Tissot-Superpole goes to Sykes for a blink of an eye
An incredibly close battle for the top slot on the grid saw Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) scoring his 16th career pole position for just a thousandth of a second – that translates into only 4.5 cm – on Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team). The same gap between the top-2 riders in Superpole happened only once before, as in 2009 Ben Spies snatched pole from Michel Fabrizio at Kyalami. The 1’41.360 set by the British rider meant also a new Best Lap for the Portuguese track.
Tom Sykes: “I am really happy to have five Tissot-Superpole wins on the bounce, it is a record for me. I was able to do my time on a dry and sunny track but Eugene Laverty almost beat me to it this time. I am looking forward to two races tomorrow and I am expecting them to be difficult. We took a circuit best lap and I was surprised at that because last year I put in a good lap in better conditions. I think it shows that Pirelli have made a good step with the tyres.”
Eugene Laverty: “You can’t get any closer to the pole than that! In any case I’m happy to be on the front row. I made a small mistake on my fast lap and I thought I had compromised my performance. It’s a shame for that thousandth of a second, but in any case we’re ready for the races tomorrow and that the weather conditions will be good.”
Today’s Superpole was partly influenced by the weather, as drops of rain began to fall moments before the start of Superpole 2. As per the 2013 WSBK Sporting Regulations, a final 20-minute wet session took place with all 12 riders involved. The conditions quickly improved, though, meaning the riders could fight for top positions on the grid on a dry track.
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) completes the first row of the grid for tomorrow’s two races, continuing to impress after the excellent performance in qualifying. Fourth place Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Goldbet) finished ahead of Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and an improving Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare), who was able to put up a good lap onboard his 1199 Panigale R despite his left shoulder injury.
Frenchman Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) was 8th at the flag followed by the Italian trio of Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati). The 2011 STK1000 Champion had a minor crash at Turn 8 during the last Superpole session.
Tissot-Superpole times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’41.360 average 163.094 kph; 2. Laverty (Aprilia) 1’41.361; 3. Rea (Honda) 1’41.787; 4. Melandri (BMW) 1’42.115; 5. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’42.209; 6. Baz (Kawasaki) 1’42.328; 7. Checa (Ducati) 1’42.405; 8. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1’42.645; 9. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1’43.032; 10. Badovini (Ducati); 11. Giugliano (Aprilia); 12. Davies (BMW); 13. Camier (Suzuki); 14. Haslam (Honda); 15. Neukirchner (Ducati).
World Supersport – Lowes on pole over Sofuoglu
Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha’s Sam Lowes keeps his 2013 pole position streak alive by securing the top spot on the grid – for the fourth time in a row – after today’s Qualifying 2. The current Championship leader set a successful lap-time of 1’44.804 using race tyres, resulting the only rider able to lap below the 1’45 bracket. Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) will start tomorrow’s race from 2nd place, followed by Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda), team mate Fabien Foret and Andrea Antonelli (Team Goeleven Kawasaki).
Dutchman Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) was 6th ahead of Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) and Luca Scassa (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki). The Irishman had a collision with Lowes during the session from which he escaped uninjured, despite some initial concern.
David Salom (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) ended up 11th, behind Raffaele De Rosa (Team Lorini Honda) and rookie Riccardo Russo (Puccetti Racing Kawasaki). Another collision involved Mathew Scholtz (Team Suriano Racing Suzuki) and Gabor Talmacsi (Prorace Honda), while an unfortunate Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport) crashed on his own at Turn 15, eventually qualifying in 26th place.
Times: 1. Lowes (Yamaha) 1’44.804 average 157.734 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’45.319; 3. Morais (Honda) 1’45.534; 4. Foret (Kawasaki) 1’45.845; 5. Antonelli (Kawasaki) 1’46.035; 6. Vd Mark (Honda) 1’46.085; 7. Kennedy (Honda) 1’46.131; 8. Scassa (Kawasaki) 1’46.211; 9. De Rosa (Honda) 1’46.254; 10. Russo (Kawasaki) 1’46.272; etc.
