Five-time Champion Jonathan Rea claimed the Championship lead after three commanding victories at Portimao
While the action kicked off at the Motul Portuguese Round at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, reigning Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was able to claim three more MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship victories as he brought his career total up to 93, and with it the 2020 Championship lead.
In Race 1, Rea was able to break away from Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) despite a challenge from the Turkish sensation in the early stages of the race before he held off Razgatlioglu again in Sunday’s Tissot Superpole Race. In Race 2, Rea was initially put under pressure going into Turn 1 by Razgatlioglu and Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha), with Razgatlioglu on the inside but Rea sweeping around the outside of Turn 1 to keep the lead. Despite Razgatlioglu keeping pace, a crash for the young Turkish rider meant Rea was able to claim his third victory of the weekend.
Reacting to his triple victory, Rea said: “It’s been a perfect weekend to have a triple win, pole positions and fastest laps. It’s been incredible. I want to thank my team for giving me a great bike this weekend, I could really do what I wanted. On Sunday, I’m not sure what the big difference was on the track because the bike was exactly the same, but I felt the grip levels were a bit lower and I couldn’t really do the same lap times I could on Saturday.
“With the wind changing direction, to becoming a headwind on the straight, it meant it was really tough to get into Turn 5 and also the last corner. I had a few moments with the front of the bike. On the next lap after having the moment, I saw rubber marks on the last corner. I thought ‘today needs to be the day I bring the points home’. I knew Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) could be there. Once he was there in the first lap, I knew he could stay in the slipstream but if I kept doing my pace the cord would break and I could ride to my pitboard, which is incredibly nice.”
Rea becomes the fourth Championship leader after his KRT teammate Alex Lowes, Razgatlioglu and Redding all headed the standings in the first three rounds of the 2020 season. With Rea now back in front, the attention turns to who can challenge him as WorldSBK heads back to Spain for two weekends at MotorLand Aragon.
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