2012 Portimao World Superbike And World Supersport Saturday Post-Qualifying Press Releases

Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams, as well as the WSBK press office, after qualifying at Portimao:

ParkinGO MTC Racing Team

Portimao 22nd September 2012

Chaz Davies and ParkinGO have done a brilliant Superpole and will start from 8th position on the grid for tomorrow’s races.

After a little technical problem in the morning second qualifying, the Superpole has seen Chaz Davies and his Aprilia RSV4 get the best time at the last minute in the SP1.

At Superpole 2 and 3, Chaz has managed to get the second row that will allow him to battle from the start and fight for another podium finish.

Alberto Colombo “Il Moro”, chief mechanic of Chaz Davies

We are satisfied of today’s result managing to do what we were meant to and using the qualifying tires as we should, giving us a good starting position on the grid. As for tomorrow, the weather forecast and the tires are going to be an important factor.

Lowes on the front row at Portimao

BOGDANKA PTR HONDA's Sam Lowes will start tomorrow's penultimate race of the 2012 World Supersport Championship from fourth on the grid and will be aiming to fight for a podium finish at Portimao in Portugal.

Mathew Scholtz on the other Bogdanka PTR Honda improved yesterday's time by 1.5 seconds to qualify in 11th position, on the third row, and he'll be targeting at least a point scoring finish with one eye on the top ten result.

Bogdanka Honda PTR's Adrian Pasek will start his first World Supersport race from 31st on the grid after bettering his Friday's time by 0.7 of a second, as he's looking to gather as much crucial experience as possible. Tomorrow's race will start at 14:30 CET.

Sam Lowes: "We have the bike working really well, have a good race pace and I'm feeling really good ahead of the race. I went out on the hard tyre first and then changed to a soft one at the end of qualifying but we had a bit of a problem with it and I couldn't improve the time I set on my race tyre. I had no grip and had to come straight back in. I feel we could've been higher on the grid today but the important thing is that we have a good race pace and I'm really looking forward to Sunday."

Mathew Scholtz: "We've improved our times from yesterday and worked on the race pace, and things are looking quite good for the race. It's a new circuit for me, but we've still managed to get my Bogdanka PTR Honda on the third row and it's a good starting point for the race. I can't wait to get going tomorrow and will be looking to get another point scoring finish under my belt, but I would really like to match the tenth position from Russia."

Adrian Pasek: "I've felt a lot better today and started getting to grips with the World Supersport-spec Bogdanka Honda PTR bike. I'm still losing around 1.5 seconds in just two corners, but it's only a matter of my riding style, not the bike! We're heading in the right direction so I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. After the first two days here I know what I need to improve, especially when it comes to my fitness and training. Racing a different bike in the European Junior Cup requires a different preparation so I'm quite tired - especially as it's very hot here this weekend, but it's all good. The main target for the race is to get as much experience under my belt as possible and bring the bike home in my debut."

Simon Buckmaster, Bogdanka PTR Honda Team Manager: "Sam is in good shape for the race after being held up by slower riders on the racing line at the end of qualifying. His qualifying tyre did not perform as we would have hoped but on race tyres he is looking good. Mathew has done a good job and improved all weekend; it is good work by him and the Bogdanka PTR Honda team and he looks like he can threaten the top 10 in the race."

Jules in great shape third at Parkalgar

PTR HONDA'S Jules Cluzel will start tomorrow's 12th and penultimate round of the World Supersport Championship at Parkalgar in Portugal from third on the front of the grid and has the pace to challenge for the podium in the race.

Ronan Quarmby showed real pace in free practice but couldn't replicate it in qualifying and will start from 20th on the grid looking for a good start. Martin Jessop on the Riders PTR Honda will start from 29th and is expecting to finish much higher. The race starts at 1330GMT tomorrow, Sunday 23rd September.

Jules: "I am quite disappointed as I was expecting a better time with the soft tyre. I thought it was possible but I maybe had the wrong tyre or a problem with it and was not able to go faster. My race pace is good enough though. I know the circuit now, we will see tomorrow where we are faster and slower than other riders as so far I have run by myself with no one to compare against. My plan is to do my best. The target is to win and hopefully Kenan will be lower than fourth so we can take the title fight to my home round at Magny Cours."

Ronan: "Everything gelled in free practice but I struggled in qualifying again. I need everything to gel in the race tomorrow as I want a good result here and I'll be doing my best - thanks to all my fans and followers for their support, it really helps."

