The World Supersport race start was delayed by over an hour, until the medical helicopter could return after the crash at end of the World Superbike race. As the day dragged on, the weather didn't turn and the seventeen lap race could start after a quick start procedure.
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Five times world champion Jonathan Rea is the most successful World Superbike rider around Portimao, but Toprak Razgatlioglu heads to the grid after a tremendous couple of days qualifying, and Scott Redding has a title lead to defend. With riders getting enough practice in the right weather to know what their tyres should do, the riders lined up with an audience of 250 fans allowed to watch with a socially distanced post-pandemic grandstand view under a 30°C summer sky.
Superpole qualifying for World Supersport would determine the grids for both today's and tomorrow's races. Without qualifying tyres, fast laps could come at any time in the session.
World Superbike Superpole at Portimao opened with Toprak Razgatlioglu being the quickest rider, but with riders having the option of what should be called the Tom Sykes tyre, he would have his work cut out for him if he intended to get a front row start.
Three Frenchmen set the provisional front row, with the Yamahas of Jules Cluzel and Corentin Perolari beating the Kawasaki of Lucas Mahias.
Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael van der Mark kept Yamaha on top in the last free session.
Loris Baz ended the session quickest, ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu. and Jonathan Rea. Rea held the top spot for most of the session, but ten minuted from the end, riders started putting in fast laps to clutter up the top of the sheets. Michael Ruben Rinaldi was the quickest Ducati throughout the session, with Redding only breaking into the top ten in the last few minutes. Tom Sykes was sixth quickest, still within three tenths of a second of Baz's time, and Michael van der Mark was only four tenths off the pace in seventh.
The afternoon session resembled the morning's times, with three Yamahas in the top quarter of a second, Andrea Locatelli, Jules Cluzel and Isaac Viñales holding off Lucas Mahias.
Continuing Yamaha's good fortune at Portimao, Anrea Locatelli, Jules Cluzel and Corentin Perolari set the three fastest times, with Lucas Mahias the only other rider within a half second of Locatelli's quickest time.
Weather was not as punishing as last weekend in Jerez, with an air temperature of 26ºC.
Loris Baz set an early fast time, but ten minutes in, Jonathan Rea briefly held the top spot until Loris Baz took it right back with a 1'43.029, A further five minutes and Rea set a 1'42.803. After the quicker riders took a mid-session break, Toprak Razgatlioglu set a 1'42.103 and was joined by Michael van der Mark, knocking Rea to third place, but nobody could get within six tenths of Razgatlioglu.
As the air temperature hit thirty five degrees centigrade, fun-loving Toprak Razgatlioglu did some show-boating on the sighting lap, in spite of a lack of audience. After a quick wheelie, he did a slow rear slide that turned into the simplest lowside crash, spinning in the middle of the track. He picked it up and sheepishly made the grid for the race start.
World Supersport opened with a red flag on the warmup lap. Axel Bassani adjusted his visor as he left the grid and, in a moment of inattention, ploughed right into the back of Raffaele De Rosa at a low speed. Bassani crashed and his bike tumbled into the gravel while De Rosa's rear tyre was deflated and the rear of his seat was destroyed. De Rosa limped his MV Agusta around an entire lap with bits falling off his bike and a floppy rear tyre. The race start was delayed and the incident immediately went under investigation.
The ten lap Superpole race was contested at lower temperatures than yesterday's full-length race and would decide the grid for this afternoon's race. With almost everyone armed with the Superpole race Pirelli SCX tyre, tyre choice would not be a factor in the race.
The first World Supersport Saturday race would be seventeen laps of Jerez. Isaac Viñales started at the back of the grid due to an incorrect tyre pressure.
Twenty hot laps of Jerez with the first World Superbike race in five months. At least four riders are capable of taking the title in the shortened calendar.