Press releases from the organizers and some of the teams after Superpole and Race 1 at Portimao:
#PRTWorldSBK – Day 2:
Jonathan Rea takes an eighth consecutive win at Portimao
Reigning World Champion sparkles in Race 1 at the Portuguese track as he takes a stunning victory ahead of Davies and van der Mark
The Acerbis Portuguese Round welcomed the first race of the weekend with World Superbike Race 1, with the sun still shining brightly and the WorldSBK grid ready for their return to action. With Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) starting from pole, the Ulsterman made it an eighth consecutive win at Portimao, with three different manufacturers on the Race 1 Portimao podium.
With the race getting underway, it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) got the holeshot and took the lead into Turn 1 but there was drama behind. A lunge from Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) saw him barge his own teammate Alvaro Bautista out of the way, forcing Bautista right down to 18th place after the Spaniard tagged the back of Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team).
By the end of Lap 1, it was Rea leading Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). Chaz Davies was up to fourth and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) made a bright start in fifth.
At the end of Lap 3, Davies and van der Mark had disposed of Leon Haslam, with the Kawasaki rider fading. But two laps later, and Davies had got ahead of Tom Sykes at Turn 1, with van der Mark taking advantage at Turn 3 before Haslam took the 2013 WorldSBK champion at Turn 6. On the front straight, Razgatlioglu got ahead of Sykes at the end of the lap, capping off a bad lap for the Huddersfield rider. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) was the first crasher of the race at Turn 8 but remounted and was back racing.
Further back, Bautista was caught up behind Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) in the battle for ninth, with the two veterans of motorcycle racing swapping paint between Turn 9 and 12. However, Bautista made it ahead at the end of the lap and soon, got ahead of Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK). Back in the fight for fourth, and it was Tom Sykes who crashed at Turn 13, not the way he wanted to celebrate a contract extension for 2020. Sykes re-joined and was back in the points by the halfway distance.
Whilst they scrapped it out for the remaining podium positions, Jonathan Rea had already built up a lead of over three seconds and was well on his way for an eighth consecutive Portimao victory. Unrivalled, untouched and unbelievable dominant, Rea had come into his own in Portugal.
With 11 laps to go and with tyre life now becoming a factor, Razgatlioglu made his move at Turn 3 and got ahead of Leon Haslam. The Independent rider was ahead of the factory rider and now, Razgatliolgu had two seconds ahead of him until the podium battle between Davies and van der Mark. In seventh place, Alvaro Bautista was beginning to close on Alex Lowes, who was having a quiet race in sixth position. Bautista was the fastest rider on track, in a race of ‘what could’ve been’.
With nine laps to go, Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) came into the pits to end what had been a disappointing race. The Irishman was on pole at the Portimao venue in 2018 but that kind of success had been far away a year later. Back in the battle for fourth and Leon Haslam had got back ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu and began to edge clear with seven laps to go. But now, a new threat was very much in the fight: Alvaro Bautista was taking chunks out of the gap, lapping nearly a second a lap quicker.
At Turn 5 with six to go, Bautista took advantage of Lowes’ error as the British rider ran in too deep; Bautista was now sixth. Further up, the battle for second had calmed, with Davies seemingly able to break away from van der Mark. Bautista cleared Razgatlioglu with three laps to go on the straight and tried to get ahead of Haslam at Turn 3, but the Brit held on and toughed it out through Turn 4, as the three battled hard. A lap later and Bautista used the top speed of the Ducati and took fourth from Haslam, where he would stay until the chequered flag.
Across the line, it was Jonathan Rea who took the win and extended his championship lead to 94 points. Chaz Davies was a safe second from 12th on the grid and van der Mark a settled third. Bautista came home fourth ahead of Leon Haslam, whilst Toprak Razgatlioglu faded to finish in sixth, but all the way from 13th on the grid to finish as top Independent. Alex Lowes was seventh, ahead of Sandro Cortese, Marco Melandri and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team), just edging out Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) to complete the top ten.
