Press release previews ahead of this weekend's WorldSBK round at Portimao:
#PRTWorldSBK: Not the time to surrender
The rollercoaster awaits: WorldSBK set to be spiced up in Portugal
It is a welcome return to racing action for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, after a lengthy Summer break. The title fight will reignite this weekend, as Portimao will host the tenth event of the season: the Acerbis Portuguese Round. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) returns to the Portuguese venue with an 81-point lead, whilst early season revelation Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) will make his racing debut at Portimao, in a bid to surge back to form.
Heading the championship standings with a comfortable 81-point lead, Jonathan Rea has completed a remarkable comeback. The Ulsterman, who was 61 points behind Alvaro Bautista after the Tissot Superpole Race in Jerez, comes to a circuit of which he has been dominant at in recent seasons. Winning the last seven races at the venue – of which six have been with Kawasaki – Rea has a target on his back. Can anyone stop the four-time WorldSBK champion at one of his most successful circuits?
Alvaro Bautista has endured a torrid couple of events and, with his departure from the ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati outfit confirmed, he has nothing to lose in the final four rounds of the season. If he is to rekindle the hope of winning the WorldSBK championship, then he will need to start taking points from Rea straight away. Having never raced at Portimao but tested there, only to finish ninth, Bautista will need to overcome his difficulties of recent rounds if he has any chance of staying in the title tussle.
The battle for third place in the championship is well and truly alive and kicking, with six riders covered by 50 points. At the head of that, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team), who arrives in Portugal off the back of finishing the Portimao test on top, whilst also confirming he won’t remain in the team for 2020. The British rider has had a difficult time of things at Portimao in recent years, with just two top ten results from the last six races held there. On the other side of the garage, fortunes are different. Now back to full fitness and ready to go, Michael van der Mark will seek to build on his fourth place in the Portimao test. Three Portimao podiums in the last three races and all for Yamaha, can the 26-year-old return to winning ways?
Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) is a rider to watch out for. Having returned to winning ways in emotional fashion at Laguna Seca, the Welshman will look to continue working in this way ahead of the remainder of the season. With his 2020 future confirmed, Davies will also want to gel further with the ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati, in order to end the season strongly. A best result of second in Race 1 in 2017 is the highlight for him at Portimao. Can he win again?
Leading the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team charge is Tom Sykes, who has been on pole three times at Portimao, whilst also achieving two wins at the rollercoaster Portuguese circuit. Sykes has achieved podiums at every WorldSBK round since Misano, highlighting the development of the new machine. The team themselves head into the round with optimism, having signed Eugene Laverty for the 2020 season.
The Independent team charge continues to be led by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing), as the 22-year-old relentlessly set the pace on the opening day of Portimao testing. Having visited the circuit just once in his WorldSBK career, 2018 yielded an eight and a DNF. A podium during every round since Imola, will Razgatlioglu continue his form? Never discount other former Portimao winners who are in the Independent battle too, such as Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) and Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven).
Former Portimao podium rider to watch out for include Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who has taken four podiums at the venue for three different manufacturers: will Kawasaki be his fourth? As well as Haslam, there is Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha), who took a second for Kawasaki back in 2014. Keep your eyes on Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team), Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) and Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), as they all go in search of their first podiums of 2019.
The Moriwaki Althea Honda Team challenge will see a new face, with Takumi Takahashi replacing Leon Camier, as the British rider continues to recover from a shoulder injury. He will join Ryuichi Kiyonari, who returns to the Autodromo Internacional Algarve for the first time in a decade.
Other riders to watch out for include Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura), who has a best of seventh at Portimao and has been top ten finisher in the last three rounds. Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) will look to end the season on a high and secure himself a ride for 2020. Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Mie Racing Team) will make his Portimao WorldSBK debut, although he was sixth in the FIM Superstock 1000 race last season. All of the regular riders will be joined by former FIM Superstock 1000 champion, Sylvain Barrier. The French rider will wildcard with the BRIXX Ducati outfit.
Portimao Round Restarts WorldSBK Season
After a positive recent test session at Portimao KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam will now restart their championship campaigns at the very same undulating 4.592km long Autodromo Internacional do Algarve circuit this coming weekend.
With the most recent points scoring WorldSBK event having taken place at Laguna Seca in the USA between the 12th and 14th of July, anticipation is high for the forthcoming event in Portugal. Race weekend will take place between the 6th and 8th of September and it will be the tenth round of a 13-round season.
After riding alongside Haslam to win the famous Suzuka 8-Hours race in late July, then joining Leon again the recent tests in Portugal, Rea is fully ready to try and extend his current WorldSBK championship lead of 81 points.
