The World Superbike testing season has gotten off to a slow start, with the weather around Portimao apparently unwilling to cooperate. Heavy overnight rain left the circuit wet on Sunday morning, but conditions improved enough for the riders present to fit slicks in the afternoon and start to work on set up.
Fastest man of the day was Eugene Laverty on the Voltcom Suzuki, the Irishman benefiting from the work already done at Almeria last week, and continuing the work on chassis balance, suspension and electronics settings. Laverty posted a time two tenths faster than Marco Melandri, the man who took Laverty's place at Aprilia. It was a small but satisfying victory in what is likely to be a fierce rivalry, if the Suzuki continues its current pace of improvement.
The Ducati, too, showed much improvement, Davide Giugliano just three tenths behind Laverty, and Chaz Davies in fifth a tenth slower than his new teammate. After a difficult first year racing the Panigale, times so far appear much closer to the front.
Most impressive performance of the day was by Alex Lowes. The reigning BSB champion had never ridden at Portimao before, and was forced to learn the track in the wet. But within a few hours, Lowes was lapping just three tenths off the pace of Laverty, setting the fourth fastest time of the day.
Times from Sunday, courtesy of GPOne.com:
|1||50||Eugene Laverty||Voltcom Suzuki||1:43.4|
|2||33||Marco Melandri||Factory Aprilia||1:43.6||0.2||0.2|
|3||34||Davide Giugliano||Factory Ducati||1:43.7||0.3||0.1|
|4||22||Alex Lowes||Voltcom Suzuki||1:43.7||0.3||0.0|
|5||19||Chaz Davies||Factory Ducati||1:43.8||0.4||0.1|
|6||65||Jonathan Rea||Pata Honda||1:43.9||0.5||0.1|
|7||91||Leon Haslam||Pata Honda||1:44.4||1.0||0.5|
|8||20||Sylvain Barrier||BMW Evo||1:45.1||1.7||0.7|
|9||11||Jeremy Guarnoni||Kawasaki Evo||1:45.6||2.2||0.5|
|10||66||Alex Hoffmann||Aprilia, tester||1:45.7||2.3||0.1|
|11||71||Claudio Corti||MV Agusta||1:46.0||2.6||0.3|