P1 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“The big thanks today goes to my team because surely this weekend we made the bike better especially in the hot condition. I worked really hard at the beginning of the race to try and find a gap, then when I got to five seconds I got really nervous so I just tried not to make any mistake and bring the bike home. Thanks to all the support that I got.
I am looking forward to tomorrow. We can try to improve the bike a little bit, especially at the end of the race to make things more comfortable. We achieved our target today".
P2 - Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing - Ducati)
"Honestly if you would have told me that I would be on the podium after that qualifying performance, I'd laughed to it. It wasn't a good qualifying at all and the start it wasn't brilliant, but then I just went in deep into Turn 1 and then did the same into Turn 3 and made up like eight places and just went forward. That was the strategy, but sometimes you don't know if it works out that way. Being aggressive it paid off today, and I put myself into that good group earlier on. Otherwise, it would have been a hard race starting from twelfth. I am pleased, and I think my bike was solid, even I struggled just a little bit with the front in the latter laps. But I only had to manage the gap on Michael, and Johnny was too far. Thanks to my team, they worked hard. I think that the most important thing is that we were able to bring here our performance from Laguna. These are two completely different race tracks, and I generally struggled here in the past, but now we got a good result today".
P3 - Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
"I am really happy to be back on the podium. This weekend we have been struggling a lot with the bike, and I have never been happy with it, but today in the race I felt a lot better. I had a nice battle with Chaz, and I thought I could stay with him till the end by I continued to struggle all the way through. Anyway, even if I wasn't comfortable on the bike I was still able to deliver a podium to my team so I am really pleased with today race".
World Superbike in Portugal: Chaz Davies gets onto the podium again with a great run to second place in Race 1, Álvaro Bautista makes an exceptional recovery to finish just off the podium in fourth
The first race in this weekend’s 400th round in the history of the World Superbike Championship saw positive performances by both riders of the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team.
Starting from a row-4, P12 grid slot, Chaz Davies ran a very aggressive race to step onto the podium once again after his win in the last round at Laguna Seca, this time in second place behind winner Rea (Kawasaki). In the tussle for supremacy in the first turn following the start, Álvaro Bautista almost made contact with his team-mate, unfortunately losing a lot of positions that put him down in sixteenth place at the end of the opening lap. The Spanish rider then made an incredible recovery to finish just a few seconds away from the podium in fourth place.
Tomorrow the ten-lap Superpole Race will be held at 11.00 CET, with Race 2 starting at 14.00.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 2nd
“I’m really happy with second place in today’s race, especially after my poor Superpole qualifying performance and twelfth place on the grid. Portimão is a strange track, different from Laguna Seca, and it’s very tricky to pass around here, so for this reason I’m happy to have got onto the podium again. I made a really good first lap, made the passes stick and went forward from there. The start wasn’t that good but I did go very deep into turn 1 and I think I caused Alvaro to stand the bike up a bit so I apologize for that. It wasn’t my intention to cause him any problems but it just happened, I saw the gap and was committed in the turn.”
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 4th
“I’m really happy with the performance we showed today, even though unfortunately we missed out on a chance to fight for the victory in the first corner due to what happened at the first turn with my team-mate and I was lucky not to touch Lowes and crash. I lost a lot of positions so I tried to recover and do my best. It was difficult to overtake other riders because I didn’t have much traction and I couldn’t make my lines so I needed more time to overtake. When I was alone our pace was even faster than the winner, so I’m happy with the performance but not the result. At least we have two races tomorrow to try and get better results than today.”
Pata Yamaha's van der Mark Storms to the Podium in Portimão
Michael van der Mark returned to the WorldSBK podium for the first time since his race win in Jerez back in June at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão today. The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider bounced back from a difficult qualifying session to impress with an incredible ride from tenth place on the grid to the third step of the podium in Race 1.
