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Jan 22, 2010

Haslam Fastest On First Day Of World Superbike And Supersport Testing At Portimao

Jonathan Rea (65).
Three British riders powered to the front in the first day of the official Superbike test at the Portimao circuit in Portugal. Leon Haslam was the man most in form as the Suzuki Alstare rider went quickest both in the morning and the afternoon, ending the day on the 1 minute 42.778 second mark, just three-tenths off Ben Spies' 2009 outright circuit best lap.

Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) continued to ease his way into the top category in last year's title winning team, and he was a fraction behind in second place, while Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) damaged his little finger in the morning run, but bounced back on form to take the third slot.

Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) failed to improve in the afternoon, but nevertheless ended the day in fourth, a whisker ahead of James Toseland, who has returned to race for Yamaha Sterilgarda this year. Shane Byrne (Althea Racing) continued the British flavour at the top with sixth fastest time.

For the moment the Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio are slightly off the pace in seventh and eighth place respectively, while new entrant, American Roger Lee Hayden eased his way into the World Superbike scene for the Kawasaki Pedercini team.

Times: 1. Haslam L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'42.778; 2. Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1'42.960; 3. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1'43.033; 4. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 1'43.364; 5. Toseland J. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1'43.378; 6. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1'43.569; 7. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1'43.574; 8. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'43.711; 9. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'43.870; 10. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 1'43.903; 11. Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'44.283; 12. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'44.365; 13. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1'44.376; 14. Neukirchner M. (GER) Honda CBR1000RR 1'44.453; 15. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 1'44.570; 16. Vermeulen C. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'44.576 ; 17. Parkes B. (AUS), Honda CBR1000RR 1'44.751; 18. Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1'46.444; 19. Fores J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'47.293; 20. Hayden R. (USA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'48.317.

World Supersport:

Spanish rider Joan Lascorz dominated the first day of Supersport action at Portimao, the Kawasaki rider going quickest in both sessions after 180 minutes of testing. His time of 1'45"470 was just three-tenths away off the circuit record he set in last October's race.

But the rider of the day was Michele Pirro, who took his Honda Ten Kate to second place on his debut with the team, just a fraction off the leader's pace.

A major improvement was recorded by Jason DiSalvo, the American rider making his World Supersport debut on the Triumph (tenth) while Paola Cazzola propped up the charts with 14th time on the Honda Kuja.

Times: 1. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'45.292; 2. Pirro M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1'45.587; 3. Praia M. (POR) Honda CBR600RR 1'45.834; 4. Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 1'45.909; 5. Fujiwara K. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'45.988; 6. Davies C. (GBR) Triumph Daytona 675 1'46.610; 7. Foret F. (FRA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'47.164; 8. Salom D. (ESP) Triumph Daytona 675 1'47.500; 9. Dell'Omo D. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1'48.537; 10. DiSalvo J. (USA) Triumph Daytona 675 1'49.233.

More, from a press release issued by Hannspree Ten Kate Honda:

Jonathan Rea was third fastest after today's opening day of the pre-season World Superbike test at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve near Portimao in Portugal.

Fellow Briton, Leon Haslam, set the pace today, with Rea just a tenth behind. However, a crash near the end of the session left the Northern Irishman with a cut finger and bruised hands. He sat out all but the last 45 minutes of this afternoon's 2h20m session.

"I wanted to end the day well," said Rea, "and continue testing a rear shock. We used the same type of tyre all day and did my best time after about ten laps. This morning it was on my first lap, so we learned a lot."

Rea's new team-mate for 2010, Max Neukirchner, continued his familiarisation with his new bike and team. Still only his fifth day back on the team's CBR1000RR Fireblade after missing most of last season, the German is looking forward to putting in even more laps over the next two days.

"I'm never happy at the end of the first day," Neukirchner said. "It always takes me a while to get the feeling back it was the same at our last test in Valencia. Today we tried some different things at the rear and did a lot of laps. We've got two more days here, so we'll continue tomorrow and get that feeling again."