A strong recent run of winning form, added to his almost perfect early season podium-scoring, has given Rea his impressive lead with just four rounds to go. Race wins will be the immediate target, as ever, for Rea this weekend. He has already recorded nine individual victories this season and a remarkable 80 wins over his long WorldSBK career.
Portimao is clearly a happy hunting ground for Jonathan, who has won each of the past seven WorldSBK races he has competed at in Portugal – and all six races he has started there on a Kawasaki.
Haslam had much WorldSBK experience of Portimao before joining Kawasaki in BSB for the previous three years, ultimately winning the title last season. His recent successful test at Portimao was near perfect preparation for his racing return to Portimao for the first time since 2015. He scored a best finish of third on that occasion.
So far in 2019 Leon has recorded six podiums on his KRT Ninja ZX-10RR. He is looking for more this weekend, as well as his first win since his WorldSBK comeback. He is currently fifth overall, having broken through the 200 points mark at the most recent round in the USA.
As is the case at each round this year, there will be three points scoring races in Portugal. There will be two full distance contests over 20 laps (on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, respectively) and one ten-lap Tissot-Superpole ‘sprint’ race on Sunday morning.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am really excited to get back into racing again. It has been such a long time since the last WorldSBK races and I can’t wait for the Portimao weekend. I love the track and after the tests we have a clear direction of the base settings that we will start with on the Ninja ZX-10RR. We will work step-by-step through Friday, trying to get a race package, and then focus on our qualifying to make sure we have a good race. I am going to have a lot of travelling support over from Northern Ireland and I cannot wait to get back to business. That race weekend feeling is something I really enjoy, together with all my team.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “I have had several podiums with various manufacturers over the years at Portimao, and enjoyed some really good racing. The recent test was really positive for our team and on race tyres I think we were ranked 1-2. I was only one or two tenths of a second off Jonathan’s best lap time with a race tyre. It has been a tough year in some ways with a few injuries and having to learn some circuits. But Portimao is a circuit we have tested at now and every time I have done that so far I have made the podium. Obviously that is the aim but also I feel we can be even more competitive and challenge the front guys. That is the main aim this weekend and I am really looking forward to it.”
Still the top independent rider, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing), will be more than ready to race in Portugal after setting a fast pace at the recent official tests. He has seven podiums to his credit in 2019 and he is motivated to score that elusive first WorldSBK race win, starting again at Portimao this coming weekend.
Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) found out valuable lessons about his Ninja ZX-10RR at the official tests recently. His season-best performances at Laguna Seca in July put him 12th in the championship.
Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) looks to move up the championship rankings by season end, needing to make up a slender 12 points on the rider currently in 14th place. Like his peers he competes in Portugal this weekend, but during the penultimate round of the season he will get his second chance to race in front of his home fans, at the Villicum circuit in Argentina.
Final part of the 2019 World SBK season underway this weekend in Portugal, with Álvaro Bautista and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) getting to grips with the undulating Autodromo do Algarve circuit near Portimão
Ten days after the official World Superbike test session at Portimão, which saw the participation of all the teams and riders of the championship, the Portuguese circuit throws open its doors once again for this weekend’s tenth round of the season. Both Aruba.it Racing – Ducati riders, Álvaro Bautista and Chaz Davies, took advantage of the two days of testing in August to prepare for the final part of the season, which will see them take part in four rounds (Portugal, France, Argentina and Qatar) over the next two months.
After leading the way in the standings for the first part of the season, the Spanish rider now finds he has to play catch-up to his Kawasaki rival, Jonathan Rea, in the fight for the title. Even though the gap to Rea is now 81 points, with four rounds still to be held (and a total of 248 points available) anything can still happen, and Bautista and the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will do everything possible to make life difficult for his rival from Northern Ireland. Álvaro has never actually raced on the challenging Algarve track, but as he has already taken part in two test sessions there, it won’t be totally unknown for him.
Team-mate Chaz Davies, who during the California weekend scored his first win of the year aboard the Panigale V4 R, is ready to confirm this positive upswing, even though this track remains one of the few where he is yet to win. The Welshman in fact has started eleven races here, with his best results being a second place in 2017 and two thirds in 2014 and 2015.
World Superbike returns to action therefore at a circuit where, out of the 20 races held so far, Ducati riders have won on four occasions, the last one of which was in 2011 with Carlos Checa (Ducati 1098R). On only one occasion (2008 with Troy Bayliss) has Ducati scored a double win.
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will be out on track on Friday at 10.30 local time (11.30 CET) for the first free practice session, while the weekend schedule will see Race 1 at 14.00 (15.00 CET) on Saturday, the Superpole Race at 11.00 (12.00 CET) on Sunday, followed by Race 2 at 14.00 (15.00 CET).
