Twenty laps of Portimao with only six races left after this one. The grip was slightly down as the temperature was slightly up, compared to yesterday's race.
The reverse grid put Chaz Davies in pole position, alongside Tom Sykes and Loris Baz while race-winner Jonathan Rea would start in ninth place, alongside Michael van der Mark and Marco Melandri.
Chaz Davies led Tom Sykes and Toprak Razgatlioglu into turn one while Loris Baz dropped down to eighth from the front row, being passed by yesterday's podium of Jonathan Rea, Marco Melandri and Michael van der Mark, with Rea getting to fifth place very quickly. At turn nine, Rea powered through to third place in a move that outclassed Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Toprak Razgatlioglu and Marco Melandri wasted no time in following him, eventually catching up with Rea by taking fourth place at the start of lap two. Michael van der Mark tussled with Rinaldi and Razgatlioglu, passing the Turkish rider on the outside and nearly taking fifth place from Rinaldi.
As Marco Melandri set the fastest lap on lap two, Jonathan Rea closed up to his second-placed teammate Tom Sykes, behind Chaz Davies and spend lap three trying top pass him. Rea took second place at turn five only for Sykes to take it back at turn six, but as Rea hounded Sykes, he found a way past at turn thirteen. Melandri turned Sykes's race from bad to worse, taking third place from him into turn one of lap four, but Sykes fought back and switched under Melandri's Ducati to take his place back at turn two.
Jonathan Rea closed the gap to Chaz Davies and the fight for third gave him a gap from Sykes who had Davies's teammate to worry about. A lap later, on lap five, Melandri finally made a pass stick, taking the last podium spot off him into turn five.
Now it was Michael van der Mark's chance to seize. He closed in on Tom Sykes, demolishing a gap of over a second to end up in Sykes's wake by lap seven, while Davies and Rea charged off at the front, over a second clear of Melandri. A lap later, as van der Mark sunk his claws into Sykes, Rea made his move on Davies into turn one, taking the lead from him briefly, only to have Davies to take it back a turn later. Van der Mark pushed past Sykes and very quickly put a gap in between the pair.
Lap nine, with the leading pair both taking turn one at impossible-looking speeds, Marco Melandri started closing in and as lap ten started, Chaz Davies, Jonathan Rea and Melandri were together. Rea took the lead into turn one and Davies took it back four turns later, with Rea's front tyre within an inch of Davies's rear. Lap twelve, the three still inseparable, Rea tried to pass into turn one, at the end of the long straight, but Davies was later on the brakes and held his lead. At turn ten, though, Davies missed the apex and Rea passed him at turn eleven, a fast and tough pass that turned into a block pass at the exit. Rea finally held the lead for more than a couple of corners. Melandri didn't want Rea to get away and made a move on Davies into turn one, but Davies was going a little too quickly and Melandri followed him, the pair going wide, with Melandri leading. Michael van der Mark didn't slow down and barrelled past the pair at speed, closing on Rea.
Lap fourteen, and Chaz Davies finally looked like his injuries caught up with him, and he left the fight for the win to the three riders in front of him. Jonathan Rea, leading, tried to get away from the exuberant Dutchman in second place and the Italian with strange taste in eyewear in third, but the three kept up an almost identical pace, only getting out of each others' wakes by the last lap. Chaz Davies, though, had attracted a new dance partner in the form of Tom Sykes, but try as Sykes might, Davies wouldn't show him a way past and the pair finished the last lap in the order they started.
Jonathan Rea won his sixty sixth race, extending his championship lead to one hundred and sixteen points over fourth-placed Chaz Davies while second-placed Michael van der Mark, going one better than yesterday, took another seven points off Davies in his fight for second place in the championship. Marco Melandri, swapping yesterday's second place for third, once more demonstrating that the reverse grid doesn't really change much, closed to within eleven points of Tom Sykes's fourth place in the title chase.
With six races left, and one hundred and fifty points up for grabs, Rea's one hundred and sixteen point lead, seems insurmountable, and the Kawasaki rider is well and truly in line for his fourth championship in a row, an astonishing achievement. He will be able to cement his title at the next round, Magny-Cours, in just two weeks time.
|1||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10RR|
|2||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Yamaha YZF R1||1.189|
|3||33||M. MELANDRI||Ducati Panigale R||2.813|
|4||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale R||4.594|
|5||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||4.834|
|6||32||L. SAVADORI||Aprilia RSV4 RF||11.417|
|7||50||E. LAVERTY||Aprilia RSV4 RF||11.732|
|8||21||M. RINALDI||Ducati Panigale R||12.507|
|9||76||L. BAZ||BMW S 1000 RR||12.741|
|10||12||X. FORES||Ducati Panigale R||18.973|
|11||22||A. LOWES||Yamaha YZF R1||20.244|
|12||45||J. GAGNE||Honda CBR1000RR||20.943|
|13||81||J. TORRES||MV Agusta 1000 F4||23.395|
|14||2||L. CAMIER||Honda CBR1000RR||31.216|
|15||36||L. MERCADO||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||32.183|
|16||68||Y. HERNANDEZ||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||33.076|
|17||99||P. JACOBSEN||Honda CBR1000RR||45.173|
|RET||96||J. SMRZ||Yamaha YZF R1||13|
|RET||54||T. RAZGATLIOGLU||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||12|
|RET||40||R. RAMOS||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||9|