Race 2 start at Portimao

Race 2 start at Portimao

Jonathan Rea maintained his superb record at Portimao in Portugal by taking second place in race two of today’s 13th and penultimate 2012 World Superbike championship round after the day’s opening encounter was disrupted by wet weather and red flags.

After heavy early morning rain at the 4.592km circuit, Rea had been sitting comfortably in second place after six laps of the opening race before oil on the track cause a red flag. A drying track in part two of the race, which was won by Tom Sykes, altered the handling of Rea’s CBR1000RR and he could finish no higher than sixth.

By contrast, his Honda World Superbike team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama, who was struggling before the red flags came out, changed his setting and found a better pace which took him from 17th on the grid for the re-start to eighth place at the flag.

Race two was run in dry conditions and Rea was in contention from the opening laps. Eventual race winner, Eugene Laverty, was able to pull a gap before Rea settled into second place, but the 25-year-old Northern Irishman closed the margin from four seconds to just 0.162s at the flag.

Aoyama, 30, was not able to repeat his impressive ride in race one with clutch problems forcing the Japanese rider out of contention with just nine of the 22 laps completed.

Rea takes a podium finish at Portimao

Rea takes a podium finish at Portimao

Jonathan Rea – 6th and 2nd

I guess we’ve got to be satisfied with the results today after we didn’t take advantage in Superpole yesterday. I felt really good in both races and in race one I was sitting pretty in second place feeling really comfortable when the red flags came out. Unfortunately, the track was drying for the second part, with zero standing water, but the bike was just too soft for the conditions, so I could only nurse it home. Race two was pretty good and my team gave me a CBR that I was able to compete with at the front. I got held up a little early on and Laverty opened a bit of a gap. When I got clear track in front of me I was able to reel him back in bit by bit but we ran out of laps in the end.

Hiroshi Aoyama – 8th and DNF

I didn’t have a good feeling in the first part of race one and I think we went in the wrong direction after warm-up. But after the red flag we had an opportunity to change the set-up and went the other way. It worked much better and I was able to pass some riders and fight for higher positions with the others. I had a not too bad race and I was excited to have another go in race two. Unfortunately, I had some technical problem so I was not able to finish the race.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

Jonathan was comfortably in second place in the first part of race one before the red flag and it was possible for him to win at that point. He struggled on the drying track in the re-start and he finished sixth which was a little disappointing. Hiroshi rode pretty well in the second part – he was moving to the front so well done to him. He had a clutch problem in race two which was a real shame. Jonathan got a very good second place which wasn’t completely unexpected. We knew from yesterday that his race pace was quite good and I think, with another lap, he could have won it. He was strong, kept pushing and made no mistakes. It’s great to see him back on the podium so congratulations to him and to Chris and the team. This gives us hope that we can finish the season in style at Magny-Cours in two weeks.

2012 World Superbike championship, round 13
Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portimao, Portugal – 4.592km, 22 laps
Race 1 results:
1 Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki
2 Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati
3 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Ducati
4 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia
5 Brett McCormick (CAN) Ducati
6 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda World Superbike Team
8 Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Honda World Superbike Team

Race 2 results:
1 Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia
2 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda World Superbike Team
3 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia
4 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Ducati
5 Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati
6 Ayrton Badovini (ITA) BMW
DNF Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Honda World Superbike Team

Championship points after 13 of 14 rounds:
1 Biaggi 347, 2 Sykes 316.5, 3 Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW 308.5, 4 Checa 278.5, 5 Rea 255.5, 6 Laverty 241.5

Final round: Magny-Cours, France – 5-7 October

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