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 2nd (352 points)
“The two days of testing we did here last week were very useful, even though I preferred to rest my shoulder on the second day because it was the first time I had been back on the bike since my injury at Laguna Seca. I’ve had a few more days to recover, but during this weekend we might have to change our approach and try and rest the shoulder on Friday to be in a position to tackle the races in the best possible condition. Luckily, the two tests I’ve done at this circuit between January and now will be a great help, we have some markers, I know the track better and as a result it will all be a bit easier.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 7th (184 points)
“After the summer break and about two months after my win, I know it’s going to be a tough race here at Portimão, but the gains we made at Laguna Seca and the work we did in the test have really put a bit of a spring in my step. I feel like the bike is now a lot different to the one I’ve been racing this season and I’m looking forward to the race because I feel our pace is quite decent. Going on past results, for me this track is not the easiest one to get a win at, but I’m feeling optimistic because the Panigale V4 R is going better around here than the twin ever did. I’m feeling confident, even though Portimão is not an easy track and the bumps and undulations throw up a lot of different challenges.”
Yamaha Riders Raring to go as WorldSBK Explodes Back into Action in Portimão
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK riders, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark, are set to resume their battle for a top three finish in the 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship standings, as the series explodes back into action his weekend at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão, Portugal. It's Lowes who currently holds third place in the standings with 220 points but van der Mark trails his teammate by just five points in fourth place and the Dutchman is determined to reverse the positions in the four rounds remaining this season.
The two Pata Yamaha riders head into round 10 of the FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend with their confidence high, after completing a positive test in Portimão back in August, in which Lowes posted his fastest ever lap of the Portuguese circuit on the second and final day to top the timesheet.
But while it was Lowes who departed the test as the fastest rider on track, it is teammate van der Mark who has enjoyed the most success in Portimão in recent seasons. The 26-year-old Dutch rider a podium finisher three times in two years, including a double podium at the track 12 months ago.
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Sandro Cortese, also enjoyed a positive test at the Portimão circuit, having now recovered fully from the shoulder injury sustained at Donington Park back in July. The reigning Supersport World Champion heads to Portugal determined to rediscover the form that saw him regularly challenging for top six finishes earlier in the season.
Marco Melandri heads into the Portimão weekend still searching for a set up on the bike to better suit his super smooth riding style. The GRT Yamaha team have worked tirelessly over the summer break to support Melandri's performance and the veteran Italian, who has announced his retirement from racing at the end of the current season, is determined to reward his team's hard work with a strong showing in Portugal this weekend.
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Loris Baz, has his sights set firmly on the podium for the last four rounds of the 2019 season, after an extremely positive two-day test for the Frenchman and his crew in Portimão. A top ten finish in the championship standings is also a realistic possibility for Baz, despite him only returning to the series at Round 6 in Jerez. The Ten Kate Yamaha rider is currently 13th in the standings, but just 24 points off tenth position, which is currently held by fellow Yamaha rider, Cortese.
Construction of the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve was completed in 2008 and the venue hosted its first WorldSBK round the same year. A high-speed rollercoaster of a track, the 4.6km circuit features a challenging layout that combines fast, sweeping turns with more technical corners and huge changes in elevation and is demanding on both riders and machines.
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK
"I'm really looking forward to getting back to racing. While it's nice to have a bit of a break in the middle of the season, you do miss racing. I'm ready now for the second part of the season, where the challenge is going to be to hold on to third place in the championship, and I need to be fighting for the podium in every race at these last four rounds if I'm to do that. We were really strong at the recent test in Portimão, where I did my fastest ever lap at this track to finish on top of the timesheet, which shows the bike is working well. The conditions were quite hot at the test and I didn't quite have the feeling I wanted in the afternoons when the track temperature went up, but we have some ideas to improve in this area and, hopefully, we will have similar temperatures on Friday to work on this. I'm feeling really positive and I'm raring to go this weekend."
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK
"It was a nice long summer break, which gave the wrist I fractured in Misano a chance to heal fully, but now I can't wait to get back to racing. We head to Portimão for the race off the back of a really good two-day test at the circuit, in which I was really fast, and the aim is to rediscover the feeling I had before the crash in Misano, so that I can fight for podiums and race wins once again. I've enjoyed quite a bit of success in Portimão in the past, with three podium finishes in two years, and I hope we continue this trend this time around, to start the last part of the season in the strongest way possible."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK
"After such a positive two-day test in Portimão at the end of August, I'm really looking forward to heading back to Portugal for the race this weekend. I worked hard over the summer break with my physiotherapist to rebuild the strength in my injured shoulder and it was nice to be able to ride more relaxed on the bike once again at the test. I'm feeling good, I'm happy with how the bike was working at the two-day test and now I'm ready to push for good results in the final part of the season, starting this weekend in Portimão."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK
"It's a bit of a rollercoaster, but Portimão is a track I like a lot, it's one that is fun to race at and I've always been fast there in the past. This weekend I head to Portugal in a different situation, as I'm still looking to improve my feeling with the bike even after the two days of testing at the circuit, but we will continue trying to improve during the weekend. The team has been working so hard, even over the summer break, so I am determined to pay them back with the best result possible in Portugal this weekend."