A lightning start from tenth place on the grid, followed by aggressive overtaking in the opening laps, saw van der Mark quickly close onto the back of Chaz Davies in second place, with the pair having already pulled out a significant gap on the pursuing pack. The Dutchman made an early move for second place with a brave pass around the outside of the Welshman in the final turn, but Davies was able to draft past on the straight to reclaim the position. Van der Mark maintained the gap for the remainder of the race but lacked the necessary extra pace to mount a further challenge and had to settle for third at the chequered flag. The result moves van der Mark back up to third in the championship standings, just two points ahead of his Pata Yamaha teammate, Alex Lowes.
After a difficult start and a hectic opening lap, Lowes also looked to have podium potential today, as he chased and caught the leading group in the opening stages of the race. Unfortunately, at half race distance, the Pata Yamaha rider started to struggle for rear grip and was unable to continue the battle for fourth place with Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu. After losing a further place to Alvaro Bautista, who was fighting his way back after a first corner incident, Lowes eventually took seventh place and solid points at the line.
Sandro Cortese surprised even himself with a superb Superpole performance that saw the GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider starting Race 1 from third place, on the front row of the grid. The reigning Supersport World Champion's goal today was to secure a top eight finish in the race and to rediscover the form he enjoyed prior to his qualifying crash at Donington Park. Cortese managed to maintain contact with the leading group initially but lost the tow after almost losing the front and then watching Tom Sykes and Loris Baz crash in front of him after ignoring similar warnings. Cortese eventually finished eighth to achieve his goal.
Marco Melandri followed his GRT Yamaha teammate home in ninth place and was disappointed not to finish higher up the order after qualifying eighth on the grid. The veteran Italian had a better feeling with the bike in Superpole this morning, but rising track temperatures this afternoon meant he faced the same grip issues in the race that have plagued him in recent rounds and he was unable to stay with the leading group after a busy opening lap.
The day started well for Loris Baz, with the Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider finishing third in the final free practice session this morning but, unfortunately, it went downhill from there. A crash in Superpole during his first run on qualifying tyres meant the Frenchman started Race 1 today from the fifth row of the grid. Pushing hard from the start to make up places, Baz lost the front and crashed at turn eight just six laps in. The Ten Kate Yamaha rider managed to remount and rejoin the race, which he eventually finished just out of the points in 16th place.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK - P3
"It's not been an easy weekend and I struggled to get a good feeling with the bike in free practice. I was a bit unlucky in Superpole, where I made a small mistake, with the result that I only qualified in tenth position - so I knew a good start in the race was vital today. In the end I just went for it and managed to make up quite a few places in the first few corners, after which I was able to push on and catch Chaz in second. I made an early move around the outside him of the last turn, but he was able to blast past me on the straight and I didn't quite have the pace to go after him again at the end. But I'm happy to be back on the podium in the first race after the summer break and it's a nice reward for all the hard work the team have put in to get us here."
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK - P7
"I didn't get the best start and the opening lap was quite hectic, but once it settled down a bit my pace was quite good, and I was able to stay in the group filling second to seventh places. I felt okay, but after around 11 laps I started to struggle quite badly for grip, making it difficult to get into and out of the corners because the bike was sliding so much. I went for a different tyre to most of the others, as I had a better feeling with it yesterday, but it backfired on us a little bit today. I couldn't do much more at the end, other than to ride to the finish and pick up points for seventh. Not easy, but we've certainly got some ideas on how we can improve things for tomorrow."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P8
"Nobody was expecting us to be starting here from the front row today, but I had a really good Superpole and managed to qualify in third place. The goal ahead of the weekend was to finish top ten and rebuild my confidence after two difficult races at Donington Park and Laguna. Although I started from the front row today, I went into the race knowing that a top eight finish would be a good result. Maybe others had higher expectations, but I knew it would be a very tough race. I tried to stay with the leading group for as long as possible, but I got a few warnings with the front closing and then Sykes overtook me and crashed, closely followed by Baz who did exactly the same. At that point I decided not to risk it all and to bring the bike home and bank the confidence that a race finish always brings. I'm satisfied with the result today and looking forward to the races tomorrow."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P9
"The feeling was better in qualifying this morning compared to yesterday but, if I'm honest, I expected a little bit more in the race. But, unfortunately, I was struggling for rear grip from the start and this brought back the problems we've been experiencing for some time now, in that it was difficult for me to get the bike stopped and to get it to turn. It was not easy; I just tried my best in the race, managed to finish top ten, and now we will try again to improve things for the two races tomorrow."
