2011 WSBK Portimao Test Wednesday Session 1 Times: Rea Starts Out On Top

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.

Results: 

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff
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
2011
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Total votes: 46

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Comments

... but I'm betting Xaus is going to win a race (or two) before the year is out.

Total votes: 57

David, where is Troy Corser? I see he's listed in the provisional entry list, but not in this timesheet?

Total votes: 51

The factory BMW team is in Australia, and will be testing privately at Phillip Island (if memory serves) later this week. 

Total votes: 58

I'm pretty sure that they will be testing at Eastern Creek (outside Sydney) which hosted the Australian round for the 500s in the early 90's.

Total votes: 53

Disappointing for the yamaha riders but also for Checa, hes 2.4 sec off his usual pace!
Good showing from Lascorz as well, considering hes still not 100%.

Total votes: 44

Checa had a fall early on in the day and his times didn't improve after that. I don't know if he was injured.

Total votes: 54

I'm starting to feel that the 2011 season is starting to kick into gear. Next week, Sepang testing. Old Nori can't be denied. Just rides anything with two wheels fast and well. Castrol Honda,well I love the colours.Not too different from Alitalia Aprilia. I would have expected the factory BMW crowd to attend. Nevertheless, good to finally see some 2011 test times being posted.

Total votes: 52

When pigs fly. Corser won nothing but soundly beat Xaus in every race they both finished, and just about every timed session. Corser is there to develop the bike and push for the front, Haslam is there to win on it. Xaus was an odd choice for Ten Kate IMO, he hasn't shown much for many a season.

Total votes: 65

I bet JT is kicking himself..
I read he was in the frame for the ride but it looks like he wouldn't wait for a second seat to be confirmed, with the Castrol backing after Hanspree cut back their involvement. Ten Kate were making all the right noises about him just needing some understanding and encouragement to bring out his best..they still believed in him and a Honda berth, with them, alongside Rea could have been perfect ticket for him to rebuild his reputation.
He is a big lad now and double WC to boot, "hairnet" Burnetts advice or not, the decision to ride a second string BMW looks like it may cost him dear.

Total votes: 61