Rea secured his sixth consecutive title at Estoril, but he did not make it easy for himself after a Superpole crash.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) came into the Pirelli Estoril Round with a 59-point advantage over title rival Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) and needed to only score three points at the Circuito Estoril to claim his sixth consecutive FIM Superbike World Championship title.
Redding had showed strong pace throughout all three Free Practice sessions and looked to have the edge on the rest of the field, but then came a dramatic six minutes of the Tissot Superpole session: first, Redding went down after a spectacular highside coming out of Turn 14 before, just moments later, Rea lost the front of his bike on the entry to Turn 6 with his bike heading straight for the barriers.
It meant the two contenders would line up 22nd for Redding (Redding was 23rd in Superpole but gained a place when Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Performance) was declared unfit) and 15th for Rea. Rea’s middle-of-the-pack starting position did not bother him as he made up eight places on the opening lap, moving up seventh. He then pulled off a spectacular overtake on teammate Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) to secure a top five.
He finished Race 1 in fourth place as he secured an historic sixth consecutive World Championship, as he needed a top 13 finish in Race 1 to guarantee the title would be heading back to Northern Ireland. Redding retired from the race and needed to win all three Estoril races, so the Championship was sown up in the middle of Race 1.