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P16
"The day started well, with me finishing the final free practice session in third place, and I was feeling confident. In Superpole I had a good lap time with the race tyre, but then I crashed when we switched to a qualifier, mainly as a result of our lack of experience with the qualifying tyres because I still don't really know where the limit is with the front. It was a big shame, as it meant I started the race from 15th on the grid, which meant I had no option but to attack to come back into a good position. I'd worked my way up to eighth place after a few laps and I was closing on the group battle for fifth when I crashed on the front again. I managed to rejoin and my pace was good; without the crash I think seventh place would have been possible. Now we need to try again tomorrow, firstly in the Superpole race to improve my grid position and then again in tomorrow afternoon's Race 2, where the target is to fight for a top five finish."
Strong Superpole and bad luck in Saturday's race for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team at Portimão.
Tom Sykes secures second place on the grid with the BMW S 1000 RR in Superpole.
P13 in the race for Sykes after a fall.
Top 10 result for Markus Reiterberger in Superpole and twelfth place in the race.
Portimão. Saturday at Portimão (POR) was a day of mixed feelings for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team. After a strong performance in Superpole with second place for Tom Sykes (GBR) and ninth for Markus Reiterberger (GER), the afternoon's race did not go to plan. Reiterberger crossed the finish line in twelfth place, with Sykes just behind in 13th position. Portimão is hosting the tenth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship 2019 (WorldSBK).
Sykes was able to make good use of the faster qualifying tyres during the final minutes of Superpole, setting what was then the best time - with a new lap record of 01:40.483 minutes. It was only Kawasaki rider Jonathan Rea (GBR) who managed to go one better and claim pole position. Sykes claimed the second spot on the front row. Reiterberger also reached the top ten in Superpole, finishing ninth.
Sykes initially dropped back after the start of the race but stayed in the leading group that was battling for podium positions, however the British rider fell on lap eight out of 20. He was able to remount and continued the race on his RR in 15th place. He proceeded to move up two places to 13th during the remaining laps. Reiterberger also lost a few places after the start. He then gave a solid race performance, crossing the line in twelfth position.
Quotes after race one at Portimão.
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “Both riders did very well in Superpole. Tom obviously made a great lap with his qualifier and second position was fantastic. Markus held on to the third row of the grid in ninth which again was a solid performance from him. The race was difficult. Tom got away well, he was in a real strong group and he was faster on some parts of the circuit while he was slower in other parts. The places where he was struggling on speed was where the passing places were at the end of the start-finish straight. He suffered badly for that and he was overriding and because of that he lost the front. But he took the good decision to get back on the bike and finish the race to collect some data. He scored more points but most important we got good data for tomorrow. Markus’ start was not so bad but then he got sucked in and dropped two places into the first corner. From that position it was a lonely race for him and as the race tyre disintegrates as the laps go on he got slower and this unfortunately was the position he finished. But we will analyse today’s data, work hard, prepare for tomorrow and hopefully secure places in the two front rows in the Superpole Race.”
Markus Reiterberger: “Superpole was really great. With the SC-X tyres I managed to reach the top five for a time before ending up in seventh before everyone had put on their qualifying tyres. I was then able to record a fast second lap after the first one with the qualifying tyres. That was a perfect lap. I had expected to be on the second row but it was ninth place in the end. I was just two and a half tenths of a second off fourth place. The start went well enough but I hit the first two gears too early and that meant that the other riders were able to out-accelerate me. Then I rode my race and struggled a bit with the problems that are still holding us back somewhat. I finished twelfth, which was just shy of my aim of a top ten position, but we will see if we can find something to help me do a bit better tomorrow.”
