WorldSBK Superpole and Race 1 took place today from Algarve International Circuit, Portimão, Portugal with the reigningChampion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) taking pole position by nearly three tenths of a second with Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) taking second place and Rea’s teammate, Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), slotting into third place.
Last weekend’s Race 2 winner, Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT – Racing Ducati); took a tumble at Turn 5 but was able to get back on the track and to the pits for some quick repairs by his team before getting back out on the track again to finish in 8th place.
The top independent rider, Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha), secured a second row start with his impressive pace with the highest place Honda of Leon Haslam (Team HRC) in tenth position. Haslam’s teammate, Alvaro Bautista crashed in Sector 3 and, like Redding, he was able to get the bike back on track and to the pits.
After a tense session the starting grid looked like this:
Row 1 : Rea : Razgatlioglu : Lowes Row 2: Sykes : van der Mark : Baz
Row 3 : Rinaldi : Redding : Laverty Row 4 : Haslam : Gerloff : Bautista
Row 5 : Davies : Cortese : Fores Row 6 : Caricasulo : Scheib : Mercado
Row 7 : Melandri : Barrier : Takahashi Row 8 : Ponsson : Gabellini
With 20 laps of racing, Race 1 gets underway with Rea getting off to a great start but the opposite for Redding who by the first corner is down two places but Sykes on his BMW has a full on wobble nearly losing it at Turn 4 but incredibly recovers and stays on track. Lowes has dropped back into 4th and Redding is now in 6th by Turn 6 and along with Lowes is now closing in on van der Mark.
Rinaldi and Haslam got off to a good start but by Lap 2 Sykes is down to 9th having started from 4th place but manages to make up a place by Lap 3. Redding has set the fastest lap and is now starting to pull away from Razgatlioglu.
Lap 4 sees Redding pass Lowes but then Redding runs wide and Lowes takes the place back but Redding is all over Lowes looking to get past. At Turn 11 Redding manages to pass Lowes and this time he makes it stick.
Third place is now being fought over by Baz, van der Mark and Redding with some incredible racing taken place with the Ducati all over the Yamahas and at one point they are neck and neck but still holding their positions. Van der Mark has a huge wobble and how he managed to hold onto it and his place is incredible.
Lap 6 sees van der Mark running wide and losing two places allowing Redding up into 4th and Lowes now up into 5th.
On the start/finish straight on Lap 8 Redding passes Baz in a very smooth overtake on the inside and then on the following lap Baz runs wide allowing Lowes and van der Mark to nip past. Redding’s teammate, Davies, is not having a good race at all and has now dropped back to 14th.
By Lap 11 van der Mark is hot on the heels of Redding fighting for position and Baz is now down into 7th place having been passed by Lowes on Lap 12 who is closing in on van der Mark and Redding. The fight for 3rd place is edge of the seat racing.
Rea, by Lap 15, has now pulled out a 4 second lead ahead of Razgatlioglu, both of whom are having a very controlled and smooth race.
Lowes has gone up the inside of Redding and now Rinaldi is having a look. Lap 16 sees Redding run wide, Rinaldi tries to get past on the inside but doesn’t manage it. Lowes is now edging away from Redding and now the battle for fifth is hotting up.
Lap 19 Rinaldi passes Redding and they both run wide but Rinaldi manages to stay ahead but Baz slips past Redding up into 6th place with Sykes now having a look to see if he can pass by too.
It’s the final lap and Redding is looking to get back past Baz but Baz is managing to hold the Ducati off for now. Rea crosses the finish line easily in 1st position followed by Razgatlioglu, van der Mark and Lowes. Baz managed to hold off Redding to finish 6th with Redding down in 7th.
Fantastic racing in Race 1, Race 2 tomorrow is going to be nail biting!
If yesterdays Superpole and Race 1 from the Algarve International Circuit, Portimão, Portugal was edge of the seat stuff, what will today’s racing hold in store for us. The reigning Champion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had a commanding lead from start to finish in both the Superpole and Race 1 – are we going to see a repeat performance today?
An update on Sandro Cortese (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) following his crash at the end of Race 1: Cortese underwent surgery for a fractured vertebra and has also suffered a fracture of the right tibial bone, four fractured ribs and a suspected fracture of the right ankle. Wishing Cortese a speedy recovery.
Superpole got underway and again it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who claimed victory to start from pole position in Race 2 with Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) in second place despite the early pressure he put in on Rea having passed Rea into Turn 1 and then running wide allowing Rea to pass back into 1st and build a gap. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) finished the top 3 with his first podium since 2014.
