In Portimao we are without Tom Sykes following a crash earlier this morning, which saw his bike burst into flames. Luckily, Sykes got away with minimum injury but did break his little finger so has been declared unfit for this weekend.
It was Torres and Forés going through to SP2 as Davies suffered a small crash, meaning his chance of pole was over. He would start the race out of the top 5 but as we’ve seen from the race 2 grid shuffle, this won’t matter at all.
It was Rea on pole once again followed by the two Aprilias of Laverty and Savadori. On row 2 it was Lowes, Melandri and Torres. Van der Mark was 7th on the grid after being announced the replacement rider for Valentino Rossi in Aragón next week, leading Bradl and Davies. Forés, Camier and Mercado got ready on row 4 in front of De Rosa, Ramos and Russo. The final two rows were West, (Replacing Krummenacher after an injury at the last race putting him out for the rest of the season.) Badovini, Andreozzi, Takahashi on the Red Bull Fireblade and finally it was Jezek completing the grid.
It was Rea who kept the lead from pole position and instantly started to make a gap at the front. He continued to do so for the full race distance with no one being able to even get close. Davies came from 9th on the grid and managed to quickly work his way up to the front, but never was able to catch up with Rea and had to settle for 2nd place.
For the first time Bradl had got straight into SP2 qualifying in 8th, and was fighting in the top 10 with Torres and Lowes who had both suffered at the start and fallen back. Sadly for the German it was too good to be true and crashed out, bringing his race to an abrupt end.
With 2 laps to go it looked as if the podium had been decided but Camier who was sitting in 4th wanted to try and challenge. At times was right behind Melandri and looking to make the move. The Italian was put under a lot of pressure from him and it showed, but in the end they came across the line together with Melandri taking 3rd.
P1 – Rea: “The weekend in general has just been really positive, working good- Not changing the bike a lot from the test we had here. I just worked on myself, what I can change on the bike and it’s feeling good, it seemed like I made a really good start of the race and we got the best out of the tyre in the beginning and then after the gap got to 5 seconds I was controlling a little bit then I wanted to aim to pull a gap a little bit more and we did that so it seemed like we had a little bit extra, even in the end. I’m really happy with my team because this weekend not common, it’s plain sailing although we have another race tomorrow. Riding the bike is such a pleasure and this isn’t normal so I want to thank all my guys and Kawasaki for giving me a great package to battle with today.
P2 – Davies: “It was definitely a recovery and it was the best we could have hoped for today, Reas pace all weekend has been unbeatable so he was controlling at the front and it was all I could do to get into the podium fight and to be honest I didn’t expect to go away that quick from the group but in the end, pulled into a podium stop and I’m happy with that- But no really happy with how the race felt. I felt like I was on egg shells, I didn’t really get the best of myself or the bike and I was trying to understand and change my style but in the end it wasn’t making a big difference in the lap time so we need to look at that tomorrow, try and address why I couldn’t extract 100% and see what we can do tomorrow.”
P3 – Melandri: “It was very difficult because I had no rear grip from the beginning. The bike was very difficult to ride even in the braking, the bike was very unstable because we were missing a lot of grip and I just try to brake harder to improve my speed but was even worse because the bike was moving a lot and it was very difficult. I felt like I was not pushing hard but every time I tried I was making mistakes. We will try to do better tomorrow.