WSBK Portugal (2): Rea and the Ducatis dance in the rain
The wet track, a little blunder by Guintoli and a Sykes on the restraint allowed Jonathan Rea to win brilliantly this afternoon in Portimao! The podium is completed by the two factory Ducatis of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies. Second Superbike race Jonathan Rea gets the best start and leads ahead of Tom Sykes,…
The wet track, a little blunder by Guintoli and a Sykes on the restraint allowed Jonathan Rea to win brilliantly this afternoon in Portimao! The podium is completed by the two factory Ducatis of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies.
Second Superbike race
Jonathan Rea takes the best start and takes the lead ahead of Tom Sykes, Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri, Sylvain Guintoli, Loris Baz, Leon Haslam, Davide Giugliano, Sylvain Barrier (!), Chris Iddon, etc. The Honda n ° 65 takes the loose powder in the first lap, imitated by the Kawa ‘n ° 1 which moves away from the Ducati n ° 7 and the Arpilia n ° 33.
Guintoli accelerates in the second lap: the n ° 50 lets go of Baz and gets back into Melandri‘s rear wheel … But Johnny Rea is by far the fastest at the start of the race and the Northern Irishman takes his lead to more than two seconds at the end of this second loop !
Visibility is getting worse and worse, but it does not prevent Melandri, Davies and Guintoli from fighting in almost every turn! Curiously, Baz does not take the opportunity to step back on his predecessors, while Haslam and Giugliano fight for 7th place.
"Guinters" attacked Chazie at the bottom of the straight line, was passed over in the next break, tried again in the third corner but lost again … In the background, Toni Elias was chased out of the track by Laverty.
Mister Guintoli continued to put the pressure on Davies and finally passed the Welshman in the 4th loop, during a superb and courageous overtake in turn 9, a very fast and supportive left. Sylvain obviously has great confidence in his front end !
Our n ° 50 is two seconds behind Sykes, who is himself three seconds behind the extraordinary Jonathan Rea! Sylvain’s teammate Melandri climbs to fourth and quickly separates from Davies, soon caught by Haslam and Giugliano.
Usually very good in the wet, Baz is not in the game this afternoon and is in eighth place, three seconds ahead of Alex Lowes. Badovini is 10 seconds behind Suzuki n ° 22, in 10th position. the Italian‘s Bimota not being approved, Sylvain Barrier remains the first "official" driver of the Evo category.
Melandri deprives his team-mate of "his" third place on the 5th lap and immediately sets off in pursuit of Sykes who is less than two seconds away. The gap is halved at the start of the 8th lap … Guintoli hangs on and finds himself in Sykes’ wheel when he is overtaken by Melandri !
The Number One, which has nothing to gain in these tricky conditions, is quickly overtaken by Guintoli. Tom is fourth, a good second ahead of Davide Giugliano. Leon Haslam dominates Chaz Davies, while Loris Baz is threatened by Alex Lowes … Sylvain Barrier loses a few places in the scratch but remains first Evo.
The bikes are struggling to stay in line in the straight line but the n ° 33 does not care and continues to attack as if the track were dry! In the Aprilia rider’s sights is Rea’s Fireblade, which drops from three to two seconds in advance in one lap…
Guintoli is not to be outdone and sets the best time of the 11th lap. The Frenchie sails – literally! – in the wake of his teammate and also comes back very hard on Johnny Rea! Giugliano still rides solo in fourth position, Sykes is threatened by Haslam…
On lap 13, Melandri finds himself in the Fireblade’s draw but does not trigger an attack in the first turn, allowing Guintoli to pick him up permanently. Jonathan Rea is hot when braking the hairpin, but the two Aprilia finish on the ground !
While looking to overtake Melandri on the inside, Guintoli loses the front and mows down his teammate! The two RSV4s slide out of the fully asphalted track. Only n ° 50 can set off again: Sylvain will apologize later…
Giugliano inherits second place, Tom Sykes (re) climbs on the podium but Haslam and Davies are on his heels! Leon quickly overtakes his compatriot, now chased by Davies, Lowes … and Baz who is just a second !
Lowes is the fastest of this happy bunch: the English champion climbs to fourth position in the 15th lap and jumps on the third the following lap! Baz has to do it twice to pass his teammate.
Alex Lowes misses out on the 16th lap and lets Haslam pass. Behind the Suzuki are the two official Kawasaki … and Aprilia n ° 50! Five drivers can therefore claim the third step: the last laps promise to be lively, and are !
Out of reach, Jonathan Rea and Davide Giugliano surf to the first two steps of the podium. Davies leads his factory Panigale impeccably and takes the lead with three laps to go, but Lowes and Haslam may not have said their last word !
Behind the two English drivers, Baz consolidated his sixth position while Guintoli managed to beat his great enemy in the championship, Tom Sykes. The end of the race is marked by the superb fight between Honda n ° 91 and Suzuki n ° 22: younger and more carefree, Lowes finally beats his great friend Haslam !
Johnny Rea and his inseparable Fireblade claim their first victory in Portimao with a comfortable lead over the two official Ducatis of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies. The "Top five" is completed by Alex Lowes on Suzuki and Leon Haslam on the second Aprilia.
The three pilots on the podium of the first Portuguese race follow: Tom Sykes, Sylvain Guintoli and Loris Baz … but in reverse order this time! Eleventh behind the "Superbikes" of Laverty and Elias, Sylvain Barrier obtains his first victory at the controls of his BMW "Evo".
Untouchable in the first round, Sykes took advantage of Guintoli’s ball in the second round to consolidate his hold on the championship: the "Number One" totaled 284 points and was 43 points ahead of "Guinters", 48 over "Bazooka", 49 on "JR" and 92 on Macho Marco ".
The next event is scheduled for next week, on the Californian track of Laguna Seca … This ninth event, reserved for Superbikes – no Supersport in the USA – will be to be followed almost live on the Site: stay tuned !
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