Five times world champion Jonathan Rea is the most successful World Superbike rider around Portimao, but Toprak Razgatlioglu heads to the grid after a tremendous couple of days qualifying, and Scott Redding has a title lead to defend. With riders getting enough practice in the right weather to know what their tyres should do, the riders lined up with an audience of 250 fans allowed to watch with a socially distanced post-pandemic grandstand view under a 30°C summer sky.
Alex Lowes lined up on the grid with the SCX Superpole race tyre, the only rider to favour the extra-soft option, but it was his teammate and the pole sitter Jonathan Rea who got to the first turn in the lead, ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu and Alex Lowes, but Lowes was quickly dealt with by Loris Baz and Michael van der Mark, with the Ducatis of Scott Redding and Michael Ruben Rinaldi contesting sixth place.
Jonathan Rea set the fastest lap on laps two, three and four, setting a 1'42.075 and finally breaking a second free of the hard-charging Toprak Razgatlioglu by the start of the fifth lap. Razgatlioglu was a second clear of the scrap over third place between Loris Baz and Michael van der Mark. As the leading two riders charged off at the front, van der Mark tried to take third from Baz into turn one, powering alongside him down the straight, but Baz was stronger on the brakes and van der Mark had to look elsewhere for a pass, but as he was catching, he crested a hill, the same hill he had jumped earlier, and suffered a lock-to-lock tank slapper as his bike got very light. After he recovered without crashing, he did get caught by Scott Redding and Alex Lowes making the fight for third place a four-way fight.
On lap seven of twenty, van der Mark once again went side by side with Baz, and once again Baz took third back on the brakes. Scott Redding was alongside the pair and looked like he might benefit from the Yamaha's duelling, but van der Mark sliced across his nose, holding fourth place from the class rookie. Later in the lap, van der Mark found a false neutral and ran on in a corner as his engine braking disappeared. He was able to recover behind Redding and Alex Lowes, losing only six tenths of a second or so.
On lap eight, Redding latched on to Baz and patiently looked for a pass on the hard-braking Frenchman. Picking sector four as his chance, Redding took a wide, sweeping line behind Baz, building exit speed onto the straight and Redding used his Ducati's massive exit speed to take third place from Loris Baz before they even crossed the line, giving Baz no chance to use his braking advantage to retain the potential podium place.
As Scott Redding rode on the edge of adhesion to fend off attacks from the three riders behind them, they were joined by Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Tom Sykes as the four became six.
Jonathan Rea was over two seconds clear of Toprak Razgatlioglu, gently teasing out his lead a tenth or three a lap, but the gap behind Razgatlioglu was also stretching his lead from the third place battle to almost four seconds at half race distance. Loris Baz went wide and he tool Alex Lowes with him only to have Michael van der Mark pass the pair of them and close up on Scott Redding over the next lap.
Two laps later, Redding's attempts to break free from the peloton took him and Michael van der Mark a second clear of Alex Lowes in fifth place, while Loris Baz had to fend off Michael Ruben Rinaldi behind Lowes.
Michael van der Mark started nipping at Scott Redding's heels as the Ducati's grip looked to be dropping slightly, and Redding then overcooked a corner enough to allow van der Mark past and start escaping at the pace of half a second a lap. Redding's pace allowed the riders they had escaped close up to him and challenge him for fourth place.
Alex Lowes was the first to catch Scott Redding and he was able to pass five laps from the end as Redding rode defensively in an effort not to lose places, and Michael Ruben Rinaldi tried to pass the factory rider on his customer Panigale. Rinaldi tried lap after lap to pass Redding, swapping places on lap eighteen, and at the start of lap nineteen, Scott Redding and Michael Ruben Rinaldi played chicken on the brakes into turn one, with Redding holding the lead, but going wide on the corner, Rinaldi went wide as well, but not as much, allowing him to finally take fifth place behind Alex Lowes. Loris Baz didn't go wide and slipped underneath Redding on the exit of turn one, taking sixth place from Redding.
On the last lap, Jonathan Rea took the victory with a five second lead at the chequered flag, ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael van der Mark. Alex Lowes was fourth, ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi, the first Ducati, and Loris Baz. Scott Redding held off Tom Sykes to retain seventh place.
Sandro Cortese crashed on the last lap, with the ambulance taking him to the helicopter. He was conscious, but the helicopter's absence caused a long delay to the start of the World Supersport as they could not take to the grid until the medical helicopter returned.
Jonathan Rea closed up the gap to eight points behind Scott Redding in the title chase, with Toprak Razgatlioglu taking third place from Alex Lowes. Michael van der Mark took fifth place from Chaz Davies, whose eleventh placed finish today did him no favours.
|1||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10RR|
|2||54||T. RAZGATLIOGLU||Yamaha YZF R1||5.142|
|3||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Yamaha YZF R1||7.029|
|4||22||A. LOWES||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||9.851|
|5||21||M. RINALDI||Ducati Panigale V4 R||10.705|
|6||76||L. BAZ||Yamaha YZF R1||12.226|
|7||45||S. REDDING||Ducati Panigale V4 R||12.485|
|8||66||T. SYKES||BMW S1000 RR||12.829|
|9||19||A. BAUTISTA||Honda CBR1000RR-R||14.233|
|10||50||E. LAVERTY||BMW S1000 RR||16.208|
|11||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale V4 R||22.477|
|12||91||L. HASLAM||Honda CBR1000RR-R||22.581|
|13||12||X. FORES||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||23.535|
|14||31||G. GERLOFF||Yamaha YZF R1||23.577|
|15||64||F. CARICASULO||Yamaha YZF R1||30.728|
|16||36||L. MERCADO||Ducati Panigale V4 R||39.137|
|17||33||M. MELANDRI||Ducati Panigale V4 R||49.020|
|18||20||S. BARRIER||Ducati Panigale V4 R||55.510|
|19||13||T. TAKAHASHI||Honda CBR1000RR-R||55.891|
|20||63||L. GABELLINI||Honda CBR1000RR-R||1'16.109|
|21||77||M. SCHEIB||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||1 Lap|
|RET||11||S. CORTESE||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||1 Lap|
|RET||23||C. PONSSON||Aprilia RSV4 1000||4 Laps|