2011 Portimao World Superbike And World Supersport Press Release Previews

Press releases from the World Supersport and World Superbike teams ahead of the final round in Portimao:


Kawasaki's Day battles to podium finish at Magny Cours World Superbike to keep championship hopes alive.

The USA's Joshua Day took a fighting third place in the European Superstock 600 race at Magny Cours this weekend but was unable to close the gap to championship leader Jed Metcher, who crossed the line just 0.04 seconds ahead of the young American.

Day had set pole position on his Revolution Signs / Racedays Kawasaki ZX600R Ninja, but struggled with a lack of rear grip from the first lap. Unable to get drive from the corners Day changed his riding style to compensate and still set fastest lap of the race but had several huge slides. In the end even his skill in the braking zone could not hold off Ten Kate Junior's Van Der Mark, who drafted by on the straight to take the lead of the race.

Day and Metcher had the speed to catch the Dutch rider but Metcher was desperate to beat Day and maintain his championship lead. The pair became embroiled in a 3 lap battle, repeatedly passing each other in a fantastic display of riding skill and sheer bravery. On the last lap Metcher led into the final chicane and as Day tried to swing around him the Australian defended his position, causing Day to move off the track and onto the artificial grass. Day kept the Kawasaki's throttle wide open and pulled alongside, but at the line Metcher took the hard earned second place by only four hundreds of a second.

As World Superbike heads to the last round at Portimao Jed Metcher leads Joshua Day by 19 points with 25 available, and so the 2011 European Superstock 600 championship will go to the wire in Portugal!


Portugal – Portimão. Preview.

Munich/Stephanskirchen, 10th October 2011. In the FIM Superbike World Championship, the final chequered flag of the 2011 season will be shown this coming weekend. Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport will be in Portimão (POR) for the season finale from 14th to 16th October. The team from Munich and Stephanskirchen is hungry to follow on from the successful race weekend in Magny-Cours (FRA), where works rider Leon Haslam (GBR) claimed another podium finish and a fourth place. Furthermore, Leon and team-mate Troy Corser (AUS) scored a total of 43 points for the team in France – more than ever before on a race weekend in the FIM Superbike World Championship.

Ahead of the finale of the 2011 season, Leon is currently fifth in the Riders' Championship on 216 points with Troy fifteenth on 85 points. Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport already has 301 points to its name this season – 100 points more than at the same point of last season. In the Constructors' Championship, for which only the manufacturer's best result in each race is taken into consideration, BMW lies in fourth place on 261 points.

After the final race weekend of the season, the Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport will remain in Portimão for a day of testing in preparation for next year. A further-developed version of the BMW S 1000 RR will be used for this test session.

Leon Haslam:

"We are looking forward to the season finale. The last few races we have been getting the most out of our RR, which gives me confidence. Sure, we still have some small issues, but we will work on them. It is the last round of the year and we are still pushing for the first win.

The track is very up and down, and there are a lot of gradients in the circuit. This is sometimes difficult, as the bike tends to wheelie on these parts of the track. As such, it is a challenge to find the right set-up for these characteristics. Last season I had two second places, so it is a circuit that I enjoy. The weather looks very good for the weekend, so we are optimistic that we can have another good race."

Troy Corser:

"I like the Portimão track. It has lots of elevation changes and I think that the track will suit our RR, because it is quite fast and flowing. However, there are a few crests over the hills where these strong bikes could pull wheelies. This might be our biggest struggle this weekend.

I am really optimistic. To go fast in Portimão you need a bike that is steering well, and this is the case with our RR. It is an area that we improved with the chassis set-up and I was quite happy with the settings at Magny-Cours. We are aiming to find a similar set-up and the same feeling at Portimão. We will also try to improve the tyre life over the race distance. Then we should be well prepared."

Bernhard Gobmeier, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director:

"We will travel to the Algarve with the momentum gained on Sunday in Magny-Cours, which was a successful day. We showed in France that we can have a significant say in the fight for the places on the podium. Our lap times were up there with the leaders. Obviously, we are now looking to convert this into top results again at the last weekend of the season. We are hoping for two more exciting races in Portugal, and that our RR is right up there in the leading group.

We have no time to catch our breath after the finale. As soon as the 2011 season is over, we will dive straight into preparations for next year. We are staying in Portimão to test our further-developed and, in many areas, optimised 2012 bike on Tuesday."

Background:

Portimão is located in the south of Portugal, in the western Algarve, about 200 kilometres south of the capital Lisbon. With a population of 50,000, the city is a popular tourist destination thanks to its plentiful beaches, impressive cliffs and many leisure activities. Motorsport also found a new home here a few years ago. In October 2008, the ultra-modern "Autódromo Internacional do Algarve" was completed in the hilly countryside to the north of Portimão. It was officially opened on 2nd November 2008 – with the season finale of the FIM Superbike World Championship.

Since then, the FIM Superbike World Championship has returned to Portimão every year, with this season marking the fourth occasion. This season, the circuit in the Algarve will host the season finale for the third time, having previously played this role in 2008 and 2009. In the meantime, Portimão has become a regular destination for many other motorcycle and automobile championships. Many teams and race series use the circuit for testing, due to its demanding layout. The racetrack is part of the "Algarve Motor Park", which is also home to a modern karting track, a technology park, a racing driver school, and a five-star hotel.

