Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the first day of practice at Portimao:
Lowes looking good in Portuguese sunshine
PARKALGAR HONDA'S Sam Lowes is third on the provisional front row for Sunday's 12thand final round of the World Supersport Championship at his home Parkalgar circuit near Portimao in Portugal.
In scorching sunshine home favourite Miguel Praia is a strong ninth on the provisional grid and close to the riders in front. There are more practice and qualifying sessions tomorrow before the race takes place at 1330GMT on Sunday 16th October at what is widely recognised as one of the best race tracks in the world.
Sam: "On my fast lap I was held up very slightly by some slower riders at turn 10 and that maybe cost us a little time. There is a lot more to come from me than just that. I am still perfecting my lines round the track and will follow Miguel in the morning to get a few more pointers as he knows the track well. I will be concentrating on the final corner and exit on to the straight and there is a lot of time to be gained. The weather is brilliant, we are on the pace and know there is much more speed to come. It's a great weekend and I can't thank the Portuguese fans enough for their support, they are great!"
Miguel: "We have been approaching today calmly and methodically and made some very good progress. We have tried tyres and some changes to the chassis set-up and ended qualification going in a good direction that we can build on tomorrow. The pressure I anticipated from racing at home is turning into support and helping me, I am confident and determined to put on a good show for all my Portuguese fans, please come and show me and Sam that support on Sunday, it will help us."
Simon Buckmaster, Parkalgar Honda Team Manager: "It's been a very good day for Parkalgar Honda at our home track. Sam is doing a great job and both he and the team know that there is more to come and what to do to achieve it.
"Miguel is riding maturely and using all the pressure effectively to improve his performance. He is riding extremely well and the target is the second row tomorrow, which would set him up with a fantastic chance to get his season's best result in front of his home crowd - something we all want to achieve."
Top 10 for confident Ellison
BOGDANKA PTR HONDA'S James Ellison is provisonally 10th on the grid for Sunday's 12th and final round of the World Supersport Championship at the superb Parkalgar circuit near Portimao in Portugal - but knows what needs to be done to fight for the first two rows.
Pawel Szkopek on the second Bogdanka PTR Honda suffered a crash in qualifying but remounted to finish 21st. There are more practice and qualifying sessions tomorrow before the race takes place at 1330GMT on Sunday 16th October at what is widely recognised as one of the best race tracks in the world.
James: "We have a good base pace but when we tried a few things with the bike to improve we didn't make go in the right direction. The good news is that we know what we need to do - I want more confidence in the front end entering corners. Once I get that we will see what can be achieved tomorrow."
Pawel: "I suffered a crash at the hairpin but I am OK. I am alright with 21st place but it could have been better without the crash. We have tried different tyres and know what is working and doesn't in the heat so we will start tomorrow with a decent understanding and start to work on the bike and my riding to improve."
Simon Buckmaster, Bogdanka PTR Honda Team Manager: "James is riding well and we fully expect him to be on the pace to attack the first two rows in final qualifying. He remains a potential race winner and is very focused on what needs to be done.
"Pawel has made his job harder by crashing again but if he takes a calm approach to tomorrow he can still qualify and possibly score points in the race on Sunday - he has all the team support as we would like to see him improve on the Polish record that he set earlier in the season of 12th as a best ever in a World Championship event."
Champion Checa heads the field yet again
Portimao (Portugal), Friday 14 October 2011 – Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) took over at the top in the afternoon's SBK qualifying session after Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) had gone quickest in the morning's free practice run. The 2011 champion's time of 1 minute 43.579 seconds was good enough to see off his closest challenger, an impressive Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team), by just 0.087 seconds, while Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli (Effenbert - Liberty Racing Ducati) also looked good, finishing two-tenths down in third.
Rea grabbed the final place on the overnight front row with the fourth quickest time, seeing off the challenge of Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing), the Italian not appearing to show any ill effects from his recent left foot bone fracture. Two official Kawasaki ZX-10R machines were next up, with Spain's Joan Lascorz getting the nod on Britain's Tom Sykes.
