Rea with a double victory – Redding commits a capital error
Before the Superpole Race, most observers could hardly believe their eyes when the World Championship leader was on the grid on normal SC0 racing tires. While all the competition in the back relied on the SCX tire specially developed for sprint races, the Kawasaki riders Rea, Lowes and Mahias opted for the standard tire for the normal racing distance. Although many could hardly imagine it, in the end the reigning world champion and his brand colleagues paid off. Even a Toprak Razgaglioglu in top form couldn’t prevent the best Superbike rider of all time from winning. As the winner from the previous day, Scott Redding only played third fiddle, but for the Ducati Hope it was to get worse that afternoon.
The second race on Sunday with Rea’s masterpiece
Right at the start there was a scene that should cost Toprak the chance for a victory and astonished some observers. Obviously the Turk had made an early start and was then punished with a double long-lap penalty. It was also very tight at Scott Redding, but we’ll come back to that later in this article. As a perfect starter, Rea had a clear disadvantage up to the first corner and shortly afterwards things almost got worse for the world championship leader. Similar to Tom Sykes in the first race of Australia 2020, he was jostled badly in a left turn. This time it was Michael Ruben Rinaldi and the Kawasaki rider was only able to prevent a crash with difficulty and fell back to P6. How he fought his way back afterwards was simply world champion.
Compensatory justice or just plain bad luck
As a consequence, each viewer should judge for himself what happened afterwards. A little later, in any case, Rinaldi was the victim of a high-spirited action by Garrett Gerloff, who fell behind the Italian and dragged him into the gravel. As a result, Rea took up the pursuit of Leader Redding and the Razgatlioglu behind, after he had already worked his way up to Eugene Laverty again on P3. The latter had to take his penalty and dropped back to P6 for a short time, from where he started a wild race to catch up. Rea, however, was second from then on and began to put the leader under pressure. At the end of the 14th lap he passed Redding after the start-finish and the latter immediately countered again, but the Kawasaki rider did not give in and grabbed the Ducati hope again.
Serious impact on the World Cup ranking
Immediately afterwards it happened and Redding made capital mistake number 2 in Estoril after his crash in the Superpole last year. When trying to keep up, he slipped over the front wheel in the next left turn. The man from Quedgeley was then able to get on again and drive on, but after that there was no more than 14th place for him. The race management later saw it at his start just like we did in our live blog and the Englishman later received 6 penalty seconds, which threw him out of the points. This is a truly grave moment for the World Cup standings because now Toprak is suddenly the world champion’s closest pursuer. If it doesn’t rain in two weeks, he is considered to be one of the toughest opponents of the Kawasaki rider, having challenged him to literally the last meter in front of our eyes in 2019. At least in the last race on Sunday, while the day before the Turk had crashed into Turn 13 when it was raining. Jonathan Rea, on the other hand, increased his lead in the World Cup from just 8 points on Saturday evening to 35.
Sunday’s winners and losers in Portugal
In addition to Jonathan Rea, the most important winners are Toprak and Davies, as well as the second man in the Kawasaki factory team. While he still fell on Saturday, his twin brother Sam did the same in the Moto2 race in Mugello a day later. But Alex thought about it and then stayed in the sprint race and also the second run. He finished sixth and fourth, making him the fourth winner of the day. One can also count Eugene Laverty to a certain extent, because after a crash on Saturday and bad luck in Aragon he scored points for the first time with ranks 8 and 9. Among the losers, the HRC Honda team should be mentioned first. The two drivers of the Honda works team together only scored 17 points over the entire weekend. That is less than half compared to the previous year at the same site. In the individual riders, Tito Rabat in particular is almost one of the losers on the first two laps. The Catalan already knew the Estoril track and had such intensive preparation as hardly anyone else. After zero points in Aragon and now two top ten results, Tito now has to wait and see what happens in Misano.
After a tough Saturday, BMW got disillusioned
Tom Sykes was the man with the worst crash of the blue-whites, along with Jonas, as a result of the blue-whites’ worst crash. The man from Huddersfield in the Yorkshire countryside landed in the top ten twice, but 11 points are simply not enough for such a renowned works team with a new model. “Magic Michael” van der Mark achieved the best individual result for BMW with 6th place on Sunday. In return, the Dutchman fell short of expectations with P13 in the Superpole Race. While Eugene Laverty scored points for the first time, Jonas Folger was the loser this time. The fear that BMW would have to look for excuses early on after inadequate preparation has unfortunately now come true. If Kawasaki almost never has to complain about a technical failure per season, their bike seems to be worlds ahead of BMW in terms of quality. The verdict is that simple after far too many technical problems in the first two laps. If Shaun Muir’s team is complicit in this, the blue-whites would have to draw the consequences.
WorldSBK Sunday in numbers – double victory for the world champion
The World Championship before the next round of the World Cup on the Adriatic
On the Sunday morning before the Superpole Race, Johnny Rea is only 8 points ahead of his closest rival Scott Redding, with 35 ahead of Toprak and even 38 ahead of the Ducati driver before heading to Misano. Among the first 8 in the world championship are currently 6 British (the reigning world champion comes from Northern Ireland), a Turk, a Dutchman and with Gerloff an American. The latter received a hefty penalty for killing Michael Ruben Rinaldi in Estoril’s second race on Sunday. Like Niki Tuuli in the WSSP in his offense on Saturday in Aragon, the US boy has to start from the pit lane in the first race of Italy. For him, it was only luck that Rea did not fall during the crash in the second run in Aragon, which is why he was rightly called a repeat offender in Portugal. In terms of manufacturers, it currently looks as if Kawasaki, Ducati and Yamaha are fighting for the top spots among themselves. Honda and BMW, however, have so far still owed a lot.
Unless otherwise mentioned, applies to all images (© WorldSBK).