Jonathan Rea strengthened his grip on a record fifth World Superbike title with a lights-to-flag victory in Saturday’s opening race at Portimao in Portugal.
Rea, who started from pole on his Kawasaki, destroyed the opposition with another dominant performance as he chalked up his eighth win in a row at the Portuguese circuit as the series resumed after a lengthy summer break.
The 32-year-old came home 3.8 seconds ahead of Chaz Davies, whose Aruba.it Ducati team-mate, Alvaro Bautista, finished fourth after he ran off the track on the opening lap after Davies dived underneath him on the brakes.
Bautista was almost last but the Spaniard clawed his way through the pack to take fourth behind Pata Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark.
However, the ex-MotoGP rider is now 93 points behind Rea, who has one hand on a five consecutive world crown with 11 races to go.
Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Puccetti Kawasaki) completed the top six.
Eugene Laverty failed to finish the race on the Team Go Eleven Ducati.
The Superpole race will take place at 11:00 BST on Sunday with race two at 14:00 BST.