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Record-breaker Rea takes Portimao pole
15 October 2011
Jonathan Rea will start from pole position for the second World Superbike round in succession after smashing the lap record at Portimao in Superpole.
The Ulsterman was in devastatingly impressive form around the undulating Portuguese circuit, his one and only effort in SP3 proving good enough to slice three tenths off Cal Crutchlow's existing lap record.
It was enough to resist the attentions of new champion Carlos Checa, the Spaniard matching his rival like-for-like in three of the four sectors, only to lose out by two tenths once the clock had been stopped.
Pole position for Rea comes after he also broke the lap record on the way to the top spot at Magny-Cours, though the Castrol Honda rider will be hoping for better fortunes than he experienced in France after failing to finish either of those races.
Joining Rea and Checa on the front row will be Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri, the former in an excellent position to secure third in the overall standings after arch-rival Max Biaggi was left down in 17th position.
A strong qualifying session for Effenbert-Liberty Ducati would see the its riders Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz head up the second row, the pair being joined by Joan Lascorz , who out-qualified Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes for the first time this season, and Noriyuki Haga, the Japanese rider shrugging off an indifferent performance in practice to qualify as the top Aprilia.
Just missing out on the front two rows, Ayrton Badovini will start as the highest-placed BMW representative in ninth position, ahead of Sykes on the second of the Kawasaki's, the pair suffering in the dying seconds of SP2 when they were eliminated by both Lascorz and Guintoli.
Leon Haslam and Leon Camier start the final rounds of the 2011 season from 11th and 12th, while Maxime Berger, in his final race for the outgoing Supersonic Racing team, Michel Fabrizio, debutant Davide Gugliano and Mark Aitchison make up row three.
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