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Jun 8, 2013

Sam Lowes Claims World Supersport Pole Position At Portimao

FIM Supersport World Championship: Sam Lowes (11) in action on his Yamaha YZF-R6.
FIM Supersport World Championship
Portimao, Portugal
June 8, 2013
Final Qualifying Results (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Sam LOWES, UK (Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:44.804
2. Kenan SOFUOGLU, Turkey (Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1:45.319
3. Sheridan MORAIS, South Africa (Honda CBR600RR), 1:45.534
4. Fabien FORET, France (Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1:45.845
5. Andrea ANTONELLI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1:46.035
6. Michael VD MARK, Netherlands (Honda CBR600RR), 1:46.085
7. Jack KENNEDY, Ireland (Honda CBR600RR), 1:46.131
8. Luca SCASSA, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1:46.211
9. Raffaele DE ROSA, Italy (Honda CBR600RR), 1:46.254
10. Riccardo RUSSO, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1:46.272
11. David SALOM, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1:46.406
12. Vladimir LEONOV, Russia (Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:46.461
13. Roberto ROLFO, Italy (MV Agusta F3 675), 1:46.496
14. Massimo ROCCOLI, Italy (Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:46.649
15. David LINORTNER, Austria (Honda CBR600RR), 1:46.657
16. Christian IDDON, UK (MV Agusta F3 675), 1:46.751
17. Matt DAVIES, Australia (Honda CBR600RR), 1:46.831
18. Alex BALDOLINI, Italy (Suzuki GSX-R600), 1:46.880
19. Gabor TALMACSI, Hungary (Honda CBR600RR), 1:47.597
20. Luca MARCONI, Italy (Honda CBR600RR), 1:47.082

More, from a press release issued by PTR Honda:

PTR HONDA'S Sheridan Morais qualified third on the front row of the grid for tomorrow's sixth round of the World Supersport Championship at Portimao in Portugal, his highest qualification this season so far.

Fastest in the morning free practice, the South African took 1.5secs away from his best yesterday. Sheridan said: "Everything is going really well. Our race pace is good - we work hard on that through the sessions and we have got the suspension just right. I always work on race pace as I do not consider myself a great qualifier. After nine laps on a race tyre I did my fastest lap time, so we are in excellent shape for the race."

David Linortner improved dramatically to take 15th on the grid and set himself up with a good chance for a top 10 in the race. He is just ahead of his resurgent teammate Matt Davies who slashed nearly three seconds from his previous time to take 17th. The young Aussie will be pushing for his debut points in the series and is starting to show his undoubted potential.

Luca Marconi in 20th was hampered by a crash but is a better racer than qualifier. He will be counting on a good start to run with the group challenging for 10th-15th.

Nacho Calero in 22nd is also improving with every session and has shown some speed this weekend. His aim will be for a solid top 20 finish that will allow him to build performance moving forward. The race starts at 1330CET on Sunday, June 9th.

Simon Buckmaster, PTR Honda Team Manager, said: "We are really pleased to get our first front row of season. Sheridan has been on the pace through practice and is looking strong for the race. His shoulder is a lot better and not causing problems, he is not feeling tired or in pain and that is good news.

"David in 15th is right in the mix for the top 10 fight. It was a big improvement by Matt Davies from yesterday and he has a good chance to score his first WSS points.

"Luca had a small crash mid session and lost momentum. He needs to work hard to maintain his early season level of performance. Nacho, although 22nd, has closed the gap to the group in front and will be looking for a season personal best result."

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Sofuoglu Second Quickest In Qualifying With Foret On The Second Row

WSS, Portimao, Portugal, 8 June 2013

Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret from the Kawasaki Mahi Racing Team India squad each found a strong race set-up after practice for the Portimao WSS round. Kenan was second in qualifying; Fabien fourth.

As each of these proven champions goes for another race win in Sunday’s 20-lap WSS competition they have made improvements in their set-up in each session at what has proved to be a very bumpy Portimao circuit.

For Sofuoglu a second place on the grid is always acceptable as it gives him his desired front row start. He has found real improvements in set-up on his Ninja ZX-6R race machine’s configuration since first practice on Friday and feels he will be ready to take on the undulating 4.592km circuit in race conditions in good shape.

Fabien Foret had two contrasting days in practice and qualifying, feeling happier with his bike today after his team found a race set-up he feels will let him challenge for another race victory.

