Portimao, Portugal

2019 WorldSBK Testing Round Up: Panigale A Work In Progress, Rea Dominant, Lowes One To Watch

Testing paints a picture but it’s never a complete one. It shows only what the artist wants you to see with their work in progress. The winter is a time to work through your program and do it at your own pace. This year that has been even more the case. With new bikes for Ducati and BMW there is plenty of change in the air of the World Superbike paddock, and after eight days of testing there are arguably more questions than answers.

The Ducati V4R was billed as the weapon to finally end Jonathan Rea’s dominance of WorldSBK. It was a MotoGP-derived bike that didn’t pull punches. It was one that broke cover over 12 months before its competitive debut. It was expected to be a honed creation from the outset. It was expected to be seamless. But instead, Ducati’s introduction of their new machine has run aground this winter.

Circumstances have worked against Ducati. Four days of testing in November were ruined by bad weather in Aragon, and then a bad track surface at Jerez that would need to be replaced. With a brand new surface at Jerez, it was dirty for the opening test of 2019. It took time to clean and it was almost impossible for riders to do long distance stints without excessive tire wear. Coming to Portimao it was hoped that Ducati could get some information on the new bike.

Hampering progress

Back to top

2019 Portimao WorldSBK Test Monday Times: Rea Dominates Portimao Test

Jonathan Rea leaves the Portimao test having stamped his authority on the test at at the end of the day. The KRT Kawasaki rider ended the test nearly a second quicker than second-place rider Alex Lowes on the Pata Yamaha. Alvaro Bautista set the third fastest time on the Aruba.it Ducati Panigale V4R, a tenth behind Alex Lowes, while Rea's KRT teammate Leon Haslam was fourth.

Back to top

2019 Portimao WorldSBK Test Sunday Times: Rea Rules Day 1

Jonathan Rea topped the timesheets on the first day of the second WorldSBK test, currently underway at Portimao in Portugal. The Kawasaki rider finished four tenths faster than Alex Lowes on the Pata Yamaha, who in turn just edged ahead of WorldSBK newcomer Alvaro Bautista on the Aruba.it Ducati Panigale V4R.

Toprak Razgatlioglu was not far behind Bautista, the young Turkish rider five thousandths slower than the Spaniard on the Puccetti Kawasaki. Tom Sykes' first public timed appearance on the SMR BMW S1000RR backed up the impression of speed he had made during his untimed appearance at Jerez, ending the day in fifth, a tenth behind Razgatlioglu and a few hundredths ahead of Leon Haslam on the second KRT Kawasaki and Michael van der Mark on the second Pata Yamaha. GRT Yamaha's Marco Melandri was the last rider within a second of Jonathan Rea.

Back to top

2019 WorldSBK Provisional Calendar Announced: 12 Confirmed Rounds, 1 TBA

The FIM has announced the provisional WorldSBK calendar for the 2019 season. The calendar as it stands has 13 rounds, 12 of which have been confirmed. Brno and Laguna Seca are out, while Jerez makes a comeback, with a midsummer round still to be announced. That round could be Kyalami.

The season starts out in a similar vein to previous years, kicking off proceedings at Phillip Island on 24th February, before heading to Buriram in Thailand three weeks later. Three weeks after that, the series lands in Europe, racing first at Aragon in Spain, where WorldSBK and WorldSSP are joined by the WorldSSP300 class, before heading north to Assen for the Dutch round. Four weeks after Assen, the WorldSBK paddock heads south to Italy for the round at Imola.

There has been a fair shake up of the middle of the season, with various rounds reshuffled. From Imola, the paddock heads west again to Spain, this time to Jerez, then drives all the way back again to Misano. From Misano, WorldSBK heads to the UK, for the British round at Donington Park. 

After Donington, an additional round has been scheduled, though it is not yet clear where that is. It is widely expected to be Kyalami, though details remain to be finalized. After this round, WorldSBK  heads into its long summer break, with no racing through the month of August.

Back to top

Lucas Mahias' Appeal Against Portimao Disqualification Upheld

Lucas Mahias has been reinstated as the winner of the WorldSSP race at Portimao. The Frenchman and the GRT Yamaha team had appealed to the Court of Arbitration For Sport after being disqualified for riding his bike back to the pits after the race had been red flagged following a crash.

Mahias had been deemed to cut the track, but the CAS upheld the appeal. The rules on how a rider must return to the pits after a red flag were sufficiently unclear that the penalty imposed was too severe. The CAS struck down the disqualification, and replaced the punishment with a fine.

Revoking the disqualification for Mahias also restores him as the winner of the Portimao round of WorldSSP. The Frenchman moves back up to third in the championship. But it also cuts into championship leader Sandro Cortese's lead, as he was demoted to sixth place in the results. Cortese leads Jules Cluzel by just 5 points in the championship. Cluzel can now win the championship by scoring 5 points over Cortese, as Cluzel has more wins during the season.

Below are press releases from the WorldSBK organizers and the FIM:


Mahias reinstated as winner in Portugal

Frenchman gets 25 points following appeal

Back to top

2018 Portimao WorldSBK: What We Learned In Portugal

Jonathan Rea may have had a third consecutive double at the Portuguese round of WorldSBK but that's not to say there wasn't plenty of action and intrigue as WorldSBK resumed following the summer break.

Rea gets creative

Jonathan Rea came away from Portimao with another 50 points and moved ever closer to a historic fourth consecutive title. The Northern Irishman has enjoyed another stellar campaign and has won 12 races already this year. He'll be out to wrap up the crown in two weeks time in France and knows that following his Portimao double, he has one hand on the crown.

“I can't quite believe what's happening right now,” said Rea afterwards. “We knew after coming to the test that we'd be strong, so we kept the bike the same as at the test. I had really good pace to catch Chaz, but he was braking like an animal and I knew that I'd have to be creative to overtake him. I made the move at Turn 10 and it stuck, after that I tried to control the race. I know that my target is to win the title in Magny-Cours because I know that at this point, it's my championship to lose.”

With 116 points in hand over Davies, the title can be secured following Race 1 in France.

Davies digs deep

Back to top

Pages

Subscribe to Portimao, Portugal