In his last race for the official Yamaha team, Marco Melandri was in eighth place, while Japan's Noriyuki Haga (PATA Aprilia) and the Czech Republic's Jakub Smrz (Effenbert - Liberty Racing Ducati) rounded out the top 10. Superbike rookie Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) made his debut in 18th place, while Santiago Barragan (Kawasaki Pedercini) wrapped up the field in 22nd. Yoshimura Suzuki wildcard Josh Waters was 21st quickest, his fellow Aussie Karl Muggeridge 20th in his stand-in ride for the Castrol Honda team.
The overall pace in wonderfully warm conditions was close throughout the field as 1.136 seconds covered the top 16 riders.
Times: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'43.579; 2. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 1'43.666; 3. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'43.860; 4. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1'43.895; 5. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'43.907; 6. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'44.030; 7. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'44.111; 8. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 1'44.112; 9. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'44.144; 10. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1'44.201; 11. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'44.278; 12. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'44.410; 13. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1'44.426; 14. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'44.598; 15. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1'44.631; 16. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'44.715; etc.
Spain's David Salom (Kawasaki Motocard.com) took the provisional pole in Supersport Q1 today, just a whisker ahead of Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO) and Parkalgar Honda man Sam Lowes. Newly-crowned world champion Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO) was also right behind the top 3 with fourth fastest time. Hannspree Ten Kate Honda men Florian Marino and Fabien Foret sandwiched the provisional second row in fourth and eighth with Aussie Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com) and Britain's Gino Rea (Step Racing Honda) in between.
Times: 1. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'46.195; 2. Scassa L. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'46.201; 3. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1'46.208; 4. Davies C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 1'46.390; 5. Marino F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1'46.772; 6. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'46.788; 7. Rea G. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1'46.830; 8. Foret F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1'46.974; etc.
Right in the final moments of STK1000 qualifying, Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Ducati) edged out Sheridan Morais (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) for the overnight top slot. The young Italian's time of 1 minute 46.012 seconds was a couple of tenths of a second off the category's record lap held by Badovini (1'45"773). South African Morais was a tenth behind Petrucci but ahead of Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing Ducati), Andrea Antonelli (Lorini Honda) and Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia STK).
Times: 1. Petrucci D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'46.012; 2. Morais S. (RSA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'47.297; 3. Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'47.676; 4. Antonelli A. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1'48.036; 5. Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.103; 6. Bussolotti M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'48.172; 7. Massei F. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.218; 8. Baz L. (FRA) Honda CBR1000RR 1'48.341; etc.
American Joshua Day (Revolution Racedays Kawasaki) set the quickest time in the first qualifying session for the European Superstock 600 Championship, followed by the surprising Slovakian runner Tomas Krajci (TK Racing Slovakia Yamaha).
Romain Lanusse was third quickest for the MRS Yamaha France team, with championship challengers Michael van der Mark (Ten Kate Junior Honda) and Jed Metcher (MTM-RT Motorsports Yamaha) in fifth and seventh respectively.
Times: 1. Day J. (USA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'49.346; 2. Krajci T. (SVK) Yamaha YZF R6 1'49.510; 3. Lanusse R. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'49.702; 4. Covena T. (NED) Yamaha YZF R6 1'50.388; 5. Vd Mark M. (NED) Honda CBR600RR 1'50.552; 6. Duwelz G. (BEL) Yamaha YZF R6 1'50.555; 7. Metcher J. (AUS) Yamaha YZF R6 1'50.594; 8. Calero Perez N. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R6 1'50.628; etc.
PROVISIONAL POLE FOR WORLD CHAMPION CARLOS CHECA (ALTHEA RACING) AT FINAL WSBK ROUND OF PORTIMAO
Portimao (Portugal), Friday 14th October 2011: the final round of the 2011 World Superbike Championship got underway today at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao. Team Althea Racing and rider Carlos Checa are already World Champions but come here to Portugal to finish the season in the best possible way. Davide Giugliano, Superstock 1000 champion with Althea, participates as a wildcard in this last SBK race of the year.