Luca Scassa (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) battled his way to eighth on the grid for a third row start while his team-mate David Salom (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) is struggling with endurance and power in his right hand in what is his comeback meeting after injury. He was still 11th on the grid, from 33 riders.

Andrea Antonelli (Goeleven Kawasaki) was a fine fifth in qualifying while Riccardo Russo (Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) qualified tenth.

Kevin Coghlan (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) and Vladimir Ivanov (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) worked hard for little reward in qualifying, with Coghlan 23rd and Ivanov 25th.

In the Superstock 600 European Championship race, held on Saturday evening, Franco Morbidelli (Kawasaki San Carlo Team Italia) scored a great win on his Ninja ZX-6R, by only 0.062 seconds, after ten intense laps. Three other Kawasaki riders filled the spots from fourth to sixth with Tony Covena (Nito Racing Kawasaki) missing the podium by only a tenth of a second in fourth place. Morbidelli is now third overall in the points, with Covena two points behind him in fourth.

Kenan Sofuoglu: “This morning I tried a longer run and it was very good for the morning condition. I was making a good lap time then but afterwards that the track got warmer and started to change a lot. Everybody has dropped in lap time. There were some sectors where I was having problems, losing a half second, but now it looks like I can control the bike well. I am less tired and the race pace is good. To use the bike is proving easier than Donington so hopefully tomorrow we are going to have a good race. I think things are not so bad and even though we have some small things to change tomorrow, the bike is ready for a really good race. You cannot make a bike set-up perfect here because there are so many bumps and difficult areas, but we have made a big improvement.”

Fabien Foret: “The most important thing is that we have found a way to make me happy with the bike but I cannot be super-happy to be fourth on the grid because it is the second row and I think we could have been much quicker for one lap. Now with the bike the way it is, I think I can fight tomorrow for the win. In warm-up we will just make some fine-tuning to confirm the bike is the way I want. I am starting to enjoy the feeling with it and we had some good track time this weekend. That was important because I feel I am back to business.”

More, from a press release issued by Pata Honda Supersport Team:

Van der Mark on second row in Portugal

Michael van der Mark set the sixth fastest time in today’s final qualifying session to secure a second row start for tomorrow’s sixth-round World Supersport championship race at Portimao in Portugal. Pole position went to Britain’s Sam Lowes.

The 20-year-old Dutch rider, who is in his rookie World Supersport year, benefitted from two dry sessions yesterday – the first dry Friday since round two at Aragon in April – and he was on the pace today after his crew made some further adjustments to his Pata Honda CBR600RR overnight.

Van der Mark's team-mate, Lorenzo Zanetti, however, suffered a big crash early in this afternoon’s second qualifying session at Portimao’s fast final turn. His crew faces a lengthy rebuild after his bike was badly damaged, but the 26-year-old Italian was happy to walk away with a sore shoulder.

However, Zanetti faces a tough challenge in tomorrow’s 20-lap race at the 4.592km Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, starting from 24th place on the grid.

Michael van der Mark – P6, 1m46.085s

We made a big improvement this morning and for this afternoon’s qualifying session we made some other changes on the bike. I was quite fast immediately and set my fastest lap of the weekend when we put in a new tyre. Our race pace is also good so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. I think we can be in the top five again, so I’m hoping for some good weather and a good race.

Lorenzo Zanetti – P24, 1m47.430s

Fortunately, my body is OK – I went to the Clinica for an X-ray to check everything but there’s nothing broken, which is good. The crash happened when I shut the throttle in the last corner to avoid some slower riders, but I lost the front. It’s a shame because we had made some improvements and, on the lap that I crashed, the time and my position was better, too. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the lap! I will have to start the race from a long way back, so I hope I can see the lights OK! My race is compromised, of course, but never say never, and tomorrow I will push 100%.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

Qualifying ended in something of a disaster for Lorenzo. While on a fast lap, he had to close the throttle a little in the last corner and he lost the front. He was not hurt but we couldn’t repair the bike in time and he ended up at the back of the grid. He’ll have to fight in the race tomorrow, for sure, and just see what he can do. Michael got to the second row and so far he’s had a smooth weekend. He got some rhythm today and has a good pace for tomorrow so he should be in a group that’s fighting for a podium tomorrow.