Rea, unstoppable in the second round of Estoril
After the second race of the season, Jonathan Rea extends his leadership in the championship with 110 points, while Lowes defends the fourth place, with 62.
After the first day of action in the second round of the WorldSBK championship, held at the Estoril circuit in Portugal, riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes finished third and fourth respectively in combined times.
FP2 in the afternoon ended earlier than planned. Both Rea and Lowes were looking to move up the general standing, until the red flag stopped the session due to the fall of a rider. When they got back on track, the remaining three minutes offered one last chance for the riders to improve their times. Rea and Lowes, like most of their rivals, did not set a fastest lap but held third and fourth place in the morning FP1 session.
Rea took advantage of these first sessions to improve the entrances to the many corners that characterize the Estoril circuit, while Lowes spent much of Friday getting to know the new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR better on a circuit that the KRT duo did not practice during the off season.
In the first race on Saturday, Jonathan Rea led the Ninja ZX-10RR to a third place in the standings, just under a second behind the winner of the race, Scott Redding. The 21-lap race started well for the Northern Irishman. However, he dropped to fourth place in the second lap. But Rea didn't give up, and struggled to return to third place. In the closing laps, he even considered competing against Toprak Razgatlioglu for second place, but eventually crossed the finish line in third position.
In Superpole, Rea was once again the fastest driver on the grid, following his recent success at Motorland. With this one, he already has 29 Superpole successes in his career and no less than 25 victories since he joined the official Kawasaki WorldSBK team in 2015.
Lowes, meanwhile, finished third in the Superpole, but under the new yellow flag warning rules, he lost his fastest laps of the session as he had to enter a yellow flag area to complete his lap on the famous yellow-flag qualification tires. As a result, the British rider was forced to start from the fourth row of the grid. Lowes tried to get back to the top, making his way up to fifth before falling into turn seven on lap nine. Alex got going again, but failed to score points, finishing 19th.
Jonathan Rea used Sunday's two races to extend his lead in the FIM World Superbike Championship, after two highly contested victories under the Portuguese sun in his Ninja ZX-10RR.
The Northern Irishman, like his teammate, chose an SC0 tire for the ten-lap race. A somewhat unusual choice, as the SCX was developed specifically for this intense speed competition. However, the risky choice worked out perfectly for Rea, who gradually moved away from his rivals leading the last five laps and finally defeating Toprak Razgatlioglu by 0.69 seconds.
Lowes started the Superpole from tenth place, but a very good performance by the Briton helped him secure sixth place.
In the final 21-lap race of the weekend, Rea fought for victory alongside other riders, ending up fighting head-to-head with Scott Redding. When Redding fell shortly after Rea passed him on lap 15, the Kawasaki rider was able to maintain a strong pace until the finish, beating Chaz Davies by 2,787 seconds.
In race two, Lowes took advantage of his starting position from the second row to finish fourth, just under three seconds off the podium.
The competition will resume next June 11, 12 and 13 in Misano, Italy.