World Supersport is known for giving us close racing, with plenty of brave and ambitious riders, all with a burning desire to win. This race was without a doubt a perfect example of the class at its best.
Kenan Sofuoglu headed into the first turn in first place, followed by Sam Lowes and Fabien Foret, followed by Sheridan Morais, Luca Scassa and Jack Kennedy. At the beginning of the second lap, Sam Lowes exploited a gap and forced Kenan Sofuoglu wide to take the lead but Fabien Foret would soon take first place off him. Foret looked like he was making mistakes every corner, but as the laps ticked off, it became obvious what looked like mistakes were in fact just obscure wide lines as he hit the same unusual parts of the track lap after lap and retained his lead from a hard-pushing Lowes until the race was halfway done.
At this point, while Michael Van Der Mark was making a surprising charge through the slower packs to fourth place only a handful of seconds off the front three, Sam Lowes forced his way past Fabien Foret. As the lap progressed, it looked like Foret let Sofuoglu past and as he did, he made one of his customary glances over his shoulder only to see a charging Dutch kid closing the gap. Lowes then set the fastest lap and tried to make a break, but Sofuoglu responded with a fastest lap as well and they were as once once more.
Sam Lowes, five laps from the end made a strange move that let Sofuoglu past, but as the riders charged down the straight, Sofuoglu looked to his left as Lowes jinked to the right and covered the inside line. Four laps from the end, Sofuoglu passed into the first corner as the front three were covered by under half a second. Michael Van Der Mark at this point latched onto the group and made the three-way fight a four-way.
On the eighteenth lap of twenty, heading into the favourite overtaking corner, Fabien Foret made a charge down the straight, passing both Sam Lowes and Kenan Sofuoglu for first place, but his line out of the turn forced him wide for the next corner, letting all three riders past him, giving Van Der Mark his first sniff of a podium place.
The penultimate lap opened with Michael Van Der Mark forcing his way through the tight pack, all four riders covered by under 0.7 seconds, only to have Kenan Sofuoglu pass him as Fabien Foret forced Sam Lowes briefly back to fourth place. Sofuoglu made a slight error that led to all four riders changing positions over a couple of corners, with at some moments no gap at all between all the riders. As they entered the last lap, Lowes led Sofuoglu, Foret and Van Der Mark, but as they charged down the straight, four abreast, swapping the lead a few times, Foret used his undeniable late braking skill to take the lead into the first turn, as places were swapped until Sam Lowes halfway through the lap wedged past Foret and rode both offensively and defensively somehow to lead the four way battle to the flag.
Sam Lowes won the race ahead of Fabien Foret and Kenan Sofuoglu as Michael Van Der Mark missed out on the podium in a four way battle that could have seen any combination of the men on the podium in any order.
As Sam Lowes extended his championship lead to 39 points, Kenan Sofuoglu cursed his settings and promised to get them sorted in tomorrow's testing session.
Portimao - FIM Supersport World Championship - Race
1. Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport) Yamaha YZF R6 35'32.882
2. Fabien Foret (MAHI Racing Team India) Kawasaki ZX-6R 35'33.262
3. Kenan Sofuoglu (MAHI Racing Team India) Kawasaki ZX-6R 35'33.384
4. Michael Vd Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) Honda CBR600RR 35'34.204
5. Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda) Honda CBR600RR 35'42.419
6. Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto) Honda CBR600RR 35'44.654
7. Andrea Antonelli (Team Goeleven) Kawasaki ZX-6R 35'46.417
8. Luca Scassa (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) Kawasaki ZX-6R 35'46.835
9. Raffaele De Rosa (Team Lorini) Honda CBR600RR 35'47.610
10. Christian Iddon (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse) MV Agusta F3 675 35'51.638
11. Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport) Yamaha YZF R6 35'51.791
12. Massimo Roccoli (Team Pata by Martini) Yamaha YZF R6 36'04.894
13. Alex Baldolini (Suriano Racing Team) Suzuki GSX-R600 36'04.921
14. Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport) Honda CBR600RR 36'05.000
15. Luca Marconi (PTR Honda) Honda CBR600RR 36'06.034
16. David Linortner (Team Honda PTR) Honda CBR600RR 36'12.089
17. Matt Davies (Team Honda PTR) Honda CBR600RR 36'18.084
18. Vladimir Ivanov (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) Kawasaki ZX-6R 36'18.120
19. Nacho Calero Perez (Honda PTR) Honda CBR600RR 36'29.111
20. Miguel Praia (Team Lorini) Honda CBR600RR 36'31.904
21. Alex Schacht (Racing Team Toth) Honda CBR600RR 36'31.983
22. Mitchell Carr (AARK Racing) Triumph 675 R 36'33.056
23. Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth) Honda CBR600RR 36'36.638
24. Fabio Menghi (VFT Racing) Yamaha YZF R6 37'13.352
25. Yves Polzer (Team MRC Austria) Honda CBR600RR 35'48.765
26. Eduard Blokhin (Rivamoto) Honda CBR600RR 36'52.285
NC. David Salom (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) Kawasaki ZX-6R 36'59.104
RT. Roberto Rolfo (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse) MV Agusta F3 675 30'54.816
RT. Balazs Nemeth (Complus SMS Racing) Honda CBR600RR 32'03.071
RT. Gabor Talmacsi (Prorace) Honda CBR600RR 21'39.308
RT. Kev Coghlan (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) Kawasaki ZX-6R 16'49.528
RT. Mathew Scholtz (Suriano Racing Team) Suzuki GSX-R600 22'09.413
RT. Riccardo Russo (Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) Kawasaki ZX-6R