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Jun 8, 2013

Sykes Beats Laverty By 0.001 Second To Win World Superbike Superpole At Portimao

eni FIM Superbike World Championship: Tom Sykes (66) in action on his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.
eni FIM Superbike World Championship
Portimao, Portugal
June 8, 2013
Final Qualifying Results, After Superpole (all on Pirelli tires):

From Superpole Two (wet conditions):

1. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:41.360
2. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:41.361
3. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:41.787
4. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:42.115
5. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:42.209
6. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:42.328
7. Carlos CHECA, Spain (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:42.405
8. Jules CLUZEL, France (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:42.645
9. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:43.032
10. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:43.057
11. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:43.314
12. Chaz DAVIES, UK (BMW S1000RR), 1:43.463

From Superpole One (dry conditions):

13. Leon CAMIER, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:43.139
14. Leon HASLAM, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:43.522
15. Max NEUKIRCHNER, Germany (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:44.038

The Rest of the Grid:

16. Vittorio IANNUZZO, Italy (BMW S1000 RR), 1:45.208
17. Alexander LUNDH, Sweden (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:45.361
18. Ivan CLEMENTI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:45.607
19. Federico SANDI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:47.322

More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:

Althea Racing Team – Qualifying and Superpole at Portimao

The second day of qualifying and the sixth Superpole of the 2013 World Superbike season took place today at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao. The second qualifying session got underway under cloud skies, but on a dry track. Davide Giugliano (1’43.550) improved on his best time set yesterday and concluded in seventh place, easily qualifying for the afternoon’s Superpole. The second free practice session gave Davide and Althea Racing’s technicians the chance to make final preparations for the Superpole. Giugliano (1’44.616) closed this session in thirteenth position. In the first phase of the Superpole Althea Racing’s rider improved on his lap times and with a best of 1’42.730 he obtained fifth position and easily gained passage to phase two that was then interrupted early on due to rain. After a ten-minute break the riders were back on track for a second ‘wet’ Superpole. Giugliano unfortunately crashed during his first lap but he was luckily able to get back on the bike and return to the garage. His technicians repaired the damage in a matter of minutes and Davide returned to the track for the final stage of the session. He was unfortunately unable to improve any further and concluded the Superpole in eleventh place with a time of 1’42.3.Tomorrow the Althea Racing rider will start from the fourth row of the grid for the two 22-lap races.

Davide Giugliano: “I’m not totally satisfied with how things went today. This morning in qualifying we worked well but then unfortunately a small crash conditioned my Superpole and tomorrow I have to start from the fourth row. My race pace is quite good but honestly I don’t know what to expect in tomorrow’s races. I can’t make predictions but will of course try to make a strong start and push hard from the start to be able to obtain the best possible result.”

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Sykes Takes Five Poles In A Row As Baz Goes Sixth On The Grid

WSBK, Portimao, Portugal, 8 June 2013

Tom Sykes posted his fifth Superpole win of the season in succession after a two-part ‘Wet’ Portimao Superpole and in doing so took a new track best lap of 1’41.360. Loris Baz was a strong sixth.

Despite the Portimao track surface being more bumpy than last year, and with small spots of rain arriving to turn a planned three part dry Superpole into a two-part wet Superpole, Sykes still used his time and tyres wisely to set a new track best and his fifth Superpole win in a row. He now has 16 career Superpole successes, making him equal fifth best in the history of SBK qualifying.

Working well with his team and his Ninja ZX-10R in the final 20-minute Superpole session, having qualified fifth into Superpole after combined qualifying, Sykes was only just able to hold off the close attentions of Eugene Laverty. The Irish rider went to within one thousandth of a second of Tom’s time, but starts from second place.

For Loris Baz Portimao in 2013 started out as a tough test but after good work from rider and team he moved from tenth in combined qualifying to sixth in Superpole, earning himself a second row start which should count for a lot at this tight and intense circuit.

Alex Lundh (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) qualified 17th on the grid with team-mate Federico Sandi 19th.