The racetrack has a very unique character. It blends into the hilly landscape with a number of uphill and downhill sections, whilst also featuring changes in direction and gradient, a lot of long bends, and a winding infield. The teams are faced with the challenge of finding the right set-up for all these characteristics. In particular, the bike must lie perfectly when accelerating out of corners. The key to a good lap time is the final corner: here, it is important to take enough speed into the start-finish straight, which is almost a kilometre long.

British BMW factory rider Leon Haslam has good memories of Portugal: last year he stood on the podium as runner-up after both races in Portimão. His Australian team-mate Troy Corser also claimed a podium finish in 2008, when the FIM Superbike World Championship made its debut in the Algarve.


Parkalgar Honda is coming home

PARKALGAR HONDA is heading home to the awesome Parkalgar circuit near Portimao in Portugal for the 12th and final round of the World Supersport Championship with Portuguese racer Miguel Praia ready to put on the performance of his life in front of his home crowd.

Sam Lowes on the second Parkalgar Honda has proven he is a real contender for top honours with two second places in the last two races: and is looking to finish his season on a positive note in front of his Portuguese fans. There are practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday before the race takes place on Sunday 16th October at 1330GMT.

Miguel: "For sure this is the most important weekend of the year for me and my Parkalgar Honda team, we are racing at our own track, we are coming home. I am really looking forward to the race - it is special to race at the place where I work every day. The Portuguese fans are very special and I can't wait to be racing in front of them. I hope they come and cheer for the team and me; it will be a great party. Being at Parkalgar I know the track well so my expectations are high; I want to make my best result of the year. That means a top five is needed to make me happy."

Sam: "I am really looking forward to racing at the home of Parkalgar Honda at the incredible Parkalgar circuit. It is a real rider's track with elevation changes, blind crests and fast sweeping corners. It is a brilliant place to visit whether spectator or racer and I want to end my season on a real positive note. I'm looking forward to racing in front of the home Portuguese crowd and hope I'll be able to give them something to smile about."

Simon Buckmaster, Parkalgar Honda Team Manager: "Miguel's ridden his best ever this year and the whole team is behind him. We will be doing all we can for him to achieve the best result of the season at our home track.

"Sam has had a fantastic end to the season so far. In the last three rounds he has outscored all the other riders. We are looking for another strong performance at the best track in the world - one that we all enjoy racing at."


Portimao The Final Pit Stop On The 2011 Campaign Trail

WSBK, Portimao, Portugal, 10 October 2011

The 13th and final round of the Superbike World Championship takes place in Portugal this coming weekend with both Joan Lascorz and Tom Sykes out to finish off the season with a flourish.

In Sykes' case another race win and further superpole success would add to the achievements already completed with the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R, while for WSBK rookie Lascorz any race finish higher than fifth would be a season-best individual result.

Greater points scoring consistency across the year saw Joan overtake Tom in the championship standings after the last round in France, with Lascorz now in 11th place on 142 points, and Sykes 13th on 133 points. Both riders still have realistic ambitions of finishing inside the top ten, with only 12 points separating the four riders currently competing for that spot.

The Portimao circuit layout is a tortuous ribbon of tarmac with a variety of corners and many hills along its route. An instant modern classic when it was first used in 2008, this well appointed facility is a very difficult circuit for Superbike riders in particular, as there are many changes of camber and steep hilltops for a 200+bhp machine to encounter at full racing speed.

Roberto Rolfo (Kawasaki Pedercini Team) will not make the Portimao race as he has recently hurt his knee is a cycling accident, but team regular Mark Aitchison will be in attendance at Portimao. Aitchison has been on impressive form all the way through his rookie WSBK season and now sits 19th in the championship, with two top ten rides under his belt. Rolfo is one place and six points ahead of Aitchison with one round and two points scoring races to go.

Joan Lascorz: "This track is where I tested a WSBK bike for the first time, at the end of 2009 when Kawasaki let me try the bike. My first feeling was good, but at the end I crashed while trying to pass Jonathan Rea! My ideal finish to the season this weekend would be to qualify on the second row and have the same kind of races I rode recently, but starting nearer the front and riding with the top five from the beginning. When we look at the season so far we can say in some ways it is not bad, but we have also had some less than good luck. It was great to see Tom winning in the wet in Germany and it was very motivating for me. Tom is so good in superpole and I'm better over a long distance at the moment. I'm happy for some of the races I made, but not too happy about superpole. I need to find more force to push the bike harder for just one lap, and I am sure I will improve in that area."

Tom Sykes: "Portimao is a bit of a unique circuit. I am still on the fence about it in some ways because maybe the nature of the track is too over the top, with all the steep hills, but it is a fantastic facility and a circuit that provides great racing. My aim is simple there, to be consistent throughout race weekend and make the most of the race package. The year so far has been up and down. I am not where I wanted to be in the table now but we have shown signs of real potential and we have certainly improved the package to run with the top five or six in the series. Where we are now is where I wanted to be in the middle part of the season. Of course we have reached maximum in qualifying, won a race and taken a fastest lap, so we have actually achieved the maximum in all aspects at certain times. I am refreshed after the last round and I am confident that the new Ninja ZX-10R should work well this weekend again."