Martin: "On my second qualifying lap on a soft tyre I had a puncture and lost 15-minutes. My bike felt a lot different from this morning and I am not happy; I've left myself a lot of work to do tomorrow. I'm on the outside of the grid and I always go forward in the race. I love the track but didn't quite make it happen this afternoon, I'll do my best to make it work for the race."

Simon Buckmaster, PTR Honda Team Manager: "Everything is good with Jules, his race pace is fantastic. He is on the front row but something needs to be done about people touring on the racing line looking for a tow in the interests of safety. He's in great shape for the race. Ronan looked good in free practice but wasn't able to convert in qualifying. With a good start he can have a strong race. Martin had a puncture which held him back and he will be back trying in the race."

BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Portimao - Superpole

Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport will tackle the penultimate round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship from the first and second rows. Factory riders Marco Melandri (ITA) and Leon Haslam (GBR) finished today’s Superpole qualifying at Portimão (POR) in fourth and sixth respectively. Therefore they secured important starting positions on the front rows for tomorrow’s races. In Superpole 1, both riders only did one fast lap with race tyres fitted to their BMW S 1000 RRs to safely progress to the second session. Then both of them used qualifying tyres for their first outings, but struggled to make full use of the extra grip they offered. While Marco’s time was nevertheless good enough to bring him directly to Superpole 3, Leon made another attempt on his second qualifying tyre. He finished the session in eighth and, therefore, also progressed to the final and deciding part of the Superpole. In this third session Marco qualified fourth on his second qualifying tyre and Leon sixth on a race tyre. Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio (both ITA) of the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team will start tomorrow’s races from 14th and 15th respectively.

Marco Melandri:

Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:42.997 min (P3) / Fastest lap FP: 1:43.562 min (P4) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:42.015 min (P4)

“I think our starting position is better than we expected because we were struggling to get a fast single lap, though we did improve a little bit with the qualifying tyre. Tomorrow’s races won’t be easy. We are still not happy with the handling of the bike on race tyres. Every time we have more chattering we struggle a lot. I have to be careful in every corner, and with every braking. In addition to this, it is a very bouncy track and the bike moves sideways a lot. There are many fast turns, and the last corner especially is difficult. The races will be tough, but we will try to improve the bike for tomorrow and make a good start. I will try to overtake right at the start and then we have to see how good our race pace will be.”

Leon Haslam:

Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:43.278 min (P4) / Fastest lap FP: 1:43.535 min (P3) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:42.271 min (P6)

“Considering the situation we were in I am really happy. Once again we couldn’t get the qualifying tyres to work at all. We were slow on both qualifying tyres. Right at the end I used a race tyre and went another 0.5 to 0.6secs quicker. For me to do that on the race tyre I am pretty happy. The first two rows are always the main objective. It would have been nice to get the qualifying tyres to work, but it’s looking good for the race. I think everybody will be on the same tyres tomorrow. Now we will have to wait and see what the weather conditions will be like, we have to analyse what we have achieved today and then see about making some more fine tuning for tomorrow.”

Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):

“All the work done since yesterday has been positive and we were able to improve the performance of both riders, but the races will not be easy. For sure it is helpful to start from the first and second rows, but we are not 100 percent satisfied with the results we have achieved on the set-up. It is very difficult to find the right set-up on this track. It is always a compromise, and we would like to improve the race pace and give both riders a bike a bit less nervous and a bit more comfortable to ride, because the race will be tough and they must feel comfortable on the RR. We know there is still a bit missing so we will work hard this afternoon and during the night in order to find this during the warm-up tomorrow.”


Portimao (Portugal), Saturday 22 September 2012: thanks to a very fast lap time recorded with a qualifying tyre, Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) finished today’s Superpole in overall second position, meaning a well deserved spot on the front row for the Spanish rider in tomorrow races at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. His team-mate Davide Giugliano will start from row three, in tenth position.

Having finished yesterdays’ qualifying session in eighth (Checa) and fifteenth (Giugliano) position, the two Althea riders returned to the track this morning for the second official session. On a slightly cooler track (30˚C), Giugliano’s times dropped progressively and he was able to improve on his best time set yesterday by over a second, recording a best of 1m43.558 in the final stages. Checa too went faster than yesterday, shaving another four tenths of his time to register a fastest lap - 1’43.568 - that was almost identical to team-mate Davide’s best. By closing qualifying in overall ninth (Giugliano) and tenth (Checa) position, the pair easily qualified for the penultimate Superpole of the season.

