Jonathan Rea remains on course to retain the World Superbike Championship title after finishing third in a Jerez race won by Welshman Chaz Davies.
Northern Irish rider Rea saw his lead cut by four points by team-mate Tom Sykes, who was second, but he has a 44-point advantage with three races left.
Rea can clinch the title in Sunday’s second race if he wins and Sykes finishes third or below.
Davies eased to victory to secure his eighth win of 2016.
Sykes and Rea were engaged in an early tussle for the lead before Ducati rider Davies moved through in a dominant display.
Steady from Rea
Sykes dropped in behind while Rea settled into third place in a cautious performance which ensured he maintained a healthy lead in the race for the title.
Davies won by 3.2 seconds with Sykes 3.8 seconds clear of Rea – Nicky Hayden, Michael van der Mark and Sylvain Guintoli completed the top six.
Sykes and Rea helped their Kawasaki team secure the manufacturers’ World Championship.
Sunday’s second race in Spain is followed by the final round in Qatar in a fortnight, with a maximum of 75 points available.
Rea, 29, can also seal the world crown if he finishes six points ahead of Sykes on Sunday.
Rea is attempting to become Northern Ireland’s first multiple world champion since Brian Reid and Joey Dunlop 30 years ago, and the first rider to seal successive World Superbike Championship successes since Carl Fogarty in 1999.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/northern-ireland/37667657