Contest For Second A Potential Thriller

WSS, Portimao, Portugal, 10 October 2011

The fight for overall second place in WSS may well be a Kawasaki in-house battle between team-mates David Salom and Broc Parkes, as they each try to reel in Fabien Foret's eight point advantage.

After Chaz Davies secured the championship last time out at Magny Cours, Salom and Parkes now vie with each other on the same total of 136 points, with Parkes currently ranked above Salom as the Aussie has secured a race win in 2011 already, at Misano.

The podium places have to be the target for both Provec Motocard.com Kawasaki riders at Portimao, as they must secure strong finishes and hope Foret has an off day at the twisty and undulating Portuguese circuit on the Algarve. Both Salom and Parkes have been leading lights almost throughout the season, with the entire team effort worthy of praise in a season that is every bit as tough as was expected.

It's still not quite over yet, not until the race has been completed on Sunday 16 October. For Salom a first WSS race win is his most obvious target while Parkes is out to score a victory himself, to double his 2011 total.

The Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki team, which fields Massimo Roccoli and Vittorio Iannuzzo, have been posting strong results in 2011, with Roccoli aiming to return to the top ten at this final race meeting. Iannuzzo is keen to overhaul current 13th place rider and local Portuguese competitor Miguel Praia, but will have to put in a strong final effort to do so. He has scored four top ten places so far, with a best of seventh at Imola his benchmark for the season finale.

Broc Parkes: "We just want to keep up the momentum we have gathered in the past two races. It has been really good again and we have been working well, battling up the front for the wins. I just want to go to Portugal and get the best result possible at the last race, and hopefully see if we can get overall second in the championship. I am going to go into the Portimao weekend just trying to go for the win because that is all I can do at the moment."

David Salom: "I think Portimao should be very good for us, and we did a test there last winter. It was a good test and I think it is possible for us to challenge for the race win and stay at the front. I like the circuit and for the bike and for me it should be a good one. Portimao is very physical and you need a lot of concentration but I think it is a more difficult challenge for a Superbike rider. The team and I worked well this year and the team and the bike have taken me from one level to be able to fight near the top of the championship."


THE ALTHEA RACING TEAM AND ITS 2011 CHAMPIONS CHECA AND GIUGLIANO AIM TO CLOSE THE SEASON IN STYLE THIS WEEKEND AT PORTIMAO

Portimao (Portugal), Tuesday 11th October 2011: The Althea Racing Team have already secured four championship titles, scooping the Superbike rider's and manufacturer's titles and the Superstock 1000 rider's and manufacturer's titles in spectacular style, and all in the space of a few hours, at the recent Magny-Cours round.

The squad, still on an emotional high after such a successful 2011, hope to close the season in similar style and all three of Althea Racing's riders, Carlos Checa, Davide Giugliano and Lorenzo Baroni, will be aiming for the top at the closing round of the respective championships, taking place at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve this coming weekend.

Checa, in his last appearance at the Portimao track late last year, just missed out on the podium, finishing both races in fourth position. He will certainly be looking to improve on that this time around. He will be joined in the garage this weekend by Davide Giugliano who, having taken the STK 1000 title for Althea at the previous round, will wildcard in the SBK category for the same team. Ernesto Marinelli, SBK Project Director for Ducati will return to his role of race engineer to support Davide in the Althea garage over the weekend.

Lorenzo Baroni will hold down the fort in the STK 1000 category, looking to improve on his overall points total. Currently lying in sixth position in the standings, mathematics shows that he cannot reach fifth but he will nevertheless be doing his best to finish the year in the best possible way.

The Althea Racing Team will formally receive the championship trophies at Sunday's championship prize-giving ceremony.

Carlos Checa

"I won't be changing anything this weekend, even if the situation has changed slightly in that I've won the title. The challenge for me is to treat this like any other race. I will be a little more relaxed of course but not too relaxed! I really like the track and think that we arrive there with the right ingredients to be able to make two great races. I will give it my all in order to take the greatest possible satisfaction at the end of the day. If we can win one of the races that that would of course be the perfect end to what has been, for me, a perfect season."

Checa's Superbike form at Portimao:

2010: Race 1- 4th, Race 2 – 4th

2009: Race 1 – 7th, Race 2 – DNF

2008: Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – 7th

Davide Giugliano

"We go to Portimao prepared for this new experience. It won't be easy but I know I have a team behind me that is 100% supportive and this gives me confidence. The team is very motivated, having won the SBK title and to be in the garage with Carlos will give me even more motivation. I'm also very happy to have Marinelli as my engineer this weekend – to have the chance to work with him, and other technicians who have in the past worked with greats such as Bayliss, is a real opportunity for me and I want to make the most of it. With regard to possible results, I prefer to keep quiet but I think we can make two good races."

Ernesto Marinelli

"I am very happy to make a one-off return to a role that I love, to help Davide in what will surely be a high-pressure event for him and in recognition of the title that he has brought to Ducati. I hope that my experience will help him in the next step along a career path that I trust will be long and as full of success as this year has been."


Algarve circuit hosts season finale

Portimao (Portugal), Tuesday 11 October 2011 – The 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship makes the long trek down to the southern tip of Portugal for the final round of the season this coming weekend at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. The Portuguese circuit, which joined the WSB calendar in 2008, is back as season closer once again this year after a break in 2010 when it hosted round 2.

