Previews of the action at Portimao from the World Superbike teams and organizers:
Portimao prepares for the WorldSBK battle
It’s time to return to Portugal
WorldSBK heads to southern Europe and the stunning circuit of Autodromo Internacional do Algarve for the 10th round of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, and the return to Portugal is one which is generating a lot of interest within the WorldSBK paddock. Four different riders on the WorldSBK grid have won around the 4.5km circuit, and five have finished on the podium since the series first visited the track back in 2008. Historically a strong circuit for the British riders, as well as Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), we are set for a hotly contested weekend as the riders battle it out for returning honours on the hillside.
Continuing to lead the way in the world championship standings, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) first stood on the Portimao podium in 2009’s Race one, behind Ben Spies. Since then the reigning champion has taken 10 trophies away with him - three of them as the race winner. With just four rounds of the championship remaining, it’s clear Rea is now beginning to keep a cool head and think of the title challenge before him. Putting on a mature performance in the last round at the Lausitzring – a circuit he knew he wouldn’t be strong around – the Northern Irishman will have the title on his mind, so it will be interesting to see how he tackles Portugal.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) is another rider with a strong record in Portugal, as the British rider is now becoming a veteran in the series. His performances so far this season have continued to improve and impress, but with the championship points deficit increasing he will have to keep his eye on the ball. With two wins to his name in Portugal, he will be looking to improve on his pace from Germany, and be back up and fighting to search for his third race win of 2017.
Fresh off the back of a double victory in Germany, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) is looking to continue his run into the final third of the title fight, with the points deficit now at 105 points from Rea. The British rider has a mixed history around Portimao, never taking a victory in the WorldSBK class but he stood on the WorldSSP top step in 2011, whilst the 30 year old has only secured two podiums in WorldSBK; third in both 2014 and 2015. But we have seen in the past once Davies is able to get into his stride, he is a strong force to be reckoned with so he will be heading to Southern Portugal with a strong battle in mind.
Italian Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) makes his return to a circuit which has brought him glory in the past; taking the wins in 2011’s race two and 2013’s race one on a Yamaha and the second with BMW. These are Melandri’s only two podium finishes around the 4.5km circuit, but following his consistent form so far in 2017 it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 35 year old celebrating a top three finish this weekend. With seven podium finishes to his name in 2017, and fresh off the back of re-signing with the Italian team for next season, Melandri will be one to watch in the Algarve.
Another rider making a notable return to Autodromo Internacional do Algarve is Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), named as the round ambassador back in May, there will be a lot of attention on the Irishman. With a strong record around Portimao in both WorldSSP and WorldSBK, as well as a strong winter test, Laverty will no doubt be out to secure his first podium finish since making his return to the series. With 2012’s race two and 2013’s dominant race two wins to his name – both with Aprilia – on top of a dominating WorldSSP victory back in 2009, Laverty’s experience with the 4.5km circuit goes back nine seasons and it’s clear his riding style suits the undulating track.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team duo Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark are continuing to search for their first victory of the season, with both riders coming close on some occasions so far in 2017. British rider Lowes has secured two podium finishes, but is struggling to make up the gap to the front runners. Narrowly missing out on a podium finish in Portimao back in 2014, he has finished inside the top ten in all four appearances so far, and will be hoping to make that all important step onto the podium. As for Dutch team-mate van der Mark, he has fond memories of Portugal following his victory back in 2014 on his Honda in the World Supersport class, and similar to his team-mate he has never finished outside of the top nine in the Algarve.
Continuing to impress on his 1000 F4, Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) heads back to Portimao which the British rider has a long history around. His strongest weekend came in 2010, where he secured two top five positions. Over the last five rounds held along the Algarve coast the 31 year old has suffered four retirements, but with some other solid results and his impressive performances so far this season, his experience around Portimao will no doubt play to his advantage for Round 10.
Spanish top ten finisher Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) is continuing to search for solid results throughout the 2017 season, as he struggles with his S 1000 RR’s consistency, despite leading the way in Misano. With two top 11 finishes to his name around Portimao back in 2015; Torres will be striving to improve on his best finish of fourth position in 2017. With the 30 year old putting in the hours in the gym over the summer, he is determined to make a strong impression in the final third of the season.
Hoping to be back and fighting fit following the disappointment of his home round, Sefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) is set to make his debut around Portimao this weekend, adding another track for him to learn. However he won’t go into Round 10 totally blind, following a winter test along the Algarve coast back in January. It will be a weekend to regain his confidence onboard his CBR1000RR SP2, as the German rider will hope to be back to full fitness.
WorldSBK action gets underway on Friday 15th September for free practice, before Race one kicks off at 15.00LT on Saturday 14th, followed by Race Two on Sunday at 15.00LT.
Happy Portimao Return For KRT
After a mini-break in the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship since the last round in Germany in mid-August KRT’s Championship leaders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes are primed and ready to compete for more race wins this weekend, especially as the series returns to the ever-popular Portimao circuit in southern Portugal.