Tom Sykes: “Overall, it’s a shame because we have found a good set-up for our BMW S 1000 RR and we’ve been really consistent throughout practice and also in Superpole. We had a very strong result and just missed pole position by only one tenth. So this was good but unfortunately during the race our set-up was really good to ride when I’m on my own but when I was with the other guys the style of riding had to change a bit. And while we have a good set-up we still miss a little bit of straight-line performance. On our own we are not too bad but unfortunately I got caught out riding with the guys and just this slight change in style caused me losing the front when I released the brake. I was a little bit disappointed but it was a big lesson learned. Now we will work on that and change the set-up for tomorrow to attack again.”
Takumi Takahashi in the points zone in his debut race of the season at Portimao
Takumi Takahashi crossed the line in fifteenth place in today’s first Superbike race at the challenging Algarve International Circuit Portimao. It initially took the Japanese a little time to get into his rhythm but after a few laps, he began to steadily improve his pace before setting his personal fastest time on lap 11 and finishing inside the points zone in his first WSBK championship race of the season.
Struggling with a lack of grip, Ryuichi Kiyonari had a tougher race day and was forced to settle for nineteenth position at the end of the 20-lap competition.
Tomorrow’s Superpole race will start at 11:00 local time followed by Race 2 at 14:00 that rounds out the Portuguese race weekend.
Takumi Takahashi 13
“Today was quite challenging but it also had some positives and, above all, was a good experience. The first laps of the race were already tough enough, as I fought with some other riders and it took me some time to get past them and find my pace. But step by step my confidence improved and so did my rhythm. From mid-race on, I was able to maintain a consistent rhythm right until the end”.
Ryuichi Kiyonari 23
“I’m not happy with today’s performance. In qualifying I did not improve my position but at least the feeling with the bike was not bad, apart from the lack of rear grip. In order to try and improve in terms of that issue, we tried a set-up change, but it did not work as we were hoping for. I was struggling even more in the race and I could not ride fast enough. We must think ahead to tomorrow and work to try and do better”.
A difficult first SBK race for Delbianco at Portimao
Portimao (Portugal), Saturday 7 September 2019
At the Portuguese track of Portimao, the first WorldSBK race of the weekend proved rather challenging for Alessandro Delbianco and the Althea MIE Racing team, who crossed the line in 18th position.
During the morning’s 25-minute Superpole session, which took place in dry, sunny conditions, Delbianco completed eight laps in all. His fastest time, a 1’43.263 set just two minutes from the end, saw him qualify in 19th position.
At 2pm local time, the lights went on the weekend’s first Superbike race. From the seventh row of the grid, Alessandro retained 19th position through the opening laps before progressing to 16th by lap five. Struggling to establish a good rhythm, the Italian lost a little ground during the second part of the race, passing in front of the chequered flag in 18th position.
“I’m fairly satisfied with today’s race as I feel I gave it my all. I started quite well but then struggled to find good pace through the opening stages. My rhythm then picked up and I closed less than a tenth from the rider immediately ahead of me. Tomorrow I hope to be able to improve and complete two solid races.”
SUNDAY MISSION: TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE TWO RACES; AFTER AN UNLUCKY SATURDAY
Saturday on the Portimao track opens under the typical warm conditions of the Portuguese summer. Temperatures over 30 degrees, hot asphalt that forced the riders to make further efforts both physical and tyre management.
The Free Practices 3, held in the "fresh" morning, allowed the protagonists on the track to significantly improve the times compared to Friday.
As usual, in FP 3 the fastest laps of the free sessions are recorded, but they are not very indicative in view of Superpole and races, which are held in the warmest hours of the day.
Free Practices 3: P 13 1.42.764 + 1.136
At 11.00 the Superpole starts!
Eugene Laverty enters the track with the race tyre, takes a few laps to become familiar with the track conditions; 10 minutes from the end of the session, he stops, puts on the qualifying tyre and can immediately print a 1.41.754, a second faster than the morning.
