World Superbikes: Series leader Rea denied Portimao hat-trick by Bautista

Jonathan Rea has now won 11 races this season
Jonathan Rea has won 11 races this season

Series leader Jonathan Rea was denied a treble at the Portugal World Superbike Championship round as Spanish rival Alvaro Bautista won race two on Sunday.

Having won Saturday's 20-lap opener and Sunday's Superpole sprint race Rea came in second behind his nearest challenger but heads the standings by 91 points.

Starting from second on the grid Bautista made a poor start but battled back to take victory by 0.11 seconds.

It was the Ducati rider's 15th win of the year, four more than Rea's tally.

Earlier in the day Rea took the chequered flag in the 10-lap sprint race at Portimao, winning by two seconds from Bautista who blasted through the field to take the runner-up spot.

'We're in the driving position' - four-time WSB champion Rea

That start-to-finish win was Kawasaki rider Rea's 11th of the season and his ninth in a row at the Portuguese circuit.

The 32-year-old secured doubles in 2018, 2017 and 2015, as well as a single race win in 2014.

Englishman Alex Lowes made up the final podium position on a Yamaha by finishing third, with Toprak Razgatlioglu taking third in the final race of the weekend.

"I wanted to make this weekend count as we know this is one of the strongest circuits of the year for me and Kawasaki," explained Rea.

"I feel good to come here and increase my championship lead going into the next round at Magny-Cours.

"We are now in the driving position but as we've seen earlier in the season it is very easy for the momentum to change. I have to concentrate on managing races and making no mistakes.

"I am trying not to think about the title but I can smell it."

Rea domination

Rea has won eight of the last 10 World Superbike races, including both feature and sprint events, as he chases a record fifth consecutive title.

Bautista, nursing a shoulder injury sustained at the last round at Laguna Seca in mid-July, worked his way up the field to claim nine points on Sunday morning, before triumphing in the feature race.

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.

The remaining three rounds of the series will be staged in France, Argentina and Qatar, with Rea still in the driving seat to retain his crown.

2019 WSBK Riders' Championship
Jonathan Rea (GB)Kawasaki490 pts
Alvaro Bautista (SPA)Ducati399
Alex Lowes (GB)Yamaha249
Michael van der Mark (NED)Yamaha244
Leon Haslam (GB)Kawasaki229
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Tur)Kawasaki223

Top Stories

Also in NI Sport