In this morning's first free practice, and on an already hot track (40C), Althea's pairing made a solid start to proceedings. After only a few laps Checa was in first position with a fast time of 1m44.6. Giugliano, taking part in a SBK race for the first time, took things one step at a time in this opening session, working hard with his technicians to refine the set up of his bike. In the final stages of the session, Carlos improved significantly on his best time, recording a 1m43.9 that placed him second at the end of play, just a fraction of a second from Rea, first. Only those two riders were able to lap in under 1m44. Giugliano, beginning to find confidence with the 1198, recorded a best of 1m45.0 towards the end of the session, closing in eleventh position.
During the afternoon, the riders were back on track for first qualifying in even higher temperatures (35C air, 45C track). Carlos went straight to the top of the timesheets while Davide lay tenth after his first exit. The young Italian rider continued to make good progress until a small crash (fortunately without consequences) caused him and his team to lose valuable time in the second half of the session. He therefore finished in eighteenth position with a best time of 1m45.4. In the final phase of the session Checa lowered his previous best by another half a second to close in first position with a best of 1m43.5, a tenth of a second quicker than Laverty, second.
"We've worked well again today. Maybe it was a little harder than usual with regard to the tyres because, in these conditions, it becomes difficult to manage them after only a few laps, but everyone will have the same problem this weekend. We were able to make the fastest time, finding a way to keep the tyres stable for a few more laps and now we're feeling more confident. I just want to relax this evening and be ready for tomorrow because I came to the track very tired after a very busy week."
"Today is our first day and so I'd say it was very positive, both for me and for the experience I am gaining, and for the team that starts working together with the Superbike. We have tried a lot of things today and we're confident that tomorrow we'll be able to do better. Today I had a small crash unfortunately, and we lost a lot of time as a result, but these things happen. We still have tomorrow and I'm sure that during the day we will see what me and the team are really capable of doing. I think we are holding all the right cards and should be able to make two good races come Sunday."
Portimão – Free Practice & Qualifying Practice 1.
Friday, 14th October 2011.
Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport had a difficult start to the final round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship at Portimão (POR). Factory riders, Leon Haslam (GBR) and Troy Corser (AUS), finished the first Qualifying Practice in 13th and 15th respectively. The team is confident that both riders can improve their positions tomorrow. Ayrton Badovini (ITA) and Xavier Fores (ESP), from the BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team, finished in 11th and 19th respectively.
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:45.150 min (P14)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:44.426 min (P13)
"It was a difficult Friday. We experienced issues that we have already had a few times this season. It worsened when the temperatures rose in the afternoon, but we have an idea how we can solve this. We know in which direction we have to work tomorrow."
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:45.094 min (P12)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:44.631 min (P15)
"It has been a tough day for us. We have worked hard to find a set-up that suits the characteristics of this track, but at the minute we still have some issues. The track has a lot more bumps than when we last rode here, and that has made it extremely difficult to find a good feeling on the bike. However, the conditions are the same for everyone, we just need to work hard in the sessions tomorrow to refine the set-up and then we will see what is possible. We all have to remain optimistic and work hard to put ourselves in a good position come Superpole."
Rainer Bäumel (Head of Race Operations):
"It was a difficult start to the weekend. This track is a little bit like a rollercoaster, and we are still working on finding the best set-up for these very special characteristics in order to make the bike easier to ride. In the afternoon, when it was hotter, we also had some issues with the grip. But I am sure tomorrow morning we can climb up the time sheets."
Top ten for Hannspree riders at Portimao
Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider Florian Marino was fifth fastest in today's opening qualifying session and on the provisional second row for Sunday's final 2011 World Supersport championship race at Portimao in Portugal.
In warm sunshine at the undulating 4.592km circuit, provisional pole position was taken by Spain's David Salom as Marino's team-mate and fellow Frenchman Fabien Foret took the final provisional second row slot with the eighth fastest time.
Florian Marino – P5 1m46.772s
Today was a bit difficult and I wasn't riding so well in the first session and didn't do enough laps. We found some good solutions this afternoon but I still had some stability problems under braking, especially in the downhill sections. Overall, it was so bad but we have something to work on for tomorrow and we'll see how it goes then.
