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WSBK: Rea controls race pace to take victory in Portimão

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Jonathan Rea blasted the field to take his fourth victory at the Portuguese track, and his tenth victory of the season.

Before racing commenced, his team mate Tom Sykes had been ruled out of proceedings entirely due to a crash in FP3, which was reminiscent of an American in a late night bar trying to stay on a bucking bronco. The off saw his bike (and his arm) go up in flames but he escaped with burns and a dislocated finger, which was extremely lucky considering the scale of the crash. He was, however, declared unfit to race.

 


 

Between qualifying and race one, Pirelli announced that they were withdrawing the soft development rear ‘A’ compound tyre – one which many riders including Rea had been using throughout the weekend – due to fears that it wouldn’t be safe to run for a full race distance, because of excessive wear after around seventeen laps.

But changing to the ‘B’ compound tyre didn’t phase Rea at all, as he stormed off the line to a 2.2 second gap by the end of lap one. Behind him, Davies was up to fifth after starting from ninth on the grid due to a crash in qualifying. All eyes had fallen to the two Milwaukee Aprilias of Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori who had qualified exceptionally well in second and third respectively. Although Savadori soon dropped back through the pack, Laverty put up an excellent fight at the front. Davies soon worked his way into second, and it was left to him to hunt down Rea at the front who was constantly creating a gap out front.

For the first time in what felt like forever, there was the tiniest glint of excitement in a World Superbike race. And that came in the form of the battle for third – which didn’t really turn out to be a battle at all. With Marco Melandri running in third and Leon Camier closing in behind him, it looked like it could possibly go down to the wire between the two. Just as it looked as if Camier was closing in enough to make a move, Melandri found some time in the final sectors of the last lap, to take third just 0.4 seconds ahead of Camier. Although Camier bought the MV Agusta home in fourth, he will take pole position in tomorrow’s race, and he should be able to take some comfort from that.

There were a few crashes during the course of the twenty laps, the first of those being Stefan Bradl who had worked his way up to an impressive sixth place. Just a couple of laps later, Alex Lowes slid out at turn five and towards the end of the race Leandro Mercado went down at turn thirteen, leaving his bike stranded in the middle of the track and a flustered Argentinian flailing around whilst trying to decide whether or not it would be safe to retrieve it.

Rea’s dominant performance today sees him sitting with a 95 point advantage over Tom Sykes in the overall standings. But Davies’ second place finish in race one has brought him within fifteen points of Sykes, who won’t be racing tomorrow.

 

 

WSBK race one results:

1. Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team – 34:38.383
2. Chaz Davies, Aruba.it Racing Ducati + 6.189
3. Marco Melandri, Aruba.it Racing Ducati + 10.116
4. Leon Camier, MV Agusta Reparto Corse + 10.508
5. Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team + 13.739
6. Jordi Torres, Althea BMW Racing Team + 16.816
7. Eugene Laverty, Milwaukee Aprilia + 18.786
8. Lorenzo Savadori, Milwaukee Aprilia + 22.090
9. Xavi Fores, BARNI Racing Team Ducati + 28.430
10. Roman Ramos, Team Kawasaki Go Eleven + 38.746
11. Raffaele De Rosa, Althea BMW Racing Team + 43.181
12. Ayrton Badovini, Grillini Racing Team + 43.212
13. Anthony West, Kawasaki Puccetti Racing + 43.325
14. Riccardo Russo, Pedercini Racing SC – Project + 43.412
15. Takumi Takahashi, Red Bull Honda WorldSBK Team + 54.303
16. Ondrej Jezek, Grillini Racing Team + 59.880
17. Alessandro Andreozzi, Guandalini Racing + 1:04.441

 

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BT Sport extend UK MotoGP TV deal until 2021

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British telecoms provider and sports broadcaster extend their live TV deal for another three years.

The subscription-only sports broadcaster took over the rights to show MotoGP on UK TV screens from the BBC back in 2014 and have been hugely impressive in their commitment to the motorcycling premier class and the breadth of their coverage.

Now, thanks to an extension of the deal, BT Sport will continue to show complete coverage of each MotoGP round for the 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons.

https://twitter.com/btsportmotogp/status/966283173566058496

Motorsport veteran and former BBC F1 presenter Suzi Perry will continue to front the show, alongside Craig Doyle, whilst Colin Edwards and James Toseland will remain onboard as pundits.

New to the line-up for 2018 will be ex-GP racer Michael Laverty as third foil for Edwards and Toseland whilst the retiring Julian Ryder will be replaced in the commentary box by former World Superbike champion – and current BT Sport presenter – Neil Hodgson.

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Honda’s new livery is the same as last years! Can we expect similar looking results from Marquez too?

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Honda 2018 RC213V revealed with near-identical livery to their dominating machine of previous years.

After dominating the recent pre-season tests in Thailand – and let’s be honest – the last few years of the MotoGP championship, Honda revealed their 2018 GP livery in Jakarta today.

And it is almost exactly the same as every other year…

…which bodes well for the Honda team and their precision-like consistency; whilst probably annoying everybody else with their predictability.

From a racing point of view, we’re confident that we can be ready to fight for the title again, because our engineers in Japan made a big effort this winter and our riders are ready.

We know that our competitors will also be strong, and that they’ve taken some steps forward, but we expect a thrilling season – Alberto Puig, Team Manager

Not known to take major risks, the team would appear to be more focused on gaining Marc Marquez his fifth world title – after his stunning win last year – than winning any livery design competitions. And let’s not forget that Pedrosa will almost certainly want to build on his two race wins and fourth place championship finish last year.

Not long now… Excited yet?

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