Portimão Test – Day 1
Redding blasts clear as Yamaha shine at unpredictable Portimao
The British rookie proved to be the one in control with Baz leading a pack of Yamahas behind, whilst Eugene Laverty put BMW on the map inside the top five
The first day of testing at Portugal has concluded for the teams and riders in the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, with rain staying away and sunshine coming out to play. With a Yamaha 1-2-3 at lunch time, it would be Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) who dislodged the Japanese manufacturer, with Ducati heading Yamaha pairing Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WORLDSBK OFFICIAL TEAM).
At the top of the pile was the ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati team, with Scott Redding setting quick lap times on both of his bikes. Redding had only been to Portimao once before and this time, he comes in search of rear grip. With long corners coupled with tight hairpins, the track provides the perfect opportunity for this testing. Putting in strong laps towards the end, Redding was on the pace. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) confessed that he didn’t really learn much at Jerez and started from square one on Sunday in Portugal, improving incrementally throughout the day. Come the end, it was Redding on top of the pile whilst Davies climbed to seventh.
Coming into the closing stages of day one and it was Loris Baz who was shining brightly in second, having been top lunch too. The two-time WorldSBK race winner was eager to demonstrate his prowess on the Yamaha, as he and his Dutch Ten Kate Racing Yamaha squad prepare for their first full season together. Testing different parts on both the 2019 and 2020 Yamahas, Baz made plenty of strides. Other Independent riders accompanying Baz inside the top ten were Sandro Cortese (Barni Racing Team) in eighth and Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) in tenth. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Goeleven) was one place behind, whilst Leandro Mercado (Motocorsa Racing) was one more behind that, having crashed at Turn 14 late on and bringing out the second red flag of the day.
The PATA YAMAHA WORLDSBK OFFICIAL TEAM were back out on track with the aim of finding a good balance with their bikes. Michael van der Mark was one of many riders who were at the top of the timesheets throughout the day, whilst confirming that winter testing starts here. With Australia in mind and the high degree of tyre degradation, the Dutchman’s aims are to get the bike smoother on tyres, and he was fourth at the chequered flag. Teammate Toprak Razgatlioglu was one place ahead of van der Mark and also worked on chassis balance, whilst valuing every lap he got aboard the Yamaha YZF R1. The Turkish rider came into Portimao having been second in Spain and was third after day one in Portugal.
Flying the BMW flag on day one at Portimao was Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), with the Irishman going well at the circuit he took his most recent pole position at. Laverty had plenty to test and was looking at how well the engine was working, given the length of the straight at Portimao. However, the 2013 WorldSBK runner-up suffered an engine failure at Turn 3 at 13:30 local time, bringing out the red flag. Teammate Tom Sykes was working on electronics and also his chassis, aiming to improve his race set-up. At the end of the day, Laverty completed the top five whilst Tom Sykes sat pretty in sixth.
Featuring at the top of the timesheets at Jerez and once again a prominent force in Portugal, the HRC Team continued looking for their base set-up for the CBR1000RR-R. Leon Haslam was fifth at lunch time before continuing his day acquiring laps and therefore data, whilst Alvaro Bautista got to grips with the Portimao circuit aboard the all-new Honda. Come the close of business on Sunday, Haslam was placed in eighth and Bautista in 15th, with plenty more to come on day two for the Honda duo.
In 13th place after turning his first wheel of 2020, Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) enjoyed his Portimao experience aboard the ZX-10RR. Experimenting with a new swingarm and chassis, Fores will aim to consolidate his findings on day two. He was one place ahead of Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) whilst Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Performance) was in 16th.
WorldSBK Portimão Test Day One Unofficial Times:
1.) Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) 1’41.179
2.) Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.573
3.) Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WORLDSBK OFFICIAL TEAM) +0.702
4.) Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WORLDSBK OFFICIAL TEAM) +0.878
5.) Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +1.482
6.) Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +1.561
WorldSSP: Cluzel reigns supreme as day one at Portimao closes for WorldSSP
Back in action and raring to go, WorldSSP fired up at the rollercoaster of Portimao with three manufacturers inside the top six
After an intriguing test at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, it was Portimao’s turn to play host to the FIM Supersport World Championship teams and riders, as they take part in two more days of frantic testing. The rollercoaster circuit in the Algarve saw three-time WorldSSP runner-up Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) on top of the pile, heading fellow countryman Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), whilst South African Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) completed the top three.
Cluzel continued his pre-season with good pace in Portugal, with the Portimao circuit proving to be to his liking. Fellow countryman Lucas Mahias was also finding the Portimao track enjoyable, having taken a phenomenal victory in the World Supersport class back in 2018. It is the first time Mahias has been on a WorldSSP bike, with the Frenchman crashing dramatically during Free Practice for MotoE™ in Valencia. Working on suspension settings and refining small details, Mahias was busy on day one. Steven Odendaal was also right in contention, with the rookie taking his Dutch squad into the leading positions, whilst explaining that there was little difference between slick and road tyres.
Italian star Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) was fresh off the back of testing at Almeria and was eager to join the other teams on circuit. He continued his adaption to the World Supersport class and placed fourth come the end of day one. Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha) was up in fifth, also looking to refine small details of his package. Hikari Okubo (Dynavolt Honda) enjoyed his first testing action of 2020 and was sixth, with three manufacturers inside the top six.
Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was back in action after extensive testing at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, taking to Portimao for the first time. The German rider was fractionally ahead of Jaimie van Sikkelerus (MPM Routz Racing Team), who set as many laps as possible ahead of his first full season on Yamaha machinery. Danny Webb (WRP Wepol Racing) was ninth on his WorldSSP debut, whilst Turkish rookie Can Öncü (Turkish Racing Team) was tenth and the last of the WorldSSP runners and riders.