2011 Portimao World Superbike Saturday Press Release Round Up

Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying at Portimao:

Portimão – Qualifying Practice 2 & Superpole.

Saturday, 15th October 2011.

As expected, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport experienced a challenging Saturday at Portimão (POR). Its factory riders, Leon Haslam (GBR) and Troy Corser (AUS), will start the final round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship from the third and fifth rows respectively. Leon finished 11th in today's Superpole Qualifying after setting the fourth fastest time of the Qualifying Practices. His team mate, Troy, struggled to qualify for the deciding Superpole and occupies 18th on the grid on his BMW S 1000 RR. Ayrton Badovini (ITA) from the BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team will start on his RR from ninth. His team mate, Xavier Fores (ESP), qualified 20th.

Leon Haslam:

Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:43.090 min (P4) / Fastest lap FP: 1:44.303 min (P13) / Fastest lap Superpole 2: 1:42.879 min (P11)

"On Friday we had an issue which meant we missed out on a lot of valuable track time, but today we have worked well and made some positive adjustments to the chassis. Obviously qualifying didn't go according to plan, as we struggled to obtain the full potential from the qualifying tyres, but on race tyres we are looking good, so I am still confident. The start tomorrow from the third row will be really important, but if we can run with the leaders in the early laps then we could be on for a good result. We will have to wait and see."

Troy Corser:

Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:44.131 min (P18) / Fastest lap FP: 1:44.185 min (P11)

"Sadly we have struggled to combat the issues from yesterday. The track's bumpy and undulating nature has made a good set-up very hard to find. We have been working overtime to try and pull everything together, but sadly we ran out of time and missed out on Superpole completely. Now we have to do our utmost with the time available tomorrow to try and find a good setting for the races, and hopefully improve on what is an obviously disappointing starting position."

Rainer Bäumel (Head of Race Operations):

"It continues to be a difficult weekend for us. Today we were able to progress with both riders, but unfortunately for Troy it was not enough to qualify for Superpole. Overall our gap to the very front is still too big. We will work hard and try to reduce this gap tomorrow. In the races a lot is possible. Leon is a fighter, he will certainly give his best and you can easily overtake on this track. Troy is facing an even bigger challenge starting from the fifth row. However, in Free Practice we were able to improve his RR in many areas, so also for him a lot is still possible."

Praia ready to put on the race of his life

PARKALGAR HONDA'S Miguel Praia is 13th on the grid for tomorrow's 12th and final round of the World Supersport Championship at his home track of Parkalgar near Portimao in Portugal and is determined to put on the race of his life in front of his fans.

Parkalgar Honda's Sam Lowes is sixth on the grid but has pace in hand as he never pulled together the perfect lap - he is targeting the podium. The race starts at 1330GMT on Sunday, October 16th at the stunning Parkalgar track on the Algarve coast in Portugal.

Miguel: "I am a little disappointed with 13th but the quality of the field is better than ever and the times are close. My Parkalgar Honda is working well and we can make it even better for tomorrow so I think we will find more pace. I am always a better racer than qualifier so I am ready for the race - it will be one of the biggest of my life and I want to score a season's best in front of the Portuguese fans - the best fans in the world."

Sam: "That was a tough qualifying session but the second row is not so bad and we know that we can run with any of the other bikes here. My Parkalgar Honda is a great package and I really want to reward the team with a good result and finish the season on a positive note in front of our fans. It's incredible for me, I am being welcomed here like I am part of the Portuguese family with so many people wishing me well - thank you and I can assure you that the support makes a difference."

Simon Buckmaster, Parkalgar Honda Team Manager: "Miguel is riding very well and 13th is a good position. It is a platform for him to get a good start and then to mix it with the riders in front because he has the pace to challenge them for sure. He has the bike, the team, the support and the ability, it's going to be a big race for him, he is so motivated.

"Sam is in very good shape for the race but is not used to being on the second row in qualifying. He never quite got a clear lap but if he had then he would have been on the front row, the ideal times show that. It's his last chance this year to show what he can achieve and I am confident he will be challenging for the rostrum again.

"If you are Portuguese and like bike racing then please get to Parkalgar tomorrow and support your home team, it's going to be a great climax to the season."

Szkopek shines in Portuguese sun

BOGDANKA PTR HONDA'S Pawel Szkopek will start from a well-earned 16th place on the fourth row of the grid in tomorrow's 12th and final round of the World Supersport Championship at Portimao in Portugal and is well placed to score valuable points.

