Video: 2014 SBK Round 8 Preview - Portimao, Portugal
Round eight and the focus is on one of the most intricate and physical tracks on the SBK calendar. Can Sykes achieve another double, will Baz climb yet higher up the podium and can Salom build a greater points advantage? -- for sure, it's all to play for in Portugal.
More, from another press release issued by Kawasaki:
KRT Riders Head To Portugal Hungry For More Success
After an almost perfect weekend at the previous round in Italy the official KRT and KRT SBK Evo squads head to the Portimao circuit near the Algarve coast ready to claim more wins and podiums in the FIM Superbike World Championship.
KRT SBK riders Tom Sykes and Loris Baz currently sit first and third respectively in the SBK Championship standings while KRT SBK Evo rider David Salom is 12th in the overall classification, but leads the internal Evo category points standings by a clear margin.
Despite the pain and reduced strength in his right hand and wrist that Sykes carried into the previous Misano round, after suffering injury in Malaysia, Sykes was unstoppable in Italy, winning Superpole and both races on his official Ninja ZX-10R.
This impressive double victory, somewhat against the odds and Sykes’ own previous formbook at Misano, took his season-long race-winning tally up to six and propelled him into a 39-point lead in the championship. Sykes has scored podiums at Portimao on his Ninja ZX-10R in the recent past, including a race win in 2012.
Baz was the only rider to get truly close to Sykes at the previous round and took two second places on his KRT Ninja ZX-10R, as he still pushes to get his first race win of 2014.
With seven podium places so far – peculiarly all second places and no thirds - Loris is only two points behind second place but 41 from his team-mate Sykes.
Loris has two previous race wins to his credit for Kawasaki in Superbike, and is understandably very keen to take his first race victory of the present season in Portugal. He finished fourth in race two at Portimao last year, after a fifth in race one.
David Salom has been on top form in the Evo class all season for the KRT team and sits 24 points clear of his closest challenger after half the season has been completed.
The 4.592km SBK venue at Portimao is a relatively compact and heavily undulating circuit, which has hosted an SBK round every year since its first arrival on the scene in 2008. On a modern day Superbike Portimao provides an intense test of concentration for the riders and a many vantage points for the spectators on the hilly terrain behind the holiday coast of the Algarve.
Once more the raceday schedule will undergo some modifications from the previous round, with SBK race one at 12 noon and race two at 15.00 local Portuguese time, which is one hour behind most of the rest of Europe.
After the intensity of the Portimao weekend the SBK teams get little rest as the next round will be held at the popular venue of Laguna Seca in the USA on Sunday July 13th - just a few days after the completion of the Portuguese races.
Tom Sykes: “I have enjoyed some time off after the double win at Misano and my injured hand and wrist are slowly improving. We go to Portugal now and for me I think the layout is a little bit extreme for a Superbike in this era. The undulations are almost a little bit over the top but after Misano it would be very nice to keep the momentum going in the championship. It will be a big ask but as always we will do the best we can and I am sure the team around me will manage things in the best possible way. I have had some flashes at Portimao in the past, so potentially I know we can be very good this weekend. With those thoughts in mind I am looking forward to going to Portimao.”
Loris Baz: “I am feeling really good because we had a strong weekend in Misano last time out. We have two weekends in a row now so it is going to be an exciting time but right now I am now only really looking to Portimao. I love the track and I feel I can go really well there. The bike is going very well but we just need to improve a little bit, with some little things, to make another little step and be the most competitive we possibly can. The competition is close this year and there are four or five riders that could win a race but at some tracks more riders than just those four or five are also very strong. Right now I am really looking forward to getting back on track at Portimao.”
David Salom: “Portimao is a very difficult track because it has a lot of ups and downs, hard braking areas, and that may make it difficult for me as I am still carrying an old hand injury. But I think for the Kawasaki it will be a very good track because now we have made improvements to our suspension set-up and the bike is fast. For sure I have some tough competition and I am sure we will fight like at most other races! I know Portimao very well because I have ridden there maybe five years or more so I understand the layout.”
More, from another press release issued by Kawasaki:
More Opportunities For Kawasaki Riders At Portimao
Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Mahi Racing Team India) and highest placed Kawasaki rider in the FIM Supersport World Championship Florian Marino (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) will be just two of the Ninja ZX-6R riders looking forward to the Portimao round of the championship this coming weekend.
So far in 2014 Sofuoglu is the lone race winner on the Ninja ZX-6R but at the previous round in Misano the rising talent that is Patrick ‘PJ’ Jacobsen joined the podium elite for the first time, taking his Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres machine to third place.
French rider Marino has three podium finishes in 2014 and now sits third in the overall championship rankings, with Sofuoglu sixth and Jacobsen jumping up to seventh after his podium result in Italy.
All three of these top Kawasaki entries will be out for more podium success this coming weekend at the heavily undulating and intense Portimao circuit on the Portuguese Algarve. They will not be alone in their desire in a season that has already seen four different race winners and eight different podium finishers in seven rounds.
The Kawasaki entry has not only strength but also depth, with a rider of the calibre of Roby Rolfo (Kawasaki Team Go Eleven) sitting only a point behind Jacobsen in eighth place. Also in the top ten after the halfway point of the championship is Roberto Tamburini (San Carlo Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) and that mans fully half of the top ten competitors are mounted on Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6Rs.
Christian Gamarino (Kawasaki Team Go Eleven) is 16th in the points rankings while Alessandro Nocco (San Carlo Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) is 18th after strong scores in the last four rounds. Tony Covena (Kawasaki Ponyexpres Intermoto) remains in 22nd place after the seventh round.
With the WSS riders not joining the FIM Superbike World Championship competitors for the US round on July 13th the next competitive WSS event after Portimao will be held at Jerez in Spain on September 7th.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “The last race was not so good for us but I also think we did not make a very good tyre choice. At Portimao I also do not think it is going to be easy but anyway I am feeling strong personally. If we find the best possibility for the race set-up then we can really fight for a good result. I cannot say we are on top form compared to some other times but we are all ready to fight. I think we need one good result and that would change a lot of things for the better. If we won the Portimao race it would be a huge boost for the team and I going into the last part of the season.”