Jonathan Rea has fifth World Superbike title in his sights after Portimao double

Jonathan Rea won two races at Portimao in Portugal and finished as the runner-up in race three to increase his lead in the World Superbike Championship to 91 points.
Jonathan Rea won two races at Portimao in Portugal and finished as the runner-up in race three to increase his lead in the World Superbike Championship to 91 points.
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Jonathan Rea holds a 91-point lead in the World Superbike Championship after a double and a runner-up finish at Portimao in Portugal.

Rea followed up his victory in Saturday’s opening race with another win in the Superpole race on Sunday, which was his ninth in a row at the spectacular Portuguese circuit.

The Northern Ireland rider came home 2.1 seconds ahead of Spain’s Alvaro Bautista, who narrowly held off Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes to seal the runner-up spot.

Bautista, who finished fourth in Saturday’s race after running of the track at the first corner when he was forced to sit up after his Aruba.it Ducati team-mate, Chaz Davies, dived underneath him on the brakes, ended Rea’s winning streak in Sunday’s second race.

Despite fluffing his start, the former MotoGP rider – who looks set to join Honda in 2020 after his departure from Ducati at the end of this season was confirmed recently – pulled out all the stops as he fought his way to the front.

Toprak Razgatlioglu was also in contention at the front on his Puccetti Kawasaki, but eventually the outcome of the race boiled down to a battle between Bautista and Rea, who had closed down the Ducati.

However, reigning champion Rea was unable to find a way past and Bautista returned to winning ways on the Ducati.

Rea said: “When I saw (Alvaro) making a few mistakes I realised that maybe this race was open after all, so I kept the pressure on and slowly but surely I could find a few tenths.

“With two laps to go I found another chunk and the last lap I put myself in a great position but barring riding through him and around the last corner, I was never going to the line in front.

“I threw the kitchen sink at it and it didn’t come off but I’m super proud of the effort and especially the way the team worked this weekend.”

On the prospect of retaining his world title, Rea added: “It’s a great position to be in and I can almost smell it now. I feel that it’s our championship to lose.”

Razgatlioglu finished third ahead of Lowes, with Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Loris Baz (Ten Kate Yamaha) the top six.

Eugene Laverty, who retired from Saturday’s race, finished 15th and 14th respectively in Sunday’s races on the Team Go Eleven Ducati.

Three rounds of the championship remain, with Magny-Cours in France hosting round 11 from September 27-29.