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK
"For me the summer break was way too long, because we didn't have so many races before that, so I'm ready to get back to racing. We enjoyed a really strong test in Portimão at the end of August, where we were able to properly test some parts in the dry for the first time, and we made some improvements to the base set up of the bike as a result. I love racing in Portimão, it's one of my favourite tracks, and I'm really confident going into this weekend. Hopefully, with the work we did at the test, I'll be closer to challenging for the podium."
BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and the BMW S 1000 RR enter the final phase of the 2019 season at Portimão.
Tom Sykes and Markus Reiterberger line up for round ten of this season’s FIM Superbike World Championship in Portugal.
Positive Portimão test in run-up to race weekend.
Marc Bongers: “After the test at Portimão, we are well equipped going into the final race weekends of the season”.
Munich. The long summer break in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) is over. This weekend (6th to 8th September), the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and its riders Tom Sykes (GBR) and Markus Reiterberger (GER) enter the final phase of the 2019 season. Portimão (POR) is the venue for round ten of 13.
The team travelled to the same location on 24th and 25th August for a two-day test in preparation for the final events of the season. This also provided an opportunity to use more innovations for the further development of the BMW S 1000 RR.
Quotes ahead of the races at Portimão.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “Following the Portimão test we are well equipped going into the final race weekends of the season. We have been able to optimise many areas of the BMW S 1000 RR and both riders were happy with what we achieved during the test. The races at Portimão mark the start of the final phase of our debut season with the new RR. The season was intended to be a year of learning, and we have already exceeded our expectations. The goal for the remaining rounds is to continue as before and to get the best out of the package with both riders in every race.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “Both riders come off a good test at Portimão so we are really confident of having a good starting base setting for both riders. FP1 should be interesting. Both riders concentrated on race pace not on one-lap simulations so that should bode well for the race. The temperatures are going to be similar like at the test in the high twenties and early thirties. We are looking forward to the last four rounds of the year where we hope to continue with some podium success.”
Tom Sykes: “I am really looking forward to heading back to the Portimão circuit on the back of a successful two days of testing there recently. During the test, we certainly gathered a lot of information for the set-up of the BMW S 1000 RR. Overall at the test, we tried various bike set-ups that we’re not usually able to do during the race weekends due to the restricted time which proved very, very good. We got some positive results, so hopefully we can pick up where we left off and try to keep our run of podium places on the go. The podium is certainly the target for the remaining races.”
Markus Reiterberger: “I was very happy with the two days of testing at Portimão. I am now looking forward to a good, and hopefully successful, race weekend. I am looking forward to good teamwork and want to improve and enjoy my riding. I definitely have my sights set on the top ten. I like the circuit and a lot of my friends are travelling to support me there. Bring on the weekend.”
HOLIDAYS ARE OVER, IT'S TIME TO TURN ENGINES ON!
An idyllic place, between the breathtaking beaches and the fine sand of the Portuguese ocean, in the hinterland among the arid hills typical of the geographical area, stands the sports complex of the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve.
For the spectators, it is still full summer; wandering the streets of the enchanting tourist center of Portimao or on the promenade by the sea you can still see many tourists enjoying the last warm summer days.
To make this weekend even more interesting is the WorldSBK: finally it's back on track, the first Round after the summer break will take place, which will kick off a thrilling season finale.
The riders have already tested the Portuguese circuit two weeks ago, on the occasion of a two-day fundamental test.
Eugene Laverty and the Go Eleven Team, on that occasion, had found an excellent set-up and had printed a more than encouraging laptime for the race.
We certainly cannot hide the fact that the Irish champion has a special feeling with the Portimao circuit: last year he even started in pole position!
Laverty trained a lot in these late August-early September days: enduro, motocross, supermotard were the order of the day, and even featured in a motorcycle-bicycle exchange with Portuguese cycling champion Joao Rodrigues.
Finally, the two months of inactivity have therefore come to an end; the protagonists of the Superbike circus can't wait to ride their beasts and get on the track.
Acerbis Portuguese Round, Portimao circuit, to you the honor of giving us the all summer long desired show!