In the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup Lorenzo Savadori (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) scored second place on the grid for Sunday’s race, as Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) set the fourth best qualifying time.

Tom Sykes: “I am really happy to have five 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. He was not quite close enough, so it does not matter if it is one thousandth of a second or one second, it went in my favour. I am looking forward to two races tomorrow and I am expecting them to be difficult, but also a good show for the fans. 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. Conditions today were not as good as last year and yet we went faster. I was not expecting this lap time – but I will certainly take it!”

Loris Baz: “Our target was to get on the second row and we achieved it. Superpole was strange because we started dry and ended up with one wet final Superpole session but the track was dry. The feeling with the bike yesterday was not really good and this track gets more bumpy every year. I was still only one second from the front so we worked really well today and the team did a good job. We found a nice setting this morning. It was a little bit better in free practice once more in the afternoon and so I was confident for Superpole. Whether we were fourth, fifth or sixth, it is the same if I am on the second row. Our race pace is good so I am looking forward to the races.”

More, from a press release issued by Team SBK Ducati Alstare:

Constant progress in the Team SBK Ducati Alstare garage today at Portimao

Portimao (Portugal), Saturday 8 June 2013: the sixth Superpole of the 2013 World Superbike season proved to be an encouraging one for Team SBK Ducati Alstare today at Portimao; during today’s sessions and subsequent Superpole Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini further improved on yesterday’s performance to qualify for tomorrow’s races in seventh and tenth position respectively.

Second qualifying took place under cloudy skies on a much cooler track (20°C) than yesterday. The track conditions allowed almost all of the SBK riders, Checa and Badovini included, to improve on times set yesterday already in the opening phase. Towards the end of the session Badovini recorded a fast lap of 1’43.9 while Checa closed with a best time of 1’44.1. The Ducati Alstare pair thus qualified for the afternoon’s Superpole in eleventh (Ayrton) and twelfth (Carlos) position.

Superpole 1: on race rubber Checa was able to record a 1’43.7 while Badovini stopped the clock at 1’44.1. Both riders returned to the track on the first of two available qualifying tyres. With that tyre each rider improved on his time by roughly a second which meant that Checa closed the first phase in impressive third position (1’42.6), just two tenths of a second from Cluzel, first, while Badovini finished twelfth (1’43.0), with only four tenths of a second separating him from his team-mate.

Superpole 2: the session was suspended with a red flag as soon as it started to rain, before being restarted a few minutes later as a ‘wet’ Superpole. Unfortunately Ayrton had already gone out on his second qualifying tyre so was left without a new qualifier for this restarted second phase. During the 20 minutes available, Checa, using the second qualifying tyre, was able to improve even further on his earlier time to record a flying lap of 1’42.4. Badovini repeated the performance seen in phase one, completing a fast lap in 1’43.0. Thanks to this afternoon’s result Checa will start seventh on tomorrow’s race grid, Badovini tenth.

Carlos Checa: “In the end we went quite well today. Conditions were a little unstable during Superpole and we didn’t benefit from that but we were able to improve, and I think I deserve the seventh position I’ve obtained today. We’ve worked well up until now and should have good race pace. We’ll see tomorrow because it will depend on my shoulder too, and how it behaves during the races. I’m feeling tired now after Superpole but my shoulder hasn’t really troubled me during today’s sessions so that’s a good sign. We’ve made a small step forward here, both in terms of my physical condition and technically-speaking. Tomorrow I hope to be able to keep up the pace and close in on those ahead.”

Ayrton Badovini: “I’d say that we’ve completed our best Superpole of the season so far. We were unlucky in the second phase because I’d already gone out on the second qualifier just before they gave the red flag. We could have done slightly better but I don’t think it went too badly, considering that I did my best lap on a qualifier that had already done five laps. We still need to understand how to improve through the last two corners where I’m having some trouble but I hope we can find some kind of solution in tomorrow’s warm-up. I’m feeling fairly confident ahead of tomorrow’s races.”

