Press releases after the first day of practice for the WorldSBK and WorldSSP teams at Portimao:
Rapid Rea leads the way on day one
Reigning Champion fastest man in Portugal, ahead of Ducati pair
A late hot lap in FP2 on Friday afternoon at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal gave the reigning World Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) the top spot on the timesheet, more than half a second clear of his nearest rival.
Speeding around the 4.592km Portimao track on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR with a best lap time of 1'42.621 at the end of the Friday afternoon session Rea outpaced his rivals, with Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) the second quickest rider – a 0.586s gap down on the championship leading Northern Irishman.
Melandri did well in FP2 after missing much of the earlier Friday morning session due to a technical fault and the Italian was provisionally top of timesheet with his 1’43.207 lap, before Rea took over in the lead.
Third fastest was Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati), just over a tenth of a second behind his colleague Melandri. It was also a good day for Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who performed well in third in FP1 before finishing the day fourth best overall after FP2.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was fifth, courtesy of a best time from FP1, after he was unable to improve in the afternoon.
In good weather conditions at Portimao Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia), Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) were also in the top ten.
On Saturday at the Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round the WorldSBK riders will start their day with FP3 at 9.05am local time, followed by SP1 at 11am and SP2 at 11.25am. Race 1 gets underway at 3pm local time at Portimao on Saturday afternoon.
#PORWorldSBK Fastest on Friday:
1. Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team 1.42.621
2. Marco Melandri Aruba.it Racing - Ducati +0.586
3. Chaz Davies Aruba.it Racing - Ducati +0.689
Rea Fastest On Friday in Portugal
Official Kawasaki WorldSBK duo Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes finished Friday’s free practice sessions first and fifth respectively in the rankings at a dry and windy Portimao circuit, located on the Algarve.
On the bumpy 4.952km long track layout Rea had been fastest in the morning FP1 session and Sykes was second at that stage. Rea went on to improve his final Friday best time despite the increasingly high winds in FP2. He finished 0.586 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Marco Melandri.
In concentrating on finding an optimal set-up for Saturday’s race Sykes had to rely on his FP1 performance for his fastest lap and ended up fifth overall on the day. Both KRT riders have automatically qualified for Superpole 2 on Saturday, a final qualifying contest which determine their grid positions for the first 20-lap race of the weekend.
Tom and Jonathan tested at Portimao earlier this season, with Rea finally using the settings he and his team found at that test. He also put in a long run today, to learn more about his Ninja ZX-10RR in simulated race conditions.
Sykes and his crew concentrated on gathering information to be ready for the first race of the weekend, which is scheduled for 15.00 local time on Saturday 16th September.
Before the first race gets underway, FP3 and then Superpole 2 will give Sykes and Rea the chance to refine their final machine settings. Should Sykes win the Superpole contest on Saturday, and take his career total from 42 to 43, it would make him the joint record holder in terms of all-time WorldSBK pole positions.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was so windy at times today, even more in the afternoon session than the morning. We have not made a huge amount of changes to the bike because there is a lot more I can change in my riding style here, simply because the track is so challenging. Where you put your bodyweight, how you brake, how you accelerate are key around here. So I came in after a few laps and said to my crew chief Pere Riba, ‘let’s put some tyres in and I will go and make a long run. I’m sure I will be able to learn something for tomorrow’.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “We ran out of time to put fresh tyres in at the last moment today. We had quite a lot of things to try in terms of set-up - just different balances and settings. We thought it was more beneficial to work on that, rather than focus on other parts of performance. We still have little things I want to find out and in FP3 tomorrow we will focus on our tyre combination. As of now it was just getting information and making sure we stayed inside the top ten. Tomorrow we can focus more on lap times but today we got a lot of good information to take into raceday with fewer questions to answer.”
Melandri and Davies respectively in 2nd and 3rd position in Friday’s free-practice at Portimão, home of 10th round of the WorldSBK Championship
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team took it back to the track today at Portimão (Portugal), home of the tenth round of the WorldSBK Championship, for the first two free-practice sessions. Both Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies enjoyed a positive first day on the Algarve track, closing respectively in second and third position on combined times.
The Italian, who could only ride a handful of laps in FP1 due to a technical problem, quickly recovered in the afternoon session to post a 1:43.207, +0.586 behind the provisional best time of 1:42.621. The Welshman, fourth in the morning, made steady progress to take four tenths of a second off his best time and finish +0.103 behind his teammate.
