Tom Sykes has extended his lead in the World Superbike Championship to 43 points after a seventh win of the season in race one allowed him the luxury to play it safe in a sodden second race.

Armed with a healthy 39 point advantage coming to Portugal, though Sykes - starting from his 22nd career WSBK pole position - didn't get the best of getaways in the first race to round the first lap in third position, he would progress into lead by lap four and wouldn't be headed thereafter.

Indeed, though drizzle mid-way through the race threatened to question his desire to push on having established a three second lead, the conditions would clear in time for him to cling onto his 21st career WSBK win.

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"I enjoy winning races and the good thing is that the Ninja ZX-10R is giving me the feedback to be able to do this so I am very happy at the moment," he said. "I had a poor start in race one and it is a long race round here, long enough race to make some corrections. I am happy because we had a good gap then the rain started to come.

"When you are leading the championship and leading the race you do not want to do anything stupid and it was very difficult to calculate the levels of grip because in some parts of the circuit it was raining more heavily than in others. The team gave me great pit board signals and luckily the cloud disappeared with a good amount of laps left, to go so I could take an advantage again."

Faced with far wetter conditions in race two, Sykes held down second place in the early stages, but with his rivals reeling him in as they tripped over one another in their own private battle, Sykes opted to ease off and focus on scoring points in eighth instead.

"In the wet conditions of race two we had some issues but I cannot be disappointed because we have shown great potential. Sometimes we are dealt these strange races and there was too much for me to lose today. Some other riders made mistakes and so I extended my championship lead compared to when we arrived here."

The result also lifts Sykes level with Max Biaggi - who beat him to the 2012 WSBK title by 0.5 points - in terms of WSBK wins, his 21st success placing him ninth on the all-time list.