WSB Estoril: Jonathan Rea extends championship lead with Portuguese double
Jonathan Rea has a 35-point lead in the 2021 World Superbike Championship after winning two of the three races at Estoril.
After losing out to Scott Redding and Toprak Razgatlioglu in Saturday's thrilling race, the reigning six-time champion was determined to leave his mark in the Superpole and second feature races.
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The Superpole race provided another enthralling fight between Rea, Razgatlioglu and Redding, with Rea being one of only three riders to use Pirelli’s SC0 tyre for the 10-lap shootout.
Razgatlioglu moved from third to first in one move at Turn 1 in the early stages, and a mistake from Redding at turn six allowed Rea to move back into second. Rea then took the lead at turn one was able to open a 0.690s lead to secure victory. Razgatlioglu and Redding completed the podium.
Behind them, Garrett Gerloff secured fourth for the GRT Yamaha team, ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Alex Lowes. Rinaldi pipped Alex Lowes, who was eager for a positive result after his crash in Saturday's opening race led to a 19th place finish, to the line by just 0.040s.
Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty were seventh and eighth on their respective BMW M1000RRs, whilst Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista completed the top 10.
The second feature race at Estoril was full of controversy. Razgatlioglu was instantly handed a double long lap penalty after being judged to have jumped the start, whilst Redding made the initial getaway at the front.
Rea lost ground on the Ducati rider after clashing with Rinaldi at turn four, whilst Gerloff also moved into third. Disaster would strike though, as Gerloff lost control of his R1 and took Rinaldi out of the race on the second lap.
This allowed Rea back into second and the fight was back on for the win. Rea was once again on the SCO tyre, whilst Redding used the SXC option which had guided him to victory in race one.
Rea slid down the inside at turn one on lap 14 but Redding used the cut back the retake top spot. A mistake at turn three by Redding allowed Rea to take the lead, and things got worse for Redding at the next corner when he lost the front of his Panigale V4 R. The 2019 BSB champion eventually crossed the line in 14th but was handed a six-second penalty for jumping the start and was classified in 16th - a huge blow to his early title hopes.
Davies benefited from Redding's crash and secured his first podium for Team GoEleven in second spot, whilst Razgatlioglu recovered from his double long lap penalty to claim his third podium of the weekend.
Lowes finished fourth ahead of rookie Andrea Locatelli and Michael van der Mark. Locatelli's fifth spot is his best result so far in the Superbike class. Bautista battled through from 18th on the grid to take seventh, whilst Sykes, Laverty and Tito Rabat completed the top 10.
Jonas Folger's difficult weekend ended with retirement due to a technical issue with his BMW. The former MotoGP rider finished 16th in race one and 18th in the Superpole race.
Leon Haslam endured another tough weekend for Team HRC. The 2018 BSB champion's best result at Estoril was 12th in both feature races, which is where Haslam also sits in the championship standings - 94 points behind Rea.
After two rounds, and six races, Rea already has a comfortable 35-point lead over Razgatlioglu in the championship standings. Following his crash and time penalty, Redding is a further three points back in third.
The paddock heads to Misano next for the Emila-Romagna Round on June 11-13, a circuit which was missing from the calendar last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, Redding has never raced at the circuit on a Superbike but does have track experience from his time in the Grand Prix paddock.]
In 2019 Rea won both feature races, whilst Bautista was the winner of the Superpole race for Ducati. Haslam secured two podiums on the Kawasaki, whilst Lowes (Yamaha), Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki) and Sykes (BMW) all stood on the rostrum over the course of the weekend.