Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) showed tremendous composure once again to win his seventh consecutive race at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve and his sixth consecutive in this year’s MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, after a thrilling battle through two thirds of the race with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). He was accompanied on the podium by Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
A brilliant start from Rea pushed him straight up to third inside lap one, with Davies and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) keeping their grid positions in one and two. Flying past his teammate on lap three, the Northern Irishman set up another stunning duel with the Welshman, one that we’ve seen repeated several times this year.
The battle quickly heated up, and fans were treated to a sensational battle. A first strike at the beginning of lap eight saw Davies defend his position on the exit of turn 1; two laps later, Rea dashed into the slipstream again, this time successfully, but the Ducati found the space to counterattack at the braking point of turn 5. Meanwhile, Melandri closed into a mere few tenths of a second of the squabbling pair, with van der Mark also moving near.
The pressure eventually got to the Welshman however, on lap 12: Davies went wide at turn 10, being comfortably passed by the Kawasaki with no chance to respond. Melandri tried a move on his teammate for second on the return through the main straight, but both went in too hot, leaving the door open for the trailing Yamaha to swoop in and climb to second in one smooth move.
With the memory of their stunning battles at Assen and Donington Park fresh in the minds of all WorldSBK fans, Rea and van der Mark set out for another thriller. The reigning champion’s pace was however just too strong for the Dutchman to surpass at this point, and he remains undefeated since Laguna Seca.
Melandri secured third place at the flag, joining Rea and van der Mark on the podium for the third consecutive race. While Davies’ pace faded off after his mid-race battles, the Welshman did manage to hold off Sykes for fourth position and complete a sensational weekend as he was hindered by a collarbone injury.
Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) made amends for his mistake in Race One by rising to sixth in Sunday’s race, one position ahead of his teammate Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia). Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) was the best independent rider on track at Portimao, crossing the line in eighth.
Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) couldn’t keep hold of his front row start and finishes Race Two in ninth position, just ahead of Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) in tenth and eleventh, respectively.
That’s a wrap from Portugal! Join us in two weeks’ time for the last European round of 2018 at Magny-Cours, from 28-30 September.
P1 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“I have no words for whats happening right now, I’m just grateful to my team for supporting me every weekend, I have no words. To double up here again, it’s incredible. I feel very very lucky and privileges to be in this position, so I’m just hoping to ride this wave as long as I can.”
P2 – Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
“Its been a strange weekend, on Friday it seemed like we were not on the pace and yesterday we were a but lucky to get third. We changed some small things to improve the bike in the hotter conditions. Today I stayed calm, made my way to the front step by step and I tried so hard to catch up with Jonny and he was a bit quicker. I tried so hard to race at the front, so a big thanks to the team.”
P3 – Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
“It was very difficult, the track today was a bit more slippery, it was not was not to come back from behind and I made a few mistakes when I tried I tried to pass Chaz, I didn’t have a lot of chance to pass him as he brakes so hard. So we went wide and then van der Mark passed me, and in some turns I was pretty slow and in some others I was coming back, but they didn’t make any mistakes and I tried to make some moves. So third position today is the best result I can get today and we’re looking forward to getting to Magny.”