Both riders thus gained direct access to Superpole 2. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action tomorrow at 09:05 local time (CET -1) for FP3 in preparation of Superpole and Race 1, which is scheduled to start at 15:00 local time (16:00 CET).
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 1:43.207 (2nd)
“For sure it’s been a good day. It’s always special to ride at Portimão, it’s a wonderful place and the track itself is so much fun. We had to play catch-up after missing most of FP1 due to a technical problem, but my team has done a great job and we managed to start off on the right foot in FP2, making constant progress. We can still improve, especially in the last corner, and right now Rea has an edge on race pace, but we’re not far. The gusts have been an extra variable thus far, and the forecast says it’s going to be windy all weekend, so we’ll have to adapt as much as possible. I rode some strong races here in the past, and I want to take advantage of the experience gained with the Panigale R to do it again in the next couple of days.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 3rd
“It’s nice to be back on the track after our second summer break. Today was solid though not perfect. We tried what we needed to, going through the program, and tomorrow we’ll zero in on our race setup. I think we have a good handle of the direction in which we’re going, and we just need to put together all the pieces of the puzzle. In particular, we’ll focus on stopping the bike better under braking, using the rear more. Also, the track is bumpy, but today it was the wind creating a bit of a problem. It’s quite tough, you need to position yourself differently in some corners and always stay on guard because it can catch you with really strong gusts. We need a couple of small improvements to match the leading pace, but we’re not far and we just need to make a few minor adjustments so we’re confident.”
Milwaukee Aprilia show good pace in Free Practice at Portimão
Autodromo Internacional do Algarve 15 / 09 / 2017
Milwaukee Aprilia delivered a strong showing in Free Practice on Friday at the Portimão circuit. Riders Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori finished a combined P6 and P8 respectively, and earned another Superpole 2 entry for the team.
With dry weather in both sessions the team were able to complete a full day of practice, gaining valuable data to build on their experience of the Portugese track in winter testing earlier this year.
As forward progress with the new generation Aprilia RSV4 RF continues, Eugene and Lorenzo were quickly into the top 12 positions in FP1 as they dialled into their machines.
The afternoon FP2 brought much improved lap times for the team, both riders taking nearly one second off their morning times to earn their deserved places in Saturday's Superpole 2 shootout session.
With a season-best Superpole result of P3 for Lorenzo at the previous round in Lausitz, the team will be keen to continue their strong pace at Portimão.
The action continues for Milwaukee Aprilia on Saturday with Superpole 2 at 11:25 GMT
Eugene Laverty #50
FP1: 1'44.286, P6
FP2: 1'43.522, P6
Combined result: 1'43.522, P6
“The first practice was really difficult; the bike did’t feel correct or as good as it did when we tested here in January. But, we knew the direction we had to go in and the afternoon practice was much better.
We’re in that top 6 marker group, a step behind the front guys, and we need to keep pursuing the direction we found today. I really want to make that big next step as we’ve been building with this progress for a few rounds. We’ve been working hard to get the most out of the tyres since Pirelli changed them slightly after Laguna Seca, and that is a important area to focus on.
The podium is certainly a target for Race One tomorrow, but it will be tough and we need to make sure we have a good qualifying first.
Lorenzo Savadori #32
FP1: 1'44.910, P12
FP2: 1'43.767, P8
Superpole 2 entry: 1'43.767, P8
"I'm happy we are in Superpole 2 again, but I didn’t feel as comfortable on the bike today as I did at Lausitzring. I need to work on improving my rhythm with the bike to make it more responsive.
I struggled a little with the brake performance today, and that makes it difficult to push hard. I think tonight we can find a good solution for tomorrow, and FP3 will be an important session for us to develop our pace more.
I hope we can have a good Superpole 2, and again we will use FP3 to make sure we are in a good place to start strong in the race."
Pata Yamaha Pushing Hard at Portimao
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team enjoyed an encouraging start to round ten of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship on Friday despite tricky conditions due to high winds and a bumpy track at Portimao. Alex Lowes ended the day in seventh on the combined timesheets after showing good improvement in both sessions. His teammate Michael van der Mark also made good progress throughout the day to finish in ninth place, with both riders making it directly through to SP2 on Saturday.
Lowes, who celebrated his 27th birthday on Thursday, wasted no time in getting down to business on Friday morning in FP1 as he set the fifth fastest time of the session with a 1:43.995. The wind picked up in the afternoon and made it tricky for the riders in FP2 but Lowes still managed to knock another three-tenths off his time, setting a 1:43.677 to end the day seventh on the combined timesheets, and confident he can make more progress on Saturday.
