PORTIMAO, Portugal – Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea split Sunday’s World Superbike event at Portugal’s Autódromo Internacional do Algarve.
Spots of rain couldn’t stop the reigning World Superbike champion Sykes from winning the first of the two races. At the start it was Rea that took the holeshot, leading for the opening three laps before Sykesand Marco Melandri overtook him into turn one at the start of lap four.
By halfway the constant swapping of positions had allowed reigning champion Sykes to stretch his lead to three seconds. Seconds later the white flag was waved to indicate that rain was beginning to fall.
Behind the leader a large group riders that included Loris Baz, Chaz Davies, Sylvain Guintoli and Leon Haslam began battling for the podium places. Haslam took out Davies after losing the front end of his Pata Honda, but both riders able to remount with Davies later retiring. Haslam eventually finished 11th.
At the front Sylvain Guintoli elevated himself to second and began to quickly reduce the gap to Sykes before he responded to retain a lead of two seconds until taking the checkered flag. Guintoli made his return to the podium insecond ahead of compatriot Baz.
The second race of the day at Portimao was held in tricky conditions as the rain, which began during the Supersport race, continued to fall at the Portuguese circuit.
Rea romped home after a reduced race distance of 18 laps as the winner after Guintoli and his teammate Melandri collided at turn five in the closing stages. Guintoli was able to remount, eventually finishing 7th.
Behind Rea, Davide Giugliano was a lonely second with Davies snatching the final podium spot from Alex Lowes and Haslam after an enthralling final few laps in which third position changed several times.
Race one winner Sykes finished race two a lowly 8th after dropping back through the pack.