In today's World Supersport sessions, the Hannspree Ten Kate team's new recruit, Michele Pirro, set the second fastest time. His team-mate Kenan Sofuoglu, meanwhile, decided to sit out this test in order to give his broken ankle further time to heal before the next pre-season test at Phillip Island in Australia in four weeks.

WSBK Portmao test official times, day one
1 Leon Haslam (GBR) Suzuki 1'42.778s
2 Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Yamaha 1'42.960s
3 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1'43.033s
4 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia 1'43.364s
5 James Toseland (GBR) 1'43.378s
6 Shane Byrne (GBR) 1'43.569
14 Max Neukirchner (GER) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1'44.453s

WSS Portmao test official times, day one
1 Joan Lascorz (ESP) 1'45.292s
2 Michele Pirro (ITA) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1'45.587s
3 Miguel Praia (POR) Honda 1'45.834s
4 Eugene Laverty (IRL) Honda 1'45.909s
5 Katsuaki Fujiwara (JPN) 1'45.988s
6 Chaz Davies (GBR) Triumph 1'46.610s

More, from a press release issued by Xerox Ducati:


Portimao (Portugal), Friday 22nd January 2010 - The 2010 World Superbike season officially got underway today with the start of a three-day test session at Portimao. Most of the riders signed up for the new season were present at the Portuguese circuit, and the Ducati Xerox team and riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio were very enthusiastic about getting back on board their Ducati 1198 machines after the winter break. The squad, at the track in its new formation for the first time, were equally eager to get back to work.

In the morning, and in ambient conditions (air temperature of 17°C, track 21°C), both Nori and Michel were straight out on track and, working with last year's post-race test settings as a starting point, made constant improvements during the two-hour session. Unfortunately for Michel, a virus that had already made its presence felt in the last couple of days took hold and he was taken sick towards the end.

In the early afternoon, Michel felt well enough to go back on track but the undulating track surface only exasperated his nausea and so the team was unable to complete all of what was planned for today, cutting Michel's afternoon session slightly short in the hope that he will have chance to recuperate before tomorrow. Noriyuki meanwhile had a very productive day and worked with his team to improve settings, both suspension and mapping, concluding today's testing with the seventh fastest time overall, with Michel just behind him in eighth.

Noriyuki Haga
"We have made a positive start today and I'm definitely feeling better than I did the last time I was here! We have made various modifications to suspension and mapping settings throughout the day and we will continue to work on those areas tomorrow. Rain is forecast for tomorrow I think so we will see how that affects things. I'm getting on very well with my "new look" team and feel very much at ease; it's very easy to communicate with Luca, my race engineer. So I am feeling fairly confident and hope we can move forward over the weekend."

Michel Fabrizio
"It's a shame I don't feel totally in shape today but there's nothing we can do about it. I did my best throughout this morning and managed to make some improvement, but I just felt more and more sick during the afternoon, this is a particularly undulating track which doesn't help matters. Anyway the Clinica Mobile are helping me, and I hope to be in better shape tomorrow in order to have two much more productive days tomorrow and Sunday."

TIMES - DAY 1 Haslam (Suzuki) 1m42.7s; Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1m42.9s; Rea (Honda) 1m43.0s; Biaggi (Aprilia) 1m43.3s; Toseland (Yamaha) 1m43.5s; Haga (Ducati Xerox) 1m43.5; Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) 1m43.7s

More, from a press release issued by Team Althea Ducati:

First day of three-day test session for Althea Racing Team at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve near Portimao in Portugal. The team started their preparations for the first races of the season and these tests were a good opportunity for Carlos Checa and Shane Byrne to get familiar with their new Ducati 1198 and the first occasion of confrontation with the other Superbike teams and riders. It was the first test for Byrne on his Althea Ducati 1198 while Checa tested his new bike and team here in Portimao around the end of October 2009. The two Althea Racing team riders faced a wet track and warm temperatures today in Portugal. They used the time to develop their relationships with their new team and also to start getting better acquainted with their Ducati race bikes. During morning practice Shane Byrne finished twenty-five laps while teammate Checa thirty. In the afternoon free session each rider had a full schedule of work to get through and were happy about the improvements on the bikes. Checa finished thirty-one laps while Byrne thirty-three.