Van der Mark eased his way into FP1, building his feeling on his R1 around the bumpy and undulating 4.592 Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in the windy conditions. He finished FP1 in seventh-place after setting a 1:44.452, but there was more to come in the afternoon. The 24-year-old Dutch rider made a breakthrough in his setup towards the end of FP2 to improve dramatically to a 1:43.854, just 0.177s behind his teammate Lowes, and finished the day in ninth overall, happy with the progress made.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team are back in action on Saturday at 9:05am local time for Free Practice 3, with SP2 scheduled for 11:25am and the 20-lap Race 1 at 3pm. Click here for the results.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 7th - 1:43.677
"To be honest, we are struggling a bit to find the right setup for the track and the best balance with my R1. I need to improve my feeling with the bike, so we have a lot of work to do tonight to try and find a slightly better direction. It has been one of the more difficult Fridays we have had, but it is always like that at this track, especially after a few weeks off the bike. Hopefully, we can make a big step for tomorrow morning!"
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK - 9th - 1:43.854
"P9 looks worse than it is, especially because this afternoon I struggled with changing direction on the bike but towards the end, we made a good step and I managed to improve my lap time quite a lot. We just need to find a little bit more pace and to improve the grip with the rear, if we can do this we are able to do quite a good and consistent pace. I am happy to be in SP2 again and I think we can be reasonably satisfied with today, but looking for more tomorrow."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
"It's great to be back at Portimao, one of the most exciting circuits in the world. It looks a little bumpier than we were here last and that combined with the very, very strong winds this afternoon made for difficult conditions to find the best balance with the YZF-R1. There is more performance to come from the bike and the riders -. we need to make the bike a little easier to ride in certain sections of the track, in order to build the rider's confidence and allow them to flow and improve their pace and consistency. We have 25 minutes on Saturday morning to evaluate the solutions the team engineers come up with this evening and we will do our best to make absolute positive use of that time and then qualify the bikes as well as possible. A small step forward in performance will see us in the hunt for good positions tomorrow."
Bradl into Superpole 2 after encouraging Friday at Portimão
Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, Portugal
The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team has completed the opening day of action at the tenth round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship, with Stefan Bradl rounding out the top-10 at the end of the two free practice sessions at Portimão and therefore qualifying directly for Superpole 2. His team mate for the Portuguese event, Takumi Takahashi, finished his debut WorldSBK day in 18th place.
Bradl got off to a good start this morning by setting the ninth fastest time of Free Practice 1. The 27-year-old German rider worked hard with his crew on finding the best set-up for his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 and was able to improve his performance on every outing. In the final minutes of FP2, Stefan moved back into the top-10 after breaking the 1’44secs barrier to log a final 1’43.957secs lap-time, which was enough for him to clinch a well deserved tenth place.
Takumi Takahashi had a lot of work to do in his first-ever day in World Superbike: not only the Japanese rider had to find his way around the challenging 4.592 Km Algarve track, but he also had to get to grips with the WorldSBK-spec version of the Fireblade and the Pirelli tyres, which he never used before. The Japanese made a significant improvement in the afternoon and he is now looking forward to more track-time tomorrow, starting from FP3 at 9:05 local time (GMT +1) and then moving on to Superpole 1 (11:00) and Race 1 (15:00).
Stefan Bradl 6
It’s been a good day! It’s nice to be in the top-10 and therefore in Superpole 2. I’m happy with how the day went, because we consistently improved the bike in both sessions and in between as well. We are working in the right direction and to be lapping in the 1’43s is not too bad. Now we need to build up on what has been a positive day, have a good qualifying session and see how the rest of the weekend goes.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Takumi Takahashi 72
Portimão is a great track but definitely not an easy one to learn! I still have to find the right line around it and it’s not easy when you’re not on the same bike you’re used to and especially with different tyres. So I’m planning to keep lapping as much as I can and once I get the right feeling with it, we will start playing more around the bike set-up. Tomorrow is race day already so the aim is to be as ready as I can for it.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Ronald ten Kate
We had quite a positive and productive day with Stefan. Right from the first outing we were around our target for the weekend in terms of positioning and we also managed to qualify straight into Superpole 2 which is good news. It’s been a good effort by the whole team so thanks to them. I think there’s still room for improvement and the gap from second place is not too big. The guys will now have a look at the data to come up with a plan for tomorrow and hopefully we’ll be back in the positions we should be in. Takumi-san had a lot of work to do, but we already knew that. Learning the track is the biggest task for him, but let’s not forget the bike is different to the one he’s used to riding and the same applies to the tyres, too. He’s been chipping away at every session and the goal is to keep improving with no pressure.
