Jonathan Rea has sealed an easy lights-to-flag win in the Portimao opener as Chaz Davies finished a distant second ahead of Aruba.it Racing Ducati team-mate Marco Melandri.
Rea produced the perfect race having demonstrated superior pace during the free practice sessions and got away cleanly from pole position to build an early lead. With Kawasaki Racing Team team-mate Tom Sykes out injured after suffering a dislocated and fractured little finger in a nasty FP3 crash while Davies started from ninth after a crash in qualifying, Rea was never troubled as he pulled out a seven-second lead before easing off for a dominant victory.
Davies recovered well from ninth on the grid to climb to second place by the fifth lap but by then Rea had already escaped up the road which forced the factory Ducati rider to settle for the runner-up spot.
Melandri followed his Ducati team-mate through the field but came under late pressure from MV Agusta’s Leon Camier who narrowly missed out on a first podium of 2017 by 0.342s at the chequered flag.
Michael van der Mark kept out of trouble on the Pata Yamaha for fifth place, while team-mate Alex Lowes tipped off on lap eight to finish a lap down, with Althea BMW’s Jordi Torres profiting for sixth place.
Both Milwaukee Aprilia riders suffered badly with tyre wear in the second half of the race to see Eugene Laverty finish seventh and Lorenzo Savadori in eighth despite both riders started from the front row in Portugal.
Xavi Fores claimed ninth on the Barni Ducati ahead of Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki) and Raffaele De Rosa (Althea BMW).
WorldSBK race one results from Portimao:
1. Jonathan Rea GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10RR 20 laps
2. Chaz Davies GBR Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale R +6.189s
3. Marco Melandri ITA Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale R +10.166s
4. Leon Camier GBR MV Agusta RC F4 RR +10.508s
5. Michael van der Mark NED PATA Yamaha YZF-R1 +13.739s
6. Jordi Torres ESP Althea BMW S1000RR +16.816s
7. Eugene Laverty IRE Milwaukee Aprilia RSV4 +18.786s
8. Lorenzo Savadori ITA Milwaukee Aprilia RSV4 +22.090s
9. Xavi Fores ESP Barni Ducati Panigale R +28.430s
10. Roman Ramos ESP Team Go Eleven Kawasaki ZX-10RR +38.746s
11. Raffaele De Rosa ITA Althea BMW S1000RR +43.181s
12. Ayrton Badovini ITA Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10RR +43.212s
13. Anthony West AUS Puccetti Kawasaki ZX-10RR +43.325s
14. Riccardo Russo ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10RR +43.412s
15. Takumi Takahashi JPN Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR SP2 +54.303s
16. Ondrej Jezek CZE Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10RR +59.880s
17. Alessandro Andreozzi ITA Guandalini Yamaha YZF-R1 +1m
18. Alex Lowes GBR PATA Crescent Yamaha R1 +1 lap
Did not finish
Leandro Mercado ARG IodaRacing Aprilia RSV4
Stefan Bradl GER Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR SP2
Ruled out by injury
Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10RR