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WSBK Portimao: Rea splashes to fourth win as Aprilias tangle

Jonathan Rea keeps its neat in wet conditions to win, as Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri collide; Guintoli recovers to seventh, Sykes eighth.
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  • Jonathan Rea powers through the Portimao deluge to claim a fourth WSBK win of the season
  • Aprilia team-mates Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri collide whilst tussling for the lead
  • Giugliano, Davies complete podium for Ducati, while Guintoli recovers to still beat a very cautious Sykes in seventh

Jonathan Rea has splashed his way to a fourth World Superbike Championship win of the season at Portimao in a rain-hit second race headlined by a dramatic tangle between Aprilia riders Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri.

Following drizzle in race one, the second encounter began in fully wet conditions, with Rea grabbing the lead from the first corner and quickly extending his advantage to more than four seconds over championship leader Tom Sykes, who looked comfortable in second initially.

Indeed, with the field 'tip-toeing' early on as they found the limit of a circuit that had otherwise been bathed in sunshine for almost the entire weekend, Rea – a winner in the wet at Assen earlier this year – galloped away out front, continuously extending his lead over the pack.

Behind Sykes, Chaz Davies held down third during the early laps, but would come under pressure from the Aprilias of Guintoli and Melandri on lap four as they moved ahead.

With the rain easing to a drizzle – albeit not enough for a dry line to ever appear – the emphasis of momentum would steadily switch back to both Aprilia riders as they worked their way up the order to second place at the expense of a rapidly dwindling Sykes, latching onto the rear of leader Rea by lap 12 of 18.

Seemingly with the speed and time to dispatch of Rea, the pair looked primed to overhaul their rival when Guintoli came from a long way back to attempt a pass on Melandri around the dipping left-hander, where Davies and Leon Haslam came together in the first race.

As was the case with the earlier tangle, Melandri seemingly did not expect Guintoli to appear, the pair coming together hard and being sent skittling off the circuit. Melandri came off worse, not only falling off but being bumped by Guintoli's sliding back as well, the Italian seen clutching his arm as he was led off track.

Guintoli, meanwhile, remounted and rejoined in eighth place, the poor weather having created large gaps down the field, giving him the opportunity to recover solid points.

Fortunately for him, Sykes's hopes of a podium were dwindling by the lap too, the race one winner plummeting down the order as he seemingly favoured caution over an intense fight, particularly considering Guintoli's issues.

By contrast, Rea was now cruising out front, the Ulsterman keeping it neat and tidy to claim his fourth victory of the season, a result that in turn consolidates his fourth place in the standings, just six points adrift of second overall.

Having struggled in the dry all weekend, Davide Giugliano came alive in the dingy conditions, steadily working his way up the order before capitalising on the drama ahead to finish in second position for his best result yet on the Ducati 1199 Panigale.

A successful afternoon all-round for Ducati, Davies hauled back positions in the final laps to finish in third position – the first time the manufacturer has had two riders on the WSBK podium since Portimao 2012.

Indeed, third place was hotly-contested right to the end, with Davies battling off the attention of Alex Lowes and Leon Haslam for the position, with both British riders occupying the spot before costly errors handed the initiative to their fellow Brit.

Though fancied for a victory challenge given his record in the wet, Loris Baz opted for caution en route to sixth, an approach favoured by eighth place team-mate Sykes as he found himself caught and overtaken by a flying Guintoli, the Frenchman remarkably clawing back a single point on his title rival despite his crash.

Despite this, Sykes still leaves Portugal with an extended championship lead, the British rider now 43 points clear atop the standings.

Well off the pace in the tricky conditions, especially compared with Lowes, Eugene Laverty spent his afternoon battling with Ayrton Badovini on the EVO-specification Bimota. Indeed, the Italian would actually beat Laverty to ninth position – for an effective EVO 'win' -, though his removal from the results means it is the Irishman that takes the position.

Toni Elias completed the top ten, with BMW Italia's Sylvain Barrier claiming the EVO spoils in 11th overall once Badovini is removed from the equation.

Sheridan Morais, Jeremy Guarnoni, Bryan Staring and Riccardo Russo completed the points' paying position, denying EVO leader David Salom the chance to extend his series lead as his run of points' finishes comes to an end.




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reinmacre

July 06, 2014 5:44 PM

Nice going JR65. Four wins at just past the halfway point in the season, no dnf's. Still in the championship hunt. Keep it rolling. A win and an eighth with a huge points lead. I'm sure Sykes is good with that. I wonder if there will be the same backlash with SG50 & MM33 as there was with Baz and Sykes. Laguna's going to be hot, both literally and figuratively.

V4Poweeeer

July 07, 2014 3:40 AM

Great to see Rea on the top step if anything this season has taught us sophisticated electronics are best left to the factories cause this Ten Kate outfit seem to be struggling to get their heads around it maybe its talent, manpower and resources are up to the electonic warfare the factories are engaged in. All in the wrist Mr Rea great work!!! (Before some smart alec says he has eoectronixs blah blah he doesn't have more hp which is the problem go ask Salom about his electronics set up or his whole kit for that matter only original piece is the engine and you can bet Kawasaki polished that one a bit better than one off the showroom floor)



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