Uphill climb for Althea BMW at Portimão
Portimão (Portugal), Friday 15 September 2017
The Althea BMW Racing team is at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve this weekend, the setting for round 10 of the 2017 Superbike world championship. After the first timed practice sessions, riders Jordi Torres and Raffaele De Rosa place eleventh and twelfth respectively, while in the Stock1000 series, Marco Faccani lies fourth after day one.
In this morning’s first timed session, and in dry and sunny conditions, Torres and De Rosa got down to work with their technicians, working to identify the ideal set-up for their S1000 RR bikes. Improving throughout the course of the 60-minute session, the Spaniard finished in eleventh place (1’45.140), the Italian fifteenth (1’45.570). Later in the day, the Althea BMW men were back out for session two. Conditions meant that were able to improve on their earlier results with Torres setting a best of 1'44.170 to finish eleventh and De Rosa closing the day in twelfth place after setting a fastest time of 1'44.462.
Meanwhile, in the Stock1000 camp, Faccani got off to a good start, placing sixth after first practice with a time of 1’46.867. The second session was interrupted by two red flags after a crash and engine failure for other riders but despite the distraction, the Althea BMW flagbearer was able to lower his time in the final seconds to close the day in fourth position with a best of 1’46.288.
"It's been quite hard today. The track, with all its undulation, is a tough one for us and I also needed a few laps to get to grips with it again having not raced here last year. We didn’t make a bad start but when the front guys start making their fast laps we feel the difference. The bike is wheelieing and so it’s difficult to accelerate and also to execute clean lines. We made a step forward in the afternoon but unfortunately just missed out on direct entry to SP2. Tomorrow we’ll do our best in SP1 in the hope we can progress to the second phase…”
Raffaele De Rosa
"I'm gradually trying to improve, or rather adapt as best I can to the bike, working on my riding. The team is working hard to improve the bike, but I’m still struggling to manage it as it seems jumpy and I can’t seem to get the best out of it. We’ll continue to work of course, to be as prepared as possible for the races tomorrow and Sunday.”
"The first practices have gone quite well and I’m pleased with the work and progress made between the first and the second session. Tomorrow I want to focus more on distance to better understand our pace, because we had very little time in FP2 today with the two red flags. We’ll try to do a good job in FP3 and then set a good time in qualifying to be in the best possible position come race day…”
WorldSSP: Superb Sofuoglu outpaces rivals in Portugal
World Champion Sofuoglu fastest on Friday, with Morais and Cluzel also in the top three
At the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve on Friday it was Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) who lapped quickest with a 1’45.443 time putting him ahead of his rivals, whilst Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing) and Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) were also in the top three.
Lausitzring racewinner Morais registered the best effort in FP1 earlier in the day and his 1’45.829 lap time from that session put him second on the combined timesheets, with Sofuoglu taking over at the top late in FP2. Cluzel’s 1’45.848 time put him third overall, just over four tenths of a second down on Sofuoglu.
Charging round the 4.592km Portimao track championship leader Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) survived a big wobble at the end of FP2 and ended the day fourth, with American rider PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) completing the top five.
Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), Michael Canducci (Puccetti Racing Junior Team FMI), Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing), Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing) completed the top ten.
Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) had been in a provisional top ten position but a late crash saw him end up in the gravel at turn 8 and the Japanese rider concluded the opening day in Portugal 14th on the timesheet.
On Saturday at the Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round the WorldSSP FP3 session commences at 9.45am local time, with SP1 taking place at 12 midday and SP2 at 12.25pm.
#PORWorldSSP Fastest on Friday
1. Kenan Sofuoglu Kawasaki Puccetti Racing 1.45.443
2. Sheridan Morais Kallio Racing +0.386
3. Jules Cluzel CIA Landlord Insurance Honda +0.405
On the pace in Portugal
PTR Honda·Friday, September 15, 2017
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider, Jules Cluzel concluded the opening day of the Prosecco DOC Portuguese round of the World Supersport Championship third on the combined timesheets.
Cluzel's time of 1'45.848 was just over four tenths away from the best time set by Sofuoglu. Happy with his pace and race set up, the Frenchman is confident of a strong qualifying performance in Superpole 2 tomorrow.