Despite an early challenge from Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished 4th, Redding 5th and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in an impressive 6th place.
In 7th place Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) managed to finish four seconds ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) and Leon Haslam (Team HRC) who were battling for 8th position.
Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) and Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) had an incident at the Turn 5 hairpin on Lap 2 at the Turn 5 hairpin resulting in both riders managing to continue with race but having fallen down the order in so doing and unfortunately Davies subsequently retiring from the race a few lap later.
With a few laps remaining at Turn 3 we saw Maximilian Scheib (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) and Marco Melandri (Barni Racing Team) run off the track but fortunately for both riders they were able to continue with the race.
After an eventful session the starting grid looked like this:
Row 1 : Rea : Razgatlioglu : Baz Row 2: Lowes : Redding : Sykes
Row 3 : van der Mark : Rinaldi : Haslam Row 4 : Gerloff : Bautista : Caricasulo
Row 5 : Fores : Mercado : Melandri Row 6 : Barrier : Ponsson : Gabellini
Row 7 : Takahashi : Laverty : Scheib Row 8 : Davies
With 20 laps of racing, Race 2 gets underway with Rea just managing to stay ahead of Razgatlioglu going into the first corner, Redding goes up into 3rd and Baz is down to 4th. At Turn 5 Laverty goes down with his bike ending up in the gravel, Haslam goes up into 7th and on the last corner at Turn 14, Baz suffers a high speed off and goes rolling into the gravel thus bringing his race to an early ending.
Redding is now up to 2nd with Rea in 3rd and Lowes passes van der Mark up into 4th place. By Lap 3 Rea puts in fastest lap and is just starting to pull out a bit of gap ahead of Redding who has dropped half a second on this lap and is now feeling the heat from Razgatlioglu who is closing in on him. Van der Mark is hot on the heels of Lowes and Davies is looking to get apst Haslam who is causing a bottleneck with Rinaldi and Fores closing in.
Davies slides smoothly past Haslam on the inside on Lap 5 and is 2 ½ seconds behind a podium place finish and he gap between Rea and Redding is now just over a second.
Razgatlioglu goes sliding into Turn 5 on Lap 6, he manages to recover the bike and rejoin the track in 14th place and now has a lot of work to do to fight his way back up the field. Turn 5 strikes again when Lowes goes down too, again he manages to rejoin the track but as it turned out only to make his way to the pits and an early end to his race.
The gap between Rea and third place van der Mark is 3 seconds. Razgatlioglu is looking to get past Mercado to take 12 position and makes his move at the end of the start/finish straught into Tur1 with a late braking move slipping up the inside.
On Lap 11 Van der Mark is closing in on Redding and Turn 5 strikes again when Haslam goes down rejoining the track back down in 13th. Bautista is challenging Rinaldi for 5th position and successfully passes and is now looking to close in on Davies who is in 4th place
Redding is starting to look like he is struggling for pace as van der Mark is all over him and then at Turn 5 Redding runs wide allowing van der Mark to cut through on the inside and claim 2nd place but then loses ground, runs wide at the next corner allowing Redding to pass by on the inside, van der Mark tries to cut back through but he didn’t make it.
By lap 14 Rea has stretched the gap to 4 seconds ahead of Redding with van der Mark hot on his heels determined to gain 2nd place back again.
Gerloff runs wide in Turn 2 on Lap 15 onto the kerb and comes back onto the track and into Fores. Fores goes down and out but Gerloff manages to keep the bike upright and going through the gravel and rejoin the track in 11th place.
Van der Mark is not giving up and is trying at every available opportunity to get that 2nd place with Rea stretching his lead to a comfortable 5 seconds.
On the penultimate lap, Haslam passes Melandri up into 12th position with Laverty having a look too. Razgatlioglu has made his way up into 9th and as Caricasulo runs wide, manages to make up another place. The battle for 2nd place is so close, van der Mark is not giving up but Redding is successfully defending his position to the finish line. Rea takes a comfortable win and is now 4 points ahead of Redding in the Championship.
An absolutely thrilling nail biting race and a terrific end to a great weekend of WorldSBK racing.
Round 4 takes places at MotorLand Aragon, Teruel, Spain on the 28th to 30th August.
The Driver’s / Team Standings so far at the end of Round 3 at Portimao on the 8th and 9th August looked like this:
|5||Michael van der Mark||82|
|9||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||53|