More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:

Weather conditions: Overcast with rain showers.
Temperature: Air: 17 – 19 °C, Track: 20 – 24 °C
Number of riders participating: 19 from 12 teams
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) 1:42.645 min
Fastest lap Final Wet Superpole: Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1:41.360 min

The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team had a day of mixed fortunes at Portimão (POR). Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) will start the sixth round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship from the second row. In today’s Superpole, which was interrupted by a rain shower, Marco finished fourth on his BMW S 1000 RR. His team-mate Chaz Davies (GBR) had a tough day. He crashed in the final stages of the free practice session, two hours before the start of the Superpole. Chaz will start from 12th place on the fourth row.

In this morning’s second qualifying practice, conditions were dry but at noon, light rain started. As a consequence, the riders waited until the track had dried again to go out in the free practice session. With only a few minutes to go, Chaz lost control over the rear coming over a crest and he crashed. He suffered a cut to his right arm which was stitched up at the Clinica Mobile.

The Superpole started in dry conditions. Both Marco and Chaz did their first outing on race tyres. Then Chaz opted for his first qualifying tyre, setting the second fastest time of Superpole 1. Marco also did another outing but on race tyres, finishing sixth. For their first laps in Superpole 2, both BMW factory riders chose qualifying tyres. But during the first flying lap for the riders, the session was red flagged due to a rain shower. It was bad luck for Chaz as the red flag ended his attempt on his second and last qualifying tyre. The format of the qualifying was changed to “Wet Superpole”. Therefore, instead of Superpole 2 and 3 there only was one “Final Wet Superpole” session, with a duration of 20 minutes, in which all 12 riders who had qualified for Superpole 2 took part. Marco went out firstly on race tyres, then switched to his second qualifying tyre and rode the fourth fastest time. Chaz also first went out on a race tyre, then replaced it with the then already used second qualifying tyre. He struggled to ride a consistent fast lap and finished 12th.

In the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, Sylvain Barrier from the BMW Motorrad GoldBet STK Team will start tomorrow’s race from pole-position despite the fact that the Frenchman had a massive crash at the beginning of today’s second and final qualifying practice. The lap time Sylvain did with his BMW HP4 in yesterday’s first qualifying practice was still good enough to secure him pole-position. His team-mate Greg Gildenhuys (RSA) qualified 15th, defying, but still being affected by, the pain of his broken left heel.

Marco Melandri:
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:42.933 min (P4) / Fastest lap FP: 1:43.293 min (P4) / Fastest lap Final Wet Superpole: 1:42.115 min (P4)
“It was a rather positive qualifying session but we are not completely ready for tomorrow. The positive thing is that, for the first time, we were able to push properly with qualifying tyres. Today we improved the rear end of the bike but regarding the front, we made a slight step backwards. The track surface is in a really bad condition and unfortunately we lose stability in the dips between the bumps. For tomorrow we need to put together the best package in order to have a good race pace. In the race it will be important to start in the best way. It is no problem to be in the second row; I just have to be within the leading group immediately after the start in order to compete for the front positions.”

Chaz Davies:
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:43.599 min (P9) / Fastest lap FP: 1:44.191 min (P11) / Fastest lap Final Wet Superpole: 1:43.463 min (P12)
“It’s been frustrating because before the crash I felt that the bike was better. This was part of the reason why I crashed because I carried more speed across the crest but I think it was a bit too much speed for the set-up of the bike we had at that time. The bike kind of took off over the top so it was a pretty hard crash. I have a hole in my elbow and I banged my head pretty hard so I did not feel too great before Superpole. Anyway, we made it through the first part with a decent lap time. Then we had the red flag, but that was the same for everybody. In the final session I could not make the best use of the qualifying tyre and I made a mistake in my best flying lap with it. I think the tyre was six laps old by then which is way over the hill for a qualifier. For tomorrow we need to further improve. We still need to work on the set up and find something I am comfortable with and which helps to absorb the bumps. That’s the priority for tomorrow.”

Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“Marco, for the first time today, was able to make proper use of the qualifying tyres, and this is an important step forward. He will start from fourth on the second row tomorrow and it will be important get away in the best way to be with the front runners and to compete for the top positions. Chaz crashed this morning at a speed of 180 km/h. He slightly injured his arm; it is nothing serious, but given the fact that he hit his head we were a little worried. Luckily the doctors confirmed that he was fine to participate in the Superpole. We are happy that he is quite well and that he did not suffer any major injuries. He will start from 12th tomorrow and for sure he will do his best to gain positions and have a good race.

In the Superstock class we secured the pole-position thanks to the lap time Sylvain set yesterday. Unfortunately he crashed today after two laps, but luckily he escaped OK. Greg is still not fit but he is doing the best he can.”

Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“With Marco, we have achieved our target to qualify for one of the first two rows. Unfortunately, Chaz crashed during the free practice session so we could not expect more from him. We have improved the bike, especially the rear end. It is absorbing the bumps better. We are happy about that but it is still not enough. Our competitors have a better pace than us. The difference is not huge but we still have some work to do over the night. We are losing a bit too much in the last sector where both riders are missing the proper feeling to turn in and to keep the necessary speed. We will keep our heads down and try to further improve to give both riders a decent package. We have a few ideas and we will try them in the warm-up.”

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:




Portimão, 8 June 2012 – A Superpole on the razor's edge for the Aprilia Racing Team, with the top spot on the grid slipping between their fingers by a thousandth of a second. A great lap by Eugene Laverty, under the track record, was not enough for the RSV4 number 58 rider to get over on the specialist, Tom Sykes. Eugene takes comfort in continuing his personal Superpole streak: he'll start from the front row for the tenth consecutive time. Regarding the gap, the distance between the two bikes in a theoretical synchronised lap would be quite interesting, estimated by the timers at about 4.5 centimetres.

Weather conditions affected the Superpole sessions, interrupted at the beginning of the second session because of a few drops of rain in sectors 1 and 4 of the Portimão track. The restart, carried out with wet procedure, had the top 12 riders competing in a single 20 minute session with the mechanics casting a concerned eye to the skies, trying to pinpoint the best time to put no the qualifier tyre. Sylvain Guintoli, along with his team, chose to go out straight away in the hopes of avoiding any worsening of the weather conditions, but a few uncertainties on his fast lap kept him from taking the best advantage of his soft tyre. Fifth best time for him, which places him on the second row, but the ranking Championship leader can take consolation in the good race pace he demonstrated in all the sessions.

Eugene Laverty's attempts brought him within a shout of his first World Superbike pole position. A slight error in tURN 7 relegated him to second place, but only one thousandth of a second behind Tom Sykes, a testament to what a fantastic lap it was. Eugene, who has a particular feeling on the Portuguese track, is also in a position to aim for an important result tomorrow.

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. When I went past the straight stretch and saw that my RSV4 instrument panel was showing the time the guys in the garage had told me was the best, I figured that there wouldn't be much of a difference. It's a shame for that thousandth of a second, but in any case we're ready for the races tomorrow, in the hopes that the weather conditions will be good".

Sylvain Guintoli: "This wasn't my best Superpole. I couldn't find the best feeling with the qualifier so I wasn't able to improve the times I had made on the race tyre. Fifth place isn't disastrous anyway, especially since we were able to improve our race pace quite a bit. The times put on the boards during the practice sessions seem to predict two very heated races. Tomorrow I'll have to get off to a good start in order to make a play for it".

More, from a press release issued by FIXI Crescent Suzuki:

Strong qualifying for Cluzel in Portugal

FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel powered to eighth on the grid for tomorrow’s two races in the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Portimao in Portugal after an eventful Superpole that also saw the Frenchman top the timesheet in the first session.

Cluzel made his way through to this afternoon’s Superpole by way of finishing in 14th place in this morning’s second qualifying practice and in the process taking over a second off his best time from yesterday. The Superbike Rookie then improved further in the final free session and reduced his time by over three-tenths-of-a-second to put him 10th quickest. In Superpole 1 he used his first qualifying tyre to perfect effect as he managed to force his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R to the top on the leader-board and move comfortably into the Superpole 2. This was the first time that Cluzel has topped the leader-board in a Superbike session and the first time FIXI Crescent Suzuki has led the way in any Superpole.

