World Superbike: Jonathan Rea, Leon Camier, Alex Lowes Are Top Three During Testing In Portugal (Updated)

World Superbike: Jonathan Rea, Leon Camier, Alex Lowes Are Top Three During Testing In Portugal (Updated)

© 2018, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

Three-time and defending Superbike World Champion Jonathan Rea put in another strong performance and topped the second test of the 2018 pre-season, a two-day test at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, in Portimao, Portugal. Riding his factory Kawasaki ZX-10RR, Rea lapped the 2.85-mile road course in 1:41.475.

That time — done on race-compound tires — is well under the existing Race Lap Record (1:42.475, Tom Sykes, 2013) but just shy of the Circuit Best Lap Record (1:41.360, Tom Sykes, 2013).

Following up on his impressive performance during the test at Jerez, where he was third-quickest, Leon Camier was second-best in Portugal with a 1:41.623 while using a rear qualifying tire on his Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR SP2. That time is significantly quicker than Camier went at the Portuguese track in 2017 on his factory MV Agusta (1:43.161) and also significantly quicker than Stefan Bradl went on the Honda in 2017 (1:42.870).

Third-fastest at the test was Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes at 1:41.633.

Coming in fourth during the test in Portugal was Rea’s teammate Tom Sykes with a 1:41.952, which he did on race-compound tires. Sykes, who was fastest overall at the Jerez test last week, missed the races in Portugal last season due to a broken finger he suffered in a gnarly crash during practice at that event.

Lowes’ teammate Michael van Der Mark ranked fifth at the Portuguese test with a time of 1:42.028.

Turkish rookie Toprak Razgatlioglu came away with an impressive sixth-best 1:42.105 on his Puccetti Racing Kawasaki ZX-10RR. Razgatlioglu, however, crashed during Monday’s afternoon session. His condition was not known as post time.

Irishman Eugene Laverty was seventh-quickest on his Milwaukee Aprilia RSV4 RF with a 1:42.500.

Aruba.it Racing’s Chaz Davies, who is still working his way back to full health and fitness after suffering an injury during post-season testing in 2017, was eighth and the fastest Ducati rider at 1:42.542.

Davies’ teammate Marco Melandri was less than one tenth of a second behind him at 1:42.602 on his Panigale R.

Spaniard Jordi Torres rounded out the top 10 performers at the test with a 1:42.682 on the sole factory MV Agusta F4 RC.

Americans Jake Gagne and PJ Jacobsen finished 15th and 16th, respectively, out of the 17 full-time World Superbike riders at the test.

For Gagne, who did a 1:44.052, it was his first time riding at the difficult-to-learn Portimao circuit. Gagne suffered a minor crash Monday and walked away from the incident, according to Dorna, but he did lose most of Monday afternoon’s track time.

For Jacobsen, who did a 1:44.778, it was his first two days riding with his new team, TripleM racing, and on his new Honda CBR1000RR SP2 Superbike. Jacobsen said he and his team were focused on sorting out the electronics on his brand new machine more than on posting fast lap times.

Motul FIM Superbike World Championship

Autodromo Internacional do Algarve

Portimao, Portugal

January 28-29, 2018

Combined Best Test Times (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Jonathan Rea, UK (Kaw ZX-10RR), 1:41.475

2. Leon Camier, UK (Hon CBR1000RR SP2), 1:41.623

3. Alex Lowes, UK (Yam YZF-R1), 1:41.633

4. Tom Sykes, UK (Kaw ZX-10RR), 1:41.952

5. Michael van der Mark, Netherlands (Yam YZF-R1), 1:42.028

6. Toprak Razgatlioglu, Turkey (Kaw ZX-10RR), 1:42.105

7. Eugene Laverty, Ireland (Apr RSV4 RF), 1:42.500

8. Chaz Davies, UK (Duc Panigale R), 1:42.542

9. Marco Melandri, Italy (Duc Panigale R), 1:42.602

10. Jordi Torres, Spain (MV Agusta F4 RC), 1:42.682

11. Xavi Fores, Spain (Duc Panigale R), 1:42.746

12. Loris Baz, France (BMW S1000RR), 1:42.790

13. Michael Rinaldi, Italy (Duc Panigale R), 1:43.013

14. Lorenzo Savadori, Italy (Apr RSV4 RF), 1:43.234

15. Jake Gagne, USA (Hon CBR1000RR SP2), 1:44.052

16. PJ Jacobsen, USA (Hon CBR1000RR SP2), 1:44.778

17. Ondrej Jezek, Czech Republic (Yam YZF-R1), 1:45.829

More, from a press release issued by Gulf Althea BMW Racing:

Gulf Althea BMW on track at Portimao

Portimao (Portugal), Monday 29 January 2018

Just a few days after the last tests at Jerez, the Gulf Althea BMW Racing Team and riders Loris Baz and Alessandro Delbianco have been back on track in Portugal, at the Autodromo International do Algarve, for a further two days of testing, in preparation for next month’s first round of the Superbike World Championship, and the opening Stock 1000 round, taking place in April.

On track with his BMW S 1000 RR, the French rider has continued to work hard with his squad. The team tested various solutions, regarding both the chassis and electronics, as it works to identify the best possible set-up. Delbianco also tested some different technical solutions with positive results.

Baz completed close to 100 laps over the two-day session, the fastest of which in a time of 1’42.790 recorded with the race tyre, while Delbianco recorded a best of 1’45.585, a time in line with the fastest set during the last Stock race. Both riders are continuing to improve their general feeling with the bikes and are pleased with the work completed thus far.

With European SBK testing now complete, the Gulf Althea BMW Racing Team will be on track in Australia, at Phillip Island, on 19-20 February, just prior to the opening championship round taking place on the same track from 23 to 25 February.

Loris Baz:

“I think we’ve done a good job again here, understanding more and more about the bike. I’ve made a step in terms of performance on fresh tyres, though there’s still room for improvement of course. Our pace continues to improve and we’re gradually closing the gap. We need to continue to work to find a good compromise, but I think we’re on the right track…”

Alessandro Delbianco:

“I have to say that the tests here have gone even better than those at Jerez. We’ve been able to learn a great deal and use the bike to full effect, with less than perfect track conditions and with used tyres. The team and I have worked really hard, also setting some good lap times which bodes well. I’m really happy.”

Genesio Bevilacqua:

“This Portimao test has been positive, despite the final position, close to the front riders even on race tyres. I think we’ve worked well in terms of pace, also identifying some good solutions with regard to the chassis. Having an expert rider like Loris means we’ve been able to collect a lot of data that we can use right from race one; I think we can be competitive at Phillip Island. Delbianco is also doing a great job, considering the limited test time he’s had so far. Here at Portimao, in difficult conditions and despite it being a tough track, he’s been able to set some solid lap times and find good feeling with his bike.”

More, from a press release issued by Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team:

Pre-season progress continues at Portimão for the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team continued its preparation for the 2018 WorldSBK season with two days of productive testing at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão, Portugal.

Following on from a successful test at Jerez a few days earlier, Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team with riders Leon Camier and Jake Gagne were again in fine form, completing 189 laps between them, as they continued evaluating chassis and engine components for the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 ahead of the 2018 WorldSBK season.

After setting a scorching pace at Jerez, Camier once more showed a very fast turn of speed, setting a best lap time of 1’41.623 on the newly laid Portimão asphalt. For American rider Gagne it was his first taste of the undulating Portuguese circuit and his continued improvement over the two days was unfortunately cut short with a crash. Medical checks revealed that he had suffered no serious injury, but he was forced to miss the rest of the day’s running.

With a successful pre-season testing stint in Europe now complete, the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team heads down under for the official WorldSBK pre-season test at Phillip Island, Australia from February 19-20.

Leon Camier 2

It was a good test all in all, we made a lot of progress and smoothing things out as we go. We did some slightly longer runs as well to understand how the bike’s going to work towards the middle and end of the race, I was pretty comfortable with that. We still have some areas we’d like to work on to improve our race pace and lap time on the race tyre but it’s all progressing. We had a good feeling on the qualifying tyre as well so, as I said, all in all pretty happy and looking forward to getting to the first race and getting started.