Unfortunately it is not enough to stay in the top ten, but the Irish rider is confident for the race.
Superpole: P 14 1.41.754 + 1.382
In Race 1 Eugene starts from the fifth row, maintaining his position. During the first laps he set his pace trying to recover a few tenths and stick to the group fighting for the Top Ten.
However, towards the middle of the race a technical problem forces him to stop in the pits. The technicians will verify the nature of the fault in the coming hours. Unfortunately this concludes a bitter and very complicated day for our colors.
Tomorrow it will be crucial to try to reverse the course and take advantage of the two scheduled races!
Race 1: RET E. Laverty
Tomorrow, Sunday, stay tuned, Eugene will need all your support to bring home a good result!
Eugene Laverty (Rider):
"We are really struggling this weekend unfortunately! Yesterday was though and again was difficult today to make any improvement. I tried to stop the bike and to exit the corner better on the rear tyre, but we just don't have the grip. Unfortunately in the race today, at mid-distance, we had a technical problem and I had to enter the pits. That's racing!
Tomorrow we have other two opportunities, so let's see what we can do!"
WorldSSP: Caricasulo blitzes Tissot Superpole at Portimao
Caricasulo made it Italy’s first back-to-back pole positions in World Supersport since 2011 as he takes the title fight to Krummenacher from pole in Portugal
Next out on the circuit was the World Supersport field, with the focus on the championship battle between BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team of Randy Krummenacher and Federico Caricasulo. In recent rounds, the momentum has been firmly with Caricasulo but Krummenacher still held the championship lead. Heading into the race tomorrow, it is Caricasulo who starts on pole.
Randy Krummenacher was the rider who slotted in at the top spot, ahead of the surprise package of Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing), the Spaniard making his debut at the Algarve International Circuit. Kyle Smith’s strong weekend looked set to continue in the early stages, as the British rider was up as high as third once everyone had settled down with the opening times. There was a crash for Raffaele De Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse) at Turn 14 but the Italian made it back to the pits. At Turn 11 in the final 10 minutes, Isaac Viñales crashed but was unscathed in the incident.
As the session came to an end, Caricasulo hit pole position, ahead of Krummenacher and Viñales. However, there was still plenty of opportunity for change, as the Kawasaki charge was strong, being led by Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), with Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini), Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Kyle Smith all lining up behind the trio of Yamahas at the front. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) needed a strong lap in the closing stages, languishing down in eighth.
On his final lap, Federico Caricasulo blasted in a very quick time, storming to the fastest lap of the weekend and putting himself 0.4s clear of the chasing bunch and securing back-to-back poles for the first time this season. Krummenacher was only able to achieve second position as he is recovering from nagging injuries picked up from Friday, whilst Lucas Mahias was back on the front row again in third.
Leading the charge from row two, despite a crash, Isaac Viñales was fourth and impressive on his return to action after eight weeks off in the summer. Raffaele De Rosa’s issues earlier on in the session saw him elevate up the order to the middle of row two in fifth, whilst Ayrton Badovini made it three Italians in the top six and completed row two. Kawasaki and MV AGUSTA are certainly bringing the charge to Yamaha at the front of the grid.
Row three features Japanese star Hikari Okubo, who is yet to start from outside the top nine in 2019. Joining him on the third row, it was a disaster for Jules Cluzel who starts just eighth after winning last time out at Donington Park. Britain’s Kyle Smith was ninth, as he looks to secure the Europe Supersport Cup crown this weekend. Completing the top ten is Jules Danilo (CIA Landlord Insurance), making it all four manufacturers represented inside the top ten. Wildcard Miquel Pons (H43 Team NOBBY TALASUR-BLUMAQ) was 11th.
Pole position - Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)
"It was a good qualifying for me. We worked a lot yesterday. Today I tried to set my best lap. The bike was just perfect. I made a little mistake in my last lap, but still, I am satisfied because I saw how fast I am. For tomorrow I think we will be able to do a good performance but even if today I was the fastest I expect many riders with a similar pace in the race tomorrow".