The Moriwaki Althea Honda Team heads to Portimao as the summer break comes to an end
The Superbike World Championship is set to get back into action with the final phase of the 2019 season, beginning with the Portuguese round that will take place at the Algarve International Circuit Portimao this coming weekend.
With rider Leon Camier’s return planned for the French round at the end of this month, in Portugal the Moriwaki Althea Honda Team will field current All Japan Road Race JSB1000 Championship leader Takumi Takahashi alongside Ryuichi Kiyonari.
The Japanese duo have already shared the garage during a two-day official testing session on 24-25 August at the same track.
Ryuichi Kiyonari 23
“I look forward to getting back to racing and I’m happy we tested at Portimao in August. The data and the experience we gained there will help to speed up our work on the bike’s setup over the weekend. The track itself is quite difficult, especially in terms of braking. Wheelieing is also something to manage in several areas. All in all, I enjoy the track though and I can’t wait to start on Friday”.
Takumi Takahashi 13
“I’m excited to race at Portimao and I’ll do my utmost to do a good job for the team. The track is enjoyable despite being very demanding for me, with a lot of changes in direction and elevation. We already did a lot of work during the test we completed there, but we want to try and make some more steps forward with the setup of the bike this weekend and improve both our pace and speed with respect to the test”.
WorldSBK returns to action at Portimao
Portimao (Portugal), Wednesday 4 September 2019
Following a summer break of almost two months, the Althea MIE Racing team and rider Alessandro Delbianco are ready to return to the track for the final part of the 2019 Superbike World Championship season. The tenth round of the series will take place this weekend at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal.
The Portuguese circuit is located in the Algarve, almost 300 km south of Lisbon. The track is 4592 m in length and features 15 turns, 9 of which right-handers, 6 left-handers. The complex also incorporates karting and off-road tracks, a hotel and a technological park.
During the 2018 edition, Delbianco crossed the line sixth in the Stock1000 race. A track that he enjoys, the young Italian hopes to be able to complete three solid races at Portimao this weekend.
“The Portimao race will be tough because I haven’t ridden for almost two months. We start with something of a disadvantage because other riders have been able to complete some testing. Having said that, I am really keen to do well and I hope that this desire of mine will compensate to some extent for my lack of riding this summer. I know we’re in for a difficult weekend, but I can’t wait to get back to work and can say I’m really excited to be here.”
“Following the summer break, the championship resumes at one of the toughest tracks on the SBK calendar. Traditionally it’s a tricky one, particularly for those with little experience. Team Althea unfortunately had to miss the group test of two weeks ago as there was not enough time to repair the bikes, badly damaged at Laguna Seca. Rather than enjoying a well-deserved break, many of our technicians have worked almost all summer to allow the team and Delbianco to take part in the upcoming race. I hope the sacrifices my guys have made are repaid with three good races by Delbianco.”
WorldSSP: championship pendulum set to swing further in Portugal!
Four rounds, four races, three title contenders, one champion. Who will take another step closer to the 2019 title in Portugal?
Round 9 at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve – Portimao is set to become a crucial stage for the 2019 FIM Supersport World Championship. With just four race weekends remaining on the calendar, the battle for the championship title will reach new heights in Portugal.
Just 15 points divide championship leader Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) from his teammate Federico Caricasulo. Also, Frenchman Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha), now third in the standings 26 points behind Krummenacher, is back in contention after the outstanding victory taken in the UK before the summer break. For the three title contenders, there is no much time left before a champion will be decided. That is why Portimao leaves no space for mistakes. But, at the same time, it is when risks should be taken in order to make the difference.
For Krummenacher the ACERBIS Portuguese Round could represent a pivotal moment to extend his championship lead. But to do so, the Swiss rider knows that he has to finish at least better than Caricasulo, that this year has always shared the podium with Krummenacher apart from Donington Park. In the UK, it was Krummenacher himself to miss his regular visit to the parc fermé for the first time in 2019. On the other hand, the Italian has an excellent chance to remount on the championship leader. At the Official Test, that took place at the same Portimao racetrack in August, Caricasulo showed off a good pace setting the fastest lap time. But, once again, Krummenacher was close behind him, as second quickest. Will we see another head-to-head battle between the BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team riders in Portugal?
Although the battle for the World Title remains a matter between three men, we can’t say the same for the Portuguese race trophy fight. Fresh off the back of his two consecutive podiums in Misano and Donington Park, 2017 WorldSSP World Champion Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) looks forward to keeping on with his momentum in Portugal. The Frenchman didn’t take part in the Official test but spent two useful days working with his team in Misano during the summer break. 2018 saw Mahias taking the pole position and the victory in Portugal. Will the French rider be able to do the same this year with the Kawasaki ZX-6R of the Puccetti Team?
