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Jonathan Rea falls further behind in World Superbike title race after crashing out of first race in Portugal

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Jonathan Rea crashed out of the first race in Portimao

Jonathan Rea crashed out of the first race in Portimao

Jonathan Rea crashed out of the first race in Portimao

Jonathan Rea was taken to the medical centre in Portimao with "multiple contusions" and a "left elbow abrasion" after crashing out of the first World Superbike race on Saturday afternoon.

The six-time defending champion left the track on lap five of the 20-lap contest and was immediately taken for treatment, with his status for the rest of the weekend's races in Portugal to be determined on Sunday morning before warm-up.

While the overwhelming emotion is relief that Rea is okay, he has also lost more ground in the title race to Toprak Razgatlioglu, who won the first race of the weekend from Scott Redding and now has a 45-point lead in the championship with eight races to go.

If Rea was to be medically prevented from racing on Sunday then Razgatlioglu could all but wrap up the title in Portimao if he was to add two more wins to today's success.

It is horrendous luck for the Northern Irishman, who was right in the thick of the battle for the win in race one alongside Razgatlioglu and Redding, but he lost control on the right-hander turn 11 which sent his Kawasaki flying through the air and into the gravel.

Despite the severity of the crash, Rea appeared okay when he got up after the incident, although he was taken to medical centre regardless to receive treatment as a precaution.

Up to that point it had been the two title rivals who had been jostling for position, but once Rea crashed out it was Redding who began to pressure Razgatlioglu, even overtaking him a couple of times as the race neared its conclusion.

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But on the penultimate lap, the Turkish ace found his way back in front and he would not relinquish his advantage again, crossing the line first to pick up the maximum points and extend his championship lead.

Loris Baz rounded off the podium in third after his battle with Alvaro Bautista ended when the latter crashed on the same turn as Rea, while there was still a Northern Irishman in the top-10 as Eugene Laverty, who is standing in for the injured Tom Sykes at BMW for this week, crossed the line in 10th.

Should Rea be cleared to race on Sunday, he knows that he will likely need to win both races in Portimao to keep his now slim title hopes alive, with his race status to be confirmed early in the morning before the riders head out for warm-up.


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