Portimao test concludes with four riders going quicker than the lap record

 In News, World Superbikes

There was plenty of lap record pace on display in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve on Day 2 of the two-day test in Portugal, with riders on the verge of breaking into the 1’38s for the first time in WorldSBK. Reigning Champion Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) topped the times on day two by just 0.009s ahead of six-time Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) as four riders went under the lap record set by Rea in 2022.

SMASHING RECORDS: four riders and three manufacturers under the lap record

The pace was rapid from the get-go on Wednesday in the final European test before teams and riders head to Australia, with Bautista posting a 1’39.035s to obliterate Rea’s Superpole lap record from last year’s Portuguese Round. Bautista’s day, with the Spanish rider looking at bike stability, was disrupted by a crash at Turn 7 which brought out the red flag. His teammate was one of the four riders to go below the lap record with a 1’39.144s to take third place; backing up his top spot from Day 1.

Rea, the lap record holder with a 1’39.610s from last year’s Tissot Superpole, took second spot and was only 0.009s slower than Bautista at the end of the day’s running with the six-time Champion testing some new items from Showa and looking at chassis balance. His teammate, Alex Lowes, was tenth fastest on Day 2 as he worked on his ZX-10RR machine, posting a best time of 1’40.559s on Day 2, as he looked to work on exiting corners.
2021 Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) was fourth fastest as he also went under Rea’s existing lap record, posting a 1’39.441s on his way to fourth spot. As at Jerez, there was a lot of focus on the rear of his Yamaha YZF R1 machine in order to improve grip exiting corners. Teammate Andrea Locatelli was fifth fastest with the two Yamaha riders separated by around three tenths of a second; Locatelli was lapping only a tenth outside the lap record.

MOVING ON UP: late laps change the order

With Ducati, Kawasaki and Yamaha taking up five of the top six positions, Team HRC’s Iker Lecuona was able to put a fourth manufacturer in the top six on Day 2 at Portimao. Lecuona, who had a crash in the final sector in the morning, posted a 1’39.803s to take sixth spot as Honda looked to work on setups for the CBR1000RR-R machine, including long runs. Teammate Xavi Vierge was in eighth place, with Independent Yamaha rider Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), looking for improvements with the SCX tyre, separating the two with seventh place. A late lap from 2013 Champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) propelled him up the order to ninth ahead of French rider Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) in 11th on his M 1000 RR to ensure all five manufacturers were represented in the top 11, while his teammate, American star Garrett Gerloff, was 14th.

HOTLY CONTESTED FIELD: not much in it…

Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) had a focus on new electronics and ran BMW’s brake covers on Day 2 on his M 1000 RR as he searched for more time on corner exit. The Dutch rider finished the day in 12th place after setting a 1’40.711s, while teammate Scott Redding was 16th on his machine with a best time of 1’41.002s. In between the two BMW riders was Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) in 13th place with the German rider working on the new Panigale V4 R including a different fork for rear grip as well as Gerloff and Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), whose lap time of 1’40.844s put him in 15th.

Aegerter’s WorldSSP rival, Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha), was 17th and around four tenths slower than the two-time WorldSSP Champion. Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) took 19th spot with Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), in his first test of 2023, in 20th spot. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) was 20th ahead of MIE Honda Racing Team duo Eric Granado and Hafizh Syahrin in 21st and 22nd respectively; Granado suffering a technical issue in the afternoon on his bike.

RECORDS BROKEN: lap record pace in WorldSSP

Like his Ducati counterpart in WorldSBK, Nicolo Bulega (Aruba Racing WorldSSP Team) took top spot in WorldSSP running on Day 2 as he smashed the lap record. Bulega posted a 1’42.636 which gave him the quickest lap time, ahead of compatriot Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing) and Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team); Ducati locking out the top three positions in WorldSSP. Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) continued testing four machines in Portugal and set the fourth best lap time, a 1’43.583s for fourth place, with Raffaele De Rose (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) in fifth.

New Ten Kate Racing Yamaha recruit Stefano Manzi took sixth spot ahead of Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) in seventh and Manzi’s teammate, Jorge Navarro, in eighth. Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing) was the lead rider from his team with ninth spot after setting a 1’44.978s, with Federico Fuligni (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) and Maximilian Kofler (D34G Racing) rounding out the field; Kofler had a crash in the afternoon which briefly brought out the red flags. Both Adam Norrodin (MIE – MS Racing Honda Team) and Tarran Mackenzie were on track on Day 2, but with no times recorded.

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