For the Portuguese Round, an eye should also be kept on Japanese rider Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), and the MOTUL Dutch Round podium finisher Thomas Gradinger. The Japanese rider is still chasing his first WorldSSP podium, while the Austrian is currently sixth in the standings. Moreover, Raffaele De Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse) and Spanish rider Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) both proved to be competitive with their packages around Portimao in the recent Official Test. If they can repeat the same performance over the race weekend, they won’t miss the chance to take part in the challenge.
At the ACERBIS Portuguese Round, Dani Valle is set to make his WorldSSP debut with MS Racing as a substitute rider for Maria Herrera. Apart from the regular 26 entries, Miquel Pons will make a wild card appearance onboard the Yamaha YZF R6 of H43 Team NOBBY TALASUR-BLUMAQ.
With just two rounds more for the European FIM Supersport Cup, Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing) has his first chance to win the title in Portugal by extending his championship lead of at least 25 points on the second. Will the British rider be able to celebrate in Portugal?
As usual WorldSSP action will begin on Friday with Free Practices. On Saturday the Tissot Superpole will get underway at 11:40 AM LT, deciding the starting grid for Sunday’s race due at 12:15 AM LT.
Fireworks Expected as WorldSSP Title Battle Resumes in Portimão
The Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão, Portugal plays host to Round 9 of the FIM Supersport World Championship this weekend. With four races remaining and the top three in the standings separated by just 41 points, fireworks can be expected as the Yamaha trio of Randy Krummenacher, Federico Caricasulo and Jules Cluzel resume a battle for the title that has raged all season.
It's Bardahl Evan Bros. Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider Krummenacher who leads the way in the ongoing title fight. The Swiss rider has four race wins to his name in 2019 and has only once finished off the podium, taking fourth place last time out in Donington Park. But while Krummenacher tops the championship standings going into the last four races, he's seen his advantage drastically reduced by Caricasulo, who currently lies second and has closed to within 15 points of his Bardahl Yamaha teammate.
This year Caricasulo has impressed with both his speed and consistency, finishing on the podium in every single race and racking up race wins in Assen and Jerez. The Bardahl Yamaha rider topped the timesheet ahead of his teammate at the recent two-day Portimão test and heads into this weekend feeling confident and determined to significantly reduce the 15-point gap to the top of the championship standings.
The only person other than the Bardahl Yamaha teammates to stand on the top step of the podium this season is GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Cluzel, who added a win at Donington Park last time out to his win in Thailand earlier in the season. Third in the series standings and with a 41-point deficit to the championship leader, Cluzel heads into the final four races of the season looking to add to his win tally, starting this weekend in Portimão.
One title that has already been decided this season is the WorldSSP Manufacturer's Championship, which was wrapped up by Yamaha for the seventh time, and the third in as many seasons, last time out in Donington Park. Yamaha have won every race this season and finished first and second in seven of those, making the new Yamaha YZF R6 the bike to beat in the WorldSSP class.
Bardahl Evan Bros. Yamaha Supported WorldSSP
"My first target from Portimão onwards must be to take points from my teammate in order to close the gap to the top of the standings. The second target is to win races. The two-day Portimão test was an important one for us. We were very fast, and it means we go into the first of the remaining four races in Portugal with some confidence. We have a lot of data from the test that we can refer back to, so I think we'll be strong from the first free practice session at Portimão this weekend."
GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP
"I don't really have a plan for the last four races; it's just going to be full gas, trying to finish on the podium every weekend and trying to win races when it's possible. The main thing is to enjoy the racing, because when you're enjoying it then you're fast. It will be an intense battle between the two Bardahl Yamaha riders now. We have only four races left and they both need to do something if they're to take the title. This could work in my favour, although neither has really made a mistake so far, but it does mean they have more to think about now than just race wins. I'm not thinking about the championship at all, I'm just taking it race by race. Should something happen and a little bit of luck comes my way then I'm ready to take advantage, but I'm not relying on that. I just want to win races and end the season on a high note."
Action Restarts For WorldSSP Riders
Lucas Mahias and Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will join their fellow Kawasaki WorldSSP riders at Portimao this coming weekend as the series gets underway again after a long summer break since the previous round at Donington Park in early July.
After a season-best performance of third at the two most recent WorldSSP events, at Misano and Donington, Mahias has lifted himself up to fourth place overall in the championship standings.
A pole position at Misano showed what the combination of Kawasaki and 2017 WorldSSP Champion Mahias could achieve with enough track time and shared experience.