James Ellison on the second Bogdanka PTR Honda will start from 10th and is looking to make improvements in morning warm up so he can challenge at the front. The race starts at 1330GMT on Sunday, October 16th at the stunning Parkalgar track on the Algarve coast in Portugal.

Pawel: "I am happy with 16th and this is a good position to start. If I get off the line well I can follow and fight with the group in front I am sure. There is nothing more I want than to finish the season with my best result of the year and set a new record for Polish World Championship success. I am fired up and my Bogdanka PTR Honda is a great bike, I can't wait."

James: "I tried very hard and although we have gone faster than yesterday by a second, we are still looking for more grip. I think everyone is probably the same to be fair. We are looking to find something to give us more speed and that's the focus for warm-up. Then I want to get as good a start as possible and challenge at the front."

Simon Buckmaster, Bogdanka PTR Honda Team Manager: "Pawel is riding well, probably the best he has all season and is a good and well-deserved 16th on the grid. He has every opportunity to score points and finish the season on a peak.

"James is looking for a bit more so he can step up and challenge at the front as he has been in recent rounds. There are some good ideas on how to progress in warm-up and his race pace is already good. He is still a podium contender but will have to dig deep in the race."


Team Suzuki Press Office - October 15.

Team Alstare Suzuki rider Michel Fabrizio didn't get the big improvement he was hoping for in today's final Qualifying and Superpole at Portimao in Portugal for the final round of the World Superbike Championship tomorrow and the Italian will have to start tomorrow's pair of 22 lap races from the fourth row of the grid.

The team changed the entire braking system in a bid to alleviate yesterday's problems, and there was an improvement, but not enough for Fabrizio to push as hard as he wanted. His place on the fourth row means he will need two superb starts if he is to have any chance of good results.

Jonathan Rea (Honda) won Superpole today with a lap of 1:41.712, which was inside the lap record. Second is Carlos Checa (Ducati) with Yamaha team-mates Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri in third and fourth

Michel Fabrizio - 14th, 1:43.661:

"The team changed the whole braking system and the bike felt a bit better, but not enough for me to push really hard. At the moment, I do not have enough confidence to be more aggressive and that is a bit frustrating; both for me and the team. They also made other changes to the bike, but I didn't feel comfortable on the bumps - and there are a lot of them here!

"The fourth row is obviously not a good place to start, but I am hopeful that I can make good starts and get good results - as long as the problems have been solved. It's going to be a long, hard day tomorrow, but whatever happens I will do my best."

Rea rips up the record books to win Tissot-Superpole

Portimao (Portugal), Saturday 15 October 2011 – A new best lap of 1 minute 41.712 seconds from Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) gave him his second Tissot-Superpole win in succession as the rider from Northern Ireland set out to end his season on a high.

Second was new champion Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) with third and fourth places taken by Yamaha World Superbike team-mates Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri respectively.

Jonathan Rea: "I'd much rather swap this pole position for two wins tomorrow but it's a great result all the same. I'm just really enjoying riding my bike at the moment, we had quite a bizarre strategy this weekend, using different tyres this morning and old ones this afternoon. But it's so hot here at the moment and I think the race is really going to start at around lap 10."

Carlos Checa: "It's a special weekend for me because it's my 39th birthday, but we are for sure quite satisfied with my second position, because lapping in 1m41s is quite a good time. It's just that Johnny is very strong. We are here to compete, but we want to be focused on the race. This for us is the best test for next year and I hope we can do some great results."

Eugene Laverty: "I would love to have got pole but I'm on the front row and that's the important thing. I wasn't going to beat Johnny today. It's a good front row position and we're looking strong for the races tomorrow, but so are the other guys so we will see."

The second row will feature the Effenbert-Liberty Ducati duo of Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz, in fifth and sixth places overall. Ever-improving Kawasaki rider Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) equalled his season best qualifying of seventh with PATA Aprilia Racing rider Noriyuki Haga eighth.

Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) completed the top ten. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) secured the final spots on the third row of the grid.

Maxime Berger (Supersonic Racing Team Ducati), Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare), one-off Portimao rider Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) and Mark Aitchison (Pedercini Team Kawasaki) completed the 16 riders who made it into Superpole one. Max Biaggi just missed out on a Superpole place in his comeback ride for his Aprilia Alitalia team, and is 17th on the grid.