Although the title is already in the hands of Carlos Checa, who sealed the deal at Magny-Cours, the last round still offers numerous points of interest. The first is represented by the return of Max Biaggi. The Aprilia Alitalia rider, who suffered a broken bone in his left foot at the Nürburgring, an incident that put paid to his hopes of winning the title again, comes back at the track where he scored a double win in his successful 2010 season.

In the battle for third place in the championship, the ‘Pirate' will have to deal with Eugene Laverty who is two points ahead of him in the standings. The Irishman, together with his team-mate Marco Melandri, who clinched the runner-up slot, is making his final appearance for the Yamaha World Superbike team, as the Japanese manufacturer will officially withdraw at the end of the season, but unlike the Italian Laverty has not yet confirmed his 2012 plans.

Leon Haslam, the rider who will share the BMW Motorrad Motorsport garage with Melandri next year, is moving on from an encouraging Magny-Cours round, that saw him finish third and fourth in the two races. Haslam has also had some measure of success at Portimao, having twice finished second last year.

Jonathan Rea on the other hand is preparing to wipe out the memories of a disastrous French Round, where he crashed in race 1 and then had an electronics problem in race 2. The use of the new ride-by-wire system on his Castrol Honda CBR1000RR from Imola onwards has in any case given a competitive boost to the young northern Irishman, allowing him to challenge once again for the leading positions.

For Michel Fabrizio the situation is more complicated following a negative end to the season. The Italian, who has only scored 11 points in the last four rounds, will clearly be looking for some good results at a track that saw him winner two years ago.

The Alstare man will not be the only Suzuki rider on the track this weekend as Yoshimura Suzuki reappears on the scene for the third time this year following two outings at Phillip Island and Miller Motorsports Park. Once again Australian Joshua Waters hopes to continue the Japanese team's good progress.

Following a few problems at Magny-Cours, Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) wants to get back on track to finish what, for the young Italian, has been an extremely positive season. His fellow Italian Roberto Rolfo (Kawasaki Pedercini) will however have to miss the final round after an incident on his bicycle at home that led to him picking up a broken kneecap.

Making his debut in the Superbike World Championship at Portimao will be Davide Giugliano, who won this year's FIM Superstock 1000 Cup with the Althea Racing Team: the young Italian will be in the same garage as world champion Carlos Checa, and with Ducati Corse's Ernesto Marinelli on hand as his race chief.

Points (after 12 of 13 rounds): 1. Checa 467 (2011 Champion); 2. Melandri 360; 3. Laverty 283; 4. Biaggi 281; 5. Haslam 216; 6. Camier 194; 7: Guintoli 179; 8. Haga 170; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 491 (2011 Champions); 2. Yamaha 415; 3. Aprilia 399; 4. BMW 261; 5. Kawasaki 209; 6. Honda 162; 7. Suzuki 162.

World Supersport

After Chaz Davies' title win for the Yamaha ParkinGO team the race is now on for second place in the championship. With Davies' exhibiting unrivalled speed and consistency all year, his main rivals have had more tortuous seasons, the net result of which is that no less than five of them could end up second in the championship, after the final round in Portugal on October 16.

Second place is currently held by Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), a rider with a win to his credit at Imola. His 144 points are eight more than Kawasaki ‘twins' Broc Parkes and David Salom (Provec Motocard.com Kawasaki). Each of these two riders has 136 points, with Parkes ranked higher currently as he has taken a win in 2011, at Misano, while Salom is looking for his first ever victory. That winless situation is the same one faced by Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) who has come close more than once but is still looking for a top score in his full rookie season. Currently on 129 points, he needs a lot of cards to fall his way on the final day of high speed poker to take second place overall, but the young British riders is determined to go for it in any case.

The last rider who is looking at an admittedly remote chance of second is Luca Scassa, Davies team-mate. Being 23-points behind Foret, Scassa would have to win, then see his other rivals have disastrous racedays for the only Italian rider in the top six to make it a Yamaha ParkinGO 1-2 at the top of the table. Having won three races already, Scassa is certainly capable of doing it again in the final day of school.

Points (after 11 of 12 rounds): 1. Davies 181 (2011 Champion); 2. Foret 144; 3. Parkes 136; 4. Salom 136; 5. Lowes 129; 6. Scassa 121; 7. Ellison 83; 8. Marino 78; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Yamaha 226; 2. Honda 214; 3. Kawasaki 177; 4. Triumph 36.

Superstock 1000

In the absence of newly-crowned champion Davide Giugliano, who has been rewarded by Althea Racing with a promotion into Superbike for the final round of the season, Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Ducati) is called upon to defend the runner-up slot from Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia). Just seven points separate the two Italians, while Sylvain Barrier, Zanetti's team-mate, and Niccolò Canepa (Ducati Lazio MotorSport) are right behind.

Canepa, who won this title in 2007, is the only top 5 rider not to win a race this year, but he will not be the only one hoping for success at the final round. These include Lorenzo Baroni (Ducati Althea), Andrea Antonelli (Honda Lorini), Australian Bryan Staring (Kawasaki Pedercini), German Markus Reiterberger (BMW Garnier alpha Racing) and South African Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Lorenzini by Leoni).