Fabien Foret &nd ash; P8 1m46.974s
It was bad and good today. Bad because I didn't qualify in the position I expected and good because we indentified the issue this afternoon, which is a problem that I've had previously. We had the problem until five minutes before the end of the session and we made a big change to the bike. After that, I had only a couple of laps to find out that it was a really good step forward. So I need a few more laps tomorrow to fine tune it a little more, but I am confident of improving things with this change.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
We were quite far from a good setting today but luckily we made a breakthrough and a big step forward towards the end of qualifying. Tomorrow will be about fine tuning so there is still some work to do, but I think we can realistically aim for front row starts for both riders.
FABRIZIO LOOKING TO IMPROVE IN PORTUGAL
Team Suzuki Press Office - October 14.
Team Alstare Suzuki rider Michel Fabrizio suffered some braking issues in both practice and first qualifying today at the final round of the World Superbike Championship at the Autodromo do Algarve circuit in Portugal - but is confident of improvements tomorrow.
The team tried a variety of ideas, but at the end of the day, the Italian was still unable to get his GSX-R1000 stopping and turning to his liking and didn't feel confident to push any harder.
Newly-crowned World Champion Carlos Checa (Ducati) topped the standings with a lap of 1:43.579. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) finished second quickest ahead of Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) and Jonathan Rea (Honda)
Michel Fabrizio - 17th, 1:45.243:
"Today was very frustrating. We tried many things, but could not get the bike to stop and turn properly. I had braking problems - both at fast and slow corners - and just didn't feel confident enough to push any harder today.
"The track is definitely bumpier than last year and that hasn't helped us either. For tomorrow we're going to remove the whole braking system and try a different one. Hopefully that will solve the problem and I can get confident with the bike and push as hard as I want."
Laverty makes an impressive start to the season's grand finale in Portimao
Yamaha World Superbike riders successfully completed today's opener to the season showdown which took place in scorching sunshine at the Portuguese track of Portimao, on the infamous Algarve. Yamaha riders Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri, intent on concluding the 2011 season in the best possible manner, got straight down to business to wind up the day in second and eighth places on the scoreboard.
Eugene Laverty, determined to keep a strong hold on his current third place in the championship standings, was quick off the mark as early as in the morning's free practice session which he wrapped up in seventh position. After making some adjustments to the suspensions of his R1 machine prior to the afternoon's first qualifying practice, the Northern Irish rider proceeded to lap the Portuguese track at a relatively fast pace, clocking in an impressive 1'43.666 towards the end to climb up to second, just 0.087 of a second behind World Champion, Checa and on a provisional front row on Sunday's race grid.
Team-mate and fellow World Superbike rookie Melandri, worked hard today to get re-familiarized with the circuit which he first experienced just one month after his shoulder surgery, last January. The Italian spent the morning confronting different set-ups on the two R1s in search of suitable direction to work in. Despite the significant lack of rear grip, Melandri managed to make progress throughout the afternoon's first qualifying session to end up in eighth place. Both Yamaha riders will continue to make adjustments and fine tune their machinery in tomorrow's practice session ahead of the grand finale races on Sunday.
Yamaha World Superbike Team - 2nd, 1'43.666
"It was a pretty good day today, similar to the first qualifying session in Magny Cours. I've tested the Superbike here already so I feel comfortable on it and it's nice to be up to speed from the very start of the weekend and not have to be catching up gradually. The R1 is working well, we got good speed in but the lap times are dropping after just a few laps so we need to work on consistency for tomorrow. Hopefully our lap times should be ok to get through to Superpole and we'll see what other changes to make in the morning."
Yamaha World Superbike Team - 8th, 1'44.112
"It was a fairly tough day today. I was struggling with a lack of rear grip all day which we managed to improve slightly only with the softer tyres. We are not at all where I'd like to be at the end of the first day, but hopefully we can make good progress for tomorrow. We need to focus mainly on improving lap times with the race set up, as at the moment I am quite slow."
Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
"In general the day went quite well, having both riders provisionally in the front two rows. As we expected, Eugene was quick from the very first session, has a good pace with the race tyres and is just behind Checa using the softer tyres. He needs to work on the stability of his machine and improve in sectors where he is losing some time. We knew Marco had to use the first session to get familiar with the track and learn the lines but he made noticeable improvements by the afternoon's session. He is fast with the soft tyres but the team need to work hard to improve the set-up to provide better rear grip on the race tyres and how the bike enters corners. We are confident that he will make further progress tomorrow and both riders can be at the front on Sunday."
Provisional front row for Yamaha ParkinGO riders at Portimao
The season grand finale got off to a great start today in sweltering hot sunshine in Portimao, on the Portuguese Algarve, with Yamaha ParkinGO riders completing the first qualifying session with Scassa in second place and the new WSS Champion, Davies in fourth.
Despite a significant lack of grip due to the hot track temperatures of 44 degrees, Scassa and Davies managed to work through various R6 set-up and tyre options and make constant progress, bettering their times towards the end of the session to wrap up the first day in perfect fashion with a provisional front row start on Sunday's grid.
Luca Scassa was on flying form today, taking up from where he left off, following his race victory in Magny Cours. The Italian is intent on fighting hard on Sunday to climb back up the championship standings and complete the season in the top three. Recently crowned WSS Champion, Chaz Davies, was back in full swing and working hard in order to be in a position to defend his new title on Sunday and add to his numerous achievements so far this year.
Yamaha ParkinGO Team - 2nd, 1'46.201
"I was struggling quite a lot from a lack of grip in the morning's free practice session but we changed set-up quite a bit and saw an immediate improvement. I managed to put in faster laps in the afternoon's qualifying session and towards at the very end jumped up to second place, which I am really pleased with. We still have some fine tuning to do for tomorrow but I'm confident that I can be at the top and on the front row on Sunday."
Yamaha ParkinGO Team - 4th, 1'46.390
"Despite the lack of grip on the track in today's two sessions we still managed to work through various settings, making noticeable progress. There's still quite a bit of work to be done particularly to the front of the machine but we are heading in the right direction and I'm sure that tomorrow I can be stronger and more competitive, thanks to the hard work the team is doing yet again."
Rea on the pace in Portugal
Jonathan Rea secured a provisional front row start for Sunday's final World Superbike championship round at Portimao in Portugal after setting the fourth fastest time in this afternoon's opening qualifying session.
The Castrol Honda rider had earlier headed the morning free practice session and declared himself happy with progress and a time just three tenths of a second behind provisional pole sitter Carlos Checa.
Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli took the other two provisional front row positions with the third and fourth fastest times respectively. Meanwhile, Rea's team-mate for the weekend, Karl Muggeridge, who is replacing the injured Ruben Xaus, was 20th fastest.
Jonathan Rea – P4 1m43.895s
It wasn't a bad start to the weekend but we're still working on making the bike more rideable. It's all about momentum here and we need to make it easier to carry speed all the way round the lap. We're working on power delivery at the moment but we're not in a bad position. At the end we tried a slightly different engine specification which was really good but maybe a little too aggressive for this circuit. On my preferred race bike I'm quite happy and we've got some things to try tomorrow to make things easier.
Karl Muggeridge – P20 1m46.116s
It was a hard day and I'm still a little lost on the track to be honest. It's been a while since I rode here and I just need some more time and laps to get my head around the place. The bike's also new and I haven't ridden on Pirellis for a while, so I guess it's OK. I'm rushing things, instead of letting the time come – it's like I'm late for a dinner appointment. Everywhere! The bike's working well and I'm getting used to it but I need to calm down and work it all out. It should be under control tomorrow after a good night's rest, when I've had a chance to process all that information.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
Things are going reasonably well so far. The bike's getting better and better with all the adjustments we're making. Tomorrow we'll concentrate on some longer runs with a race tyre. With Karl, it was always going to be different to step in at short notice on completely different machinery – especially on this roller-coaster circuit at Portimao where he hasn't ridden for a long time. But he's constantly getting faster so we'll work hard to get him into Superpole tomorrow.