Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea takes double victory at Portimao, Portugal, inching closer to his fourth title
Starting from the first row in P2, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea came back from the summer break with a bang. The grid looked quite interesting with Eugene Laverty of Aprilia starting on pole, followed by Rea, Marco Melandri of Aruba.it Ducati in P3, Lorenzo Savadori of Aprilia was in P4, and Michael van der Mark of Pata Yamaha completing the top five.
As the lights went out, Rea took the lead and never looked back. The Northern Irish rider maintained a consistent pace, turning his early lead into a stellar victory from pole to flag. Behind the Kawasaki rider, Ducati’s Marco Melandri had a tough time defending his position. For the first half of the race, Melandri was engaged in a tough fight with Lorenzo Savadori. However, at the beginning of lap 12, the Aprilia rider crashed, thus allowing Melandri some breathing space for the race. After Lorenzo’s crash, the race continued with very little action. Melandri eventually took P2 and Michael van der Mark, who had moved up a place after Savadori’s crash, was able to finish on the podium by finishing third. Chaz Davies, who is currently second in the championship managed to finish fourth despite a collarbone injury. Tom Sykes, the second Kawasaki rider who was also struggling with injury, completed the top five.
The first race was quite a straightforward event with hardly any drama apart from Savadori’s crash. However, the second event proved to be more intense as a lot more riders were fighting for the top three spots, including race one winner Rea.
The race started with Chaz Davies of Aruba.it Ducati taking an early lead thanks to the reverse grid order. Behind Davies was the Kawasaki duo of Rea and Sykes, who were slugging it out for the lead with Chaz. As the race progressed, Marco Melandri also joined the fight. By lap five, Melandri had overtaken Sykes for P3 and started creating a gap as he went on to chase Rea and Davies. Sykes ran into some trouble as he slipped down to P5 when Michael van der Mark passed him for P4.
The race became even more interesting on lap 12 when Rea finally overtook Davies for the lead. Soon Melandri also challenged Davies; however, in his quest to move up, Melandri ended up running wide, taking Davies along. This gave Michael van der Mark the opening to slip into P2 on lap 13.
At the end of the race, Rea was the winner with Michael van der Mark in second, and Melandri in third. Davies repeated his race one results by finishing fourth and even Sykes did the same by completing the top five.