Jonathan Rea third in race one at Estoril as Scott Redding closes World Superbike title deficit
Scott Redding made it back-to-back World Superbike wins as the Ducati rider triumphed in race one at Estoril in Portugal, with champion Jonathan Rea in third.
Rea – a double winner at the opening round of the series last weekend at Motorland Aragon in Spain – became embroiled in a battle for second place with Turkish rider Toprak Razgatlioglu, but was unable to find a way past on the final few laps.
The Kawasaki rider, still seeking his first victory at the Portuguese circuit – which returned to the WSBK calendar last year – had to settle for the final rostrum place.
Pole man Rea, third for most of the race, had closed the deficit to the leading duo of Redding and Yamaha rider Razgatlioglu in the final third of the race after opting for the harder option rear tyre, but try as he might, the six-time champion could not pass Razgatlioglu on the brakes at the end of the start/finish straight despite pulling alongside the Pata Yamaha.
In the end, Redding – running the softer rear tyre – was an all-the-way winner as he followed up his victory in race three at Aragon with a quickfire success in Saturday’s first race of the weekend at Estoril.
The trio were a long way clear of American rider Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha), who edged out Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) at the end to take fourth.
Redding has closed the deficit to Rea at the top of the table to eight points going into Sunday’s two races.
Welshman Chaz Davies was on his own in sixth on the Team Go Eleven Ducati ahead of Dutchman Michael van der Mark, who was the leading BMW Motorrad rider.
Eugene Laverty crashed out of the race on the RC Squadra Corse BMW after running seventh. The Northern Ireland man had qualified in eighth place but was demoted to 13th on the grid after his best qualifying lap was ruled out, with Laverty and five other riders penalised for racing through waved yellow flags following Tito Rabat’s crash in Superpole.
Team HRC’s Leon Haslam and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team) were among the fallers. Haslam re-joined the race and finished 12th.
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