Superpole 1: in this first phase the two riders went out on track confident that they could make a fast time on race rubber. Carlos recorded a 1m42.9 which was enough to place him eighth at the end of the phase. Davide made two laps, the second of which was his quickest (1m43.1) and he closed in tenth place as a result of this time.

Superpole 2: Davide went straight out on a qualifying tyre but was unable to make the most of its potential; he therefore needed to make a second exit back on the race tyre. With the latter he made his fastest lap of the phase (1m42.7) but it was unfortunately not enough to grant him access to the final stage. Giugliano thus qualifies in tenth position for tomorrow’s races.

Superpole 3: Carlos, with one qualifying tyre still available, only needed to make one lap in order to earn himself a front row start for tomorrow’s races. Thanks to a very fast lap – 1m41.7 – he propelled himself into second position, between polesitter Sykes and Aprilia rider Laverty.

Carlos Checa:

“Of course we cannot predict what will happen in the races. Today I didn’t expect this second place for example; I’m really happy but it was a little bit of a surprise. Once we put the qualifying tyre in, I found that the bike was a lot more stable and I was able to make the fast lap. For tomorrow I don’t think our pace is bad but many riders will be fast and fighting hard up front. The race is long though and so I hope to be able to do enough to be up there with them, battling it out to the end.”

Davide Giugliano:

“Everything’s going well, we’re working very well. In contrast to other weekends I feel truly ready to make two strong races tomorrow. We need to see what race day will bring and I’ll need to really try hard to make a good start but I feel confident. Over the weekend we’ve made a lot of changes and have good pace – with the race tyre we’re fast and that bodes well. I still need to learn how to make the most of the qualifying tyre in the Superpole but, all things considered, today has been a positive day.”

Sykes scythes through track best to win Tissot-Superpole

Portimao (Portugal), Saturday 22 September 2012 – Tissot-Superpole has almost become the personal property of Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) in 2012 and in Portimao he recorded his eighth win in this competition, which allocates final grid positions for the top 16 qualifiers. His most recent Superpole success before today was at Brno, in July. Tom now has ten career pole positions to his credit, the same as SBK legend Pierfrancesco Chili, placing him equal eighth in the all time rankings.

Sykes set a 1 minute 41.415 second lap in Superpole 3 to record his new track best and in the process head off the impressive combined push of 2011 World Champion Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team). Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) were fourth and fifth respectively.

Tom Sykes: “I’m pleasantly surprised! Before I came here I was expecting some difficulties going from past experience with the Kawasaki, but all credit to the team, because in the opening three laps I knew that the ZX-10R was a different bike and it has been working well all weekend. When we put the qualifying tyre in it seemed to work even better, honestly I’m happy to be on pole position tomorrow and my race pace is not too bad either”.

Carlos Checa: “It’s unpredictable here but we are really satisfied with this front row position, we didn’t expect this lap time or to get second place. For the race we’ll see, many riders have a strong pace and we need to test some things but honestly we are not so far away from the other guys. The races are quite long, hopefully we can be in the front and fight until the end”.

Eugene Laverty: “We’ve been strong all weekend and in the second free practice we did a good run on our race tyre. Superpole was also pretty good, I had some chatter on the qualifier so to get the front row, I was pleased with that. The Aprilia is working well here, even pre-season testing was very strong, so I’m desperately going for the 25 points tomorrow!”

Marco Melandri: "We struggled a lot on the race tyre. They are not going to be two easy races tomorrow but I’ll try and stay with the leading group. We have a bit of chattering, and I’m losing time when I turn into the corner so 22 laps will be tough. Sykes will go well, Biaggi is quick on race tyres, the three of us will be at the front but maybe Checa and Laverty as well."

Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) took an important second row starting position with sixth place while his fellow Britons Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) and Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia) completed the top eight.

Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) headed up the rankings on row three, having made it through to Superpole 2 but no further. Privateer PATA Ducati rider Sylvain Guintoli secured 11th place with a small error on his flying lap from Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) holding the sixth fastest rider in combined qualifying down in 12th place. In all, 23 riders qualified for the two races on Sunday 23rd September.

