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Portimao WorldSBK Superpole | Rea, Lowes upset formbook to claim Kawasaki 1-2 in qualifying

Gold & Goose
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 2023 WorldSBK, Portimao, action [Gold & Goose]

Jonathan Rea made it two WorldSBK Superpoles in a row as he led a Kawasaki Racing Team 1-2 in qualifying for Round 11 of the 2023 WorldSBK season at Portimao.

The Ulsterman, who is now deep into what is his penultimate outing with Kawasaki before his high-profile switch to Yamaha in 2024, went against the grain of usual tactics by ducking out for his final time attack well in advance of his rivals.

It meant he had the Portuguese circuit to himself as he turned in a session-topping 1m 39.620secs lap, which leapfrogged him ahead of team-mate Alex Lowes, the Englishman having been provisionally quickest after the first wave of fast efforts.


Rea’s decision to strike early would prove to be a savvy one after yellow flags deployed in the closing minutes for Xavi Vierge at Turn 13 and then Alex Lowes at Turn 1 just as others were approaching to start their final laps scuppered several improvements.

They would prove critical for Michael Ruben Rinaldi, who saw his front row start taken away by stewards due to yellow flags, demoting him to 13th, while Remy Gardner was also denied a strong grid slot for the same reasons.

It means Lowes - despite, or perhaps because of, his late slip-off - joins Rea at the head of the grid, the KRT duo to be joined by Toprak Razgatlioglu on the front row in Race 1, before Andrea Locatelli takes up third on the grid in Sunday’s Superpole Race.

Indeed, it was Locatelli that would post the third fastest time of the session, but the Italian will be demoted to the back of the grid for Race 1 as punishment for not heeding black/orange flags during his technical retirement at Aragon last weekend.

As such, for this afternoon’s first race, Razgatlioglu will assume a potentially crucial front row start, putting him a bit further ahead of title rival Alvaro Bautista, who could only manage fifth fastest.

Indeed, the Spaniard was the hot favourite for pole position based on free practice, only to make mistakes on his best laps when it mattered. He will, nonetheless, start an elevated fourth in Race 1.

As rumours of his future continue to circulate, Iker Lecuona gave Honda a good shot at a strong result with the sixth best time, ahead of top BMW rider Michael van der Mark in seventh, Danilo Petrucci eighth, Gardner in ninth and Philipp Oettl in tenth. Each aforementioned rider ascends one position for Race 1 as a result of Locatelli’s penalty.

2023 Portimao WorldSBK | Portimao | Superpole Qualifying Results | Round 11 of 12
PosRiderNatTeamMotorcycleLap Time
1Jonathan Rea🇬🇧Kawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR1m 39.620
2Alex Lowes🇬🇧Kawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR1m 39.762
3 *Andrea Locatelli🇮🇹Pata Crescent RacingYamaha R11m 39.872
4Toprak Razgatlioglu🇹🇷Pata Crescent RacingYamaha R11m 39.891
5Alvaro Bautista🇪🇸Aruba DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R1m 39.989
6Iker Lecuona🇪🇸Team HRCHonda CBR1000RR-R1m 40.133
7Michael van der Mark🇳🇱BMW Motorrad WorldSBKBMW M 1000 RR1m 40.171
8Danilo Petrucci🇮🇹Barni Spark RacingDucati Panigale V4 R1m 40.198
9Remy Gardner🇦🇺GYTR GRTYamaha R11m 40.207
10Philipp Oettl🇩🇪Go ElevenDucati Panigale V4 R1m 40.262
11Scott Redding🇬🇧BMW Motorrad WorldSBKBMW M 1000 RR1m 40.381
12Garrett Gerloff🇺🇲Bonovo RacingBMW M 1000 RR1m 40.385
13Michael Ruben Rinaldi🇮🇹Aruba DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R1m 40.385
14Xavi Vierge🇪🇸Team HRCHonda CBR1000RR-R1m 40.453
15Axel Bassani🇮🇹Motocorsa RacingDucati Panigale V4 R1m 40.473
16Loris Baz🇫🇷Bonovo RacingBMW M 1000 RR1m 40.594
17Dominique Aegerter🇨🇭GYTR GRTYamaha R11m 40.672
18Bradley Ray🇬🇧MotoxracingYamaha R11m 41.147
19Lorenzo Baldassarri🇮🇹GMT 94Yamaha R11m 41.286
20Tito Rabat🇪🇸Puccetti RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR1m 41.754
21Hafizh Syahrin🇲🇾MIE RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R1m 41.895
22Isaac Vinales🇪🇸TPR by Vinales RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR1m 42.121
23Eric Granado🇧🇷MIE RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R1m 42.298
24Gabriele Ruiu🇮🇹B-Max RacingBMW M 1000 RR1m 42.554
25Oliver Konig🇨🇿Orelac RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR1m 43.635
Locatelli to start Race 1 from back of grid as punishment for not heeding B/O flags in Aragon

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