World Superbikes: Jonathan Rea wins race one in Portugal to extend lead

Jonathan Rea
Jonathan Rea has won eight consecutive World Superbike races at the Portimao circuit

Jonathan Rea secured a start-to-finish win in World Superbike race one in Portugal to extend his championship lead to 93 points.

The Northern Irishman took victory from Welshman Chaz Davies and Michael van der Mark, with his nearest challenger in the series, Alvaro Bautista, fourth.

It was Rea's 10th win of the season, his seventh in eight races, and his eighth in succession at Portimao.

The Kawasaki rider is aiming for a record fifth title in a row.

The championship was back in action on Saturday after an eight-week summer break but the outcome of the opening race had a familiar look about it with Rea on the top step of the podium.

'First few laps did the damage' - Rea on Portimao victory

The 32-year-old, who started from pole position, dominated throughout the 20 laps and had the luxury of slackening his pace in the latter stages of the race.

"When I pulled five seconds clear it was time to manage as I didn't want to do anything silly so I just watched my pitboards," Rea told Eurosport.

Rea secured doubles at the Portuguese circuit in 2018, 2017 and 2015, as well as a single race victory in 2014.

Bautista, nursing a shoulder injury sustained at the last round at Laguna Seca in mid-July, worked his way up from 17th in the early stages to claim 13 points.

The Spaniard won the first 11 races of the season to build a 61-point advantage over Rea but crashes at four consecutive rounds in Spain, Italy, Great Britain and the United States dealt a serious setback to his title chances.

Ducati-mounted Davies came from well back on the grid to follow up his win in the US last month with a runner-up spot.

England's Leon Haslam came home fifth but Eugene Laverty retired with eight laps remaining.

The 10-lap sprint race and race two take place on Sunday, followed by the remaining rounds in France, Argentina and Qatar.

2019 WSBK Riders' Championship
Jonathan Rea (GB)Kawasaki458 pts
Alvaro Bautista (Spa)Ducati365
Michael van der Mark (Ned)Yamaha231
Alex Lowes (GB)Yamaha229
Leon Haslam (GB)Kawasaki213
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Tur)Kawasaki201

Top Stories

Also in NI Sport