Jonathan Rea Takes Portimao Pole

Cycle News Staff | October 15, 2011

Castrol Honda’s Jonathan Rea played his cards perfectly in today’s World Superbike Superpole sessions at the Portimao Circuit in Portugal, the Northern Irelander hanging around in fourth in both Superpole 1 and Superpole 2 before going straight to the top in Superpole 3 with a Superbike track record.

Rea will thus start tomorrow’s final two races of the season from pole position for the second time this season (and second in a row) and third time in his career after riding his CBR1000RR to a 1:41.712 to best newly crowned World Champion Carlos Checa by .239 of a second. Checa is celebrating his 39th birthday today.

Third went to Yamaha’s Eugene Laverty with a 1:42.173. Laverty had led Superpole 2 with his 1:42.097, but failed to go quicker in the final segment.His teammate Marco Melandri will fill the front row for tomorrow’s races – his last with Yamaha as he heads to BMW for 2012 – the Italian lapping at 1:42.259. Melandri led Superpole 1, dropped to eighth in Superpole 2, then made it back to the front row at the end.The two Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducatis of Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz will lead the second row, the two teammates separated by just .083 of a second in fifth and sixth. Smrz was the last rider on the same second as Rea.Kawasaki’s Joan Lascorz and Noriyuki Haga were the final two riders in Superpole 3 and they will round out the second row for the two races.Final Qualifying

1.                  Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:41.712

2.                  Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:41.951

3.                  Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 1:42.173

4.                  Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 1:42.259

5.                  Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:42.627

6.                  Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:42.710

7.                  Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1:43.282

8.                  Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) 1:43.674

9.                  Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1:42.645

10.                  Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:42.740