The WorldSBK championship did not feature at the undulating and intense 4.952km Portimao circuit last year but both Rea and Sykes have recorded wins there in the past – two for Sykes and three for Rea. In 2015 Jonathan recorded two Kawasaki wins at Portimao on his way to his first world championship crown, with Sykes scoring his Kawasaki victories in 2012 and 2014.
It has been a successful season so far in 2017 for both KRT riders, with Rea leading the championship by 70 points and Sykes sitting in a clear second place. Rea has recorded nine individual wins and three pole positions through the year, with two wins and four pole positions being secured by Tom thus far.
Portimao could prove to be a significant weekend for Sykes if he wins Superpole and qualifies first on the grid. Tom is currently just one pole away from the outright record total of 43 Superpoles, held by Troy Corser.
Algarve was used by the WorldSBK series eight times in a row between 2008 and 2015. An instant classic when it first appeared on the scene it features unique elements in its track layout and especially in its modernist facilities and buildings.
This weekend in Portugal will host the tenth round of the 13 round season, with the 11th meeting of the year taking place in France, at Magny-Cours, between 29th September and 1st October.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I'm happy to return to Portimao this weekend as it's a race weekend that I really enjoy. The circuit has a lot of character and is fun to ride but in recent years the track has become very bumpy. It will be very important to optimise our set up to be strong for the full race. We had a great private test in the middle of the year so I'm sure we can start on Friday with a good feeling. I have spent the last few days here in Portugal already with my family, enjoying the Algarve weather and getting focused for what is a very important weekend for me. Our target is to try and win two races.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “I am looking forward to getting back in the saddle and getting some proper results in. We had almost another summer break in the season after Germany so I have had time to reflect on the year and I feel it is going OK. I need to work some more things out and honestly speaking I know I am capable of more. At the moment it is down to me trying to change my riding style and get a little extra from the bike. We will keep working on that. Portimao is a track I like, and where I have had some success, but the circuit itself is bumpy now. I am looking forward to going there again, especially after spending time away from the track since the previous round.”
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team headed to Portimão for the 10th round of the WorldSBK Championship
Coming off a stunning double at EuroSpeedway Lausitz (Germany) with Chaz Davies, with also a podium by Marco Melandri, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team is ready to resume action at Portimão (Portugal), home of the tenth round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship.
The Portuguese track, which is back in the calendar after a one-year absence, is among the most iconic and appreciated by the riders due to its diverse layout, which features also radical elevation changes. At Portimão, Davies took two podiums thus far (finishing third twice, in 2014 and 2015, with Ducati), while Melandri won two races there (in 2011 and 2013). With four rounds to go and 200 points up for grabs, both the Welshman and the Italian are determined to attack.
After nine rounds, Davies (276 points) and Melandri (218 points) are respectively third and fourth in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action at 09:45 local time (CET -1) on Friday for the first free-practice session.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7)
“It always feels good to get back to racing, especially coming from a double win in the last round. Portimão is a really nice track, we haven’t raced there recently but we’ve always done some testing there over the winter, so it’s a circuit we all know. I think its bumpy nature will suit our package. It’s always fun and challenging to ride, because it’s bumpy and the tarmac is a bit different every time we go there, sort of like what happens in motocross, so it’s tough to get every detail right. We’ve been on the podium there a couple of times in different weather conditions, but we’ll try our best to improve our stats further. I’m looking forward to get back on the Panigale R.”
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33)
“Portimão’s track is among the best in the calendar. It’s a technical track with many elevation changes. Our winter test done there wasn’t particularly strong, but it helped us to get on the right track, and shortly after we scored our first podium in Australia. The tarmac is not in the best shape, but also it's not as bad as in Germany. Each round we improve our knowledge of the package and, considering the steps forward we made for Race 2 in Germany and the info we collected, we should now be able to better adapt to bumpy tracks. In the past I had some strong results at Portimão, and I think it can suit our bike well, so we approach this round with confidence.”
Pata Yamaha Prepared & Ready for Portimao
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team of Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark are ready to return to action for round ten of the 2017 FIM World Superbike Championship in Portimao after a month's break since the last race in Germany. Lowes is refreshed and wants to follow up his double top-six finish at the Lausitzring with another strong performance, while his teammate van der Mark is looking to impress after it was announced he will be Valentino Rossi's replacement for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team at Aragon.
Lowes finished in sixth and fifth respectively in Races 1 and 2 at the Lausitzring, showing good pace throughout the weekend on his Pata Yamaha R1. The 26-year-old British rider enjoys the challenging Portimao track and is keen to return to action after training hard since the last round at Germany. Lowes wants to develop the form that has seen him on the rostrum twice so far in 2017, as he looks to establish himself as a regular podium contender. He currently occupies fifth in the championship standings with 169 points.
Van der Mark is excited to get back to action at one of the few tracks on the calendar he has previously ridden his Yamaha R1, following the team's pre-season Portimao test.. The 24-year-old Dutch rider secured some vital championship points last time out in Germany despite a challenging weekend and has been buoyed by the news that he will get a chance to ride Valentino Rossi's Yamaha M1 at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón on the 22nd-24th of September for the factory Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team, as the nine-time World Champion recovers from injury. . Portimao is one of van der Mark's favourite tracks and he is fully focused on continuing the progress he has made during his first season with the Pata Yamaha team. He is currently seventh in the championship standings with 135 points, just 11 points behind the rider in sixth.
The Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round takes place at the iconic Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao, as the WorldSBK championship returns to the track after a year's absence. The circuit is located in the Algarve region in Southern Portugal and is known for its challenging layout, which includes a mix of fast sweeping turns and slower hairpins, incredible elevation changes, and an undulating 970m long start/finish straight. Opened in 2008, it held its first WorldSBK round that year and is 4,592m in length, with six left and eight right-handed corners. After the weekend, the team will stay on at Portimao on Monday for an official one-day test.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team kick off the action on Friday with FP1 at 9.45am local time, with qualifying on Saturday starting at 11am, while Saturday's Race 1 and Sunday's Race 2 will both start at 3pm.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
"It seems like we have had a long time off since Germany but I've had a really good few weeks away from the track. I took a small holiday to the South of France and I have been working hard since I got back. I have been training as always with my guys in the gym, plus I managed to get a few days on the flat track bikes too - it's always important to be riding and flat track works well for me. I am looking forward to Portimao because it's a track that is really exciting and lots of fun to ride, it's a real thrill to make a fast lap. I am fully focused on improving mine and the team's results on the R1 before the end of the year and cannot wait to get back on track!"
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
"After a difficult weekend at the Lausitzring, I am looking forward to Portimao a lot. We had a good test there during the winter, so I have experience of riding at the circuit on the Yamaha R1 already and it is also one of my favourite tracks. It's always a difficult track to setup the bike because it is such a unique circuit, and incorporates lots of different requirements over the lap, but that's also why I like it so much. Obviously, I am excited about the opportunity Yamaha has given me in Aragon but I am fully focused now on me and my R1 performing well at Portimao - I'm looking forward to getting into the fight with the top guys this weekend!"
Bradl and Takahashi prepare for Portimão challenge
Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, Portugal
The tenth round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship is due to get underway at Portimão’s Autodromo do Algarve, with Stefan Bradl and the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team to be joined at this event by Takumi Takahashi. The 27-year-old Japanese rider will make his WorldSBK debut on board the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 around the scenic 4.592km circuit located on the southern coast of Portugal.
Despite having never raced at Portimão before, Bradl has built up a good knowledge of the track for himself: he got a first taste of the circuit last November during the European press launch of the new Fireblade and then he joined the team in two private tests in January and April. He now hopes to build up some momentum and enjoy a smooth weekend to improve on his recent results.
World Superbike action will get underway on Friday at 9:45 local time (GMT +1), with the two races scheduled at 15:00 on Saturday and Sunday.
Stefan Bradl 6
I look forward to the racing weekend at Portimão as it’s a track we know quite well having tested there earlier this year. I hope we can improve on the disappointing results we had at the Lausitzring and make some steps forward with the bike. I am also looking forward to welcoming Takumi Takahashi to the team, and it will be interesting to share the garage with him and get his feedback on the Fireblade.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Takumi Takahashi 72
I’m honoured as a rider who has continuously fought to race on the world stage that my achievements and experience have been recognised, and I have been given the opportunity to race in the World Superbike Championship. I’ll use all the experience I’ve gained racing the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 in the All-Japan championship to aim high and contribute to the team. I’d like to ride my best in front of the World Superbike fans, so I hope they’ll look forward to seeing me.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Ronald ten Kate
It's our pleasure to welcome Takumi Takahashi to the team who is without a doubt a very talented rider with a wealth of experience on the Fireblade. He is showing great speed in the Japanese Superbike series and just missed a podium recently at the Suzuka 8-Hour race, so we are looking forward to working with him. Stefan will race for the first time in Portimão, although we have had some testing there earlier on in the season. We all know the track is one of the most challenging of the year, so hopefully both our riders will master it quickly. And get the best possible results.
Next stop Portugal for the Althea BMW team
Rome (Italy), Tuesday 12 September 2017
The Althea BMW Racing team returns to the track this weekend for round ten of the Superbike World Championship, which will take place at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve close to Portimao, in Portugal.
Three weeks ago, the Italian team was at the Lausitzring, where it scored mixed results with its SBK riders Jordi Torres and Raffaele De Rosa and Stock1000 rider Marco Faccani. All three riders are keen to do more at the stunning Portuguese track, characterised by its dramatic undulating layout.
The Superbikes last visited Portimao in 2015, when Torres scored a best result of seventh in race 2. De Rosa reached the podium in the Stock1000, third, while Faccani, racing in Supersport at the time, finished twelfth.
"The Portimao track is not one of my favourites but that’s probably because I have very little experience there, having only raced there once in 2015. We’ll see what happens… it’s a fun layout but with characteristics that mean it’s a tough one for the BMW, with all the undulation. We need to work hard in order to be well prepared…”
Raffaele De Rosa
“We head to Portugal now and I would like to start from where we left off, in Germany, where I was in the top ten in race 1. The Portimao track is a tough one, but I’m now back to about 90% fitness after the Suzuka crash and so I’m feeling confident. Now all that remains is to get out on track and hope for decent weather…”
“I've had the flu but am now feeling good and well-prepared for Portimao. Last year we didn’t race there but we did test at the track this winter. It’s a wonderful track and I think we can really exploit the bike’s potential with the long straight. We’re ready to do well and get back to the positions that count, cancelling out Germany with a strong weekend in Portugal.”
