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Jonathan Rea at the 2017 World Superbike Portuguese round

Rea ruthless around Portimao curves to close on 2017 destiny

Sep 182017

The triple gets even closer. Jonathan Rea blasted the opposition in Portugal this weekend for his first WorldSBK double since round four at Assen and completely owned the tenth fixture of 2017 at the swirling Portimao circuit. The reigning double world champ has led the series since the opener in Australia and with a margin of 120 points is eying celebrations at Magny Cours and a special place in Superbike history.

Teammate Tom Sykes had been declared unfit to take part after a spectacular and fiery crash in the third Free Practice sessions left the former champion with a broken left little finger. The Englishman had surgery in Barcelona the same weekend. With little opposition from inside the same Kawasaki garage, Rea only had to worry about the Ducatis of Chaz Davies and Marco Melandro and managed a cushion over the rapid Italian bikes. On Sunday afternoon Rea strode towards another chequered flag.

“I am really happy to win and aside from one little issue it was plain sailing race,” JR said. “I made some tough passes in the first laps to get my track position and as soon as I hit the front I made my rhythm and went away. The championship lead is massive now and we can go to Magny Cours thinking about trying to win it in France. If we have a solid enough weekend we can get it done. I said to Pere [Riba, Crew Chief] before the race today that because Kawasaki had won every race at Portimao there was big pressure now. He said that there was no pressure as we had done all the jobs, and I should go out and do what I had to do.”