World Superbike Post-Portimao Test Times

Testing after the final round of World Superbikes at Portimao threw up a few interesting surprises. The first is that Shane Byrne was quick right off the bat, but as Shakey won the British Superbike championship aboard a very similar bike this year, he might be regarded as having a head start. The second surprise was that Ben Spies was so fast. Spies has changed bikes and tires, and so setting such a fast time after just two days of testing is fairly impressive.

Perhaps the most interesting time was the one set by Max Biaggi aboard the Aprilia. The RSV4 is a brand new bike, and the difference between the drawing board and the track can be monumental, as so many factories have found to their peril. So far, it looks like Aprilia have got it right.

The next round of testing for the World Superbike riders is to take place at Kyalami, South Africa, from 10th to the 12th of December. 

1. Shane Byrne (Ducati) 1'43.6

2. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1'43.9

3. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'44.1

4. Tom Sykes (Yamaha) 1'44.5

5. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamaha) 1'44.5

6. Alex Polita (Ducati) 1'44.6

7. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1'44.6

8. Roberto Rolfo (Honda) 1'45.0

9. Regis Laconi (Honda) 1'45.4

10. Lorenzo Lanzi (Honda) 1'46.3

Fastest lap during the race:  Troy Bayliss - 1'43.787

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It's fascinating to hear that so many people are continually surprised by Ben Spies when his skills have been constant and so well documented. He has won championships at every level of his racing and has dominated US Superbike riding against a very good field. He seems to win even saving 5 to 10 percent in the bag and when he turns that on it's unbelievable. It seems people in racing aren't very good at judging talent, but those of us who have had the pleasure of watching Spies race know about his mad skills. If you want to see for yourself watch either of the Road Atlanta  AMA races from this year, OR his comeback finish to make up 5 seconds in 3 laps and win by .001 at the finish. I'm an equal opportunity racing fan and look forward to next year WSB and watching Spies race. I look forward even more for his move to GP to battle it out with Rossi!


The Road Atlanta race by Spies where he had the ride through penalty this year was amazing.  Simply Amazing.  Some of the best motorcycle riding I have ever seen, easily demonstrates his ability as an amazing rider.

Talented American riders are staying state-side more othen these days. This is due to the impressive salaries shelled out by the AMA compared to almost nothing in WSBK. Of the few Americans that do venture oversea's, they're typically not very talented (such as Pridmore and Lynn) and can't even get an AMA ride. I believe there is a general misconception that these poor riders represent the US talent level.

I feel very strongly that if more of the top US riders made the move (Hacking, Hayes, Zemke, Bostrom, etc) they would at least be competitive with the top riders from Europe. 

Everyone seems so full of what Ben Spies has done - and quite rightly so!

However it seems to have slipped quietly under the radar that Shakey Byrne topped the sheets! Personally it came as no real surprise to me! 

Ducati's just seem to suit Shakey and his style soooo well that I see him as a dark horse next season!