WSB: Rea dominates opening race
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) scored a remarkable start-to-finish victory in the first 20-lap WorldSBK race at Portimao, winning by just over six seconds and easing up on the final lap from a seven second lead.
Second place went to the combative Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati), who had started from ninth place after a crash in Superpole. He had an eventually lonely race, finishing four seconds up on the battle for third place.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) missed the race entirely after his massive highside crash and subsequent left hand injury in FP3, which left one regular competitor out and a vacant space on the podium.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) grabbed it after some aggressive overtakes but had the tall figure of Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) trying to close him down from half race distance. He got to within 0.4 seconds of Melandri at the flag for his best result of the year.
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Fifth place went to the closely following Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), who slowed on the final lap, but was still well ahead of the advancing Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) who left day one behind with a strong sixth place after a generally strong period of practice and qualifying.
A potential podium was on for Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) for some time but his pace dropped off and he ended up seventh, 18 seconds from Rea. His team-mate Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) was eighth, and Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Ducati) ninth. The top ten featured another Spanish rider, with Roman Ramos (Team GOELEVEN Kawasaki) ten seconds from Fores.
Anthony West (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 13th, and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) finished a lap down after a crash and period of time spent in pitlane.
Rea now has a 95-point lead over Sykes, with Davies 110 adrift. One more Portimao race to come on Sunday, again at 15.00 local time.