How have the manufacturers fared in Portugal?
Following a years break from Portimao, we take a look at how the manufactures have performed in the past
Aprilia is one of the three most successful manufacturers around Portimao, alongside Ducati and Kawasaki: all have won 4 times here. The amount of podium finishes Aprilia have secured are 10, the last one in 2015’s Race 2 which was a third position from Leon Haslam.
BMW won 2013’s race one in Portugal with Marco Melandri: that is also their only podium finish here.
Ducati shares the record of wins around Portimao with Kawasaki and Aprilia – four. However they edge out the opposition with podium placements: 13. Whereas the best opposition in this field comes from Honda and Aprilia, both with 10 podium finishes to their name. The last Ducati win here came in 2011 in Race 2, thanks to Carlos Checa.
Honda won the second race in Portugal thanks to Jonathan Rea, and proved to be very consistent in the hands of the reigning World Champion, as he was able to score eight of Honda’s 10 podiums here.
Kawasaki has stepped up as the most successful bike in Portugal in the most recent rounds: from 2008 to 2011 they were never able to secure a podium finish in Portimao. However in the last four weekends held at the track, they scored seven podiums and recorded four wins, sharing the top spot for wins at this track with Aprilia and Ducati.
Yamaha have won twice in Portugal: in 2009’s Race 1 with Ben Spies -in the weekend which gave the American the championship- and with Marco Melandri in Race 2’s 2011. 2011 is also the year of their last podium finish around the track: in the aforementioned Race 2, Laverty completed a 1-2, finishing one second behind Melandri, edging out Jonathan Rea for three tenths. Yamaha haven’t raced in Portugal since then.
WorldSSP: It’s tight at the top
Fight heats up along the Algarve coastline
Only 53 points split the top five in the FIM Supersport World Championship standings heading into Round Nine of the series, and following a dramatic Prosecco DOC German Round the title fight is tighter than ever. With debut wins and red flags, the battle was blown wide open in Germany, and there is now just one point separating Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) and Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) at the very top of the table. Returning to the Portuguese circuit of Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, where both Sofuolgu and Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) have secured victories around, it’s all to play for.
Leading the championship standings is Lucas Mahias, who was involved in the big crash last time out with team-mate Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), but was able to rejoin the race and take third position on the podium. Heading into the final four rounds of the championship, the battle is intensifying at the top. Despite not racing with the WorldSBK paddock here, Frenchman Mahias secured victory around the Portimao circuit in 2016’s Endurance World Championship with Yamaha, conquering the 12 hour race. With only one victory to his name so far this season, the 28 year old has played the consistency card so far – Thailand and Misano are the only rounds he has finished off the podium. With the pressure mounting, all eyes will be on Mahias.
Bouncing back from adversity at the start of the season, reigning world champion Kenan Sofuoglu has put in a stunning performance since WorldSSP returned to Europe and is now firmly in that title chase. Lausitzring last time out was the first race he had not won since April, and Sofuoglu is always out on track to win. Revisiting Portimao, a circuit the Turkish rider has taken two victories around; he will be out to make up for the disappointment of Germany. However Sofuoglu hasn’t won around the 4.5km circuit since 2010 when he was riding for Honda, so it could be a big ask for him to be back up to pace.
Third in the championship standings, South African Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing) secured his debut pole position and victory in Germany, following the boost of the 2017 YZF R6. Reigniting his championship charge, he now sits only 20 points behind Mahias and with an added boost of confidence from his first win, we could see Morais as a force to be reckoned with in the final four rounds. With a long standing experience around Portimao, the South African stood on the podium in the STK1000 class back in 2011 taking third position, but has also had some tough weekends in Portugal. With eight appearances around the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, Morais has secured five points scoring finishes and suffered two retirements, but despite this the experience will no doubt work in his favour next weekend.
Jules Cluzel suffered heartbreak last time out in Germany, as the Honda rider was hopeful of a podium finish, or even a fight for the victory but the early ending of the race came as a hindrance for the French rider. Yet to secure a victory this season, Cluzel is still only 33 points behind Mahias in the championship standings and with two wins to his name in WorldSSP around Portimao, he could be set for a strong weekend.
WorldSSP action from the stunning Autodromo Internacional do Algarve is set to keep you on the edge of your seats, and don’t miss a minute of the action as the on-track racing kicks off on 15th September.
Portimao Push For Sofuoglu And Ryde
As the ninth round of the 2017 WorldSSP championship approaches this weekend Kawasaki Puccetti Racing official duo Kenan Sofuoglu and Kyle Ryde are making final preparations to meet the undulating and exciting Portimao circuit in the Algarve.
Having scored four wins already in 2017, even after missing two races through injury, five-time WorldSSP champion Sofuoglu is only one point from the series lead. Statistically, Kenan is already the leading WorldSSP rider of all-time and he has scored 25 of his all-time record of 42 race wins for Kawasaki.