Times: 1. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1'41.712; 2. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'41.951; 3. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 1'42.173; 4. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 1'42.259; 5. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'42.627; 6. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1'42.710; 7. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'43.282; 8. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'43.307; 9. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'42.645; 10. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'42.740; 11. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1'42.879; 12. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'43.012; 13. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'43.306; 14. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'43.661; 15. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'43.683; 16. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'44.078; etc.

World Supersport

Two Spanish Kawasaki Motocard.com machines will start tomorrow's final round of the WSS championship from first and second on the grid after dominating the second qualifying run. Pole went to David Salom of Spain, with Australia's Broc Parkes alongside. 2011 champion Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO) was third quickest, followed by French youngster Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) in the final front row slot.

Massimo Roccoli (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) was next up in fifth, with Sam Lowes of the home Parkalgar Honda team in sixth. Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO), who both had harmless crashes during the session, were seventh and eighth.

Times: 1. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'45.095; 2. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'45.145; 3. Davies C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 1'45.253; 4. Marino F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1'45.590; 5. Roccoli M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'45.706; 6. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1'45.787; 7. Foret F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1'45.877; 8. Scassa L. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'45.968; etc.

Superstock 1000

Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Ducati) powered to his sixth pole position of the year in the Superstock 1000 category, equalling Maxime Berger's circuit best lap on the way. The Italian will have some tough competition alongside him on the front row: Frenchman Loris Baz (Ten Kate Junior Honda), Niccolò Canepa (Lazio MotorSport Ducati) and Sheridan Morais (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki), all with experience in higher categories.

Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock), Petrucci's only adversary for the runner-up slot, was only in eleventh place on the third row, while his team-mate Sylvain Barrier was up in fifth ahead of Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing Ducati) and Bryan Staring (Pedercini Kawasaki).

Times: 1. Petrucci D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'45.282; 2. Baz L. (FRA) Honda CBR1000RR 1'46.557; 3. Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'46.630; 4. Morais S. (RSA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'46.690; 5. Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 1'46.759; 6. Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'46.862; 7. Staring B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'46.889; 8. Savadori L. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'46.980; etc.

Superstock 600

Pole position for Sunday's conclusive race in the European Superstock 600 Championship went to the young Frenchman Romain Lanusse (MRS Yamaha Racing France), who is still in with a chance of taking the runner-up slot. Alongside Lanusse can be found Britain's Glenn Irwin (CN Racing Kawasaki), Dutchman Michael vd Mark (Ten Kate Honda Junior Team) and American Joshua Day (Revolution Racedays Kawasaki).

Day is the chief rival in the title chase for Australian Jed Metcher (MTM-RT Motorsports Yamaha), who was sixth today. Daniele Beretta (Trasimeno Yamaha) will start from row two with fifth quickest time, together with Metcher, Tomas Krajci (TK Racing Slovakia Yamaha) and Riccardo Russo (Trasimeno Yamaha).

Times: 1. Lanusse R. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'48.211; 2. Irwin G. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'48.483; 3. Vd Mark M. (NED) Honda CBR600RR 1'48.613; 4. Day J. (USA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'48.947; 5. Beretta D. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'48.961; 6. Metcher J. (AUS) Yamaha YZF R6 1'49.293; 7. Krajci T. (SVK) Yamaha YZF R6 1'49.342; 8. Russo R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'49.414; etc.


Portimao (Portugal), Saturday 15th October 2011: Althea Racing riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano were back in action today at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve and, at the end of an extremely tight Superpole (the last of the 2011 season), Checa qualified in second and Giugliano fifteenth for what will surely be exciting races tomorrow.

Times began to drop fairly rapidly this morning during the second qualifying session, which took place this morning on a cooler track (32C) compared to yesterday afternoon. During his very first exit, Carlos immediately improved on his best time set yesterday, recording an impressive 1'43.0.

Giugliano, having lost valuable time during yesterday's session due to a crash, got back to work today and made significant improvement. He gradually improved on his times and in the final minutes put in a 1m43.4 followed by an even more impressive 1m43.0! With this very fast time he moved up into the top spots, closing in fifth place with a very similar time to Melandri and Haslam, in third and fourth position.

Carlos too saved the best till last - his best lap (1m42.7) was also his last and this positioned him second at the session's end, two tenths from Rea in first. Both Althea riders easily qualified for the afternoon's Superpole.