Points (after 9 of 10 rounds): 1. Giugliano 171 (2011 Champion); 2. Petrucci 144; 3. Zanetti 137; 4. Barrier 112; 5. Canepa 109; 6. Baroni 70; 7. Antonelli 67; 8. Reiterberger 64; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 215 (2011 Champions); 2. BMW 173; 3. Kawasaki 83; 4. Honda 75; 5. Yamaha 16.

Superstock 600

The UEM Superstock 600 European championship class is looking like it will be set to stun this coming weekend, as three riders go for championship glory - all with greater or lesser chances of outright success. Leading the championship currently is Australia's Jed Metcher (Yamaha MTM-RT Motorsports Team), from American Joshua Day (Revolution Racedays Kawasaki) and the only other rider capable of taking the championship title, Dutchman Michael van der Mark (Honda Ten Kate Junior Team).

For Jed he just has to finish anywhere ahead of his two rivals and he has won for sure, and many other potential scenarios would also see him crowned. Day, 19 points back, is a slightly tricky situation. He has to finish second or first in Portugal in any case, and see Metcher no score or low score, if Joshua stands any chance of taking the title home to the USA. For Michael the sums are easy, the task difficult. He has to win the race to go level on points with Metcher, and see Day finish third or worse. The most bizarre outcome possible is that if van der Mark wins, Metcher no scores and Day misses the top two steps, then Metcher and van der Mark end up on the same total of 137 points, but van der Mark would be champion as he has more race wins than Metcher already - three to Metcher's one.

Points (after 9 of 10 rounds): 1. Metcher 137; 2. Day 118; 3. Vd Mark 112; 4. Lanusse 101; 5. Lombardi 86; 6. Russo 83; 7. Duwelz 67; 8. Covena 50; etc.


Yamaha WSB team get geared up for the grand finale in Portimao

The Yamaha World Superbike Team sets out for the 13th and final round of the 2011 World Superbike Championship, this weekend at the Autodrome Algarve, Portimao. As the riders set up for the final two races of the season Marco Melandri is in second place in the overall standings, a significant 77 points ahead of team-mate and fellow WSB Rookie, Laverty in third place on 283 points. Just 2 points separating Laverty from 2010 WSB champion Max Biaggi, the Yamaha rider is heading to Portimao eager to keep a firm hold on his third place finish.

Both Yamaha riders will be looking to complete their rookie season for Yamaha in style and add to their numerous achievements this year. Melandri has pocketed a spectacular 14 Podiums and 3 race wins thus far while Laverty has reached a remarkable 5 podiums and 2 race wins, following the impressive double at the factory teams home track in Monza. The Northern Irish rider aims to get his hands on the Tissot Superpole, the last of the season up for grabs to add to his list of achievements.

This will be the second outing at Portimao this year for Yamaha World Superbike team, having tested at the Portuguese track at the beginning of the 2011 season. The new 4.658 km circuit, built is 2008, is often compared to classical layouts such as Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps due to its constantly undulating nature. Despite the lack of track time due to bad weather during the tests back in January, Melandri and Laverty got a chance to experience their powerful R1 on the downhill slopes, right hand turns, swooping corners and wide straights that the Portuguese circuit has to offer.

Marco Melandri

Yamaha World Superbike Team

"We tested in Portimao at the beginning of the year, shortly after having shoulder surgery. The weather was bad on the second day so in the end I didn't have very much track time to get comfortable with the layout. It seems like a technical and a difficult circuit, but I really like it. I hope it doesn't rain this weekend so I can make the most of Friday and Saturday to learn my lines so I can be strong enough to fight for a win on Sunday."

Eugene Laverty

Yamaha World Superbike Team

"It was nice to be back on the podium again in Magny Cours and I aim to continue that momentum in Portimao. It would be nice to end the season with a race win, it's been quite a while since my victory in Monza. Max will probably be back and fighting for third place in the championship, but I'll be giving it my best shot to stay where I am now and end the year third in the overall standings. I'm looking forward to the final battle."

Portimao technically speaking according to Silvano Galbusera

Marco Melandri's Crew Chief

"Portimao is a nice but tricky race track. We tested there at the beginning of 2011 but Marco was just back after having shoulder surgery and the weather was bad so we didn't have sufficient time to find a suitable chassis setting. Marco needs to spend the first day learning the lines of the circuit; it's a very technical track which usually suits Marco's style of riding so I am confident he will do two very good races on Sunday. We need to spend some time working to improve the set-up of the bike with a full fuel tank. At the moment Marco is struggling at the beginning of the race but mid-way, as the machine gets lighter he can push harder. Our target is to finish this championship in second and third place in the standings. Marco is already a secure second so lets hope Eugene can manage to beat Biaggi".

Portimao technically speaking according to Frankie Carchedi

Eugene Laverty's Crew Chief

"We will be looking to finish the season on a high and more importantly keep third position in the world championship. Portimao has a bit of everything, from a long straight and hard braking, to a very technical middle section with extreme elevation changes. We will be working hard on race pace and hopefully we can get Eugene his first pole position and a free Superpole watch!"

Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager

"This is the last race of the season and the last race for the Yamaha WSB team so we are more motivated than ever to ensure we leave an amazing memory of a winning team behind us. We intend keeping a firm hold on our second place in the Manufacturer's standings and second (already confirmed) and third places in the rider's standings, being the only two 4-cylinder machines in the top three. Marco became familiar with the track just one month after his shoulder surgery, he will make the most of Friday and Saturday to push hard and improve his set-up with the aim of two podium finishes on Sunday. I'm confident that Eugene will do a fantastic job on Sunday; he knows the circuit very well from his relationship with the venue in the past in World Supersport, was fast there in the tests in January and has a great team behind him."


WSS champion steps down from cloud nine and sets out for the last round of the season at Portimao

Freshly crowned World Supersport Champion Chaz Davies is still on a high after recently clinching his welldeserved first Championship title, after 15 long years of hard work, just 2 weeks ago in Magny Cours. The Champion is now gearing up for the 12th and final round of the 2011 season, this coming Sunday at Portimao. Chaz Davies earned his spectacular championship title by delivering an impressive five race wins and seven podiums on the winning YZF-R6 on which Cal Cructhlow snatched his 2009 WSS title at the season showdown in Portimao. The 2011 Champ is setting out to complete the final race in style and hopes to deliver yet another race victory to add to his collection.

Team-mate Luca Scassa intends completing the season on the winning streak in which it commenced. The Italian was back on flying form at the last round in Magny Cours, taking his R6 to the chequered flag and claiming the top step on the French podium. With just 23 points separating his from Foret in second and 15 points from Salom in third place, Scassa is determined to battle to the bitter end and climb up the championship standing to conclude the season in the top three.

Following an impressive eight wins out of 11 races so far, Yamaha holds a 12 point advantage in the Manufacturers standings with 25 points up for the taking at the season showdown in Portimao. The Yamaha ParkinGo team is also leading the team standings by 30 points and intends fighting hard to complete the season with yet another title under their belt.


Bird Hoping To Bow Out In Style

The 13th and final round of the World Superbike Championship takes place in Portugal this coming weekend with both Kawasaki Superbike Racing Team riders Joan Lascorz and Tom Sykes out to finish off the season in style for the Paul Bird Motorsport Team.

Having run the official Kawasaki team since 2009, the Portimao race marks the end of an era for the Penrith-based team who have given the Japanese factory its most successful season in many years this year so a strong performance is expected to bow out in style.

For Yorkshireman Sykes, another race win and further Superpole success would add to the achievements already completed with the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R while for WSB rookie Lascorz, any race finish higher than fifth would be a season-best individual result for the Spaniard.

Greater points scoring consistency across the year saw Joan overtake Tom in the championship standings after the last round in France with Lascorz now in 11th place and Sykes 13th just nine points behind. Both riders still have realistic ambitions of finishing inside the top ten with only 12 points separating the four riders currently competing for that spot.

Tom Sykes: "Portimao is a bit of a unique circuit but it is a fantastic facility and a circuit that provides great racing. My aim is to be consistent throughout race weekend and make the most of the race package. The year has been up and down. I am not where I wanted to be in the table now but we have shown signs of real potential and we have certainly improved the package to run with the top five or six in the series. Where we are now is where I wanted to be in the middle part of the season. Of course we have reached maximum in qualifying, won a race and taken a fastest lap, so we have actually achieved the maximum in all aspects at certain times. I am refreshed after the last round and I am confident that the new Ninja ZX-10R should work well this weekend again."

Joan Lascorz: "This track is where I tested a WSB bike for the first time at the end of 2009 when Kawasaki let me try the bike so I have good memories. When we look at the season so far we can say in some ways it is not bad but we have also had some bad luck. It was great to see Tom winning in the wet in Germany and it was very motivating for me. Tom is so good in Superpole and I'm better over a long distance at the moment. I'm happy with some of the races this season but not too happy about Superpole. I need to find more force to push the bike harder for just one lap and I am sure I will improve in that area."

Paul Bird, Team Owner: "This weekend is the last one we will be involved in World Superbikes so I am demanding even more effort than normal so we can go out in style. There is no reason why we can't be challenging all weekend and hopefully Tom and Joan can deliver to reward the team for their hard work over the three years we have been involved with Kawasaki. The ZX-10R is a fantastic machine and I'm proud of what we have done in giving Kawasaki their most successful season in years and we hope to work together in future."

The opening race gets underway on Sunday 16th October at 12.00 CET with race two at 15.30 CET and British viewers can catch the action live on British Eurosport.


ALSTARE SUZUKI SET FOR WSB FINALE

Team Suzuki Press Office - October 12.

The 13th final round of this year's World Superbike Championship takes place at the Autodromo do Algarve at Portimao in Portugal this weekend and Team Alstare Suzuki rider Michel Fabrizio is looking to end the season on a high after a recent run of disappointing results.

The year began with promise and all the hard work put in over the winter has shown that the GSX-R1000 Suzuki is competitive: The first three rounds of the year saw Fabrizio knocking on the door of the podium and he was finally rewarded with a third place in race two at Monza. Unfortunately, that has been the highlight of the year so far and since the eighth round in Brno, things have not gone as well as expected. Fabrizio's race pace has been consistently good throughout the season, but problems in Superpole have meant that he always has a lot to do to challenge the leaders. This weekend he has two chances to improve on his recent poor run - just one finish in the last six races - and end the season on a positive note.

