Jonathan Rea produced a commanding performance in race one at Portimao in Portugal to clinch his fifth World Superbike victory in a row.
The Kawasaki rider took the lead from the off and was never headed as he gradually put daylight between himself and Aruba.it Ducati rider Marco Melandri, who remained in second place throughout the 20-lap race.
Rea has now increased his tally of career World Superbike wins to 65 as he closes in on a record-equalling fourth title.
In a processional race, he secured his 11th triumph of the season by 1.5 seconds from Melandri after easing off on the final lap.
There was massive disappointment for pole man Eugene Laverty, who was wiped out of the race on the first lap at Turn 3 by Spain’s Xavi Fores. It was a cruel blow for the Toomebridge man, who edged out Rea to claim the top spot on the front row on his Milwaukee Aprilia.
Laverty’s team-mate, Lorenzo Savadori, also crashed out later in the race on a miserable day for Shaun Muir’s team.
Rea has now increased his advantage at the top of the championship over Wales’ Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Ducati) to 104 points, who finished fourth behind Michael van der Mark on the PATA Yamaha. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) finished in fifth place.
Reigning champion Rea will now be aiming to wrap up his third successive double in race two on Sunday following his victories at Laguna Seca and Misano prior to the summer break.