2019 Portimao World Superbike Race One Result: Options Narrow In Title Chase

World Superbike's return to racing after the long summer break started here. The weather was still summer-like in Portugal with the high temperatures adding a challenge to the riders. 

Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes led into turn one from the leading two grid places, but Sandro Cortese was quickly swapped by a charging contingent behind him, led by Leon Haslam. Chaz Davies charged through from 12th place to get to fourth place into the first turn, with his teammate Alvaro Bautista leaning on him. Bautista had to give way to Davies on the inside and clipped Alex Lowes's rear tyre as he tried to avoid his fellow Ducati, sending Bautista wide, avoiding other bikes, and resulted in Bautista having to recover to seventeenth place. Rea, Sykes, Haslam, Davies and Michael van der Mark made up the front five after the dust settled.

At the end of the first lap, Jonathan Rea led by almost a second from Tom Sykes, Leon Haslam and Chaz Davies, with Rea setting a new lap record on an empty track as Davies stole third place from Haslam. 

Staring from twelfth place on the grid, Chaz Davies opened up the first lap by going deep into turns one and three, getting himself to fourth place, but he was in third place at the start of the third lap, twelve places ahead of his recovering teammate Alvaro Bautista. Bautista started lap four in thirteenth place while Jonathan Rea had a gap of almost two seconds at the front, settled into a metronomic pace without being worried by any other riders around him. A lap later, Rea was another second clear of Tom Sykes. Chaz Davies used the vastly superior Ducati drive to pass Sykes before turn one only to see a three second gap to Rea in front of him. That gap would grow over the next few laps until Rea realised he was five seconds in front and stopped trying to make a run for it, relying on his pit board to manage his lead.

On lap six, Alvaro Bautista had caught ninth-placed Marco Melandri, but Melandri would not be as easy as the riders behind him to pass. Bautista made a pass stick only for Melandri to take his place back and make it difficult for the Spaniard. It wasn't until they got to the end of the lap, where Bautista could use his Ducati's power to decisively take ninth place back. Bautista made quick work of Sandro Cortese and started closing the gap to seventh-placed Tom Sykes, who once again couldn't keep his BMW from being overtaken by Kawasakis, Yamahas and Ducatis. Once he had passed Sykes, he looked across the five second gap to see a raging battle between Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu with Alex owes on the back of them. Bautista was eleven seconds off Jonathan Rea's lead and closed the gap on Alex Lowes.

By lap fourteen, Leon Haslam took fourth place off Toprak Razgatlioglu as the pair sat some three seconds off Chaz Davies and Michael van der Mark in second and third place respectively, and Alvaro Bautista had caught up with Alex Lowes. 

On turn five of lap fifteen, Alvaro Bautista took sixth place from Alex Lowes and immediately started hounding Toprak Razgatlioglu. He was still eleven seconds off Jonathan Rea at the front of the race. Rea, Davies and Bautista were the only riders on 1'42 laps as van der Mark started losing pace with Davies who was consistently five seconds behind Rea.

On lap seventeen, Bautista dropped the gap from Rea to under eleven seconds for the first time, and powered past Razgatlioglu too take fifth and set his teeth into Haslam's Kawasaki. With the leading three places set in stone, Bautista could manage, at best, fourth place, but he would need to take it off Leon Haslam, who made it as difficult as possible. On the penultimate lap, Bautista passed at the only safe place, down the straight, using the Ducati's flat out advantage. However, he carried too much speed into the first turn and was immediately caught by both Haslam and Razgatlioglu who pounced on him like hungry piranhas. It took a lap for Bautista to be free of the Kawasakis, and by then, he had no chance of closing the gap to the podium places.

Jonathan Rea won the race, three seconds ahead of Chaz Davies and six seconds ahead of Michael van der Mark. Alvaro Bautista's fourth place meant he conceded twelve points to Jonathan Rea who now had a ninety three point lead in the championship. Michael van der Mark passed seventh placed Alex Lowes to take third place in the championship, while Chaz Davies took sixth place in the title chase from Toprak Razgatlioglu. Kawasaki have finally taken the manufacturer's championship lead off Ducati.

Only the top two riders can mathematically win the title now, with third placed Michael van der Mark two hundred and twenty seven points off Jonathan Rea and one hundred and thirty four points off Alvaro Bautista, with only two hundred and twenty three points remaining up for grabs.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR  
2 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale V4 R 3.891
3 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1 6.168
4 19 A. BAUTISTA Ducati Panigale V4 R 8.564
5 91 L. HASLAM Kawasaki ZX-10RR 8.877
6 54 T. RAZGATLIOGLU Kawasaki ZX-10RR 10.404
7 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 13.495
8 11 S. CORTESE Yamaha YZF R1 21.345
9 33 M. MELANDRI Yamaha YZF R1 21.582
10 21 M. RINALDI Ducati Panigale V4 R 22.486
11 81 J. TORRES Kawasaki ZX-10RR 22.701
12 28 M. REITERBERGER BMW S1000 RR 27.132
13 66 T. SYKES BMW S1000 RR 34.484
14 36 L. MERCADO Kawasaki ZX-10RR 36.612
15 13 T. TAKAHASHI Honda CBR1000RR 46.877
16 76 L. BAZ Yamaha YZF R1 47.901
17 20 S. BARRIER Ducati Panigale V4 R 1'00.704
18 52 A. DELBIANCO Honda CBR1000RR 1'00.767
19 23 R. KIYONARI Honda CBR1000RR 1'09.039
RET 50 E. LAVERTY Ducati Panigale V4 R 12
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Round Number: 
10
2019
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Total votes: 11

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