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Jonathan Rea confidently secured his fourth double race win of the 2015 season on his Kawasaki Racing Team Ninja ZX-10R in the seventh round of the FIM Superbike World Championship at Portimao. Tom Sykes (KRT) battled through adversity to take second in a dry-and-wet first 20-lap race, but was forced to finish eighth in race two after a drop in rear tyre pressure all through the 20-laps.
In winning his 24th and 25th career WSB race victories Rea showed his versatility and the Ninja ZX-10R’s adaptability after two very different races. Rea and Sykes were battling it out together in race one in dry conditions when the arrival of a sudden heavy shower and high winds forced them to come in for wet tyres at different times. When Sykes came back out from pitlane, Rea was just ahead and the pair resumed the battle for the top spot on the podium. A sudden electronic problem lost Sykes some revs, and therefore pace, which gave Rea some breathing space and come home the winner with a nine second advantage. Chaz Davies (Ducati) took third place and the final podium position.
In race two, held in dry conditions, Rea took the lead at half race distance and ran away to record his second win of the day, and his tenth victory since joining Kawasaki this year. Pole-sitter David Giugliano (Ducati) finished second, 5.416 seconds behind Rea with Leon Haslam (Aprilia) in third.
Despite starting off the third row of the grid after a fast crash in Superpole on Saturday, Rea maintained his remarkable record of scoring either first or second in every race this year. He now has 330 championship points, only 20 from perfection.
Rea also set the fastest lap of each 20-lap race and took his championship advantage to 124 points over new second place rider Sykes, 330 to 206. Despite his issues today Sykes improved his championship position and he is now seven points ahead of third place man Leon Haslam.
There will be a one-day official test session at Portimao tomorrow and Misano hosts the next round of the championship, on Sunday 21st June.
Jonathan Rea: “I have a great bike, a great team around me and great strategy for every weekend. My crew chief Pere and I sit down and work out a good set-up, evaluating our tyres. We learned from some mistakes in Donington that made us stronger here and I am riding well, but I have the tools to do it. So it is massive credit to all my mechanics for working so hard and KHI in Japan, who are continuing to develop the bike. In tomorrow’s test we have some new material to try. We know now where the limit is and we rode two good races today. The points gap is a lot after this round but I will try not change the way I am riding.”