Our recording in Portimão shortly before the Superpole Race at Turn one – this is the last stop in Europe before we go to Argentina and then to the annual finale with the premiere at the Mandalika Circuit on the island of Lombok in Indonesia.

Before the third race within two weeks and the last one in Europe

Loris Baz will again ride Chaz Davies’ GoEleven Ducati at the Autodromo do Algarve. While the Welshman has yet to recover from his injury in Barcelona, it gives the Frenchman a second opportunity to prove himself. Nonetheless, when asked about his return to the WSBK paddock, he waved it off sooner than was asked about it. Seventy to ninety percent of the time he is expected to drive a second season in the USA after clearly missing out on the Moto America title in the first year there on a Ducati. The winner was a certain Jake Gagne, who was still a guest at WorldSBK on a private Honda in 2018. But the US boy had no chance in the world championship on the defeated material. This year he won the US championship in the Superbike class by far on a Yamaha.

Jake Gagne (Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing’s) as the newly crowned Superbike US Champion from 2021 (© Yamaha Racing).

The Autodromo do Algarve

The track length is 4.684 kilometres in the international comparison, and the start-finish straight is relatively long at 969 meters. The route is driven clockwise with 9 right and 6 left turns. The Autodromo do Algarve is also very attractive for drivers and spectators because of its uphill and downhill sections. It’s a driver’s track, and so it is not surprising that Johnny Rea is by far the most successful man on this circuit. In his very first race in the WorldSBK, the Northern Irish driver already finished fourth as a wildcard pilot on a Ten Kate Honda at the premiere of the newly completed course in 2008.

The statistics of the Portugal Round – a lot speaks for Johnny Rea

The record with a total of 12 race wins by 2020 clearly goes to five-time world champion Jonathan Rea. From the second race in 2014 until before the second race in 2019 at the Autodromo do Algarve, he was unbeaten. Only Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) was able to end the series of the Northern Irishman in the second race of 2019. The little Spaniard benefited from the superior top speed of the MotoGP replica from Ducati. On the long straight, he sometimes overtook several opponents in one lap and didn’t even need a slipstream to do this. In 2019 the Superpole Race was introduced. As a result, Jonathan Rea improved his record from 7 to 9 wins this season. On his return in the 2020 Corona season on August 8th and 9th, the best Superbike rider of all time left nothing wrong despite the tough competition and won all 3 races. Toprak Razgatlioglu, who only finished eighth in the last race, was on the podium twice to his right.

Scott Redding (right) and team-mate Michael Ruben Rinaldi (both Aruba.it Ducati) ahead of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) and the other pursuers in the last race of Jerez de la Frontera on the hunt for leader Razgatlioglu. He has already been on the podium three times in Portugal, but never on top.

The weather forecast for the last lap in Europe

Currently, i.e. a week before, around 25 to 26 degrees Celsius are forecast with light cloud cover. If it doesn’t get too hot in the Algarve, Jonathan Rea and his team will benefit. Similar to Yamaha in MotoGP for many years, the Kawasaki seems to have problems with the tires in the heat. In this respect, the six-time record world champion has to hope for moderate conditions. As the weekend in Andalusia after Barcelona showed again, he is otherwise considered to have no chance in the fight for victory. But 9 races are still outstanding, and the Northern Irishman has not written off his title defence for a long time. Razgatlioglu has hardly made a serious mistake this season, but the Turk has never been considered a model of consistency. Before moving on to San Juan in Argentina, however, he could be content with three second places in each of Rea’s victories. But that’s not his style, and that’s why it will be particularly exciting in Portugal.

The VIP tower (photographed by us in January 2019 during the WSBK test) is one of the trademarks of the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve.

Stand in the WorldSBK world championships

WorldSBK Portimao schedule

Unless otherwise mentioned, applies to all images (© WorldSBK).