Ryde will be looking for his first podium finish of the year when he gets to Portugal. His best 2017 race finish so far is fourth, which was taken at the first round in Australia. The 20-year-old British rider sits tenth in the championship but with the rider in sixth place only eight points ahead of him.
Sofuoglu has already had a remarkable season even by his own high standards. He missed the first and second rounds and was then knocked off his machine in round three, leaving him with no points at that early stage. He then scored four straight race wins to get back into championship contention. He was well on his way to challenging for another at the most recent round in Germany before the red flags halted the race ahead of the scheduled full distance.
As the Portuguese round approaches the WorldSSP championship features a run of four races in relatively quick succession – at Portimao in a few days’ time and then Magny Cours, Jerez and Losail – completing the 12-round season.
Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “I am really excited to go to Portimao because we are approaching the final part of the season and we have made some very good preparations for this round. First of all we made a test in Portugal and we found a really new direction with the set-up of my bike, a completely new direction. We will continue with this for the rest of the season and into the future. This gives me a lot of motivation. After the test I went back home to Turkey and did a lot of training, so on every side I am ready and really excited to get to the track again.”
Kyle Ryde, stated: “I have never raced at Portimao before but I did half a day of testing there at the start of the year. I did enjoy it and I was not so far off after a few sessions. I know my way round now at least. At this stage of the year all I have to do is ride the bike and not think about other things. We will just get on with it and see where we can get to.”
Talented Italian rider Michael Canducci (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI Kawasaki) continues his season from 15th place in the overall championship standings, with Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) 17th.
Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) enters Portimao in 21st place, while ESS rider Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Jenik Against Cancer Kawasaki) is 24th.
Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) sits 26th, Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki) occupies 27th and Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) is 33rd.
Championship Leader Mahias Confident ahead of Portimao
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are focused and ready to get back on track at Portimao this weekend for the round nine of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship. Having completed a recent test at the track, championship leader Lucas Mahias is feeling confident he can hit the ground running on Friday. His teammate Federico Caricasulo is looking to continue his fight for third in the championship after his unfortunate DNF last time out at the Lausitzring while battling for the race win.
Mahias (121 points) heads to Portimao with a one-point lead in the championship standings over his rival Kenan Sofuoglu, after finishing in third at the Lausitzring in the red-flagged race. The 28-year-old French rider was battling for the lead when he was taken out by his teammate's bike during the race, in the incident that brought out the red flag, but showed quick thinking to return to the pits within the time limit to secure his sixth podium of the season. The team's recent test at the track means that Mahias will arrive in Portimao confident with the base setup of his Yamaha R6 and ready to take the title fight to his rivals.
Caricasulo showed great pace throughout the weekend in Germany, qualifying in second and battling for the race win before his unfortunate crash. The 21-year-old Italian was left with bruising and a slight concussion, but feels 100% recovered and ready to hit the ground running in Portimao after a very positive test at the track. He currently occupies sixth in the championship standings with 51 points but is just 50 points behind the rider in third. Caricasulo is looking to bounce back after his DNF at the Lausitzring and record his third podium of the season at a track he, like many riders, clearly enjoys.
The Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round takes place at the iconic Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao, as the WorldSBK championship returns to the track after a year's absence. The circuit is located in the Algarve region in Southern Portugal and is known for its challenging layout, which includes a mix of fast sweeping turns and slower hairpins, incredible elevation changes, and a 970m long start/finish straight. Opened in 2008, it held its first WorldSBK round that year and is 4,592m in length, with 6 left and 8 right-handed corners.
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team hit the track on Friday at 11am local time for FP1, with Saturday's qualifying starting at midday, and Sunday's 18-lap race also scheduled for midday.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 1st - 121 points
"I am feeling confident to start this weekend in Portimao, it is a track I really like! After the recent test we did, I have a very good feeling with my R6 on the track and feel we have found a good base setup. It's funny, I remember the track at Portimao as being quite bumpy, but after riding at the Lausitzring and then coming here for the test, it honestly felt like a pool table in comparison! Right now, I am not really feeling any stress. I am not thinking about the championship, I am just focusing on each race at a time, and I want to go out and win!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 6th - 51pts
"The test we had here at Portimao was very good. We worked hard to get a good feeling with the bike at the track, and also managed to find a good base setting for us to work from on Friday. This weekend will be very important to me, after my crash at the Lausitzring, and I am looking to bounce back and continue my fight for third in the championship."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
"We tested for a day at Portimao and it went really well. Both riders know the track well, but it was good to get them out on the R6 and getting used to the track on the bike. We didn't have anything new to test so we could just focus on working on each rider's setup. The track is rather unique, so it was good to test as we can hopefully arrive on Friday with a good base setting and focus on our race-pace for Sunday. The lap times were good from both riders and we feel confident for the weekend ahead. The riders are full of confidence and the R6 works well at the track. Lausitzring was a very strange race for us, we could have had a double podium, but everyone knows what happened and racing is racing! So, for Portimao we are ready, the settings, the bike and our riders are raring to go. The aim for Lucas is to try and get the best result and to maintain his championship lead, while Federico felt so confident at the Lausitzring before his crash, so we want to see another good performance from him. Luckily, he is 100% recovered, fully fit and will be out to fight for the podium once more!"