Michel Fabrizio:

"Portimao is a very challenging circuit. It is very technical and there are many changes of elevation and a variety of fast and slow corners. Like most circuits, it is one that requires a good bike set-up. Shaving off those last fractions of a second is difficult and so it is so important to get comfortable with the bike as soon as you can, make a good Superpole; and give yourself a chance.

"The year started quite well and we could see that the bike was competitive. Monza was a great result and we thought that we could build on that and get more podiums. The next three rounds saw three DNFs, but we got a pair of fourths in Brno and felt that the podium was not so far away again. Since Brno though, things have not worked out well for us and I have had six no-scores and that is not good enough by any means. I have won in Portimao before - in 2009 - and so I am no stranger to the podium there. I would like to forget my recent poor form and finish the season with a pair of good results this coming weekend and end the season on a high: That's what I'll be aiming for."


FINAL ROUND SEES REA GO BACK TO THE FUTURE

The exquisitely designed Autodromo Internacional Algarve near the Portuguese coastal town of Portimao was where WSBK racing began for Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda), at the end of the 2008 season. Having just missed out on the FIM Supersport World Championship that year the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda management decided to give Jonathan a taster of the full WSBK-spec Honda CBR1000RR he would be riding in 2009. Rea duly qualified third on the grid and took a fourth place in his first ever meeting at that level.

There have been ups and downs in Jonathan's 2011 WSBK season for Honda, but the ups have included two race wins, pride-of-place in superpole at the most recent round in France and he still has the opportunity to finish inside the overall top ten, despite suffering injuries and missing eight potential points scoring races. Rea's winning mentality will have its usual free rein in Portugal as he attempts to add to his WSBK career total of eight race victories, but he will also work on the team's relatively new ride-by-wire electronics system, with one eye on preparations for the 2012 season.

Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda) will not make the Portimao race due to the lingering effects of a recent injury and riding in his place will be 2004 Supersport World Champion for Ten Kate Honda, Karl Muggeridge. Between 2005 and 2006 Karl also rode for the Ten Kate team in WSBK, and will be returning to his roots in many ways this weekend. Muggeridge has plied his trade in the German IDM Championship on a Honda CBR1000RR for the past two seasons, adding the championship title to his trophy haul in 2010.

Portimao is acknowledged to be one of the best circuits to appear on the scene for a number of years and features frequent elevation changes, blind corner entries and fast sweeping curves along its 4.592Km length. Modern architectural design is evident in its paddock buildings and the venue's expansive facilities help to make it a popular choice for both racing and testing purposes.

HONDA RIDERS RELISH THE CHALLENGE ON LAST WEEKEND OF THE SEASON

Honda's array of FIM Supersport World Championship riders, led by second placed man Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), may have no championship challenge to mount anymore, but the competition for podiums and final grid placings will be as keen as ever at Portimao this weekend.

Chaz Davies (Yamaha) was crowned champion last time out in France, but the fight for overall second is still very much on between Foret and the two Kawasaki riders who are each eight points behind the 2002 champion at present, Broc Parkes and David Salom.

Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) has both of those Kawasaki riders in his sights at his team's home round and he also has an arithmetical chance of finishing second overall, if results go his way and the three riders immediately ahead of him all have an off-day in Portugal. Lowes has done everything, but win a race in this his first full season, having taken six podiums, pole position at the San Marino round and secured two fastest laps. He sits eight points ahead of sixth place rider Luca Scassa (Yamaha).

James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda) and Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) look set to fight it out for seventh in the championship, with both riders having experienced a few highs and lows along the way this year. Ellison was nearly the winner at the German round of the championship in early September while 18-year-old Marino has still to climb onto the podium, but has scored points in a consistent manner. Ellison is five points ahead of Marino at present.

Of the top Honda riders on show in 2011 only Foret and Gino Rea (Step Racing Honda) have scored a race win so far, with the 22-year-old English rider leading them all home at Brno. Falls and retirements have cost him championship places and he is now tenth overall, although only 16 points behind seventh-placed Ellison.

A straight run of five no-scores, including a non-start at the previous round, have relegated privateer rider Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Honda) from an early season top five spot to 12th. The experienced Danish rider is now looking to the final battle for another chance to run inside the top five in a race, as refreshed race spec engines have been prepared especially for the final round.

Portuguese rider Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda) has an obvious emotional tie to his home race, in which he hopes to record a season-best finish in front of his home fans. Miguel's career best is sixth and his highest race finish in 2011 is eighth, which he has scored on three separate occasions already.

Balazs Nemeth (Team Hungary Toth Honda) is still 15th in the rankings, one place and ten points ahead of Alexander Lundh (Cresto Guide Honda). Imre Toth (Team Hungary Toth Honda) and Vladimir Ivanov (Step Racing Team Honda) are the final two Honda riders in the top 20 championship places at present, although Ukrainian competitor Konstantin Pisarev is scheduled to replace Ivanov this weekend. Pawel Szkopek (Bogdanka PTR Honda) is just a point from Ivanov, with one race left.

Due to there being no Supersport race at the Miller Motorsports Park round in May, the last race weekend of the championship for the 600cc riders is the 12th of the year, not the 13th as in the Superbike division.