Times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'41.415 average 163.005 kph; 2. Checa (Ducati) 1'41.780; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'41.789; 4. Melandri (BMW) 1'42.015; 5. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'42.140; 6. Haslam (BMW) 1'42.271; 7. Rea (Honda) 1'42.717; 8. Davies (Aprilia) 1'43.459; 9. Camier (Suzuki) 1'42.767; 10. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'42.799; 11. Guintoli (Ducati) 1'42.995; 12. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'43.199; 13. McCormick (Ducati) 1'43.410; 14. Badovini (BMW) 1'43.483; 15. Fabrizio (BMW) 1'43.863; 16. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'44.479; etc.

World Supersport

Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) scored his second pole position of the 2012 season in a closely-fought contest at Portimao. He held off the pressure from French riders Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step Racing) and Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda), with only 0.051 seconds separating the top three. Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) was fourth and joins the leading trio on the front row for tomorrow’s race. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini) was only seventh today, but still starts off the second row, while his team-mate Sheridan Morais was fifth and Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) sixth.

Times: 1. Parkes (Honda) 1'45.408 average 156.831 kph; 2. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'45.458; 3. Cluzel (Honda) 1'45.459; 4. Lowes (Honda) 1'45.567; 5. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'45.877; 6. Leonov (Yamaha) 1'45.999; 7. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'46.129; 8. Marino (Kawasaki) 1'46.221; 9. Roccoli (Yamaha) 1'46.383; 10. Baldolini (Triumph) 1'46.580; etc.

Superstock 1000

Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) plucked pole from final qualifying at Portimao, setting easily the best lap of the session in 1 minute 45.487 seconds. Bryan Staring (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) was second, some way behind, with Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia Ducati) third. Christoffer Bergman (BWG Racing Kawasaki) put himself fourth, with Fabio Massei (EAB Ten Kate Junior Team Honda) and Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) fifth and sixth fastest respectively.

Times: 1. Barrier (BMW) 1'45.487 average 156.713 kph; 2. Staring (Kawasaki) 1'46.235; 3. La Marra (Ducati) 1'46.427; 4. Bergman (Kawasaki) 1'46.597; 5. Massei (Honda) 1'46.626; 6. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1'46.786; 7. Savadori (Ducati) 1'46.913; 8. Jezek (Ducati) 1'46.972; 9. Mercado (Kawasaki) 1'47.113; 10. Reiterberger (BMW) 1'47.184; etc.

Superstock 600

The UEM Superstock 600 European Championship qualifying sessions were headed by Dutch title contender Michael van Der Mark (EAB Junior Team Honda), from this season’s other great force in this class, Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha). Adrian Nestorovic (Team MTM Racing Yamaha) pushed his way to third in another good showing, with the first Kawasaki machine going to the grid in fourth place, thanks to Christian Gamarino (Team GO ELEVEN). Alexander Schacht (Schacht Racing SBK ONE Honda) was fifth. The race will take place on Sunday at this round, unlike Saturday afternoon as at most other events.

Times: 1. Vd Mark (Honda) 1'48.048 average 152.999 kph; 2. Russo (Yamaha) 1'48.357; 3. Nestorovic (Yamaha) 1'48.438; 4. Gamarino (Kawasaki) 1'48.913; 5. Schacht (Honda) 1'48.935; 6. Jones (Yamaha) 1'49.010; 7. Mulhauser (Yamaha) 1'49.024; 8. Duwelz (Yamaha) 1'49.040; 9. Morbidelli (Yamaha) 1'49.315; 10. Chesaux (Honda) 1'49.331; etc.

Second row for Rea in Portugal

Jonathan Rea set the seventh fastest time in today’s Superpole at Portimao in Portugal and will line up on the second row of the grid for tomorrow’s two 13th round World Superbike races at Portimao in Portugal.

The Honda World Superbike Team rider was unable to make the best of his two qualifying tyres to repeat his pole position from the corresponding round last year. It went instead to Tom Sykes.

Rea’s Honda team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama just missed out on Superpole today and will start from the head of the fifth row for tomorrow’s two 22-lap races around the 4.592km Portimao circuit.

Jonathan Rea

I’m quite happy with what we’ve been doing on race tyres and how we’re set for tomorrow but I’m very disappointed that when we put qualifiers in we weren’t able to find a time with everybody else. It highlights how we’re not taking advantage of the grip from fresh tyres. So I’m very frustrated with our Superpole effort but tomorrow’s the race and we’ll see what happens.

Hiroshi Aoyama

I have spent some more time learning this difficult circuit and I am ready to have some fun. Unfortunately I missed Superpole by a couple of tenths which would have given me some more laps this afternoon. Tomorrow will be difficult in the races but I think I can make some places and I hope to have fun.

