Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea stormed to WorldSBK pole position with a dominating lap record at Portimao on Saturday.
Times tumbled as the temperatures began to rise on the Algarve with Pata Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu and KRT teammate Alex Lowes firmly in the battle throughout the 15-minute session as the trio completed the front row for the afternoon race.
The morning’s final free practice concluded with Razgatlioglu bettering his own all-time lap record at the AIA circuit with a new 1.40.121 effort before the Superpole action got underway. The Turkish rider instantly smashing the time with a 1.39.887 on just his first flying lap of the qualifying session withRea and Lowes sitting half a second behind in second and third.
BMW’s Scott Redding fought for fourth from Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista as the second laps registered with Pata Yamaha’s Andrea Locatelli, Honda’s Iker Lecuona and Aruba.it’s Michael Rinaldi completing the top eight. Xavi Vierge and Garrett Gerloff rounded out the ten fastest riders at the halfway stage on the HRC and GRT Yamaha machines respectively with GoEleven’s Philipp Oettl the last under the 1’41 barrier, in 11th.
The second runs fired up with four minutes left on the clock, Kohta Nozane bringing out the yellow flags after a turn one crash as the first efforts ignited as first Razgatlioglu then Rea bettered the outright time. The six-time champion set a 1’39.610 to secure the late benchmark with Lowes returning to third, just a quarter of a second adrift.
Bautista looked to complete the rapid session fourth overall and heading the second row with Locatelli and Motocorsa’s Axel Bassani alongside before both Ducati riders’ times were deleted.
Bonovo BMW’s Loris Baz enjoyed promotion to fifth in the late-session chaos with Lecuona completing row two while Gerloff and Redding headed Bautista on row three. Vierge completed the top 10 from Rinaldi and Oettl with Bassani dropped to 14th.
Times were later revised with Bautista and Bassani reinstated back onto the second row.