The World Superbike machines are back on track after a long winter lay-off, at the first day of the official WSBK test at Portimao. Fastest man on track on Wednesday morning was Castrol Honda's Johnny Rea, the Ulsterman taking an early lead and not relinquishing it. The margin of his lead was cut drastically: Rea had over a second and a half early in the session, but by the time the checkered flag fell, Liberty Ducati's Jakub Smrz had cut that back to under six hundredths of a second.
Reigning World Champion Max Biaggi was also back on form, setting the third fastest time of the session, a third of a second behind Rea, and over four tenths faster than lone Suzuki rider Michel Fabrizio. The Kawasaki made good on its off-season promise, Tom Sykes setting the 5th fastest time ahead of Rea's Castrol Honda teammate Ruben Xaus and Pata Aprilia's Nori Haga. Haga in turn was faster than the second factory Aprilia of Leon Camier, the young Briton ending over 1.1 seconds behind Rea.
The most disappointing of the debuts were for the Yamahas, with Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri finishing near or at the very bottom of the pile. Laverty was 1.8 seconds off Rea, while MotoGP refugee ended the day over two and a half seconds behind the Ulsterman, though in the Italian's defense, this is Melandri's first visit to the stunning Portuguese circuit.
Testing continues this afternoon.
|1||4||J. Rea||Honda CBR1000RR||1'44.055|
|2||96||J. Smrz||Ducati 1098R||1'44.113||0.058|
|3||3||M. Biaggi||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||1'44.384||0.329|
|4||84||M. Fabrizio||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1'44.756||0.701|
|5||66||T. Sykes||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1'44.841||0.786|
|6||111||R. Xaus||Honda CBR1000RR||1'44.949||0.894|
|7||41||N. Haga||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||1'44.967||0.912|
|8||2||L. Camier||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||1'45.167||1.112|
|9||17||J. Lascorz||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1'45.404||1.349|
|10||121||M. Berger||Ducati 1098R||1'45.418||1.363|
|11||50||S. Guintoli||Ducati 1098R||1'45.510||1.455|
|12||52||J. Toseland||BMW S1000 RR||1'45.539||1.484|
|13||86||A. Badovini||BMW S1000 RR||1'45.678||1.623|
|14||58||E. Laverty||Yamaha YZF R1||1'45.856||1.801|
|15||7||C. Checa||Ducati 1098R||1'46.526||2.471|
|16||33||M. Melandri||Yamaha YZF R1||1'46.625||2.570|