Both riders had small crashes during the early afternoon practice session but were luckily unhurt. Both Carlos and Davide went back out almost immediately on their second bikes, closing in fourth and fifteenth position respectively.

Superpole 1: Carlos went out on race rubber and placed second after making just one fast lap (1m42.6). Davide too chose to ride first with a race tyre but returned to the track with the first qualifying tyre to try to improve his position. It's the first time that the young Italian has ridden with the tyre solution and a couple of small mistakes, perhaps due to inexperience, meant that he closed in fifteenth position. His Superpole therefore came to an end at this point and he will line up on the fourth row of the grid for tomorrow's races.

Superpole 2: once again Checa needed just one lap, this time on a qualifier. His lap time, 1m42.1, put him in second at the end of this second phase.

Superpole 3: in the final phase Carlos made two laps, the first of which was extremely fast (1m41.9) He unfortunately missed out on pole today by two tenths of a second but only he and polesitter Rea ducked under 1m42, beating Crutchlow's lap record of 2010.

Carlos Checa:

"It's a special weekend for many reasons and we are of course extremely satisfied to be on the front row. I was able to make a great lap and go under 1m42 which is a very good result but Johnny was stronger here today. We're here to fight and tomorrow I want to be as competitive as ever. We will stay focused on tomorrow's races and try to do our best."

Davide Giugliano:

"We can't be dissatisfied but, to tell the truth, I perhaps expected a little more from myself. I think that at this track and with this bike we can do a great job. We were doing that during some of the sessions but then it became more difficult in the Superpole with the qualifying tyre. I had never ridden with that tyre before and it was pretty different from what I'm used to. I hoped to reach the second phase, to please the team, but I think they'll be equally pleased if I can make two strong races tomorrow. I need to make a good start and then try to stick with the group in front of me. Tomorrow's another day and I'm confident."

Front row for Marino in Portugal

Florian Marino set the fourth fastest time in this afternoon's World Supersport championship qualifying session at Portimao in Portugal to take a front row start for tomorrow's final race of the season.

Pole position was taken by Spanish rider David Salom, whose team-mate Broc Parkes was second fastest, with recently-crowned champion Chaz Davies in third.

Marino's Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Fabien Foret had a difficult qualifying session today and suffered a small crash with 30 minutes of the session remaining. His crew got him out again with a little over ten minutes to spare and Foret managed a second row grid slot with the seventh fastest time.

Florian Marino – P4 1m45.590s

I didn't think that I managed the session very well today because I made many mistakes. I made a lot of laps running wide in some places and it was frustrating for me. We tried a different s etting at the beginning of the session which was not so good so, with our last set of tyres, we went back to this morning's setting. It was quite slippery with the temperature this afternoon and it took me some time to adapt. Finally I found a clear lap and got on to the front row, which is great. I'd like to make a good warm-up tomorrow and not push too many laps on the brake because that's where my problem was today. Thanks to the team for all their work today, I hope I can repay them tomorrow.

Fabien Floret – P7 1m45.877s

It was difficult today and the crash didn't help the session go smoothly because the guys had to spend some time repairing the damage. They did a good job though and allowed me to get out for a few laps at the end to salvage something. It's still not perfect and we were not able to continue the step forward that was made right at the end of yesterday's session. But we can try something in warm-up and race day is always a little bit different anyway.

Ronald ten Kate – team manager

Florian has done quite a good job today. A front row start is a great result for him and the team. Fabien had a complicated session with a little crash, but luckily he was able to rejoin and was still able to make his fastest lap. We are not there yet but we're not far away either, so we'll keep working tonight to find what we can give both riders for the best possible chance in the final race of the season.


Team Suzuki Press Office - October 15.

In only its third appearance in the World Superbike Championship this year, Yoshimura Suzuki improved lap times in today's final qualifying for the final round of the World Superbike Championship at Portimao in Portugal.

Running its Suzuki GSX-R1000 Suzuka 8-Hour Race-specification machine on different tyres, Australian "Wild Card" rider Josh Waters bettered his lap times on a circuit both he and the team have never ridden.

Although failing to make Superpole, Waters is upbeat about the learning curve, different tyres and overall machine set-up, and is hopeful of a good showing for the Japanese aftermarket tuning specialist in tomorrow's two 22-lap races.

Josh Waters - 21st - (1:45.311)

"This has been a very steep learning curve for me and the team. This is my first time here and the track is very technical and quite difficult. There are many ups-and-downs and blind approaches and so you need to know the track and have a good bike set up.

