Jonathan Rea is just one round away from a possible hat trick of World Superbike titles after a perfect weekend in Portimao. Rea won both races, secured pole position on Saturday and wrapped up the 2017 Pirelli Best Lap Award title and now leads the championship by 120 points over teammate Tom Sykes. He could now secure the 2017 WorldSBK title, which would be his third successive category crown, at France’s Magny-Cours in two weeks.
WorldSBK Race One: Rea Brilliant In Portimao
Reigning world champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) had a superb day two in the Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round, utterly dominating the field in the opening race of the weekend, whilst his team-mate Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was forced to sit out the race following a crash in free practice three.
Rea started from pole position after setting a pole position time of 1.41.430, and when the lights went out he didn’t look back. Crossing the line on the opening lap with already a second lead, the 30 year old was able to take his ZX-10RR to new levels as he whitewashed the field over 20 laps at Portimao, with the Ducati pairing of Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri taking second and third.
It was Rea’s fourth win in a row in Portugal, and even the defending world champion was surprised at his pace today.
“I don’t know what to say. These weekends don’t come so often, the circuit is really difficult to get a perfect set up. I worked on myself and not just the bike over the weekend, but everything has worked well. I got a good start, put my head down from lap one and when I saw the gap on the first lap from my pit board I couldn’t believe it. Then it was hard to keep the concentration for the rest of the race, but it was very rewarding and if the gap stayed consistent I knew I had a bit to respond with. I’ve never had this kind of race in my life, so it’s amazing. The bike feels so nice, I am lost for words.”
On the other side of the garage, Sykes’ weekend came to an early end following a big crash at the top of the hill in turn nine during Saturday morning’s free practice session. With the session red flagged, Sykes was taken to the medical centre and was unable to take part in the remainder of the weekend. Requiring surgery on his finger, he was transported to Barcelona for an operation on Sunday (see report below).
“They have put the finger back in place as it was badly dislocated. I am disappointed with the crash, something so small led into a big crash but most of all it’s a shame the medication I had in the medical centre has meant I have been unable to race. I would have liked to have tried to ride to keep the points coming in but that’s not to be and I’m really disappointed for this and what will be, will be.”
WorldSBK Race 1 Results: 1. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki 2. Chaz Davies – Ducati 3. Marco Melandri – Ducati
Australians: 13. Anthony West – Kawasaki
WorldSBK Race Two: Rea Victor, Ahead Of Van Der Mark And Melandri
Race two at Portimao’s Autodromo Internacional do Algarve saw Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) complete a perfect weekend, with a victory by almost six seconds over second-placed Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Ducati’s Marco Melandri third. (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
In the absence of the injured Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) crashing out with three laps to go in race two it was another significant victory for Rea as he edges closer to a third successive WorldSBK title.
The weekend could not have gone better for Rea winning both races, securing pole position on Saturday and wrapping up the 2017 Pirelli Best Lap Award title. He now leads the championship by 120 points over teammate Sykes and could secure the 2017 WorldSBK title at Magny-Cours in two weeks time.
Van der Mark was delighted with his first podium with Yamaha after the Dutchman beat Melandri to the finish line by 3.367s. Just off the podium was Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), whilst Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) also featured in the top five.
Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia), Leandro Mercado (IODARacing), Anthony West (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Ayrton Badovini (Grillini Racing Team) and Takumi Takahashi (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) completed the top ten.
There was a big crash for Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) midrace at turn 13, with Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) also going down shortly afterwards at turn 3. Fores picked his machine up to finish 13th.
After an exciting Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round the WorldSBK riders will next be in action at the Pirelli French Round in two weeks’ time, over the 29th September to 1st October weekend.
WorldSBK Race 2 Results: 1. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki 2. Michael van der Mark – Yamaha 3. Marco Melandri – Ducati
Australians: 8. Anthony West – Kawasaki
WorldSBK Championship Standings
1. Jonathan Rea – 431 points (Kawasaki) 2. Tom Sykes – 311 points (Kawasaki) 3. Chaz Davies – 296 points (Ducati) 4. Marco Melandri – 250 points (Ducati) 5. Alex Lowes – 169 points (Yamaha)
Tom Sykes Has Surgery In Barcelona After Crash At Portimao
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) has undergone surgery on the fracture he sustained on his finger following his crash on Saturday in Portugal. The operation took place on Sunday (17th September) at the iMove Traumatology centre of the Mi Tres Torres Clinic in Barcelona and a rapid, favourable recovery is expected.
KRT rider Sykes suffered a tough crash in FP3 at round 10 of the season at turn 9 of the Portimao track, resulting in a displaced fracture of the little finger of his left hand and fissures of the fourth finger of the same hand and the left wrist.
The operation at the Mi Tres Torres Clinic to repair his left hand and wrist lasted less than two hours and was performed by Doctor Jordi Font Segura and Doctor Enric Domínguez, of the Hand and Elbow Unit of iMove.
“We undertook surgery which consisted of the osteosynthesis on the fifth finger of the left hand, where a plate was placed, Tom will stay in for 24 hours for post-surgery observation and medical treatment; and during the next week a new check-up will be performed. Also with a scan we have confirmed that Tom had a fissure in the fourth finger of the left hand and in the left wrist. The recovery period depends on the rider and in the best case scenario he can return to competition soon.”
Explained Dr. Font.
“I have had an operation and the doctor seems to be happy with how it went. Obviously it was a nasty break and basically snapped the little finger clean in half, so it was more than a dislocation and he found a couple of other things in the hand as well – a crack in the finger next to it and a crack on the radius on the wrist. I have had that injury before and raced with it four days later in Australia, so I have been able to race with a broken wrist before. We will see what happens from now on, and see how the fingers get on in the next few days.”
Stated Sykes post surgery.
WorldSSP: Sofuoglul Takes His First Win Of Season To Move To Top Spot
WorldSSP title holder moves to the top of the standings with Portimao win and is joined on podium by Mahias and Cluzel
The reigning WorldSSP World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was in fine form as he notched up win number five of the season at the Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round on Sunday. On his Kawasaki ZX-6R Sofuoglu rode with caution in the early laps but ultimately beat championship rival Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) by just 0.08s, whilst Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) crossed the line in third.
Pole man Sofuoglu dropped back to fourth in the early stages with PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Mahias contesting the lead and Cluzel also getting in the mix.
But Jacobsen would eventually fall back to finish fifth, behind fourth placed Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing), whilst Cluzel ultimately ran a lonely last few laps to third.
Mahias put some pressure on Sofuoglu on the last lap as the Frenchman sought to retain the lead in the general standings, but the Kawasaki rider was too strong as he showed his class for a narrow – but crucial – triumph.
Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing), Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), Lorenzo Zanetti (Team Factory Vamag), Christoffer Bergman (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) and Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Jenik – Against Cancer) completed the top ten.
In an incident packed 18 lap contest there were crashes for the likes of Stefan Hill (Profile Racing), Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing), Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing), whilst Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25) missed out on the race due to technical problems with his MV Agusta F3 675 machine.
The WorldSSP riders return to action at the Pirelli French Round in two weeks’ time.
WorldSSP Results: 1. Kenan Sofuoglu – Kawasaki 2. Lucas Mahias – Yamaha 3. Jules Cluzel – Honda
Australians: DNF. Lachlan Epis – Kawasaki DNF. Giuseppe Scarcella – Honda
WorldSSP Championship Standings
1. Kenan Sofuoglu – 145 points (Kawasaki) 2. Lucas Mahias – 141 points (Yamaha) 3. Sheridan Morais – 114 points (Yamaha)