2017 Portimao WorldSBK Sunday Post-Race Press Releases

Press releases from the teams and series organizer after Sunday's races in Portugal:


Rea takes dominating double at Portimao
World Champion in imperious form in Portugal as he wins Race 2 ahead of Van der Mark and Melandri

Race 2 at the Portimao’s Autodromo Internacional do Algarve saw Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) complete a perfect weekend, with a victory by almost six seconds over second-placed Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team). Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) rounded out the podium behind the leading pair.

In the absence of the injured Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and with

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) crashing out with three laps to go in Race 2 it was another significant victory for Rea as he edges closer and closer to a third successive WorldSBK title.

The weekend could not have gone better for Rea as he won both races, secured pole position on Saturday and wrapped up the 2017 Pirelli Best Lap Award title. He now leads the general standings by 120 points over his teammate Sykes and could secure the 2017 WorldSBK title at Magny-Cours in two weeks time.

Van der Mark was delighted with his first podium with Yamaha after the Dutchman beat Melandri to the finish line by 3.367s. Just off the podium was Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), whilst Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) also featured in the top five.

Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia), Leandro Mercado (IODARacing), Anthony West (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Ayrton Badovini (Grillini Racing Team) and Takumi Takahashi (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) completed the top ten.

There was a big crash for Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) midrace at turn 13, with Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) also going down shortly afterwards at turn 3. Fores picked his machine up to finish 13th.

After an exciting Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round the WorldSBK riders will next be in action at the Pirelli French Round in two weeks’ time, over the 29th September to 1st October weekend.

1st - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)

"It's incredible. These weekends don't come usually, I had to focus on how to ride the bike the best I can. I want to thank all my team, we had some difficulties, my bike cut out on the seventh lap but in the end it stayed on and I'm so happy. It's now time to think about winning this championship."

2nd - Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)

"I am really happy, this season we have come close a couple of time and we have had a bit of bad luck. I had a good start, I struggled with the grip in the beginning, I found my rhythm and It was enough for a podium. I want to thank my team, we have worked so hard and to finally get a podium is fantastic."

3rd - Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)

"It was a very difficult race, after three laps I lost the rear break and I went very wide. I tried to come back, but I lost a lot of time with Eugene but when I came back I tried to do my best to catch Michael. The pace wasn't too bad, my pace was better than yesterday and I'm happier."

#PORWorldSBK at Portimao: Race 2

1. Jonathan Rea Kawasaki

2. Michael van der Mark Yamaha +5.834

3. Marco Melandri Ducati +9.201


Super Double For Rea And KRT

Jonathan Rea (KRT) completed a confident double win performance at Portimao in the FIM Superbike World Championship, despite starting today’s 20-lap race from ninth place - under the reverse grid rules that come into play for race two this year. Jonathan now has 11 wins for the season and he extended his championship lead to 120 points with another full points score today.

After his first Portimao race win on Saturday, from pole position, it was a more difficult challenge for Rea today. He took only two laps to get into the lead and despite a small electronics glitch at times he carried on at an unmatchable pace to record his 34th win for Kawasaki, becoming the company’s all-time WorldSBK race winner.

Rea now has 49 race wins over his entire WorldSBK career and is the third most successful rider in the history of the class. The record sits at 59 wins, set by the legendary Carl Fogarty.

Kawasaki scored a full house of wins in every class this weekend – with Rea’s double in WorldSBK, Kenan Sofuoglu in WorldSSP, Toprak Razgatlioglu in STK1000 and Ana Carrasco in WorldSSP300.

Jonathan was the lone KRT rider today as his team-mate Tom Sykes was in Barcelona undergoing surgery to repair left hand injuries suffered in a big crash in FP3 on Saturday morning.

With Tom unable to score today Jonathan moved 120 points clear in the championship fight, with Sykes second overall and race two faller Chaz Davies third, 135 points from Rea’s lead.

Three rounds of the championship remain, the first of them at Magny Cours in France, between 29th September and 1st October.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am really happy to win and aside from one little issue it was plain sailing race. I made some tough passes in the first laps to get my track position and as soon as I hit the front I made my rhythm and went away. We had a completely different bike set-up today. I had a lot of feedback from the bike and I was able to ride in my own rhythm but with seven or eight laps to go I had a drop in power in second gear. But as the laps were ticking down I could see that the gap was staying constant, and then I saw Chaz went out and I had some breathing space. We have had our bad luck this year in Donington. The championship lead is massive now and we can go to Magny Cours thinking about trying to win it in France. If we have a solid enough weekend in Magny Cours we can get it done. I said to Pere before the race today that because Kawasaki had won every race at Portimao there was big pressure now. He said that there was no pressure as we had done all the jobs, and I should go out and do what I had to do. I visited the podium in every single race at Portimao to say congratulations to the Kawasaki riders. The most impressive was Ana Carrasco. I have never seen an atmosphere like it and our pit box was like a football match. All the KRT team were up there at the podium, so it was cool to see.”