"I haven't ridden this bike since the World Superbike round in Miller Motorsports Park in America, and it's very different to my GSX-R1000 that I race in Australia. Also, I am having to learn how the bike behaves on Pirelli tyres as I race on other rubber at home. The bike is more-or-less the same as the Suzuka 8 hour Endurance bike I raced in July and that also runs on another brand of tyres, so we have been trying to get it dialled-in for the Pirellis and that takes a lot of work and understanding.

"I am a little frustrated - for myself and the team - because I want to do much better. There's just so much to do and not that much time to do it, but don't forget we're up against the best Superbike racers in the World and they all have so much more time and experience on their bikes than we do. It's a tough challenge, but we're improving bit by bit and I hope I can have a couple of good races and get some good results.

Yohei Kato - Team Manager:

"I am not satisfied with our progress so far, even though the last session today was a bit better than I expected. The bike is the Suzuka 8 hour bike and we are adapting it to this race track, but there's so much work to do and things to learn. I am beginning to understand how difficult it is to get good results as a 'Wild Card'. We will keep working, of course, and hope for good results tomorrow."

Equal Best Performance Sees Lascorz Into The Superpole Top Seven

WSBK, Portimao, Portugal, 15 October 2011

Joan Lascorz scored a strong second row starting position at the final round of the year with his fellow official Kawasaki rider Tom Sykes working his way to the third row, in 10th place.

Lascorz has found the business of qualifying and superpole not always straightforward in his rookie WSBK season but positive developments in his machine set-up, particularly under braking, allowed him to exploit more of capabilities of his Ninja ZX-10R in pre-race trim. His superpole performance made him the fastest Kawasaki rider on show before raceday.

Starting from row two will be a nearly new experience for Joan, so he will be all out to stay with the leading riders in the early laps and make use of what is normally his strongest pace in the middle and at the end of races.

Sykes had the opposite experience of Lascorz in Superpole and qualifying, starting strong but not finding the set-up improvements to allow him to compete for spot on the front two rows. His third row start is not ideal but Sykes is determined to find a better way in the two 22-lap races scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki Pedercini Team) made it into Superpole but a crash in the first session held him back and he could not make any more progress, ending up 16th.

Regular Ninja ZX-10R Roberto Rolfo (Kawasaki Pedercini Team) missed the final race of the year after suffering an injury in a cycling accident at home after the previous round, and was replaced at Portimao by Spanish rider Santiago Barragan. He qualified 22nd.

Joan Lascorz: "We made good improvements in braking and turning-in and I am happy with the bike so I made some good lap times. We did a lot of work with the engine braking and it has paid off. We have had some good pace in races this year but started too far from the front, so now I am going to start from the second row hopefully more things will be possible. I think we will have to concentrate our efforts around one tyre choice for tomorrow. The circuit is a bit bumpier than I remember, but that is the same for everyone."

Tom Sykes: "We used a race tyre in superpole one and made it through to superpole two, but obviously I am not happy where we are with the bike settings this weekend. We started off strongly in the first session but I do not feel we have made massive progress since then. We need to make a plan for tomorrow because I feel we can be at the sharp end but we are not quite there at the moment. I am struggling with turning the bike off the brakes, which at this track you need to do a few times. Ultimately we know what we want to do and we will try to achieve it for the races tomorrow."

Salom And Parkes Earn A Superb 1-2 In Qualifying

WSS, Portimao, Portugal, 15 October 2011

Kawasaki Provec Motocard.com duo David Salom and Broc Parkes qualified ahead of all their many rivals in Portugal, setting up an epic fight as they each now try to take second in the final standings.

For Salom qualifying in Portugal has gone well, with his machine well suited to the elevation changes and hot temperatures experienced during some welcome unseasonably hot weather for October. Salom and Parkes pushed each other on, with only new 2011 champion Chaz Davies able to stay close behind them.

Parkes made improvements as the weekend went on and nearly nailed a pole lap himself and he declared himself happy to be able to start the final round from the first row.

Sunday's 20-lap Supersport race offers many opportunities to the lead Kawasaki duo, as they are currently tied on points in third and fourth place overall and each have their own designs on going for overall second before Sunday night.

In a strong show of prowess by the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R in general, Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki rider Massimo Roccoli posted fifth place in qualifying. Vittorio Iannuzzo, Roccoli's Lorenzini by Leoni team-mate, was 15th on the grid.

