There’s no doubting the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R in 2015 World Superbike. Especially with Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea at the controls.In six rounds leading up to Portimao, the Northern Ireland native has not finished lower than second. Entering Portimao he had eight race wins in six rounds, including three doubles in Thailand, Assen and Imola. At Donington he scored a pair of seconds behind his teammate, the 2013 World SBK Champion Tom Sykes.
But though Sykes had speed at Donington, Rea needed more. And that came this weekend at Portimao in Portugal, round seven of the 2015 World Superbike Championship.Rea piloted his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R to his fourth double of the season, dominating at Portimao SBK. Rea’s stats grew, also; after winning the second race in Portugal, he achieved his 25th career SBK win as he chases his first World SBK title.Joining Rea on the podium in race one at Portimao SBK were Sykes and Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Team’s Chaz Davies. In race two, Rea was joined by the pole sitter, Davies’ teammate Davide Giugliano, and Aprilia Racing Team’s Leon Haslam.Rea spoke highly of his CBR1000RR, which also took a win at the RST Superbike race at the Isle of Man TT:“I have a great bike, a great team around me and great strategy for every weekend. My crew chief Pere and I sit down and work out a good set-up, evaluating our tires,” Rea says.“We learned from some mistakes in Donington that made us stronger here and I am riding well, but I have the tools to do it. So it is massive credit to all my mechanics for working so hard and KHI in Japan, who are continuing to develop. In tomorrow’s test we have some new material to try. We know now where the limit is and we rode two good races today. The points gap is a lot after this round but I will try not change the way I am riding.”After seven of 13 rounds, Rea continues to have the World SBK points lead as he did after round one. He now has 330 points, 124 ahead of the man who moved into second, Sykes. Due to his performance at Portimao, the 2013 World SBK Champion Sykes bumped Haslam down to third; Haslam now trails Rea by 131 points.Following are the official reports from Dorna:Portimao World SBK 2015 Results, Race Recap #1After 20 action packed laps, that saw the first flag to flag race of 2015 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) has taken his ninth victory of the season in the opening race of the day at Portimao, coming home 9.384 seconds ahead of teammate Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Team) who completed the podium.For the first 14 laps the Kawasaki pair were playing a game of cat and mouse until with 6 laps to go the rain began to fall. All but Sykes came in to change to wet tyres with Sykes following suit the following lap. The duo fought it out until Sykes made a mistake allowing Rea to notch up his 24th career win.Sykes finished second ahead of Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) who completed the podium after a titanic fight with Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) in the early stages.Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) was fourth with Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike) and Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing) fifth and sixth respectively.Ayrton Badovini brought the BMW Motorrad Italia entry home in seventh ahead of Leandro Mercado who experienced his first ever flag to flag race on the Barni Racing Ducati.Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) recovered to ninth after an off track excursion ahead of 10th placed Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) who also ran off track before the rain fell.Jordi Torres was the first of the factory Aprilia riders in 11th, the WorldSBK rookie just beating team mate Leon Haslam who fell and re-joined on his first lap after changing to wet tyres.Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), David Salom (Team Pedercini) and Nico Terol (Althea Racing) completed the point scorers.Portimao World SBK 2015 Results, Race Recap #2The conditions for Sunday’s afternoon’s second WorldSBK race at Portimao were almost perfect as the earlier rain had disappeared meaning a full 20 lap encounter on a dry circuit, won in the end by Rea, the 10th win of 2015 for the championship leader by 5.416 seconds.Rea’s double win moves him into 3rd overall in terms of most consecutive podium finishes (15), ahead of Carl Fogarty who has 13.As in the first encounter, Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) initially led before being passed by team mate Rea and Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team), the trio pulling clear of the pack as their pace at the front increased.As the race continued Rea began to stretch a lead, leaving Sykes and Giugliano to fight for second until the former champion’s ZX-10R suffered what looked like a technical problem. The former champion would eventually finish 8th.Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) took full advantage of the situation to take 3rd, his first podium since Aragon race 2.Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) finished fourth to score more solid points ahead of the Pata Honda pairing of Michael van der Mark who got the better of reigning World SBK champion Sylvain Guintoli on the final lap who rounded out the top 6.Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) scored nine points with his seventh place finish ahead of Sykes, Leandro Mercado who was in the top 10 again on his Barni Ducati (ninth) and Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing).The 11th to 15th positions were taken by Roman Ramos (Team GO Eleven), Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia), Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Christophe Ponsson (Team Pedercini) and Nico Terol (Althea Racing).The next round of the championship takes place at Misano in Italy.
This week Teejay chats to Tyler Poppe. Tyler works on the TV show Mayans MC–and yet he doesn’t ride an American V-Twin. Wassup with that?? Also, Arthur finds out from friend Mike Cardillo about his thoughts on the full-size version of the Kawasaki KLX 140R F trail bike.