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WorldSBK Estoril: Rea rockets to Superpole

Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea claimed WorldSBK Superpole at Circuit Estoril with a new lap record of 1’35.346 on Saturday morning.

The six-time champion looked to command the pack for his first pole of the season with a dominating lap before Pata Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu aimed to beat him, falling achingly close with the pair six-tenths clear of Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista in third.

The battle to command the grid kicked off under thick cloud as rain looked to threaten the Portuguese track. BMW’s Michael van der Mark was missing from action due to an FP1 accident which left the Dutchman with a fracture to his right femur. GoEleven’s Philipp Oettl was quickly replaced by Xavi Fores after the German sustained a fractured collarbone on Friday afternoon. While GRT Yamaha’s Garett Gerloff suffered his own high speed crash during the morning’s FP3 with the disappointed American declared unfit ahead of the remaining action having led the pace in the weekend’s opening practice.


The opening shots fired saw KRT’s Rea take charge with a 1’36.030 from defending champion Razgatlioglu and Honda’s Iker Lecuona, with Kawasaki teammate Alex Lowes fourth. Michael Rinaldi headed Bautista as the Aruba.it Ducati’s locked out the top six before Andrea Locatelli launched the second Pata Yamaha into contention in fourth.

Scott Redding showed increased confidence on the sole remaining factory BMW in eighth ahead of his Bonovo cohort Loris Baz with Xavi Vierge completing the top ten on the second Fireblade.

Motocorsa’s Axel Bassani was the first man on track as the second runs fired up, the Ducati only able to hit 12th before the big guns took charge. Rea striking with an impressive 1’35.346 to dominate the standings and set an all-time lap record in the process, Bautista second, but six-tenths adrift.

Redding’s improvement was clear to see as the Brit claimed third half a tenth shy of the Ducati rider ahead with Razgatlioglu currently running fourth. It wasn’t for long, however, as the Pata Yamaha launched for the lead, falling a mere 0.091s short as he found second behind his mentor-turned-rival.

The chequered flag saw little improvement as Bautista competed the front row ahead of the afternoon action. Redding leading Locatelli and Rinaldi on row two with Lecuona, Lowes and Eugene Laverty completing the top nine from Puccetti Kawasaki’s Lucas Mahias.

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