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), who stepped atop the podium for the tenth time this season by crossing the line 5.416s ahead of his nearest rival Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team). Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) returned to podium ways by finishing third.
Rea’s double win moves him into 3rd overall in terms of most consecutive podium finishes (15). The KRT rider now sits in seventh place for the most number of race wins in the series (25).
As in the first encounter, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) initially led before being passed by team mate Jonathan Rea and Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team), the trio pulling clear of the pack as their pace at the front increased.
As the race continued Rea began to stretch a lead, leaving Sykes and Giugliano to fight for second until the former champion’s ZX-10R suffered what looked like a technical problem. The former champion would eventually finish eighth. Haslam took full advantage of the situation to take third, his first podium since Aragon race 2.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) finished fourth to score more solid points ahead of the Pata Honda pairing, with Michael van der Mark getting the better of reigning World Superbike Champion Sylvain Guintoli on the final lap.
Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) scored 9 points with his 7th place finish ahead of Sykes, Leandro Mercado, who was in the top ten once again on his Barni Ducati and Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing Ducati).
Positions between 11th and 15th were taken by Roman Ramos (Team GO Eleven Kawasaki), Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia), Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Christophe Ponsson (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) and Nico Terol (Althea Racing Ducati).
Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) won this afternoon’s World Supersport race withstanding incredible pressure from championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing, who found himself in fifth on lap one, before slowly making his way forward and overtaking the Frenchman on tour number twelve.
The Frenchman retook the lead at the start of the last lap as the two riders exchanged position twice again, before Cluzel pulled away to win by 0.184s. This is Cluzel’s win number nine in the series, his second in 2015 after the one taken in the opening round at Phillip Island. With seven events completed out of twelve, the MV Agusta rider is now 40 points shy of the lead.
PJ Jacobsen backed up his strong debut qualifying performance with his new team (CORE’’ Motorsport Thailand Honda) to take the final place on the podium. The American was in contention for the lead in the early stages before gradually losing ground from lap 8 onwards.
Gino Rea (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda) missed out on the podium by 0.7s taking fourth ahead of Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Kyle Smith (Pata Honda World Supersport Team).
Christian Gamarino (Team GO Eleven), Roberto Rolfo (Lorini Honda), Martin Cardenas (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda) and Fabio Menghi (VFT Racing) completed the top ten.
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