Unfortunately the weather intervened and the second session had to be stopped due to rain, making Superpole 2 a 20-minute outing and the second and final session of what was now declared a Wet Superpole. The rain didn’t last though and the track remained dry, so Cluzel and the rest of the field were able to use slick tyres. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki man again used his qualifying tyre to good effect, but couldn’t quite match his earlier heroics and brought his machine home in an impressive and creditable eighth. Cluzel was pleased with his efforts and will be looking to improve further in tomorrow’s races.

Leon Camier didn’t have such a positive Superpole after a calculated gamble in the first session failed to materialise and he was eliminated early on, without having the chance to use his qualifying tyres. He was sitting comfortably in sixth place after setting a competitive time on a race compound tyre, but the Pirelli qualifiers worked so well around the 4,592m Portuguese circuit that other riders produced better times and relegated him to 13th on the timesheets. Camier could only watch as the clock ticked down and he had no opportunity to rectify the matter as the session drew to a close. He was heartened though by his race-pace, which saw him qualify for Superpole earlier in the day in sixth place and follow that with seventh fastest in the final free practice. Camier will now be looking to make a good start in the races to get up amongst the front-runners early on.

Today’s practices and Superpole were held in mixed and inclement weather, that saw sun, wind, cloud and rain at the Portimao circuit in varying amounts and intensity. Superpole was won yet again by Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes, his fifth consecutive victory this season.

Cluzel and Camier will battle it out with the World Superbike field in Sunday’s two races over 22-laps, with the riders covering 101.024km of the Portuguese circuit before they see the chequered flag. The first event gets underway at 12.00hrs local time (12.00hrs BST); with the second scheduled for 15.30hrs local time (15.30hrs BST).

Jules Cluzel:
“I am pleased when I can smile inside my helmet when I’m on the bike and I have been able to do that today. When we used the qualifying tyre I had a really good feeling with the bike and for me it felt like everything I want from the FIXI Crescent Suzuki at this moment. It felt like a big step between the race tyre and the qualifier, so we have to understand why, but the good thing from today is that I now understand what I want, so we can now work towards that. I had a similar feeling to today in race two at Phillip Island, where when I started the race I had good grip, but that has been hard to repeat since then, but we had it today. I am a bit disappointed with eighth place, because I think we could have done a little bit better, I missed the first fast lap on the qualifier so had to do another one and made a few mistakes, so we could have been further up the grid. I think we are moving in a good way, so I am happy with this.”

Leon Camier:
“It’s really frustrating because I made a call that no-one else would go that much faster, but people like Checa, Badovini and Jules made a massive step on a qualifier. The difference in the times on the tyres was not a lot at Donington, but here a lot of people went a second and a bit faster. We were sixth when the others put in the qualifiers and I still thought we’d be fine, but we left it too late, so I’m disappointed about what happened. The race-pace at the moment is not good enough for the front group, but I will be aiming to get to the next group back and that will be a good achievement from where we are on the grid and then we’ll have to see what happens from there. We made a change in Superpole, but we need to try that tomorrow in warm-up with a full tank of fuel and if it feels right we’ll use it. I’m hoping to get some good passes done early on and be aiming to get-up to that group around fifth or sixth position and try to do the best we can from there.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“For Jules and his team, eighth place on the grid for tomorrow’s race is a good reward for all the hard work they have put in this weekend. It hasn’t been easy to give him the package he needs to feel comfortable on this technical circuit. He used the first of his qualifiers well in Superpole 1 and had perfect track position behind Melandri, which helped him take more than a second off his best lap of the weekend and finish at the top of the timesheets for the first time this year, which was a great boost to all the team. The lap didn’t quite come together in the second part of Superpole, but there were 11 other Factory bikes out there and Jules managed to take some great scalps to qualify eighth.