Pieter Breddels – technical manager

Hiroshi just missed Superpole again – he was on a fast lap at the end of second qualifying but he out-braked himself into turn five, which is quite difficult, and he couldn’t make it. We’ll try a couple of small things to improve his pace in the morning and then he’ll just have to find a couple of good starts and make the best of things. Jonathan is on the second row which is a little disappointing. We hoped for the front row but it wasn’t possible. His race pace is really good which gives us confidence that he can ride for the podium tomorrow. He’s strong here and has had success in previous years, so we’ll go for some more of that.

Pole for Parkes in Portugal

Broc Parkes took his second World Supersport championship pole position of the season at Portimao in Portugal after setting the fastest time in this afternoon’s second qualifying session.

Parkes lapped the 4.592km Portimao circuit in a time of 1m45.408s in another tight qualifying session, with Fabien Foret second fastest and two other Honda CBR600RR riders – Jules Cluzel and Sam Lowes – completing the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s 20-lap 13th and penultimate round.

Parkes’s last pole position was back in February at the opening round in Phillip Island Australia, so the 30-year-old is hoping to convert to another podium finish as he did there.

Broc Parkes

We’re all really pleased because we’ve been on the wrong end of things a couple of times this year and missed out on pole when it’s been really close. Today, it’s really close again but we’re on the good end of the stick. Race pace is good and the bike’s working really well over distance. We’re looking pretty consistent on paper and I think tyre choice is pretty straightforward for tomorrow, with most guys going for the same thing. So, we’ve got a couple of ideas to try in warm-up to improve the distance and then we’ll give it a go and see what happens.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

It’s very, very nice that pole went our way today. A lot of times, we’ve been really close this year but just missed out by a few hundredths; this time we manage to keep it at the front. We’re looking good for the race as usual – we always seem capable of a podium but sometimes it’s just not happening. We’ll try for a second place or a win tomorrow. We’ve had enough of thirds, fourths and fifths this year!


Team Suzuki Press Office - September 22.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Leon Camier will start the penultimate round of the 2012 eni FIM Superbike World Championship from the head of the third row after qualifying in ninth at Portimao today.

Camier easily qualified for this afternoon's Superpole after a solid performance in this morning's final qualifying session, as he continued with the impressive form that he has shown recently. He then progressed safely through Superpole 1 and looked like continuing his advance into the third and final session, but a broken gear-lever hampered him in Superpole 2 and he missed out by the narrowest of margins. The team did superbly to replace the lever and get him out again, but he was just unable to make it into the top eight. Camier's best time was only 0.016 seconds away from eighth position and a guaranteed place in the final shoot-out for the front two rows of the grid. He was disappointed not to have made the final session, but is still convinced there is more to come from him and his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R in tomorrow's races.

John Hopkins continued with his education at the 4,592m Portimao circuit, as he made consistent improvements to his lap-times at a circuit that he has never raced at before. His best time in this afternoon's second free practice session was over a second quicker than his best in yesterday's first free session. Hopkins just missed out on Superpole despite improving his time in this morning's final qualifying session and he will start from the fifth row of the grid in 19th position. A technical problem in the last five minutes of the session halted his progress and meant he was unable to improve on his time.

Pole position for tomorrow's races was taken by one of the three antagonists that can still take the championship title, Tom Sykes. It was the British rider's eighth Superpole crown of the season and gives him advantage on the grid over his two rivals, Marco Melandri in fourth and current championship leader Max Biaggi in fifth.

Sunday's two races will be over 22-laps, with the riders covering 101.024km of the Portuguese circuit before they see the chequered flag. The first event gets underway at 12.00hrs local time (12.00hrs BST); with the second scheduled for 15.30hrs local time (15.30hrs BST).

Leon Camier:

"The boys did a great job to replace the lever so quickly and get me out again, but it did interfere with my momentum and if it hadn't have happened I'm sure I would have been in the final session. I was in eighth place with hardly any time left on the clock, but then Haslam managed to go fractionally faster and so I missed getting into Superpole 3.

"At the moment, we're still trying to improve the FIXI Crescent Suzuki set-up and get more grip and better consistency in the tyre wear. We'll look at the data tonight and maybe try a few things in the warm-up tomorrow morning. If I can get two good starts, I think I can be in the first group. That's my plan anyway!"