Magic Michael takes Maiden Yamaha Podium in Race 2 at Portimao

race2

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team's Michael van der Mark stormed to his first podium for Yamaha in sensational fashion at Portimao on Sunday, round ten of the 2017 Superbike World Championship. The Dutch rider started on the front row and put in a super performance to bring his Yamaha R1 home in second place, moving up to sixth in the championship standings in the process. His teammate Alex Lowes was charging his way through the field after starting from tenth on the grid but suffered a highside on lap 8 that left him very battered and bruised, but miraculously he escaped any serious injuries.

All eyes were on van der Mark after his call-up to fill in for the injured Valentino Rossi in the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team at the Aragon GP next weekend and he put on a superb display of riding in Sunday's Race 2 to secure his best result yet for the Pata Yamaha team. Starting from the middle of the front row, the 24-year-old did not quite have the grip levels to push to the maximum during the first few laps and dropped down to fifth, but then settled into a good rhythm and started to close the gap to the riders in front. On lap 4 he passed Leon Camier to move into fourth and set his sights next on Eugene Laverty in third. Showing incredible consistency in his lap times while others started to struggle, the former World Supersport Champion hunted down Laverty by lap 11, making his move and immediately opening up a gap. As the race continued to progress he was matching the pace of Chaz Davies ahead of him before, with 3 laps remaining, Davies crashed out and van der Mark was promoted to second. Continuing to ride hard right until the end after having been denied a previous podium in Misano in the dying stages of a race through no fault of his own, he crossed the line in second place to the delight of his team and fans to collect 20 championship points. This saw him move up to sixth in the championship standings with 166 points, just three points behind his teammate Lowes.

Lowes lined up at the front of the fourth row on the grid for Sunday's Race 2 and when the lights went out he made a good start. A few laps later and he was up into eighth and became involved in an excellent battle with Marco Melandri, Lorenzo Savadori, and Jordi Torres - with Lowes setting lap times that would have seen him battling for the podium - before a huge highside on lap 8 at Turn 13 ended his race. Unbelievably, Lowes walked away battered and bruised but with no serious injuries and the 27-year-old British rider is determined to bounce back at the next round in Magny Cours. After this result, Lowes currently sits fifth in the championship standings with 169 points and will head to France taking the positives from a challenging weekend.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team will remain in Portimao on Monday for the official one-day test, before heading to Magny-Cours for round eleven of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship on the 29th September - 1st October. Check out the Race 2 results.

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 2nd +5.834s

"It's amazing to finish on the podium after so much bad luck this year! We have struggled sometimes with the setup of the bike and have been close to the podium a couple of times only to miss out. It wasn't really easy, but I knew I had quite a good pace and starting from P2 helped me a lot. At the start of the race I was lacking a bit of grip, so I couldn't follow the front guys for the first couple of laps, but then I found my pace. It was a really difficult race but I was stronger than the guys behind me. I got a bit lucky that Chaz Davies crashed out but I am so happy to have got my first podium with Yamaha. We have worked so hard all year and I am so glad to finally reward my team and Yamaha with a podium. When you finally take a podium, you get the self-belief because you know you can do it. Everything came together today and it is always good to be standing on the podium and now I want to enjoy this feeling at every race. We found a really good base setup that seems to work everywhere, so we will start with the same bike in Magny-Cours after tomorrow's test, where we only need to adjust some small things with the bike and I am looking forward to the next race! "

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - DNF

"Obviously, I am really disappointed with the Race 2 crash. It didn't feel like I had done an awful lot wrong but the rear skipped round on me and resulted in quite a big crash. It is even more disappointing as after a busy start to the race from the fourth row I was starting to feel comfortable and was closing quickly on the group in front of me, but unfortunately, in the end instead of two really solid results we have scored no points this weekend. I am feeling very bashed around right now, but more than that is the disappointment. I am determined to bounce back from this and as a team make sure we learn what we can so that we can move forward to Magny-Cours with a positive attitude."

Paul Denning

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal

"Everybody in the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK project is so pleased for Michael that he has achieved his first podium for the team. He showed very strong consistency yesterday and with the help of his crew took another small step forward in his R1's performance today and his efforts have been rewarded with a great result. We had a little bit of positive luck to have finished in second rather than third after Davies' crash, but the podium position before that was solely on merit and Michael and the team should be proud of their performance. Alex, at one of his favourite tracks, has had such a disappointing weekend in terms of results and was fortunate to escape serious injury in a very nasty looking highside today. These things happen in racing but it was really such a shame as Alex had just found his rhythm and settled into much better lap times than the podium challenging group and was closing rapidly to join the fight with Michael. We could have quite possibly had two Pata Yamaha R1s on the podium today but we will count our blessings that we achieved a great result with Michael and that Alex has escaped relatively unscathed and is able to resume the fight for the best possible championship finish at the next round in Magny-Cours."


