2012 Portimao WSBK Saturday Round Up: Forget Next Year, This One Isn't Over Yet

As teams announce new lineups and new tracks are added to the 2013 calendar this weekend, one could easily be forgiven for thinking the 2012 season has finished. With two races to go, and one hundred points still up for grabs, nothing could be further than the truth.

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WSBK News: Honda announces Rea And Haslam At Ten Kate With Pata For 2013

Honda finally ends speculation on Jonathan Rea's future, announcing that he will be the lynchpin of the Ten Kate team in 2013 with Leon Haslam as his team mate, riding the aged Honda Fireblade in Pata colours for its last year of racing. Rumours of a full-time MotoGP ride next year are well and truly crushed with this announcement, but with talk of a V4 Honda replacing the Fireblade for 2014, Rea's input into making it competetive will earn him even more goodwill at HRC. 

The full text of the press releases from both Honda and BMW follow:

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2012 Portimao World Supersport QP2 Results

World Supersport qualifying at the penultimate round, Portimao.

Broc Parkes takes pole position, five hundredths of a second ahead of Fabien Foret. Jules Cluzel was a thousandth of a second further back with Sam Lowes a huge tenth of a second slower still. Kenan Sofuoglu, who needs a fourth place finish to seal the title tomorrow, is seven tenths off pole in seventh place. 

Results:

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2012 Portimao WSBK FP2: Biaggi Fastest In Free Practice

Max Biaggi once again holds off Tom Sykes to set the fastest time of the session. Leon Haslam and Marco Melandri swap places from this morning's session and Carlos Checa breaks into the top eight. As the Superpole places were decided this morning, most riders would have used this session for setup and tyre tests, but Melandri should start getting worried about Biaggi retaining the title lead about now. 

Results:

 

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2012 Portimao World Supersport FP2 Results: Cluzel Leads Parkes

Jules Cluzel didn't manage to match Sam Lowes's time from yesterday, but neither did Lowes. Cluzel improved his own time though, while Broc Parkes sat three hundredths of a second behind him on the timing sheet. Parkes was almost a tenth ahead of Lowes, with the Kawasakis of Fabien Foret and Sheridan Morais behind them. 

Title leader Kenan Sofuoglu was tenth fastest this morning, but will likely improve significantly on that in qualifying this afternoon.

Results:

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2012 Portimao WSBK QP2: Biaggi Plunders Provisional Pole

Championship leader Max Biaggi sits on provisional pole, ahead of this afternoon's Superpole, having run a late fast lap that Tom Sykes could not beat. The BMWs of Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam fill out the remainder of the provisional front row, while the team mates of the top two, Eugene Laverty and Loris Baz, head the provisional second row. Jonathan Rea and Leon Camier take seventh and eighth, locking all the Ducatis out of the front two rows.

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Hector Barbera Signs With Avintia BQR To Ride CRT Bike For Two Seasons

Ducati's introduction of the junior team strategy, dropping support for the satellite structures that had previously been fielded by Cardion AB and Pramac in MotoGP, has had at least one casualty. With the signing of Ben Spies and Andrea Iannone, there was no more room for Hector Barbera at Ducati. The dropping of Barbera raised eyebrows in some quarters, as Barbera has regularly matched and sometimes even beaten the pace of the factory Ducatis this year.

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WSBK News: Superbikes Return To Laguna Seca

In what will be a popular announcement, InFront announced the return of the crowd-pleasing track Laguna Seca to the World Superbike calendar in 2013. After an eight-year absence, the Californian track, famed for its brutal last corner and the roller-coaster Corkscrew chicane, will once again give the fans unforgettable action. 

Whether it replaces Miller is yet to be seen, but the calendar is shaping up to be a good one.

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2012 Portimao WSBK QP1: Melandri Grabs Provisional Pole

Marco Melandri, winner in race two last year, set a time on race tyres that was faster than his best race lap last year, over a third of a second ahead of Eugene Laverty, who was second in race two last year. Tom Sykes, this year's king of qualifying, was quicker than last year's pole-man Jonathan Rea, adjusting back to his Honda Fireblade fresh from his MotoGP ride on Casey Stoner's bike. 

The top eight were all within a second, with Melandri being the only rider to beat Carlos Checa's 2011 QP1 time of 1'43.579. 

Results:

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WSBK News: Jerez Added To The 2013 World Superbike Calendar

Next year, the final round of the World Superbike championship will be held at the famous Spanish circuit Jerez de la Frontera. Earlier this year, the 2012 Portuguese round was rumoured to be replaced by the Spanish circuit due to financial issues at Portimao, but as can be seen by the racing this weekend, this didn't happen.

It remains to be seen if the Portuguese round will take place in 2013, but Jerez will join the list of tracks to host both World Superbikes and MotoGP.

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