WSBK: Jonathan Rea seals fourth double of season at Portimao

Jonathan Rea celebrates his World Superbike double at Portimao in Portugal
Jonathan Rea celebrates his World Superbike double at Portimao in Portugal

Jonathan Rea stamped his authority on the seventh round of the World Superbike Championship by completing his fourth double of the season at Portimao in Portugal.

Rea came off during Superpole qualifying on Saturday, leaving him on row three for Sunday’s races, but it made little difference to the Kawasaki rider, who has now won an incredible ten races out of 14 in 2015 and has yet to finish lower than second.

His brace of wins in Portugal have given Rea a mammoth lead of 124 points at the top of the championship over Sykes.

“I have a great bike, a great team around me and great strategy for every weekend,” Rea said.

“My crew chief Pere [Riba] and I sit down and work out a good set-up, evaluating our tyres. We learned from some mistakes in Donington that made us stronger here and I am riding well, but I have the tools to do it. So it is massive credit to all my mechanics for working so hard and KHI in Japan, who are continuing to develop.

“In tomorrow’s test we have some new material to try. We know now where the limit is and we rode two good races today,” he added.

“The points gap is a lot after this round but I will try not change the way I am riding.”

In a rain-hit first race, the riders were forced to pit to change tyres after a heavy shower six laps from the finish.

Rea’s advantage was slashed by his team-mate Tom Sykes, who opted to pit a lap later, but the Yorkshireman developed a problem with his ZX-10R on the penultimate lap when he appeared set to challenge the Northern Ireland star.

In the end, Rea won by nine seconds from Sykes, with Chaz Davies ( Ducati) coming out on top of a race-long battle with Aprilia’s Leon Haslam, who crashed out on lap 17 before remounting to finish 12th.

Davide Giugliano finished fourth on the Ducati ahead of Pata Honda’s Sylvain Guintoli and Matteo Baiocco (Althea Ducati).

In race two, Rea wrapped up his 25th career World Superbike victory, pulling away at the front after passing Giugliano on lap ten following a three-way scrap for the lead in the first part of the race with the Italian and Sykes.

The championship leader had 5.4 seconds in hand at the finish over Giugliano, while Sykes dropped out of podium contention after a damaged wheel rim caused his rear tyre to deflate, eventually finishing eighth.

Haslam finished third on the Aprilia ahead of Davies, with Michael van der Mark on the Pata Honda coming home ahead of team-mate Guintoli for fifth.

A one-day test will be held on Monday at Portimao, with Misano in Italy hosting the next round of the series on June 21.