The four-time WorldSBK champion leaves the Portimao circuit with a bigger gap than he arrived with, after two wins and a second place!
Despite not being able to complete a hat-trick of wins this weekend and set a new record for consecutive race wins at the same circuit, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has extended his championship advantage and has a chance of wrapping the championship up at Magny-Cours. The Northern Irishman, who had a loyal fan base at Portimao, put on an amazing show and almost nabbed victory on the final run to the line.
Starting from pole position, Rea got the perfect start and eased into the lead, whilst Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) got an appalling start, dropping back to sixth. Despite this though, Rea wasn’t able to streak away at the front like he had done before, as Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) relentlessly circulated with the Northern Irishman. However, second place for Rea still means that he extends his lead by ten points overall, with a realistic possibility to wrap it all up again at Magny-Cours.
Speaking after the race, Rea said: “I tried to change the strategy, I think yesterday I ran out of tyre a little bit; I ate a little bit too much in the beginning. I just managed the race at the beginning so that I could stay at the front, but when Alvaro came past and also Toprak, it became more about me trying to be there. When I saw Alvaro making some mistakes however, I thought, ‘maybe this race is open after all’ and I just tried to keep the pressure on.”
With the championship on the line, it may take some fine championship permutations for Rea to be champion for a fifth season running. However, with nine races to go and still 186 points up for grabs, there’s plenty to play for, not just for Rea but also for Bautista.
Continuing, Rea stated: “I threw the kitchen sink at it and it didn’t come off, but I am super proud of the effort, especially with the way the team has worked. We went back to a setting we had in FP3 where I had better tyre consumption, so I was happy with that. Overall, I really enjoyed the battle.”
Will we see another heroic comeback or has Jonathan Rea done enough? Find out with the WorldSBK VideoPass!