Jules said: “It was a really good session, I think it was one of the best sessions of the year. It was the first time this year that we did a long run in this session, the first time for me in four years! So I am happy, I found some solutions. At circuits like this that are a different it is always better to do a lot of laps. I am happy because the pace was strong in the long run and I did my best lap in the last lap. We have good information and I have also good information for my riding style for the race. We have done a fast lap but I think we can improve a little bit on this point.”
Christoffer Bergman narrowly missed out on automatic entry to Superpole 2 by only two tenths of a second ending day one of practice in 12th position. With Free Practice 3 and Superpole 1 yet to come in the morning Bergman is certain to be in the fight to qualify for SP2.
The opening day of Supersport action at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve proved a little harder for Hikari Okubo who was unhurt when he crashed at turn 8 in the afternoon session. The Japanese rider ended the day 14th overall.
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “It was a really good day for Jules. He's got fantastic race pace and we have a really good race set up. We need to try to improve a little for the win but we are right there challenging. We will study the data and try to improve again in the morning.”
“It was a good day for Christoffer and I believe he's in with a shout to go through to Superpole 2 tomorrow.”
“It will be a bit harder for Hikari another two tenths further back. The bike's not too badly damaged so we will repair it for tomorrow and he will come back fighting strong as always.”
“So a pretty good day at what is a good track for us. We are confident that we are in a strong position going into tomorrow and we are looking forward to the race.”
GRT Yamaha Enjoy Strong Start at Portimao
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team enjoyed a productive Friday at Portimao for round nine of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship. The team focused on race pace with championship leader Lucas Mahias starting strongly to end the day in fourth overall, while his teammate Federico Caricasulo also impressed to finish in sixth on the combined timesheets, with both riders making through to SP2 on Saturday.
Mahias leads the championship by one point from Kenan Sofuoglu and he was determined to hit the ground running at the track after the team's recent test in Portimao. Unfortunately, the conditions on Friday were completely different to the test, with strong winds affecting the track, and it was hard to find a good setup. Undeterred, the 28-year-old French rider worked hard in the morning to set a 1:46.937 to end the session in fourth. In the afternoon, Mahias focused on running a race simulation but still managed to improve his time by almost a second to record a 1:46.087, which was good enough for fourth on the combined timesheets and a spot in SP2.
His teammate Caricasulo spent the whole day working on his feeling with the Yamaha YZF-R6 on the harder SC1 compound tyre, not even trying to set a flying lap. This made his performance even more impressive in the morning as a 1:46.934 lap saw him end FP1 in third. He continued this work ethos in the afternoon, running a race simulation and despite not attempting a hot lap the 21-year-old Italian improved to a 1:46.560 to finish the day in sixth overall.
It was another good performance from Kallio Racing's Sheridan Morais as the South African rider topped the combined timesheets for most of the day on his Yamaha R6, before just being pipped in the dying moments of FP2 and finishing in second overall with a 1:45.829 as he looks to continue the form that saw him take his maiden WorldSSP race win last time out at the Lausitzring. His teammate Nikki Tuuli also impressed as he finished in seventh, with all four Yamahas making it through automatically to SP2.
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team return to the track at 9:45 local time on Saturday morning for Free Practice 3, with SP2 scheduled for 12:25pm. Click here for the full results.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 4th - 1:46.087
"It was a strange track today. I rode here in the Endurance World Championship, but now it feels completely different. I finished in fourth, which is not so bad, but I am not happy with the gap to Kenan. We did a race simulation, which went well, but I was 0.5s off the one-lap pace. As always, I would prefer to finish Friday in first position, but tonight I will work a lot with my mechanics and engineers to improve the bike for tomorrow. It is not a critical situation as our race simulation was good, but I am a racer and I am never happy unless I am in first position, so we will see what we can do tomorrow."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 6th - 1:46.560
"I am happy because today I didn't look at my position on the timing screens at all. I worked just on my rhythm for the race and did not try a time-attack. I only used the SC1 tyre, and not a qualifying tyre, so I am happy for the race. Tomorrow we will try the SC0 and I think I will improve by 0.5s or more. So, I think we can be very competitive this weekend and I am looking forward to tomorrow!"
GRT Yamaha Offical WorldSSP Team Manager
"We had a tricky day today. The track was very slippery and it was very difficult to find a good setup, even though we had a one-day test here. The conditions have changed completely so we had to restart and what we have tried is different. This morning we were trying to find the limit of the track and in the afternoon both riders focused on race pace. We found the right direction to head in tomorrow for qualifying and the race. In the end, the important thing - and the target always for the team - is to get both riders straight through into SP2, which we achieved, and to be as ready as we can for the race."