Jonathan Rea is aiming to clinch a third consecutive World Superbike title next time out at Magny Cours having moved to within touching distance of the championship with a dominant double victory at Portimao.

Rea made it a clean sweep in Portugal with Superpole and two comfortable race wins for the Kawasaki Racing Team and coupled with the absence of team-mate Tom Sykes due to injury plus Chaz Davies’s race two crash the defending champion now has a 120-point lead.

Mathematically Rea can seal the title in race one at Magny Cours if he takes five points more than Sykes or wins in the French opener in two weeks to make World Superbike history by becoming the first rider to win three consecutive titles.

“The championship lead is massive now and we can go to Magny Cours thinking about trying to win it in France,” Rea said. “If we have a solid enough weekend in Magny Cours we can get it done.”

While Rea had a couple of hairy moments during race two at Portimao he was thrilled to secure his 11th win of the year, and 34th career win at Kawasaki to make him the most successful rider for the Japanese manufacturer, but despite both his main rivals missing he feels he’s ridden through his own share of bad luck in 2017.

“I am really happy to win and aside from one little issue it was plain sailing race,” he said. “I made some tough passes in the first laps to get my track position and as soon as I hit the front I made my rhythm and went away. We had a completely different bike set-up today.

“I had a lot of feedback from the bike and I was able to ride in my own rhythm but with seven or eight laps to go I had a drop in power in second gear. But as the laps were ticking down I could see that the gap was staying constant, and then I saw Chaz went out and I had some breathing space. We have had our bad luck this year in Donington.”


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