“For Leon the race tyre pace was positive, but the result was disastrous! He has been chipping away all weekend and the bike is very competitive on a race tyre. Leon decided that he wanted to keep two qualifiers for what would have been Superpole 2 and 3, but the new 17” Pirelli qualifiers worked brilliantly well here and unfortunately all the guys behind him that used them made great use of them and left Leon down in 13th place and on the fifth row. It’s happened before in Superpole and it will happen again, but hopefully not to us! Leon now has a real job to do tomorrow to generate a result that he and the bike are capable of.”

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

Portimao front row for Rea

Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s two sixth-round World Superbike championship races from the front row of the grid after setting the third fastest time in this afternoon’s rain-affected Superpole sessions at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal.

The 26-year-old from Northern Ireland was fastest in both regulation qualifying sessions at the 4.592km Portimao circuit and progressed comfortably through from the Superpole 1 this afternoon.

However, as he attacked Superpole 2, setting the fastest time again, the session was red-flagged due to rain. The final grid positions were, therefore, to be determined by a single 20-minute session, which turned out to be dry.

With further rain threatening, Rea went out on his final qualifying tyre, matching his fastest ever lap around Portimao, but it was Tom Sykes who took pole position by 0.001s from Eugene Laverty.

Rea’s Pata Honda team-mate Leon Haslam once again battled against injury to put his CBR1000RR into Superpole but he was unable to progress beyond Superpole 1 and will start tomorrow’s two 22-lap World Superbike races from the fifth row of the grid.

Jonathan Rea – P3, 1m41.787s

Superpole was a bit strange, to be honest, because the weather was coming in, so in Superpole 2 we went out straight away with the Q. I went pretty quick in dodgy conditions and I was taking a bit of a risk, but they red flagged the session just as I finished my lap. So I was really frustrated because I thought that was us locked in and we’d got our place on the grid. But then they went to the wet Superpole format which was 20 minutes, and we used the Q too early. I did my best again on the other Q and went pretty quick – a 41.7, and the clouds were coming in again – but then it brightened up so the other guys tended to get the best of the track. I was happy enough to be on the front row, really, because we made a real backwards step in FP2, but we rectified it for Superpole. I’m looking forward to the races tomorrow and I think we can make another step in warm-up with the chassis. The bumps around here are just a little bit off-putting, especia lly through the fast bomb-hole section, so we’ll just tidy the bike up a little bit. I’ve got to find some speed in sector one as well but, other than that, we’re good to race.

Leon Haslam – P14, 1m43.522s

I felt we made some good steps with the bike today and, honestly, it’s working really well. But I’m still struggling in certain areas. I’ve got the knee bend now, but it’s pain from the ligaments and the lack of strength that is making me suffer. I still can’t push through the left peg like I want to, but the boys have moved the bike on through the weekend so far, which is positive. Obviously, I’m not doing too many laps in one go so it’s hard to make much progress but it’s definitely better. I used a qualifier in Superpole 1 but probably had to be more aggressive and physical with that tyre, getting it to turn and do the things I need it to do, because of the extra grip. I should have been a second faster but struggled to get more than a couple of tenths, which wasn’t good enough. I’ve accepted the fact that we’re not on the pace again here and the races are going to be difficult but the developments we ’re making on the bike are only going to help when I’m back fit.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

Leon made it to Superpole, which was a great job, and we actually managed to improve the bike quite a bit for him. He finished in 14th but that’s just due to his physical condition, so we’ll just have to see how he goes tomorrow. Jonathan had a really good run in Superpole 2 which was declared wet and he immediately set the pace with a 41.7, matching his best lap time around here which was pole position from 2011. He got third and a front row, so well done to him. His race pace is quite good, too, so we can compete and there’ll be two exciting races tomorrow.

More, from a press release issued by SBK Press Office:

Tissot-Superpole goes to Sykes for a blink of an eye

Portimao (Portugal), Saturday 8 June 2013 - Under the grey skies of the Autodromo International do Algarve, the eni FIM Superbike World Championship riders tackled today the 6th Tissot-Superpole of the season.

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.

Superstock 1000

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.