David Salom: "A very good performance from our team today and we enjoyed a great starting position. For me pole is very important for tomorrow as this is the last race of the year. I think these kinds of practice lap times will not be possible in the race, but I think we can keep a good pace. Broc, Chaz and other riders are also very fast, and it is all very close. Tomorrow there will be a big fight in the race for the second place in the championship."

Broc Parkes: "Qualifying went all right even though we have not had the best pace all weekend. We made a lot more time up today in the morning and in the afternoon we really arrived. The bike feels quite good but maybe my qualifying lap wasn't the best one. That said I am happy to be where I am on the grid for the race tomorrow. We're on the front row, so we cannot complain. Congratulations to David and I think we gave each other a good 'race' in qualifying, but we'll see what happens tomorrow."

Rea takes Portimao pole in style

Jonathan Rea set the fastest ever Superbike lap at Portimao in Portugal this afternoon to take pole position for tomorrow's final two races of the 2011 World Superbike Championship.

The Castrol Honda rider lapped the 4.592km Portimao circuit in a time of 1m41.712s, eclipsing by three tenths of a second the previous best lap set by Cal Crutchlow last season.

Rea has been in scintillating form all weekend for the final SBK round of 2011 and was fastest in this morning's second regulation qualifying session. But the 24-year-old from Northern Ireland saved his best lap for this afternoon's final Superpole session to take his second consecutive pole position.

Rea will be joined on the front row for tomorrow's two 22-lap races by newly crowned World Superbike Champion Carlos Checa, who was second fastest today, ahead of Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri, who round out the front row.

Karl Muggeridge, replacing the injured Ruben Xaus, made further progress today as he continued to re-familiarise himself with the Portimao circuit and his CBR1000RR. The 37-year-old Australian was 19th fastest today for fifth row qualifying slot.

Jonathan Rea – P1 1m41.712s

To be honest, I'd much rather swap this pole position and the one at Magny-Cours for two good results tomorrow, but I'm still very happy with today. I'm enjoying riding the bike so much right now and go out with a smile on my face in every session. We had quite a different strategy with tyres today but it looks like being quite a difficult race with the temperatures here and we think the race will probably start around lap ten. For now though, we'll just savour the moment and I'll try my best tomorrow, which is another day after all.

Karl Muggeridge – P19 1m45.268s

It's still a big job for me to get to grips with the bike and the tyres here. We made some progress today but it's going to be tough to muscle the bike around here tomorrow. I don't really have enough confidence yet in the bike so we'll just have to work a little more tonight to bring that on. It's still difficult to accelerate out of the corners properly but the entry has improved a lot, which is where I struggled big-time yesterday. I just need to work on getting off them now but it's all right and we'll keep chipping away tomorrow.

Ronald ten Kate – team manager

That was quite a special lap. We knew that Jonathan had quite a good pace around here but we were not actually expecting to see a 41s lap on display. So big compliments to him – it was a great job, but more importantly race pace seems to be quite OK, so we're looking forward to tomorrow. Karl is improving lap by lap so we hope tomorrow, with some more laps under his belt, that he can collect some points and enjoy his weekend with us.

Pole position : 1m42.712s (162.712Km/h) Jonathan Rea, Honda, 2011

Circuit record lap : 1m42.774s (160,850Km/h) Max Biaggi (Aprilia, 2010)

Circuit Best Lap : 1m42.712s (162.712Km/h) Jonathan Rea, Honda, 2011

Yamaha WSB Team secure front row starts ahead of the grand finale in Portimao

Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri were on flying form today on the sunny Algarve circuit at Portimao to secure two front row starts on tomorrow's grid for the final two races of the 2011 season.

Both riders got straight down to business in this morning's second qualifying session making several minor adjustments to their R1 set-ups in search of better grip and stability on the machine. Having made significant improvements, both riders concentrated on race set up in the afternoon's free practice, completing a longer run before wrapping up the successful session at the top of the time sheets, with Melandri in first place and his team-mate just 0.031 of a second behind him in second position.

