Portimao WSBK: Rea dominates, Redding struggles

Jonathan Rea scored his third victory of the World Superbike season in the first race of the weekend at Portimao, as points leader Scott Redding struggled to a lowly seventh-place finish.

Portimao WSBK: Rea dominates, Redding struggles

From pole, Kawasaki rider Rea was practically unchallenged over the course of the 20-lap race, holding off Yamaha man Toprak Razgatlioglu at the start and gradually opening a gap.

After five laps, Rea's advantage had grown to 1.4 seconds, and by half-distance the reigning champion had escaped to the tune of 2.4s.

Finally Rea crossed the line with more than five seconds in hand for his first victory this year in a full-distance race, both of his previous triumphs coming in the Superpole race.

Razgatlioglu finished a comfortable second but his teammate Michael van der Mark endured a more eventful race on his way to the final podium spot.

Van der Mark slipped behind the Ten Kate Yamaha of Loris Baz at the start to drop to fourth, and a mistake on lap seven dropped the Dutchman to sixth behind both Redding's Ducati and the second factory Kawasaki of Alex Lowes.

But on lap 10 van der Mark was able to repass both Lowes and Baz before picking off Redding three laps later to secure third.

From eighth on the grid, Redding climbed as high as third but couldn't maintain his pace in the second part of the race, falling victim to Lowes on lap 16 and then surrendering further places to Michael Ruben Rinaldi's customer Ducati and Baz on the penultimate lap.

Redding just hung on to seventh at the finish from the lead BMW of Tom Sykes, marking the first time he has failed to finish on the podium in WSBK.

Completing the top 10 were Alvaro Bautista (Honda) and Eugene Laverty, who scored his first top 10 finish since joining BMW.

Chaz Davies endured a difficult race on the second factory Ducati, ultimately finishing 11th ahead of the second Honda of Leon Haslam.

Puccetti Kawasaki man Xavi Fores and the GRT Yamaha pair of Garrett Gerloff and Federico Caricasulo rounded out the points scorers.

Rea's victory means he closes to within eight points of championship leader Redding in the riders' standings, while Razgatlioglu moves up to third ahead of Lowes.

Race results:

Cla # Rider Bike Laps Gap
1 1 United Kingdom Jonathan Rea
Kawasaki 20
2 54 Turkey Toprak Razgatlioglu
Yamaha 20 5.142
3 60 Netherlands Michael van der Mark
Yamaha 20 7.029
4 22 United Kingdom Alex Lowes
Kawasaki 20 9.851
5 21 Italy Michael Ruben Rinaldi
Ducati 20 10.705
6 76 France Loris Baz
Yamaha 20 12.226
7 45 United Kingdom Scott Redding
Ducati 20 12.485
8 66 United Kingdom Tom Sykes
BMW 20 12.829
9 19 Spain Alvaro Bautista
Honda 20 14.233
10 50 Ireland Eugene Laverty
BMW 20 16.208
11 7 United Kingdom Chaz Davies
Ducati 20 22.477
12 91 United Kingdom Leon Haslam
Honda 20 22.581
13 12 Spain Xavi Fores
Kawasaki 20 23.535
14 31 United States Garrett Gerloff
Yamaha 20 23.577
15 64 Italy Federico Caricasulo
Yamaha 20 30.728
16 36 Argentina Leandro Mercado
Ducati 20 39.137
17 33 Italy Marco Melandri
Ducati 20 49.020
18 20 France Sylvain Barrier
Ducati 20 55.510
19 13 Japan Takumi Takahashi
Honda 20 55.891
20 63 Italy Lorenzo Gabellini
Honda 20 1'16.109
21 77 Chile Maximilian Scheib
Kawasaki 19
11 Germany Sandro Cortese
Kawasaki 0
23 France Christophe Ponsson
Aprilia 0
Portimao WSBK: Rea grabs pole, Redding crashes

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