Reigning champion Kenan Sofuoglu was the first rider to enter turn one at Portimao in the twenty lap World Supersport race ahead of pole-man Sam Lowes and French Mahi Racing Team India team-mate Fabien Foret. The
|Lowes won his fourth race in a row in Portugal
Photo: World SBK
front three seemed to be breaking away from Sherian Morais back in fourth.
Irish rider Jack Kennedy was up in fifth position on the second lap after qualifying on the front of the third row, and by lap three he passed PTR Honda rider Morais for fourth position. Dutch rookie Michael Vd Mark was making his way through the pack, locked in a battle with Andrea Antonelli for sixth position. Meanwhile, Brit Sam Lowes had passed Sofuoglu to lead the race in the opening corner of the second lap, swiftly followed by Foret who slipped into second. Kawaski rider Foret didn’t waste any time and snatched the lead from Lowes on the third lap, who began to break away from third position man Sofuoglu.
Although by lap four the Turk proved he wasn’t giving up and was back up with the leaders, leaving Irish rookie Kennedy behind in fourth. With a battle for fourth position developing, Kennedy moved down into fifth behind Morais and ahead of Vd Mark. By lap seven Kennedy was back in sixth behind a charging Vd Mark. Back with the battle at the front and Foret was continuing to lead by taking some un-nerving lines, closely followed by Lowes and Sofuoglu. On lap nine the riders were three a-breast going heading into the first corner however the order stayed the same despite Lowes slipping into first for just one corner.
This lead was short-lived however and Lowes put his Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha into the lead on lap 10 with Sofuoglu closely behind him, breaking away from Foret. Lowes seemed to be pulling the pin and pulled the biggest lead seen in the race of just under one second. Sofuoglu wasn’t hanging around and set the fastest lap in lap 12 proving he had the pace to stay with the leader. Back with the battle for fourth and Vd Mark was looking to be pulling away from the group and was on the hunt for his first podium in the WSS class.
Drama ensued in the closing laps of the sixth Supersport race of the season, with Lowes appearing to let Sofuoglu past on lap 14, resulting in the Lincolnshire rider slipping back into second. This tactic didn’t hinder Lowes however and he was back in the lead crossing the line with just five laps to go, looking comfortable on his Yamaha R6. But by lap 17 Sofuoglu stormed past Lowes on the home straight to take the lead with Foret and now Vd Mark not far behind in a battle for the final step on the podium. Frenchman Foret took the lead back with 3 laps remaining before running wide and slipping back into fourth position behind rookie Vd Mark.
On the penultimate lap it became a four way scrap for first after Vd Mark flew into second position, ahead of Lowes who as under pressure from Foret as he tried to take third position but ran wide for the second time in two laps. Lowes then began to cause havoc, going from third to first in just one corner resulting in Vd Mark’s Pata Honda almost t-boning Sofuoglu mid-corner. This pushed the Dutchman back into fourth leaving him out of touch with his debut podium chance.
Entering the first corner for one final time, Foret was in the lead ahead of Lowes and Vd Mark in second. Sofugolu put in a strong move on the Dutch rookie to claim third, whilst Lowes was planning his attack on the French veteran. Once Lowes made his move half-way round the last lap he began to pull away and secured his fourth win out of four races. Foret finished his 145th Supersport race in second ahead of his team-mate Sofuoglu. Irish rookie Jack Kennedy equaled his best result of 2013 crossing the line in 6th.