World Superbikes: Rea edges closer to fourth straight title with Portimao win

Jonathan Rea now leads the championship by 104 points
Jonathan Rea has won a record 65 World Superbike races

Jonathan Rea took another step towards a fourth successive World Superbike Championship as he secured a dominant victory in race one in Portimao.

The Northern Ireland man finished 1.575 seconds ahead of Italy's Marco Melandri as he clinched his 11th victory of this season's 19 races.

After his 65th career win, Kawasaki rider Rea leads Chaz Davies by 104 points in the championship.

Dutchman Michael van der Mark completed the podium positions.

Rea, 31, was pipped for pole position earlier on Saturday by compatriot Eugene Laverty.

Unlucky Laverty taken out on lap one

After taking Aprilia's first pole position in three years, Laverty crashed on the opening lap after being hit from behind by Xavi Fores.

To complete a disappointing day for Aprilia, Laverty's team-mate Lorenzo Savadori slid off on lap 12 while in third place.

Rea quickly established a comfortable lead and remained utterly dominant as he was able to slow up on the closing circuit in the 20-lap race.

The 31-year-old is on target to equal Carl Fogarty's career record of four Superbike crowns, having already surpassed the Englishman's previous record tally of 60 race wins earlier this season.

Welsh Rider Chaz Davies was fourth in Saturday's race
Welsh rider Chaz Davies is a distant second in the World Championship standings

Last year, the Ballyclare man became the first rider to win three successive World Superbike titles.

"I've really felt good with the bike here this weekend," said Rea, who was cheered over the line by a large contingent of fans who had travelled to the Algarve from Northern Ireland.

"I love with circuit. It was nice to get back after the summer break and get a race in."

The Kawasaki rider has now earned five straight race wins after clinching successive doubles at the last two rounds at Misano and Laguna Seca.

Rea's victory was also his fifth consecutive success at the Portuguese circuit.

An extension of his winning sequence could see him clinch the title with two rounds to spare at Magny-Cours later this month.

Welshman Davies and Rea's English team-mate Tom Sykes filled fourth and fifth positions in Saturday's race.

2018 WSB Riders' Championship
Jonathan Rea (GB)Kawasaki395 pts
Chaz Davies (GB)Ducati291
Michael van der Mark (Ned)Yamaha264
Tom Sykes (GB)Kawasaki229
Marco Melandri (Ita)Ducati213
Alex Lowes (GB)Yamaha199