Portimao test first day : 1) Haslam (Suzuki) 2) Crutchlow (Yamaha) 3) Rea (Honda) 4) Biaggi (Aprilia) 5) Toseland (Yamaha) 6) Byrne (Ducati) 1,43,569 "¦"¦.9) Checa (Ducati) 1,43,870.

Carlos Checa :" I'm satisfied with the results of this first day of tests. Today I used both of my new bikes and I worked on adapting my riding style to this new bike. At the beginning I found some difficulties but in the afternoon I was able to find a good pace. Tomorrow we'll concentrate on the electronics and on some aspects that I want to improve. It was my first time on my new 1198 Ducati bike. I can say it's a new bike concept for me and I really enjoy riding Ducati. My bike potential is very high and I can say that today we improved consistently during these two practice sessions. The team is doing a great job and I'd like to thank all of my technicians for their great help. I believe in this project and I'm sure we have the capability to reach very good results this year".

Shane Byrne :"I thought I knew the Ducati bikes quite well, but this Althea Ducati 1198 is so much different from the one I used last year. The electronic system on this bike is very diverse from anything I have tried before. We worked hard on the electronics and for me it was not so easy to understand how this bike works. We are concentrating on every step to make sure it's a step in the right direction. This morning we began the test exactly with the same setting I used last year and then step by step we improved it. All my team did a very good job today, I'm really very happy and I want to thank all of them for the great job. I think we have some positive things to do tomorrow and many new things to try. I want to work on the bike setting as I'm sure I could be faster and more consistent".

Genesio Bevilacqua Team General Manager :"I'm pretty satisfied about today's results also because I saw a solid team that's working with the right system and mentality. I'm also satisfied with our riders and their results. I'm sure tomorrow they'll continue to work well to improve the bike's performance. We are working in the right direction and we must continue to improve".

More, from a press release issued by Team Sterilgarda Yamaha:

Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike riders kick-off 2010 at Portimao

New for 2010 Yamaha World Superbike riders Cal Crutchlow and James Toseland took their first rides of the year today at the Portimao circuit in Portugal. Day one of the three day test saw the riders re-familiarize themselves with their YZF-R1's and start working on their set-ups for the year.

The riders focus for the first day was continuing the development of their preferred settings. Crutchlow was on typically fast form, ending the day in second on the timesheet, less than two tenths of a second from the fastest rider. Team-mate James Toseland was also on form, ending the first ride of the year in fifth just half a second off the front.

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team (2nd, 1'42.9)
"It wasn't so bad for the first day. We're still trying to get comfortable on the bike as we progress but we're getting there. I'm working away at it and I think the times were good enough. To still be working out our settings and have good times near the top of the board is very satisfying."

James Toseland, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team (5th, 1'43.3)
"I think I ended up in fifth at the end of the day but only about half a second separates me from first. I'm pretty pleased, we've been trying a lot out on the bike and it's been a really productive day. We've tested a lot of things and eliminated a few. I'm hoping the weather holds for out tomorrow but rain is forecast. Having said that, I've not ridden this bike in the rain yet so I'm happy for it to rain tomorrow and then be dry on Sunday so we're testing in all conditions."

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team Manager
"We did a great job today, everything was on schedule as it should have been. The team and riders worked really hard, we tested some tyres and as always also we have some other things in development. Cal was working hard on the positioning for his bike and James continues to get more confidence with bike as he gets used to his change from MotoGP."