2017 Portimao World Superbike Race One Results: It's The Wrong Tyres, Grommit

World Superbike’s Saturday race would be twenty laps, without Tom Sykes due to his crash this morning. The wind was still very noticeable and the temperature was up to 22ºC.

The lights went out and Eugene Laverty looked like he would take the lead from Jonathan Rea into the first turn, but Rea on the outside was better on the brakes and he held the lead, beating Laverty to the apex. Marco Melandri hounded Laverty for a few corners and took second place from the Aprilia man cleanly.

Later round the first lap, with Jonathan Rea clearing off into the distance, Marco Melandri made a mistake and dropped back to fifth place, behind Eugene Laverty, Lorenzo Savadori and a hard-charging Chaz Davies, making the best of a ninth-place start. At the end of lap one, Jonathan Rea had a lead of over two seconds, having recorded an astounding 1’43.608 lap from a standing start.

Pirelli tested their tyres in their mobile lab and found an issue with one of the tyres. Unfortunately for Jonathan Rea, this was the tyre he was planning to use in the race. On the second lap with his replacement choice, he set the fastest lap, within half a second of Tom Sykes’s 2013 record. At the end of the fastest lap, Rea had a lead of over three seconds.

On lap three, as Jonathan Rea cemented his lead, Chaz Davies, in the group of four bikes fighting for second place, made a clean move on Lorenzo Savadori, the first of two Aprilias in front of him. Marco Melandri followed him a few turns later to take fourth place.

Five laps in, with Jonathan Rea over four seconds clear of the second-place battle, Chaz Davies finally got past Eugene Laverty with a tidy move into turn one as Lorenzo Savadori dropped off the back of Marco Melandri, reducing the battle for second place to three riders. Further back, Leon Camier had made his way to seventh place and was fighting Jordi Torres for sixth while trying to clear off from Michael van der Mark in eight place. Camier made short work of Savadori and Van der Mark dispatched Fores, leaving him in the clutches of Alex Lowes. Melandri, however, struggled to get past Laverty for third place while Davies left the two to it.

Eight laps in, Melandri found a way past Laverty, powering past him down the straight and into turn one, but Laverty kept the pressure on him, practically leaning onto his Ducati in an effort to get the place back, but Melandri held his nerve and the line to take third place.

At half race distance, Chaz Davies was over five seconds behind Jonathan Rea but almost three seconds clear of his teammate Marco Melandri. Melandri was over a second in front of Eugene Laverty. While these gaps were increasing, the one between Laverty and Leon Camier was shrinking, closing to under a second as Camier’s bike, as has been a feature of the trellis-framed MV Agusta, found its pace in the latter part of the race while Laverty’s Aprilia started losing its pace, as has also been customary. By lap twelveCamier had caught Laverty and was able to pass him without trouble. Camier faced a gap of almost three seconds to Melandri, but his bike was in its happy place.

As the laps ticked down, Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies were both comfortable in first and second, neither in trouble of losing their place, but Leon Camier had Marco Melandri in his sights. Melandri was running high 1’44 laps while Camier was doing low 1’44s. The gap between the two, naturally, was falling. With three laps left, there was just over a second of fresh air between Melandri and Camier and both of them knew it.

Marco Melandri started recording laps around 1’44.4 seconds from lap fifteen, but Leon Camier was quarter of a second quicker every lap. On the penultimate lap, however, with very little between them, both riders set almost identical times, setting up a last lap fight.

As Jonathan Rea won the race, in his most dominant performance of the year, over seven seconds clear of Chaz Davies, Leon Camier had closed the gap to four tenths of a second to Marco Melandri at the end of the first sector. A slight mistake by Camier cost him a few tenths of a second by the second sector, but the last half of the track was where Camier made up the most ground in previous laps and this lap was no different. With only a few corners to go, Camier was within three tenths of Melandri. Melandri didn’t flinch though, and narrowly held off Camier to the last spot on the podium. Leon Camier was just over a third of a second off securing the MV Agusta’s first podium.

Jonathan Rea’s victory puts him ninety five points ahead of Tom Sykes in the championship, with one hundred and seventy five points remaining this year. Chaz Davies, with twenty points, climbs to within fifteen points of Sykes. Marco Melandri’s third place keeps him sixty two points off his teammate while Alex Lowes didn’t finish the race and he remains in fifth place, with Xavi Fores only sixteen points behind him. Leon Camier will start race two in pole position tomorrow.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR  
2 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale R 6.189
3 33 M. MELANDRI Ducati Panigale R 10.166
4 2 L. CAMIER MV Agusta 1000 F4 10.508
5 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1 13.739
6 81 J. TORRES BMW S 1000 RR 16.816
7 50 E. LAVERTY Aprilia RSV4 RF 18.786
8 32 L. SAVADORI Aprilia RSV4 RF 22.090
9 12 X. FORÉS Ducati Panigale R 28.430
10 40 R. RAMOS Kawasaki ZX-10RR 38.746
11 35 R. DE ROSA BMW S 1000 RR 43.181
12 86 A. BADOVINI Kawasaki ZX-10RR 43.212
13 13 A. WEST Kawasaki ZX-10RR 43.325
14 84 R. RUSSO Kawasaki ZX-10RR 43.412
15 72 T. TAKAHASHI Honda CBR1000RR 54.303
16 37 O. JEZEK Kawasaki ZX-10RR 59.880
17 121 A. ANDREOZZI Yamaha YZF R1 1'04.441
18 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 1 Lap
RET 36 L. MERCADO Aprilia RSV4 RF 4 Laps
RET 6 S. BRADL Honda CBR1000RR 18 Laps

 

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Comments

If the rumour re Rea going to Suzuki MotoGP hold truth it would be wonderful for BOTH WSBK and GP! We all know his age, but I really like this idea.

Eagerly looking to Yamaha and Aprilia getting to the pointy end, while wee MV Agusta manages to creep into the mix. Good improvement in Q for Aprilia - what is the specific dynamic dropping it back mid race Jared? Looks like they are getting more power out of that motor again.

If I knew why the Aprilia doesn't seem to have the staying power, I'd tell them. I suspect it's not as kind to the tyres, like Sykes's Kawasaki used to be. 

Great result for Jonothan Rea. Is he going to MotoGp ? I hope so, I bet Chaz Davies, MM33 & Ducati corse would love to see JR on a MotoGp bike. Is there still a ride available in MotoGp ? Davide Brivio defends Iannone "I've never considered replacing Him" I would suggest A.I.29 may still have a ride in 2018 on the Suzi, Don't bet on it. Would the Suzuki be viable or just as bad as being stuck on an Aprilia in MotoGp, the factory ride that is going Nowhere ? Could Jonothan accept playing a smaller role in MotoGp after being the big thing in WSBK ?

Strategic result for Leon, puts him at the sharp end for the start of race two. I hope Leon has a great ride. Race 2 could be his best shot at a podium. Good luck to him & everyone racing this weekend, in SBK, BSB, MotoAmerica & the CEV.

I would love to see Johny Rea going to Suzuki, replacing Ianonne of course