HONDA RIDER COMMENTS:

Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda)

"I really like the Portimao circuit. I made my World Superbike debut there in 2008 and just missed out on a podium, but I've had a lot of other good experiences there. It's been an interesting month since I came back from injury and, of course, the win at Imola was amazing. But we're still working hard on the development of elements of the 2012 bike, so it's a slightly strange situation – racing and testing at the same time. Magny-Cours gave us some different set-up issues to Imola, which just showed that it's not an easy process, and Portimao is another circuit with its own characteristics. While the testing and development work will continue at Portimao, it would be nice to finish the season on a high, so we can go into the winter in a confident frame of mind."

Karl Muggeridge (Castrol Honda)

"Obviously I am sorry for Ruben because it is never good to miss out through injury, especially at the last round of the season. I hope I can bring something positive, however, to the team to help the guys finish the year on a good note. I have no preconceived ideas about where I should be over the weekend so we will just take each session as it comes and try to make some steps forward in each one. I have not ridden at Portimao since the first race there in 2008 and the CBR that I have been riding in the German championship is a quite different bike to the current Castrol Honda version. It is a big task but one that I'm determined to make the most of."

Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)

"I hope to have another chance to go for a win this weekend. It was not my target to finish second in the championship, but I want to make sure I will be second and try to go into the winter with a good result at the last round. At Portimao we had a good winter test before the start of the season and I understand the bike much more now. I think we can go for a good result."

Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda)

"I'm really looking forward to racing at my team's home round at the incredible Portimao circuit. It is a real rider's track with elevation changes, blind crests and fast sweeping corners. It is a brilliant place to visit whether spectator or racer and I want to end my season on a real positive note. I'm looking forward to racing in front of the Portuguese crowd and hope I'll be able to give them something to smile about."

James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda)

"I want to end things on a high. We need that win. We are capable of it and the bike is capable of it, and we have shown that recently. Last race weekend we lost four seconds when I got covered in oil at one stage and was run off the track, and then I finished only two seconds from the win. So we had the pace to win the race by two seconds had it not been for the run-on. It's all a bit academic now, but at least it proved we had really good pace. A win is possible this weekend, even though there will be some fast people out there again, but we have to push for the top podium spot really."

Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)

"It feels like it has been a long time since the last round and we really did not have a good race at Magny Cours. Now it is simply a case of doing as well as I can at the last race of the year. If we can put everything together like in Imola, and get back a good feeling in the race then I feel I can stay at the front. I want to come back into the pit box with a smile on my face every time because it shows I am having fun on the bike. When you are having fun it means you are going fast. I now just want to finish my first season well and enjoy it."

Gino Rea (Step Racing Team Honda)

"I'm looking forward to getting out on circuit at Portimao after we had some problems in the past couple of weekends. We have a new electronics engineer this weekend and he has been thrown in at the deep end a bit, so I hope we can get things dialled in as quickly as possible. I really want to make a strong finish to the season. We've been up against things like this sometimes through the year and have still produced strong finishes, so we aim to do it again on Sunday."

Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Honda)

"We had some problems at Magny Cours so we decided to make two complete new engines for the final race to be fully prepared. It tells on our budget to prepare two more engines, but we are here for racing. We want to complete the season and do it properly. I would like a top five and I will be going to go that kind of result this weekend. That is a good goal to have."

Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda)

"This is the most important weekend of the year for me and my Parkalgar Honda team, we are racing at our own track, we are coming home. I am really looking forward to the race - it is special to race at the place where I work every day. The Portuguese fans are very special and I can't wait to be racing in front of them. I hope they come and cheer for the team and me; it will be a great party. Being at Portimao I know the track well so my expectations are high; I want to make my best result of the year. That means a top five is needed to make me happy."


Ellison ready for Portimao

BOGDANKA PTR HONDA's James Ellison will be looking to end the season on a high this weekend as the World Supersport Championship comes to an end with round 12 at the Parkalgar circuit in Portugal.

His Polish teammate, Pawel Szkopek, is also aiming for a strong race having recently matched his career best, finishing 12th at Imola in Italy, and targets another point scoring result when the lights go off at 13:30 local time on Sunday (14:30 CET).

James Ellison: "Parkalgar is an incredible circuit and we go there in very good shape after the last round where we finished just over two seconds behind the winner but had lost four seconds earlier in the race. My Bogdanka PTR Honda is capable of winning and that's what I am aiming for. It's the last round of the season and I couldn't be more motivated; I will be doing my best to get the Bogdanka fans cheering with a good result to end the season on a high note."

Pawel Szkopek: "It's the last round of the season so I'm looking to end the year on a high. Ever since Misano we've been making great progress and the last few races were very good for me. I've learned so much with Bogdanka PTR Honda this year and I'm confident we can have a good race. I've stopped crashing in the second half of the races, learned how to keep my concentration until the end and I want to put it to good use this weekend. I can keep a good pace all race long but I need to be at least on the fourth row on the grid to stay out of trouble early on. Parkalgar is the most difficult circuit on the calendar but it's also fun to ride. I've been there twice already and know there will be a lot of Polish fans over there. It always boosts my confidence."

Simon Buckmaster, Bogdanka PTR Honda: "James has shown great form in the last few races and is working well with his crew. He has the potential to challenge for victory at Parkalgar. We will be doing all we can to help Pawel get into a points scoring position and finish the season for Bogdanka on a high."


2011

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