John Hopkins:

"It wasn't the greatest day for me, not helped by a problem towards the end of this morning's final qualifying session. If it had not have been for that, maybe I would've managed to get into Superpole. We spent this morning trying different tyres to get a feel for which ones work best. We did find a good solution and then, when we put on a soft tyre to set a lap time, we had a technical problem and the chance was gone. I'm confident about my race pace though and think I can get a couple of good results as long as I make good starts."

Jack Valentine - Team Manager:

"It's been a good day really - Leon has been on the pace today, as he has been all weekend. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki team have been continuously working on the bike and have improved the set-up and done a lot of work to get the character of the engine to suit the track. We could've done without any drama in Superpole, but it didn't work out that way and the boys did a superb job to get Leon back on track quickly. His race pace is good and, if he can get good starts, I'm sure he'll be in the mix with the leaders. He cannot afford to lose any places at the start, so it's crucial he gets off the line quickly.

"John had a little slow speed tumble today, but there was no damage done. His technical problem at the end of the timed qualifying today was unfortunate because it was looking likely that he would get into Superpole. I know he is a good starter, so there's no reason why he cannot pick up some places in the opening laps and get some good results. It's going to be a tough day tomorrow, but we're looking forward to fighting as hard as usual and seeing what results we can pick up."

Front Row for Laverty in Portimao



Portimao (Portugal), 22 September 2012 – Coming into Superpole with the best time in this morning's qualifiers (1’42,800), Max Biaggi, current leader in the World Superbike standings, improved even more in Superpole (1’42.140).

Max advanced easily through the first two Superpole sessions, improving consistently, and he continued to improve in the third and decisive session, but his time fell just 125 thousands short of placing him on the front row.

So tomorrow, for the penultimate round of the 2012 WSBK season, set to be raced on the Portimao track in Portugal, he will start from the fifth spot on the starting grid.

“I'm a bit disappointed about not making it to the front row – admitted Max Biaggi – it was a goal which was within our reach. In view of the races we aren't far off. I have a few things in mind to try and be more incisive that we'll test tomorrow during warm-ups. I'm still not 100% satisfied with the set-up and, considering the circumstances, we need to get the absolute maximum out of our bike”.

It was a positive day for Eugene Laverty, who took the third spot on the grid with a time of 1’41.789. In the last session, when only the top eight are left to battle it out for the best positions, the Northern Irishman from Aprilia Racing improved his times drastically compared both to the qualifying sessions (1’43.283) and his lap times from the first two Superpole sessions.

“We've been fast all weekend and I can honestly say that I'm happy with both the position on the grid and the feeling with my RSV4. In the second free practice session we had some excellent lap times on a race tyre so I'm quite optimistic for the races tomorrow. In Superpole I struggled with a bit of chattering when lapping on a qualifier so I'm pleased to have the third spot on the grid”.

WSBK - Team Italia seizes first row in Portimao in both Stk600 and Stk1000

La Marra will start from third position to defend his leadership. Russo is second and ready to cut the gap from VD Mark.

In the FIM Cup Superstock1000, Barni Racing Team Italia riders improve in QP2 and will start from third and seventh position tomorrow. La Marra seized first row with a 1'46"427, which granted him third position next to Staring and Barrier (poleman with a 1'45"487). Savadori posted the seventh best time with a 1'46"913, which allows him to chase the third position in the championship.

The Stk1000 will race at 10.30 (11.30 italian time): 12 laps for a total of 55,104 Km.

FP1; QP1; FP2; QP2

The UEM European Championship Superstock600 will showcase another duel between VD Mark and Russo. After being fastest in QP1 with a 1'48"357, the Italian could not improve due to a technical issue but will still start from first row, in second position. VD Mark, who leads in the standings by 2 points, seized pole position with a 1'48"048. Vitali, while still improving since yesterday, posted the 13th best time with a 1'49"799.

The Stk600 race, usually run on Saturday afternoon, will be held at 14.35 (15.35 Italian time tomorrow): 10 laps for a total of 45,920 Km.

FP1; QP1; QP2

Cristiano Migliorati (FMI Technical Coordinator)

"Barrier took advantage of his earlier test in the Stk1000, and it seems he's faster on the pace. Our riders are not far though, and warm-up will allow us to try to reduce the gap. La Marra can fight for the podium, and Savadori for the Top 5 certainly. Russo was unlucky in the Stk600, as he couldn't ride during QP2. Vitali could have done better, and faces a tough race. Both GPs will be tough, but we are ready and our riders have the character and the skills to do well."

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