Caricasulo Dominates Qualifying to Claim Pole Position
Bardahl Evan Bros. Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Federico Caricasulo, will start tomorrow's 18-lap FIM Supersport World Championship race from pole position after a dominant performance in today's Superpole shootout.
The Italian shattered the existing pole record to claim the top spot on the timesheet with an advantage over his Bardahl Yamaha teammate and main championship rival, Randy Krummenacher, of almost half a second.
Caricasulo trails championship leader Krummenacher by just 15 points in the standings, and with just four races remaining over which the title fight will be decided, tomorrow's encounter between the two teammates at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão promises to be thriller.
Kallio Racing Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Isaac Vinales, will also be looking to be in the fight for podium glory tomorrow, after qualifying in fourth today, to secure a start from the head of the second row in tomorrow's race.
A difficult Superpole session saw GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Jules Cluzel, facing a tough race, which he will start from eighth place on the third row of the grid. Despite this disadvantage, it's a fairly safe bet that a hard charging Cluzel, the only rider other than the Bardahl teammates to win races this season, will be fighting it out at the front of the race tomorrow.
GMT94 Yamaha's Corentin Perolari will start tomorrow from 14th position, with Kallio Racing Yamaha's Loris Cresson one place further back on the grid in 15th. Maria Herrera, standing in aboard the Kallio Racing Yamaha R6 for the injured Thomas Gradinger, will start from position 21 on the grid.
ROUND 9 (PORTIMAO) FP & Superpole
Portimao (Portugal) 7 September 2019
With the summer break over, teams are back on track and ready for the final hard-fought part of the season. The stage for round nine is the beautiful but technical Portimao circuit, located in the Algarve in southern Portugal.
Yesterday, Krummenacher stood out in the first practice sessions, setting the fastest time. Unfortunately though, the Swiss rider also suffered a crash in the final minutes of that sessions, which left him with a fractured big toe on his right foot as well as some cuts and bruises. The Team Bardahl Evan Bros. rider nevertheless took part in session two, making the most of the time available to sort the bike and understand his physical condition.
The Tissot Superpole took place this morning, the session serving to set Sunday’s grid positions. The Swiss rider’s desire to fight for the title won out over the pain he is suffering post-crash and Krummenacher scored the second fastest time, securing a place on the front row of the grid.
#RK21: “Yesterday was a very hard day. Unfortunately, due to a suspension problem, I suffered a bad crash. These things are unpredictable and can happy, it’s part of racing and I know that everyone around me works impeccably so I have no complaints.
The things that’s bothering me most is my fractured toe. With the Clinica Mobile staff, I’m doing my best to limit the pain. Today I was able to find good feeling with the bike and I pushed as hard as I could, scoring second place. Tomorrow I will give it my all as always to try and score a good result. This is the final part of the season, I’m chasing the title and so I’ll grit my teeth, try my best and hope the desired results come.
I want to thank my team as they’re carrying out impeccable work and in just a few hours gave me a bike competitive enough to allow me to finish second.
Today I will try to rest up ahead of tomorrow’s race that will get underway at 12:15 local time (GMT+0).”
Mahias Third in Superpole With Okubo Seventh
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will start Sunday’s WorldSSP race from the front row after securing the third fastest time in Superpole qualifying at Portimao today. In warm and sunny conditions Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished seventh fastest in Superpole.
Having completed the early Free Practice sessions not entirely happy with his machine set-up Lucas Mahias approached the 25-minute long Tissot-Superpole in seventh place after all the free practice sessions had been completed, and before the fight for final grid positions began.
The 2017 World Champion upped his game at the crucial time and took the third best time, and the 22nd front row start of his career.
Okubo just missed out on a second row start with his Superpole ride to seventh place. He had a lap cancelled after exceeding the track limits near the end of the session.
