After his magnificent performances in Portugal the defending World Champion has a third successive title in his sights
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) produced an excellent double victory at the Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round taking his win tally for 2017 to 11 and putting him in contention for a third successive WorldSBK title at the next round in France.
Starting Sunday’s 20-lap contest around the 4.592km Portimao circuit from ninth place on the grid Rea shot through the pack and took just two laps to get into the lead. He went on to win by almost six seconds from second-placed Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team).
With Rea’s injured KRT colleague Tom Sykes unable to race in Portugal the defending World Champion has moved 120 points clear in the championship fight, with Sykes second overall and Chaz Davies third, 135 points from Rea’s lead.
Three rounds of the championship remain, the first of them at Magny Cours in France, from 29th September to 1st October, where Rea could seal the 2017 title.
He stated: “I made some tough passes in the first laps to get my track position and as soon as I hit the front I made my rhythm and went away. We had a completely different bike set-up today. I had a lot of feedback from the bike and I was able to ride in my own rhythm but with seven or eight laps to go I had a drop in power in second gear. But as the laps were ticking down I could see that the gap was staying constant, and then I saw Chaz (Davies) went out and I had some breathing space.”
“We have had our bad luck this year in Donington. The championship lead is massive now and we can go to Magny Cours thinking about trying to win it in France. If we have a solid enough weekend in Magny Cours we can get it done.”