This coming weekend in Portugal Mahias can draw on memories of his 2018 WorldSSP race win at Portimao and a positive recent test session at Misano to boost his podium, and even race-winning, ambitions.
Having been the top-ranked Kawasaki rider until his team-mate Mahias moved one place ahead of him at Donington, Okubo is having his best year in WorldSSP racing so far.
Consistently in the points and regularly inside the top six in his second WorldSSP season as a Kawasaki rider Okubo will be out to score his first podium finish this weekend. Like Lucas and the entire Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team, Hikari tested at Misano recently and will therefore restart the season refreshed and ready to race.
The ninth venue on the 12 round WorldSSP campaign trail, the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve is a ceaselessly undulating 4.592km ribbon of tarmac that provides one of the biggest tests of a rider’s stamina and powers of concentration. Race day will be Sunday 8th September.
In the championship points, after eight rounds, Mahias has 82 points and Okubo 73.
After the long summer break the restart in WorldSSP action provides a relatively closely packed run of races to the finale in Doha, in late October. The next round after Portimao will be held at Magny Cours in France, with the race itself taking place on Sunday 19th September.
Lucas Mahias, stated: “I really like the Portimao track and have already scored a win and a second-place finish here. The Misano tests were very positive and we have a good setting from which to start. My goal is definitely the podium and perhaps even the highest step.”
Hikari Okubo, stated: “During the Misano test I think we solved some issues that have been causing me a few problems during the last races, preventing me from obtaining the results we are capable of. I am ready and motivated for my arrival in Portugal and will be aiming to score my first podium of the season.”
Ayrton Badovini and his Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki team-mate Kyle Smith took part in an official organisers’ test session at Portimao recently, meaning that they both intend to arrive in Portugal ready to score their season best performances. Currently Ayrton is 13th overall and Kyle 18th. Smith still leads the class-within-a-class FIM Europe Supersport Cup (ESS), for riders who race at the European rounds.
Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) remains one point and one place behind Smith in the points with Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) now joining Hartog on the nine point mark, after a fine 12th place at Donington. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) will return to action looking for his first championship point of the campaign. ESS rider Gaetan Matern (Flembbo Racing Team Kawasaki) will also compete in Portugal.
WorldSSP300: Match Point for González
Will the ParkinGO rider leave Portugal a World Champion, or can Carrasco, Deroue or Verdoia delay the celebrations?
The FIM Supersport 300 World Championship returns with a bang from a two-month hiatus, as teenage sensation and championship leader Manuel González (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) aims to become the first World Champion of the 2019 season at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. Entering the sloping Portuguese venue with a 43-point advantage over a group of three hungry rivals, the 17-year-old could make history with two races to spare.
Fine margins have continuously defined WorldSSP300. The first two editions of the series were won by a single point, with leading gaps never driven too far into double digits; race wins and podiums have been split amongst an ample group of contenders, hundredths of a second often the deciding factor. So, to return from the summer break with three races remaining on the calendar and a rider already facing a first opportunity to seal up the title race is quite staggering.
And still, him succeeding is not just mathematically possible, but well within the realms of probability, such has been his ruthless form this year. González needs to outscore his three closest rivals – all tied on 65 points, to his 108 – by seven points. In practical terms, that means that a win for González – already the first rider to score three wins in a single WorldSSP300 season – would automatically knock two of his closest pursuers out of contention, with the other needing a second-place finish just to remain with a chance ahead of Magny-Cours.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, for if we’ve learnt anything, this season is that no championship lead is unassailable. Everything can change on a whim while there are races to be run. Just look back at the rollercoaster that was WorldSSP300’s visit to Donington Park: González crashed and was declared unfit after Superpole, Scott Deroue (Kawasaki MOTOPORT) and Marc García (DS Junior Team) failed to qualify altogether, and Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300) fell inside the first lap. Result: none of the top four going into the UK scored a single point.
Admittedly, the odds are high on a repeat outcome in Portimao. Carrasco and Deroue, in particular, have fond memories of Portugal: the Spaniard secured a dazzling win here in 2017 – the first for a woman in a World Championship – while Deroue was victorious in 2018, his last victory in the series. Two of the strongest riders in the championship, their bid to drag the title race all the way to Qatar begins this weekend.
Joining them in the 65-pointer group and perhaps the sole frontrunner to enter the summer break with a smile on his face, what Andy Verdoïa (BCD Yamaha MS Racing) may lack in experience compared to these riders he more than makes up for in talent and tenacity, as proven by his extraordinary UK display. Forced to start from the back of the grid for a tyre pressure infringement, the 16-year-old extraordinaire seized the race lead within half a dozen laps and was only denied a maiden win by fellow Yamaha competitor Kevin Sabatucci (Team Trasimeno Yamaha).
