Landmark Win For Rea With Sykes Fifth
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Landmark Win For Rea With Sykes Fifth
[Image: kawasakiwsbhdr.jpg]

In scoring his 11th WorldSBK race win of the season Jonathan Rea (KRT) reached a career total of 65 victories - and a historic 50th race win since he joined Kawasaki in 2015. Tom Sykes (KRT) finished fifth after a hot race held over 20 laps of the Portimao circuit.

After an intense Superpole 2 qualifying session Rea started the first race of the Portimao weekend from the front row and second place while Sykes was sixth, making a second row start.

Rea made fast early progress and led every lap of the race, increasing his lead and then easing up to celebrate his latest win at Portimao. He has now taken six career wins at the 4.592km circuit near the Algarve coast, all in succession.

On lap three Rea set a new lap record of 1’42.304, in ambient temperatures that reached almost 30°C.

Sykes was fourth on lap one but dropped to sixth one lap later. He remained in that position for much of the early race, until he was promoted to the top five, nine laps from the end.

Rea now leads the championship by a strong 104 points, as his closest rival, Chaz Davies, placed fourth in today’s opening race. Sykes is still fourth overall and both KRT riders have one more chance to shine in the Portuguese sun in race two on Sunday the 16th of September, at 15.15 local time.

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) continued the Ninja ZX-10RR success in race one as the top independent rider, in eighth place, after qualifying tenth in Superpole. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was a battling 11th today. Yonny Hernandez (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) placed 12th and Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) 14th.
[Image: JonReaPortimaoRace1.jpg]

Jonathan Rea, stated:

“Sixty five is a nice number of race wins and Portimao is a nice place to reach that total at, especially with so many fans from Northern Ireland here. All weekend we have been really strong and I had a few different strategies. On a clear track I could set my rhythm, but I did not want to get into too much traffic. Around half race distance Marco Melandri responded and kept the gap consistent for a few laps. I stepped it up just a little bit outside my comfort zone for a few laps. It might look like I rode away but it was difficult. I tried to keep my concentration right on the maximum every lap and I had a few front slides, overloading it a little bit in that kind of temperature. Apart from that, the bike was faultless. Even when the tyre dropped I was able to stay in the high 1’42s or low 1’43s. That was the key to the race.”

Tom Sykes, stated:

“I did not expect this round to be easy, after missing a two day test here, and I think I missed that little bit of hot weather riding from the recent test. I just suffered a little bit with the front. On trail braking, it was very difficult for me to get the last part of braking done so I was suffering a lot while on the edge of the tyre. I think that is what cost us a lot of time in the race. It was a shame because we had a better balance in FP3 yesterday, with the same bike settings. It looks like in hotter conditions I have not got the best from it. We will have a little think now on why I was not able to complete my trail braking the way I wanted to, but I just did not get the best feeling from the front end.”

15-09-2018, 05:10 PM
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