Cluzel targets victory in Portugal
PTR Honda·Wednesday, September 13, 2017
The Autodromo Internacional do Algarve is the venue for round nine of the World Supersport Championship this weekend and with two WSS wins to his credit at the Portuguese circuit, CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Jules Cluzel is set for a strong weekend. After the disappointment of the red flag at Lausitzring which dashed his podium hopes and only 33 points behind the Championship leader, Jules is on the hunt for his first victory of the year.
Jules said: “I am happy to be back on track this week. Portimão has been good for me in the past, I have won there twice and we always have nice fights. I think we can do good with our bike because the track is very bumpy and the bike is really stable. We tested here in the winter but I think Sofuoglu and Mahias tested here last week so we will see if this gives them any advantage but I will give my best to try to win my first race of the year.”
Hikari Okubo is hoping for a better result in Portugal than last time out in Germany where he ran off twice in the race finishing 23rd. Hikari said: “I think I can have a good race in Portugal because I went to test here this winter before Australia so I know this track and have good feeling here so I will try to get my best result.”
Portimão is Christoffer Bergman's second outing of his return to CIA Landlord Insurance Honda and he goes to the 4.592km Algarve circuit on the back of a great 11th place in the last round at Lausitzring. Chris said: “Portimão has been one of my favorite tracks on the stk1000 calendar, but I think it can be even more fun on a Supersport bike. Now I haven't been there for a few years and the goal still is to get back in to this Championship. If we work well and have a good feeling I am aiming for a top 10 finish.”
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “Portimão has always been a good track for us, we have won there and had good placings. The bike has always worked well there and it's been good for us as a team as the track used to be our sponsor. We are still good friends so we are looking forward to what will be a good event with lots of support. We were unfortunate in Lausitzring with the race being red flagged, it certainly affected Jules's position he would probably have moved up to third in the Championship and closed on the leaders but that's how it goes. Here we have a really good chance at a really good circuit for us. We need to start winning races it's a simple as that.”
“Hikari had a disappointing result at Lausitzring. Without the run offs he would maybe have been inside the top ten, I know he was looking for better than that which was probably optimistic and he possibly put too much pressure on himself, however we tested at Portimão earlier in the year so he knows the circuit. He needs top ten and better results now for him to finish the season in the top ten in the Championship which has always been our aim.”
Lausitzring was the first race back for Christoffer Bergman and he did a great job to be 11th in the race. He'll know the Portimão track well and will be more up to speed on the bike so I'm expecting he'll be even stronger there. Having him back has been a real boost to the team and it's also great to have our truck back! It looks mint, thanks to the team at Avalux UK and to Ron Bush.”
The lights go out at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve for the World Supersport Race on Sunday 17th September at 12:00 (local time).
WorldSSP300: In it to win it
All to play for as the inaugural season heads into the final third
Making its debut at Portimao in Portugal, the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship is preparing to head into the seventh round of the season, and with at least the top five riders in with a chance of taking the title, there is all to play for. With a few riders having raced around the circuit in the EJC over the past, it will be a new experience for some and with the elevation changes and fast nature of the Portuguese circuit there will be plenty of on track action to witness.
Spain’s Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) took hold of the world championship lead last time out in Germany, as the new category once again provided some stunning racing. In a drag to the line and a photo finish, 17 year old Perez secured third position and as a result, shot to the top of the standings. Leading the way by three points ahead of compatriot Marc Garcia (Halcourier Racing), it will be a tough fight in the closing three rounds and with two races of experience around Portimao, Perez will be out and fighting.
Tackling the Portuguese circuit for the first time will be second in the championship Marc Garcia (Halcourier Racing); the one event rider sits three points off the top of the table but last stood on the top of the podium at Imola. The Yamaha rider has been consistent so far this season, taking three podiums in 2017 and has only finished outside of the top six on one occasion – the opening round of the season at MotorLand Aragon. If Garcia can keep a cool head, the title fight will be able to go down to the wire at Jerez.
Winner at round six in Germany, Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) will be hoping to use his first victory of the season as a confidence boost, and with experience around the 4.5km circuit he’s in a strong position to put up a strong fight on-board his YZF-R3. Keeping a calm head and holding the lead to the line around Lausitzring, the 19 year old will be hoping to add to his search for the title as the battle intensifies.
Drama hit the WorldSSP300 paddock at the end of the Prosecco DOC German Round, as it was announced Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) was disqualified from the race, meaning the Dutch rider slipped down to fourth in the championship standings but is still only 13 points behind Perez at the top. Despite this set back, the Kawasaki rider has been trying to overcome some issues of late but will always be back to give it his all in the final rounds. With the title still not out of his grasp, Deroue will be fighting to get back onto the top step of the podium, which he last saw in his home round at Assen.
Keep up with the stunning WorldSSP300 racing action, as the fight continues to the Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round, from 15th – 17th September.
Daniel Blin to make World Supersport 300 debut in Portugal
The 15-year-old Polish sensation will make his World Championship debut in Portimao this weekend having recently claimed the FIM Europe Stocksport 300 title.
