Championship leader raises stakes at Portimao with authoritative Friday performance
With the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship getting back to business in Portugal after the summer break it was, in effect, business as usual for championship leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who demonstrated on Friday why the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve is one of his strongest circuits.
The championship leader wasted little to no time in Free Practice, taking the fastest time of the day in FP1 and riding consistently faster than the field throughout all three sessions. Only Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in FP3 managed to outdo the Kawasaki rider in any of the Free Practice sessions, who nonetheless was the only man to go below 1’42 at Portimao.
“We were here testing a few weeks ago, which meant that we could get most of the work done that we thought we could use at this track”, Rea claimed at the end of FP3. “When we arrived here, the grip level this morning was incredible, in fact all day it’s been much better than the test. Without touching anything, the bike felt great”.
There was a small scare in FP2 for the championship leader, however, as he slid through the exit from Turn 5. A crash that Rea views as a blessing in disguise: “To be honest, that probably helped me. I was going to crash. I was just going faster and faster, and feeling so good with the bike… It was a nice little warning I needed. I felt like the confidence was there, and then all of a sudden, I just rode off the edge of the tyre. It brought me down a peg or two”.
Find out on Saturday if the KRT rider manages to clinch his fifth consecutive race victory LIVE on WorldSBK VideoPass.