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Rea swells WorldSBK lead with Portimao win; Bautista battles back

Jonathan Rea extends his WorldSBK Championship lead with a tenth win of the season at Portimao; Alvaro Bautista finished fourth after fighting back from 17th

Jonathan Rea has extended his 2019 WorldSBK Championship lead to 93 points after claiming a commanding tenth win of the season at Portimao, while Alvaro Bautista finished fourth after an otherwise impressive recovery from a low of 17th.

Bautista came into the race needing to make in-roads into Rea’s erstwhile 81-point advantage but having already placed himself under pressure by qualifying a lacklustre sixth on the grid, things worsened at turn one when he was shuffled down the order after making contact with his team-mate Chaz Davies.

Forcing him into an otherwise feisty fight back, Bautista produced one of his strongest rides of the season to pick off his rivals one-by-one and cross the line in fourth position.

His busy race was in stark contrast to Rea’s easiness out front, the Ulsterman holding the lead from pole position and quickly building an advantage he’d hold to the chequered flag.

Davies recovered from his clash with Bautista to claim an impressive second place finish from 12th position on the grid, the Welshman’s race pace far exceeding his single lap disappointment earlier in the day.

Indeed, second, third and fourth were all filled by riders fighting back from losing positions with Michael van der Mark claiming a podium result in third from 10th on the grid for Yamaha, while Toprak Razgatlioglu crossed the line sixth - behind Leon Haslam - after starting 13th.

Alex Lowes faded down to a disappointing seventh place finish, ahead of the sister GRT Yamahas of Sandro Cortese and Marco Melandri, while Michael Ruben Rinaldi completed the top ten ahead of Jordi Torres.

Markus Reiterberger flew the flag for BMW in 12th after front row starter Tom Sykes fell on lap seven having run as high as second. He crossed the line 13th

Eugene Laverty was the only rider not to finish after suffering a technical issue.

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