In the first Superpole knockout session this afternoon, Melandri set the fastest time to claim the top slot, while his team-mate, just behind in third place went comfortably through to the second heat of the day, having both saved their qualifiers for the remaining two sessions. Laverty dominated the second heat using a qualifier to clock in an impressive 1'42.097, just 0.005 off the best lap time recorded on the R1 in 2010. While several riders switched to the last qualifying tyre to complete a further two laps and secure a place in the third heat, Melandri was bumped to eighth place. The final Superpole session of the season saw both Yamaha riders claim front row positions on tomorrow's race grid, with Laverty in third place and his Italian team-mate beside him in fourth, setting them up nicely for the grand finale.

Eugene Laverty

Yamaha World Superbike Team - 3rd, 1'42.173

"It was a pretty good day overall. Another front row start is important, I was hoping to get pole but Johnny Rea was very strong and third on the grid is pretty good. This morning we tried a few things that didn't quite work out but in the final free practice session we made a big step in the right direction, getting some more rear grip on the bike, which is really important ahead of tomorrow's race day. We have some more work to do in the morning but we are almost there and I am confident enough that I can be fighting for a podium in the last two races of the season."

Marco Melandri

Yamaha World Superbike Team - 4th, 1'42.259

"It was a great day today, we made good progress in qualifying and free practice, making steps in the right direction. The team worked hard and did a great job yet again, helping me gain more confidence and feeling on the bike and I was lapping quite fast. I concentrated on trying to get faster laps times in the Superpole qualifying session which has been my weakest point recently but I needed a few tenths of a second more. The important thing is to be on the front row and to have a good set up for tomorrow's two races, which I am confident we have and that we can be strong and fighting for a win."

Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager

"We were aiming for a front row start for the last races of the season, so that mission was accomplished today with both riders, confirming our strong total team performance. Eugene has been fast all weekend and yet again in today's Superpole, which is very important as tomorrow he will be doing his best to hold on to the third place in the championship. He and his team worked hard to improve consistency on the race tyres and rear grip, areas where he was struggling a little yesterday. Marco gradually improved the set up on his machine throughout the day, gaining the confidence he requires to be 100 per cent competitive tomorrow. He put in some fast laps with the race tyres but was unable to improve much on the qualifier. Most important is that both riders will be starting from the front row and fighting to take home two more race wins before ending the season."

Yamaha ParkinGO riders to start the final race of the season from first and second rows

Yamaha ParkinGO riders Chaz Davies and Luca Scassa will start tomorrow's season finale race at Portimao from first and second rows on the Portuguese grid. Chaz Davies has already snatched the WSS championship title since the last round in Magny Cours but the Yamaha ParkinGO team is determined to claim the Manufacturer's title tomorrow with Yamaha currently holding a significant 12 point lead in the standings.

In search of better grip ahead of tomorrow's race, Chaz Davies – 2011 World Supersport Champion, made the most of the morning's free practice session to make various changes to his R6 set up. Having found a better solution, the Welshman proceeded this afternoon to better his lap times and dominated the time sheets mid-session before wrapping up the day in third place just 0.158 off pole position. Team-mate Luca Scassa had a less successful second qualifying session this afternoon. A minor crash after just two laps in the second qualifying session caused the Italian to lose out on valuable track time while his machine was being repaired. Heading back out with just 4 minutes to go, Scassa managed to complete a further three laps and secure eighth place and second row on tomorrow's grid. Despite the little track time this afternoon, the Yamaha ParkinGO rider is confident that he made important steps in the morning's free practice sessions and will be strong enough to fight for a podium in tomorrow's final race of the 2011 season. The Yamaha ParkinGO Team aim to add another race win to their spectacular list of achievements this year, having scored an astounding eight race victories from the 11 rounds already completed.

Chaz Davies

Yamaha ParkinGO Team - 3rd, 1'45.253

"We still have some fine tuning to do on the front of the bike in tomorrow's warm up session but everything else seems to be quite good. We made great progress today and I'm confident ahead of tomorrow's race. I'm aiming for a one final race win to add to my achievements this year and I'm sure we have the competitive package it takes. I'll give it my best shot but it's nice to know that I've nothing to lose."

Luca Scassa

Yamaha ParkinGO Team - 8th, 1'45.968

"Unfortunately when I was on my way into the pit box, I came across another rider going quite slow, I widened my lines and tried to overtake on the inside but I bumped into him and crashed. It was disappointing and I lost out on a lot of track time as a consequence. The team worked in record time to repair the bike so I could get back out there and improve lap times just before the end of the session. I really want to race to win tomorrow and I'm pretty sure that I can be up there fighting at the top and I expect to be stronger in the second half of the race."


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