Alex just misses out on Race 1 podium at Portimao
In warm and dry conditions at the undulating 4.592km circuit in Portugal five times champion Rea took his personal race win tally at this venue to ten. Jonathan eased out to an early lead that would grow to over five seconds at the flag from Toprak Razgatlioglu.
Today’s race win was the 150th for Kawasaki in the overall history of the FIM Superbike World Championship since the start in 1988.
Alex, having worked hard on his race set-up in this his first Portimao ride for Kawasaki, was third on the grid after a strong Superpole performance.
However he lost some initial ground in the race and was passed by some of his rivals before improving his understanding of his set-up at the tricky Portimao hillside circuit. He was to get to within 2.8 seconds of the podium places.
After the opening race of the Portimao weekend, and with the championship points leader Scott Redding finishing only seventh today, Alex is fourth overall, 22 points from the lead.
There is a lot of racing left in the Portuguese weekend, as Alex will now face one ten lap Tissot-Superpole race and then a second full 20-lap race two, both to be held on Sunday 9 August.
“I chose the SCX rear tyre and to be honest I do not think it was working so well in the afternoon because I had so many big slides at the start. Like all the other guys I had some problems with the front grip at the end but I felt that I could manage quite well and I kept my pace. For my first proper go in attack mode around here on the Kawasaki, I have had quite a good day and I am hoping to make some improvements for tomorrow. I was hoping I could challenge for the podium but unfortunately not. I think I can improve myself a bit and we can also improve the bike set-up, so our target is to do a bit better on Sunday.”