Could we see another outsider win in Portugal? Several names are ready to step up, including the KTM duo of Jan-Ole Jahnig and Victor Steeman (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team), the unpredictable Galang Hendra Pratama (Semakin Di Depan Biblion Motoxracing), Hugo De Cancellis (Team Trasimeno Yamaha), Bruno Ieraci (Kawasaki GP Project) or Nick Kalinin (Nutec – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki). Many candidates to disrupt the order in the always entertaining Portuguese Round.
#PRTWorldSBK: 10 facts about Portimao to feed your curiosity!
Catch up with all the most relevant stats before WorldSBK returns to Portimao for the ACERBIS Portuguese Round
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) is the only rider who has raced in all the 20 WorldSBK races held in Algarve.
2. So far, there have been nine different winners in Algarve. Four of them are present in the 2019 field: Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK (7), Marco Melandri – GRT Yamaha WorldSBK (2), Eugene Laverty – Team Goeleven (2) and Tom Sykes – BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team (2).
3. Seven different manufacturers have been able to record at least a podium placement in Algarve: (Ducati, Honda, Aprilia, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, BMW).
4. Three different riders on three different bikes have recorded the Superpole in the last three editions of the Algarve race: Davide Giugliano on the Ducati Panigale R in 2015; Jonathan Rea on the Kawasaki ZX-10R in 2017; Eugene Laverty on the Aprilia RSV4 F last year.
5. Yamaha is the only manufacturer to have recorded pole in consecutive years with two different riders in Portugal: in 2009 with Ben Spies and in 2010 with Cal Crutchlow.
6. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) is the record holder of Algarve Superpoles: three, recorded in sequence from 2012 to 2014. Rea follows at two, and then five riders with one (Bayliss, Spies, Crutchlow, Giugliano and Laverty).
7. Kawasaki is running the longest streak of wins in Algarve, no less than six in a row, with doubles by Rea in 2015, 2017 and 2018. It is the only string of more than two wins by a manufacturer at this track.
8. Rea is the undisputed leader for wins here: he won 7 races, more than one third of all the WorldSBK races run in Algarve (20). He has been the only winner here since 2014, Race 2.
9. Jonathan Rea is the record holder for podium finishes here: no less than 14 out of 20 races contested. His next competitor is Marco Melandri at 6.
10. Reigning World Champion Jonathan Rea debuted in the WorldSBK championship in 2008 at Portimao, which was the last weekend of the season. He came from the World Supersport Championship, and recorded the third best time in qualifying, finishing then fourth in Race 1. In Race 2 he was 15th after an off-track excursion while running fifth.
WorldSBK set to celebrate 400th round in Portugal
A landmark achievement for the WorldSBK championship this weekend, as Portimao will be the 400th round in the history of the championship
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship heads to the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal for the Acerbis Portuguese Round this weekend for what is already, a historic weekend in the history of the championship. This weekend will mark the 400th WorldSBK round since the championship began back in 1988 at the famous Donington Park circuit. And since that first round took place, we have seen incredible action...
Famous names such as Davide Tardozzi, Marco Lucchinelli, Bubba Shobert and Joey Dunlop lined up on the grid for the first ever round of World Superbike, with an array of machinery and nationalities forming a truly international grid. Today, that legacy lives on, with 10 different countries from three continents competing against each other, across five different factory manufacturers.
Since 1988, there have been some iconic championship-defining moments. At the 100th round, Pierfrancesco Chili won at home at Monza in 1996, after a dramatic final lap. At the 250th WorldSBK event, it was Carlos Checa’s turn to rise to the occasion at the all-new Miller Motorsport Park in Utah in 2008, taking not just his first win but a double.
To add to the occasion of the 400th WorldSBK round, it will be Portimao’s 11th occasion hosting the world’s fastest production-based championship, with a recent contract extension seeing the popular Portuguese venue on the calendar until 2022. This extension secures Portimao in continuing to showcase exciting and memorable moments in WorldSBK, like it has done before.
In 2008, Troy Bayliss completed cleaned up with what would be his last poles, wins and fastest laps in WorldSBK, and what was at the time, his swansong round. In 2009, Ben Spies took a dramatic championship win from Noriyuki Haga, snatching it from the Japanese rider in Race 1 and confirming his title success in Race 2. It was also the first WorldSBK round for Jonathan Rea, who enters his 135th round this weekend.
This year, the WorldSBK title fight is still on, with Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) looking to overcome Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on his first time at Portimao. In WorldSSP, the BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team duo of Randy Krummenacher and Federico Caricasulo continue to fight, whilst the championship could be decided in WorldSSP300.