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Jonathan Rea at the 2018 WorldSBK Portugal round

Rea straight back into the groove with Portugal WorldSBK double

Sep 172018

WorldSBK cleared the dust and eased back into leathers for the last four dates of the 2018 campaign and after a long six-week summer hiatus but also found Jonathan Rea’s stranglehold as tight as ever. The World Champion blasted his rivals once more around the wide, modern and undulating turns of the Portimao layout for another 1-1.

Signs before resumption of race duties and the tenth round of thirteen were decidedly ‘green’. The Kawasaki Racing Team had tested at the circuit only a few weeks beforehand and Rea had five consecutive wins at Portimao – hiking that total to an impressive seven and six on the bounce after spoils in Misano and Laguna Seca prior to the hefty pause in the calendar.

He ran free on Saturday and then defied his reversed grid position to push his way through the pack and jostle with Chaz Davies before again wheelie-ing past the chequered flag. “The run right now is incredible,” he admitted after lifting his all-time win record to 66. “It was a really tough race, as I had to fight a lot in the beginning. I made a pass stick in T13, and chased Chaz down within a lap. Then it took me so many laps to go past him because he was braking so late, and his bike was so fast in the straight. Once I got past I just concentrated on making a couple of clean laps and setting my rhythm. I put everything into the race and managed to get 25 points, so I am really happy.”

Rea now had one ‘match point’: fixtures in France, Argentina and Qatar and six race starts remain. He has a lead of 116 points over Davies.


Elsewhere Tom Sykes rode to a set of fifth positions while Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes struggled with some technical issues to go 10-11. WorldSBK heads to Magny-Cours next with round eleven occurring at the end of September.