Jake Gagne 45

First time here at Portimão and I like the circuit a lot, it was a lot of fun. I knew straightaway when I was walking it that I’d really enjoy it and that it would suit my style a lot more. We had a good day going yesterday, the first day on the track, I really enjoyed it; we made some progress with the bike and I made some progress with my riding. I felt a lot more comfortable than when we left Jerez, unfortunately we didn’t get the last couple of hours in yesterday which I think we could have made some good progress in. Today started off good, really happy with how we left yesterday, but unfortunately I had a little off and missed the rest of the day. It’s a shame because I think we had a lot of potential here at this track, but I’m actually really happy and I have a really good feeling with the bike. I’m riding it better and learning a lot so I’m ready to go to the Island, I’m ready for Australia.

Kervin Bos

Team Manager

I’m more than happy with the combination of the tests from Jerez and Portimão because we finished both tests in good positions, even today we had the second best time. This was on soft tyres but from Leon’s side we can see that we have a good pace. In my point of view we are really in the pack to fight for the top positions, of course it looks like the current champion Jonathan Rea and his teammate Tom Sykes are the ones to beat but behind them there are big possibilities. I’m more than happy with the total situation of the team as we have a really fast rider with Leon Camier and of course Jake Gagne who has a lot of potential and could be a dark horse in Australia. He has a good guy next to him in the box so he can learn from his data and from his adjustments. The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team has had a really good, proper winter testing programme and I think we can say that we are more than ready for Australia.

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Positive KRT European Winter Tests Now Complete

KRT’s WorldSBK riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes completed their final days of European winter testing in Portugal today, with just two more days of testing in Australia to take part in before the start of the new season, at the end of February.

Rea was fastest on both days of action at Portimao, with his opening session 1’41.475 the best overall time. Sykes set his personal best time of 1’41.952, also on the less windy first day of action.

Track conditions became both more blustery and dustier on day two, to the extent that Rea and his technical crew opted to stop for a while in the middle of the day. They restarted near the end of the available time to complete the evaluation of the last few items on their overall testing plan.

Sykes was not in a position to push for a fast lap time near the end of the test but was happy to have completed his schedule of work and also set a good race pace on used tyres.

With new technical rules introduced this season, limiting all Kawasaki riders’ engines to a maximum of 14,100rpm at the start of the year, much of the winter test programme has been concentrated in this area, with positive outcomes thus far.

Rea and Sykes will head to Australia in confident mood for the opening round, to be held between 23rd and 25th February.

The next appointment for the entire KRT squad will be the team launch on February 8th in Barcelona. Then the final testing action will take place on 19th and 20th February, at Phillip Island.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “Today was actually bit of a difficult day with the conditions, very windy and gusty as well, so I really did not feel comfortable pushing on the limit. It did not make any sense to use a qualifying tyre or do long runs. We also made some practice starts and tested a new front and a new rear tyre from Pirelli. We expect those to come in some time in the future, but both times I used them I got interrupted by red flags. So it was a strange day in some ways. Generally the test has been good because yesterday we were able to have two hours while the wind was a bit reduced and do some productive testing. We have ticked all the boxes and the feeling with the bike has improved. I have woken up, because in Jerez last week I was still fast but I did not feel 100% on the bike. Here I was much better on the first laps.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “It went relatively well today but we did not get that initial fastest lap time. On used tyres the pace and was much better and where we need to be. The last two days we have been basically function testing so we never really got to dial in the set-up but I am happy because were are not too far from where we need to be. I felt we were making good progress and we have got everything done in time to go to Phillip Island. I can go there with a clean slate and really start working.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am very happy with these tests because we made another step to get Johnny confident and he has been flying. Jonathan did not use a Q tyre and set basically the same lap time as yesterday. It was windier today and more difficult, so we stayed a lot of time in the garage. The plan was to do a long run and make test with Pirelli tyres but we could not do that as the wind was stronger than yesterday. The wind was sometimes inconsistent and there were a lot of red flags, a lot of crashes. We focused on finding a small comparison with some items and the set-up we found yesterday was very good. I am very pleased with this test and now we go to Australia for the final test and then the races.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Tom Sykes stated: “Today the wind picked up some speed and this was disturbing us quite a lot. The good thing is that we completed our full test programme, all the items we needed to test over these two days. We ended up with a good idea about how to start in Phillip Island. Near the end of the day we tested some new Pirelli front tyres which gave us a similar result to Jerez. We did not use qualifying tyres at this test. Overall we hoped to be a bit closer to the front of the time sheets but over distance we have the correct pace and we are ready than the first round.”

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