The youngster from Torun, riding for the Polish Wojcik FHP YART Racing Team, started road racing only a year ago, having been invited to the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Selection Event after winning the Polish Supermoto pit-bike Cup last fall.
In only his first season on the Yamaha R3 Blin dominated both the Polish and European Cup lifting the international title in July before winning the German IDM Supersport 300 race in his one-off appearance in Assen in early August.
Hoping to move up to the World Championship full time next year, Blin is looking to asses his potential during the upcoming wild card start in Portimao where he will work with an experienced crew chief and former World Championship rider, Dutchman Joey Litjens.
It will be a busy weekend for the Wojcik FHP YART Racing Team with the Polish squad also competing in the 24 Hours of Bol d'Or, the FIM EWC season opening round in Paul Ricard, France.
“I can't believe that having only started competing in road racing this year I'll make my World Championship debut this weekend – says Daniel Blin. - I'm really excited but at the same time I know it will be a massive learning curve. We've won a lot of races this year both in the Polish and international series but this is a different story so all I want to do is learn and take away as much as possible. I can't hide the fact that it's my dream to race in the World Championship full time next year so I'm really curious to see how I'll do, but there's no pressure and I'm not putting my goals in any numbers. We'll just do our thing and see how it goes. I already know the track a bit having done some testing there with the team in the preseason but with so little track time over the weekend it will still be a huge challenge.”
“Without a doubt Daniel is Poland's biggest up and coming racing talent and we're really happy that he got the opportunity to measure himself against the best of the best – adds team boss Grzegorz Wojcik. - Having seen him winning in the FIM Europe Cup and the German Supersports and beating some of the World Championship regulars we know that he can get a good result this weekend but there's no pressure whatsoever. We just want him to learn. Hopefully, as was the case with our FIM EWC project, this will only be the first step towards something bigger.”
World Supersport 300 action starts with two Friday's practice sessions followed by Saturday's Superpole. The race starts at 12:05 PM CET on Sunday with live coverage available on www.worldsbk.com.
STK1000: Championship charge
Could we see a champion crowned in Portugal?
Living up to its reputation of providing stunning racing action throughout the season, the European Superstock 1000 Championship heads into the seventh round and we could be able to see our first world champion crowned in 2017. With some stunning racing action seen so far, the elevation changing nature of the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve will no doubt bring in some overtakes and battles not to be forgotten about in a hurry. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) is in with a change of grasping the title, and it could be an explosive round.
Championship leader Rinaldi heads to Portimao with some fond memories of the 4.5k circuit, and a big task on his shoulders. Securing pole position in the European Superstock 600 series the last time the championship visited the circuit, the Italian narrowly missed out on the victory by 0.065s behind Toprak Razgatlioglu. Rinaldi clearly feels comfortable around the circuit and heading there with a slight points advantage, all he has to do is win the race and his chance of the title depends on mathematics. The 21 year old has taken three victories so far in 2017, and with some strong moves shown on track, it’s clear how determined he is to take his Panigale to victory.
Main championship rival Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) sits in second position in the standings, and will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing weekend around Laustitzring. Unable to finish the race, he was still able to keep a hand on his title fighting position but after two hard races – he finished in sixth at Misano – he will be looking to stop Rinaldi being crowned as champion. The last time the Turkish rider raced here, he beat Rinaldi by 0.065s in the European Superstock 600 class, meaning he will have this knowledge behind him heading into the return along the Algarve coast.
French hopeful Florian Marino (Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team) is yet to take that all important first win of the season, but he is only 35 points off Rinaldi in the fight and has been quietly consistent so far. With one bad round around Imola - where he was unable to finish the race - he is yet to finish outside the top five. Making six appearances around Portimao with the WorldSBK paddock, Marino has secured a handful of different results but has been up and fighting for a top five position finish. With a strong pace and a hot battle up at the front, the Frenchman will be one to keep an eye on around the Portuguese circuit.
Don’t miss the stunning STK1000 racing action from Portimao, as the battle continues out on track for the title on top of the podium battle, kicking off from 15th - 17th September.
Pata Yamaha Relishing STK1000 Battle in Portimao
The Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team are revved up and ready to return to action after a month's break for round seven of the 2017 FIM Superstock 1000 European Championship. Florian Marino is currently third in the championship standings and hoping to return to the podium for the first time in three races to reignite his championship hopes. His teammate Roberto Tamburini is only a further eight points behind Marino in fourth and is looking to build on the form that saw him record his third rostrum of the season last time out in Germany.
Marino fought superbly before crossing the line at the Lausitzring in fourth place to stay third in the standings with 80 points, trailing the championship leader by 35 points with three races remaining. The 24-year-old French rider is determined to return to the podium at Portimao, a track he relishes riding, for the first time since his second-place finish at Donington Park.
Tamburini rode a brilliant race in Germany to finish just ahead of his teammate in third and record his third podium of the season and close the gap to Marino in the championship standings to just four points. The 26-year-old Italian is now fourth overall with 82 points and wants to build on his recent form at Portimao to get his championship aspirations back on track.
The Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round takes place at the iconic Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao, as the WorldSBK championship returns to the track after a year's absence. The circuit is located in the Algarve region in Southern Portugal and is known for its challenging layout, which includes a mix of fast sweeping turns and slower hairpins, incredible elevation changes, and an undulating 970m long start/finish straight. Opened in 2008, it held its first WorldSBK round that year and is 4,592m in length, with six left and eight right-handed corners.
The Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team will hit the track at 9am local time on Friday for Free Practice 1, with Saturday's Qualifying Practice at 4pm and Sunday's 14-lap race at 1:15pm.
Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team - 3rd - 80pts
"I am very much looking forward to Portimao! It is a nice track, a really nice place and like most riders I am a big fan of the circuit. Since the last round in Germany at the Lausitzring I have been training hard and getting ready for this round. I am excited to get back on my bike and my aim will be to return to the podium. As a team, we are feeling confident and really looking forward to the race!"
Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team - 4th - 72pts
"We return to the track in Portimao and we need to continue in the direction we have taken in the last few races. I want to improve again because despite the podium at the Lausitzring, I finished too far behind the winner. We must work well from FP1 to make sure we get the best setup for Sunday, to give us the best chance to fight for the podium and recover the points to the championship leader."
The Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team on track at Portimão for the final stretch of the Superstock 1000 European Championship
The Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team, coming off its first double of the year at EuroSpeedway Lausitz (Germany) with Michael Ruben Rinaldi first and Mike Jones second, is ready to resume action at Portimão (Portugal) for the third-to-last round of the Superstock 1000 European Championship.
The iconic Portuguese track, which is back in the calendar after a one-year absence, saw Rinaldi finish in second position in 2015 in Superstock 600, while Mike Jones raced there as wild-card in 2012 in the same class, finishing in 16th position.
With three rounds to go, Rinaldi and Jones are respectively first (115 points) and sixth (49 points) in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team will be back on track Friday at 09:00 local time (CET -1) for the first free-practice session.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #12)
“I really like the Portimão track: it has a unique character, it’s full of elevation changes and in some parts of it you really need to be brave. Unfortunately, the tarmac is not in pristine conditions, so you have to be careful. That said, I’ve always been fast in Portugal. We did some tests there but it was a long time ago so I don’t think it will have an impact over the racing weekend. Still, we were competitive there in the winter. We increased our advantage in the last round, but we’ll need to simply stay focused and score the best possible result without making too many calculations. We’ll see where we’re at once the race is over”.
Mike Jones (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #57)
“I’m quite confident after our strong performance at Lausitz, which finally brought us to the podium. We want to continue this form at Portimão, where we did a really good test at the beginning of the year. Like I’ve been saying, the improvements I made with my riding style should allow us to race at the front in Portugal as well. It’s a really tricky track, it’s quite difficult to ride quickly and consistently there. You definitely need to bring your A game. I like it, I’ve been there a few times before and I think this will help me. I have good understanding of the track. I think it’ll be a very exciting weekend”.
Fantastic fan access lies ahead at Portimao
Portuguese return set to be a treat for fans
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship circus rolls into the Portuguese circuit of Autodromo Internacional do Algarve this weekend, and it’s not only racing action that will be keeping fans entertained throughout the weekend. With paddock access with any full ticket, as well as free access to children under 16, it’s set to be a weekend to remember.
As always, the Paddock Show will be at the heart of the entertainment in the paddock, keeping fans up to date with all on track and inside information throughout the weekend. Friday kicks off with the Sofa Racer’s and team managers chat show, with the Opening Day Show rounding out proceedings at 17.35. Saturday will treat fans to the WorldSBK Superpole session with Miguel Praia, before the all new SuperShow begins at 16.30h; offering fans two hours of entertainment from all classes. Sunday welcomes autograph sessions, even more competitions and Race Shows which are give fans exclusive stories from the races with the riders.
If you can tear yourself away from the Paddock Show, the fan zone in the paddock will be open all weekend. Offering fans the opportunity to experience a Seat simulator, MOTUL simulator, Shad and Acerbis photoshooting, as well as purchase official merchandise to show their support for the world class series, or their favourite rider. On top of this, from Saturday to Sunday there will be Crazy Carts in action.
If fans don’t want to be inside the paddock, then they can experience the arena behind the main grandstand, which will be open all weekend to keep you entertained when bikes aren’t roaring around the Portuguese hills. With a motorcycle exhibition, the opportunity to buy some merchandise or other items the circuit has to offer, as well as Yamaha fan parking, there will be plenty to keep you busy. If one exhibition isn’t enough, the VIP Tower will have a classic bikes exhibition on offer with unique views of the track alongside.
In order to gain an even bigger understanding of the paddock life, there will be two opportunities to get exclusive access to the Pit Lane with the Pit Walk, which allows fans to take a look in the garages and maybe even meet their favourite riders. Access can be gained with a Pit Walk ticket, and the two opportunities are on offer on Saturday at 13.45 or Sunday at 14.00.
With fans being in with the opportunity to camp at the circuit behind the Portimao Stand, they will be as involved as ever and the fantastic WorldSBK atmosphere will be felt throughout the circuit.