After consistently sunny and hot conditions were evident over the first two days of action at Portimao, more very fine weather is expected to welcome Sunday’s 18-lap race, which will be the ninth round of the 2019 season.
Lucas Mahias stated: “I am really happy and it is a pleasant surprise because yesterday my feeling on the bike was not so nice. My crew and mechanics worked a lot last night to understand what the problem was, and me too. I looked at the timesheets and video to understand what the problem was and this morning the feeling was not so bad. I had a little crash in the last part of FP3, but just a small one. I was not so confident for Superpole; I had hoped to finish on the second row but finally the lap time was not so bad. I pushed until the last lap. I followed pole man Caricasulo but I am not sure this was a good solution because he disturbed me a little – not because he was slow – but because I looking in front and did not have a big concentration on my own line. Third position is good for tomorrow in the race and I am happy.”
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I tried to push hard to take my best possible lap time so seventh position does not make me happy. My target is to get on the front row. I was not so far away, about 0.4 seconds, but the important thing is the race tomorrow. I will keep thinking about how to approach the race but I think if I can get away in the top group it will be possible to get on the podium. Tomorrow is a big chance and we will take it step-by-step.”
Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) made the best of his recent official test experiences at Portimao by setting the sixth best time, earning a second row start. Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) placed himself on the third row of the grid with a ninth fastest time in Superpole.
Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was a fine 17th after also recently testing at Portimao, while Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) was 19th and Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) 23rd today after being penalised twice for exceeding track limits. Gaetan Matern (Flembbo Leader Team Kawasaki) was 27th in Superpole.
Top ten for Danilo in Portimao qualifying
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Jules Danilo produced his best Tissot Superpole qualifying session of the year to date today, posting a fastest time of 1’45.661 to qualify in tenth place. Danilo heads up the fourth row of the grid for tomorrow’s 18-lap race at the challenging high-speed Portuguese circuit.
Danilo said: “Best qualifying of the year so I’m happy with that. I’m happy with how the weekend has gone, it’s been really consistent and I think that’s all thanks to the work we did in the test. We tried many things and now I feel a lot more confident on the bike. I was able to find a bit of a slipstream – more of a reference – and I think that helped me especially as it’s the first time it’s happened in the weekend so having someone to catch gave me a bit of extra motivation. But I also improved my lap time on my own and I think our pace is really good so I’m curious to see how the race will evolve. Previous years’ lap times have been 45s and 46s so let’s see where that puts us tomorrow.”
It proved a difficult day again for Peter Sebestyen as he struggled to get into a rhythm on the Honda CBR600RR. Whilst the young Hungarian set his fastest lap time of the weekend in the Tissot Superpole session he dropped down the order and starts Sunday’s FIM World Supersport race from 16th on the sixth row of the grid.
Sebestyen said: “Compared to yesterday I think we have a better bike but we still have a lot of things to improve for tomorrow. I’m confident. It was very difficult today, especially in qualifying as I tried to use the slip stream but I couldn’t do a good strategy so my lap times didn’t come. The position is not great but it will be a more exciting race for tomorrow. If we can fix some issues I think we can do a good race because my bike, the chassis seems very good.”
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “That is Jules’s best qualifying of the year. He missed out on the first three rows by only a tenth of a second but it was a really good effort and a big improvement. You can see now he has a chance to fight well inside the top ten in the race so it puts us in a good position. He’s very happy and comfortable on the bike, we might make some small tweak for warm-up but really that’s just to maximise him and the bike. I’m sure he can do it. Great job by the team.”
“Peter is a little bit disappointed by his position but he’s managed to match his best time from last year. He’s quite happy with the chassis so we’re now fitting him a brand-new engine for tomorrow to give him every chance and the opportunity to fulfil his potential. Good job by the boys. We like this track, it’s like our second home round as they are our original sponsor and remain friends of the team. We are looking for a best result for the team, for both riders. Peter is always a better racer than a qualifier so we are looking in good shape for the race, let’s see what we can do.”