Portimao WSBK: Rea bounces back with win, Razgatlioglu crashes
Jonathan Rea bounced back to win the final race of the Portimao World Superbike round as a crash for championship leader Toprak Razgatlioglu dramatically reduced the points gap between the pair.
Kawasaki rider Rea faced a daunting 49-point deficit to Razgatlioglu heading into Sunday's second full-distance race of the weekend, having crashed in Saturday's opener and the Superpole race.
But the tables were turned when Razgatlioglu suffered a high-speed crash on lap 10 of 19 at the same point where Rea fell in Race 1, Turn 15, as the front mudguard on his Yamaha R1 broke and went under his front wheel.
That paved the way for Rea to score his first win in a full-distance race since July's Assen event, the Ulsterman slashing the deficit in the standings to Razgatlioglu to 24 points with two rounds to go.
After an aborted start, triggered by a malfunction with the starting lights, it was Scott Redding that took the holeshot from second on the grid, but Rea was immediately on the move from 10th on the grid.
By the Turn 5 left-hander, the reigning champion was up to fourth place, and by the end of the opening tour he had dispensed with Razgatlioglu and the sister Yamaha of Andrea Locatelli.
On the second lap Rea went underneath the Ducati of Redding at Turn 9 to grab the lead, but he was unable to break away, with Redding repassing along the start/finish straight and into Turn 1.
Redding's time in the lead proved short-lived as he ran wide at Turn 5 on lap 4, allowing Rea back ahead, and later that lap Razgatlioglu, already back ahead of Locatelli, moved into second and set about chasing Rea.
The lead gap hovered between three tenths and half a second for several laps, with Razgatlioglu briefly getting ahead at the start of lap 7 before running wide and ceding the place once again.
Razgatlioglu never got close enough again to attempt another move on Rea before his crash at the fast final corner on lap 10, thankfully walking away from the incident without injury.
That left Rea with a 1.5-second advantage over Redding, who had been struggling to stick with the led pair, and from there it was plain sailing for the Kawasaki man for his 11th win of the season.
Redding made it a hat-trick of second places to stay within 54 points of Razgatlioglu, while Loris Baz finished third on the Go Eleven Ducati after surviving an investigation for an incident involving Alvaro Bautista.
Baz, standing in for the injured Chaz Davies, was once again locked in battle with Bautista's Honda for the final podium spot after the pair passed Locatelli's Yamaha together on lap 13.
Bautista then made several attempts to pass Baz, only to be rebuffed each time, and the duo finally came to blows at Turn 5 on the penultimate lap as Bautista ran wide and Baz went back up the inside on the exit.
Bautista's demise promoted Locatelli back to fourth, while Garrett Gerloff completed one of his strongest weekends for some time in fifth place aboard the GRT Yamaha.
Poleman Michael van der Mark couldn't replicate his wet-weather pace that took him to Superpole race victory in the dry, ending up sixth on the BMW ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi on the second works Ducati.
Leon Haslam (Honda), Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) and Tom Sykes' BMW injury stand-in Eugene Laverty completed the top 10.
Tito Rabat's return weekend with Puccetti Kawasaki ended in an early mechanical retirement.
|1||1|| Jonathan Rea ||Kawasaki||19|
|2||45|| Scott Redding ||Ducati||19||5.425|
|3||11|| Loris Baz ||Ducati||19||8.905|
|4||55|| Andrea Locatelli ||Yamaha||19||12.289|
|5||31|| Garrett Gerloff ||Yamaha||19||13.956|
|6||60|| Michael van der Mark ||BMW||19||15.289|
|7||21|| Michael Ruben Rinaldi ||Ducati||19||20.639|
|8||91|| Leon Haslam ||Honda||19||20.933|
|9||47|| Axel Bassani ||Ducati||19||26.031|
|10||50|| Eugene Laverty ||BMW||19||26.276|
|11||36|| Leandro Mercado ||Honda||19||31.493|
|12||32|| Isaac Viñales ||Kawasaki||19||41.117|
|13||3|| Kohta Nozane ||Yamaha||19||42.583|
|14||23|| Christophe Ponsson ||Yamaha||19||48.074|
|15||94|| Jonas Folger ||BMW||19||51.009|
|16||76|| Samuele Cavalieri ||Ducati||19||57.467|
|19|| Alvaro Bautista ||Honda||0|
|16|| Gabriele Ruiu ||BMW||0|
|54|| Toprak Razgatlioglu ||Yamaha||0|
|53|| Tito Rabat ||Kawasaki||0|
|83|| Lachlan Epis ||Kawasaki||0|
|84|| Loris Cresson ||Kawasaki||0|
|View full results|
Portimao WSBK: Van der Mark gets first BMW win, Rea crashes again
Baz loses Portimao podium for causing Bautista crash