As the aftermath of the global economic crisis rumbles on, sponsorship for motorcycle racing teams is spread pretty thinly on the ground. So it helps to have contacts in the upper echelons of large companies who are sympathetic to motorcycle racing. It helps, for example, if the team is on good terms with the CEO of a large international company.
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The track continued to dry out at Portimao, but the World Supersport class still ran their afternoon session on a damp surface. Michele Pirro continued his strong debut with the Ten Kate Honda, beating Kawasaki's Joan Lascorz by over three tenths of a second. The two Parkalgar Honda riders - sponsored by the Portimao circuit - Eugene Laverty and Miguel Praia finished in 3rd and 4th, while Chaz Davies was first the Triumphs in 5th. Despite the drying track, times were a couple of seconds down on Friday's times.
Times from the second session from Saturday for World Supersport:
The track is still wet at Portimao, but the World Superbike class managed to take 6 seconds off their times from this morning. Once again it was Ulsterman Johnny Rea who was quickest, mastering the wet conditions ahead of Leon Haslam on the Suzuki, while this Troy Corser made a big leap forward in the wet, taking nearly 8 seconds off his time from this morning.
Saturday afternoon times for the World Superbike class:
Parkalgar Honda's Eugene Laverty was the fastest rider in this morning's damp World Supersport session, finally getting some practice in the rain, something the Irishman complained of lacking all last season. Laverty finished ahead of Triumph's Chaz Davies and the sole Ten Kate rider at the test, Michele Pirro - Kenan Sofuoglu is still recovering from a broken ankle he suffered while training. The session was red-flagged 12 minutes before the end, when Swiss rookie Bastien Chesaux crashed out.
Times from the morning session for World Supersport:
Rain moved in to cover Portugal's Algarve coast on Friday night, drenching the Portimao circuit and limiting action on the track. For some of the teams, the action has moved indoors, where crews are hard at work mopping out flooded pit garages, in the hope of better whether.
Of the riders how went out this morning, Johnny Rea was quickest, putting his Ten Kate Honda ahead of Leon Haslam's Suzuki, while the unsurprising name of MotoGP's rainmaster Chris Vermeulen has moved into third spot on the timesheets, the Australian fast as ever in the wet.
After Garry McCoy's shock replacement in Triumph's World Supersport program, the Australian issued a statement on his website saying that he was shocked at what had happened, and inviting the media to get in touch to find out his side of the story. We took McCoy up on his offer, and sent him a list of questions, which he responded to. Here's McCoy's replies to us:
MotoMatters: Was your contract with Triumph, or with BE1?
Leon Haslam continues to lead the charge of the Brit Brigade on the first day of testing for the World Superbike field at Portimao. The young Briton took a quarter of a second off his time from this morning, but remains out of reach for the rest of the field. Another young British upstart finished the day 2nd fastest, Cal Crutchlow doing a sterling job of filling Ben Spies' shoes at Yamaha. The reigning World Supersport champion edged out Ulsterman Johnny Rea on the Ten Kate Honda by less than a tenth, making a British 1-2-3.
At the same time as they announced the provisional entry lists for World Superbike and World Supersport, the FIM also released a revised calendar for the series. The revisions consist of a single change: The British round at Donington has been moved to Silverstone.
The FIM today officially released the provisional entry lists for the World Superbike and World Supersport championships for 2010. The lists had been released unofficially last week, when a programming error meant they were available on the official WSBK timing site with a little bit of CGI parameter tweaking.
Joan Lascorz finished the first day of official testing for World Supersport comfortably astride the timesheets. The Spanish Kawasaki Motocard rider continued his form from this morning's session, extending his lead over the surprise of the day, Michele Pirro. The Italian has put on a very strong showing on his first outing with the Ten Kate Honda team, after showing much promise on a Yamaha last year. Pirro beat out another surprise rider, local boy Miguel Praia on the Parkalgar Honda.
Test times from the first session of practice for the World Superbike class at Portimao:
Times from the first morning session of practice for the World Supersport class:
The World Supersport field needed a boost. At just 18 riders, the grid of one of the cheapest classes in international motorcycle racing was looking pretty thin. And so the confirmation that Triumph's ParkinGO and BE1 Racing squads would be expanding their effort from 3 to 4 riders, news which we reported earlier this week, provides a welcome increase to the grid.
Moto2 is not the only class whose entries continue to grow. To the 23 riders already included in the provisional entry list for World Superbikes can be added two more: Makoto Tamada and Luca Scassa. Tamada has been signed by the Pro Ride Honda team run by Marco Nicotari, at least according to reportsy by the Italian website BikeRacing.it.
For the past two seasons, Triumph's World Supersport effort has been spearheaded by the veteran Australian Garry McCoy. McCoy has been the the face of Triumph, first with the Triumph SC team, then last year with BE1. The Australian was due to return once again to lead Triumph's efforts in World Supersport for 2010 for the ParkinGo BE1 team, but it seems this is not to be.