An early crash at Turn 14 did not allow Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) to improve his lap-time set yesterday in Qualifying 1, but didn’t prevent the defending STK1000 Champion from scoring his 3rd pole position of the season. Monza race winner Lorenzo Savadori (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) was able to close on the lead at his penultimate quick lap attempt before the flag in today’s second qualifying session, eventually finishing 2nd with a 0.071 seconds gap from tomorrow’s pole-sitter.
Italy’s Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Ducati) secured the last slot of the first row by ending up third ahead of MRS Kawasaki duo of former STK600 Champion Jeremy Guarnoni and Romain Lanusse. Championship leader Niccolò Canepa (Barni Racing Ducati) will need a good start in tomorrow’s race as he ended up qualifying in 8th place behind Argentinean Leandro Mercado (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) and Czech Ondrej Jezek (Sk Energy – Fany Gastro Ducati).
Times: 1. Barrier (BMW) 1’45.881 average 156.130 kph; 2. Savadori (Kawasaki) 1’45.952; 3. La Marra (Ducati) 1’46.041; 4. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1’46.385; 5. Lanusse (Kawasaki) 1’46.530; 6. Mercado (Kawasaki) 1’46.940; 7. Jezek (Ducati) 1’46.959; 8. Canepa (Ducati) 1’46.960; 9. Lussiana (Kawasaki) 1’47.017; 10. McFadden (BMW) 1’47.545; etc.
Superstock 600 – Race
Franco Morbidelli (San Carlo Team Italia Kawasaki) has won a spectacular and unpredictable Superstock 600 race at Portimao, following a close 4-way battle for the victory in the closing stages. The maiden STK600 victory for the 19 year old Italian – who was warmly cheered by WSBK rider Michel Fabrizio at Parc Fermé later on – was a pure example of perfect race craft, especially on the last lap, as he fought side by side with Tony Covena (Nito Racing Kawasaki) for the lead until the Dutchman went wide at Turn 13, allowing Bastien Chesaux (EAB Ten Kate Junior Honda) and Gauthier Duwelz (MTM-MVR Racing Yamaha) to get through.
While Morbidelli managed to defend his small margin to cross the line as race winner, Duwelz was able to make a last second pass over Chesaux on the finish straight for 2nd, with a clearly disappointed Covena to follow in 4th place after an exciting performance on track.
Pole-sitter Adrian Nestorovic’s race drew to a very early end at the first turn after high-siding and landing badly on the tarmac. The Australian was diagnosed with no major injuries apart from a concussion.
Results: 1. Morbidelli (Kawasaki) 10 Laps/45.920 km in 18’20.298 average 150.243 kph; 2. Duwelz (Yamaha) 0.062; 3. Chesaux (Honda) 0.103; 4. Coveña (Kawasaki) 0.220; 5. Gamarino (Kawasaki) 3.663; 6. Nocco (Kawasaki) 4.784; 7. Marchal (Yamaha) 5.640; 8. Mulhauser (Yamaha) 11.630; 9. Vitali (Suzuki) 11.814; 10. Jones (Honda) 15.200; 11. Salvadori (Yamaha) 15.366; 12. Casalotti (Yamaha) 17.157; 13. D’Annunzio (Yamaha) 17.296; 14. Cecchini (Honda) 17.492; 15. Schmitter (Yamaha) 18.465; etc.
Standings: 1. Duwelz 77; 2. Chesaux 56; 3. Morbidelli 54; 4. Coveña 52; 5. Morrentino 33; 6. Mulhauser 32; 7. Nestorovic 31; 8. Gamarino 31; 9. Salvadori 27; 10. Nocco 25; 11. Tessels 19; 12. Casalotti 19; 13. Tuuli 17; 14. Tatasciore 16; 15. Vitali 15; etc.