SBK, Rea toys with his rivals before defeating them at Portimao

A series of passes followed by victory number 66 for Johnny, who closes in on his fourth title. Van Der Mark and Melandri on the podium


Just as we were thinking we'd see a different ending for once, Johnny Rea stopped playing games and set things straight, first passing Chaz Davies and then breaking away from Melandri and Van Der Mark too, the pair not quite quick enough to score the win themselves.

A few skirmishes mid-race, a couple of wobbles and a lot of hard barking, this was Jonathan's race today, King of Superbikes in its dullest era; the Northern Irish rider is not to blame - he wants to win and manages to do so, consistently, scoring victory number 66 today: “it wasn't easy to pass the Ducatis - declared the Cannibal - then I managed the advantage. Now we focus on Magny-Cours”. Rea is thinking about the next round as it is there that he may well become champion for the fourth time.

The Dutch Yamaha rider was strong and clean on today's race, almost looking as if he might have the better of the factory Ninja at one point, but it was not to be: “Rea was much quicker - admitted Michael - but the double podium scored here is a confidence boost”. The team Crescent R1 is the third, and sometimes the second quickest bike on the grid.

Another positive day for Melandri, determined to round out the season on a high: “after the front closed on me a couple of times, I chose to settle - and I needed the podium". A useful third-place finish in fact, for the standings and for his market share; still without a ride for 2019, the former 250 world champion is a key piece in the puzzle.

Having got away well from pole, Chaz Davies put on a real show, team Aruba almost certain he'd be able to beat the three time world champion. In the end, the Welshman had to surrender to his painful shoulder, but he proved, as ever, that he gives it his all even when times are tough. Tom Sykes was not 100% fit either, so a fifth-place finish for him is not at all bad.

The two Milwaukee Aprilia close sixth and seventh with Savadori and yesterday's poleman Laverty. The two RSV4 bikes (probably set to continue on track next year) got the best of Rinaldi's Panigale R.

Loris Baz wanted more than ninth on board his BMW, while Alex Lowes' weekend never got off the ground, eleventh across the line today.

Jake Gagne closed ahead of team-mate Camier but these are not the kind of results Honda wants in Superbike. Without an HRC  sticker on the fairing of the Fireblade SP-2 and adequate technical support, the glory days of Kocinski and Edwards are an increasingly distant memory.

Championship standings: Rea 420, Davies 304, Van Der Mark 284.




Translated by Heather Watson

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