Difficult race for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team at Portimão: 3rd place for Melandri, Davies crashes out while 2nd

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team once again stepped on the podium in Race 2 of the WorldSBK Championship at Portimão (Portugal) thanks to Marco Melandri’s third-place finish. At the end of a hard-fought race, the Italian managed to replicate his Race 1 result coming back from ninth position, with clear improvements in terms of race pace despite experiencing some issues under braking.

Chaz Davies’ quest, on the other hand, came to a premature end. With a strong start from third row, the Welshman made some spectacular passes to climb back to second position and build a comfortable gap, but he was forced to retire after crashing out at turn 2 with three laps to go.

After ten rounds, Davies (296 points) and Melandri (250 points) are respectively third and fourth in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action tomorrow for one-day official test ahead of the eleventh round of the season, scheduled for September 29th - October 1st at Magny Cours (France).

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 3rd

“I’m happy because the team did a great job and today my Panigale R was more competitive, especially in terms of grip, but unfortunately we still couldn’t take full advantage of our potential and we struggled during the race. I started off well but soon had an issue with the thumb-activated rear brake and went wide at turn 10. Also, the bike was wobbling a lot on the straight. As I was trying to recover positions, I lost time fighting with some riders who didn’t have our pace and hindered us a bit so, when I managed to get behind VD Mark, he was too far by then. In tomorrow’s test we’ll focus on improving stability, and in the next races I want to step on top of the podium again.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – DNF

“It's disappointing to finish the race like that because we’ve missed an easy podium. Our pace was OK, we were holding station with Rea without pushing over the top, but towards the end I relaxed a little and closed the the throttle a bit earlier than usual going into turn 2, which ended up loading the front too much, and I went down. I was surprised because it’s a strange place to crash, especially when you feel like you’re cruising. That said, we’ve definitely made improvements today, but we still want to make another step forward in terms of stability at the end of the race, something on which we’ll work on tomorrow. Looking at the positive, we’ve closed in to second position in the championship, due to Tom’s misfortune, and with him back we should have an interesting end to the season, so I’m looking forward to the next round.”

Stefano Cecconi, Aruba CEO and Team Principal

“Despite the three podiums, we can’t be happy because we would have liked to have done more in this round. The whole team worked with great efforts but, perhaps due to the peculiar nature of this track, we were forced to play defense. Now we need to look ahead, at Magny Cours, where we want to race at the front with both our riders again.”


Positives taken from frustrating weekend for Milwaukee Aprilia at Portimao

Algarve International Circuit 17 / 09 / 2017

Milwaukee Aprilia delivered their best Superpole result of 2017 so far at Portimao, riders Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori taking P2 and P3 on the grid.

The team had shown promising pace all weekend and were consistently within the top ten in Free Practice. Both riders delivered in the pole shootout session, with blistering laps that put them on the front row together for the first time and behind only series leader Rea.

Race One proved more difficult for the team, as both Aprilia RSV4 RFs struggled with rear tyres that were losing grip throughout the race. Eugene and Lorenzo diced with Davies and Melandri for second, third and fourth, in the opening laps, defending well but ultimately lacking the rear grip to mount a serious attack or defence.

After slipping to P7 and P8 respectively, Eugene and Lorenzo were able to bring their bikes home for solid top ten points finishes and some invaluable race data for the team to analyse.

Race Two saw Eugene and Lorenzo start in good second row positions from P4 and P5. Eugene beat Van der Mark off the line to take third, and by lap three had moved to second after a strong pass on the inside of Camier. Lorenzo dropped to eighth on lap one, and engaged Melandri and Lowes in a hard fight for the position.

Eugene defended well against the rapid Davies in third, before being passed on lap six. As he struggled with rear grip again he lost third to Van der Mark, but a much-improved setup allowed him to maintain his pace and come home fourth for his best result of 2017. Lorenzo continued to fight hard, racing with Torres and Mercado for seventh. Rear grip issues affected his race again, but he passed Mercado on lap eighteen and like his teammate was able to consolidate his pace well, and took the chequered flag in sixth.

The team will test at Portimao on Monday after the race, and use the opportunity to build on the clear progress they have made this weekend as they head into the last three rounds of WorldSBK 2017.

The action continues in WorldSBK at Round 11 from the Magny-Cours circuit in France, 29 September - 1 October.

Eugene Laverty #50

Race 1: Grid - P2 Finish - P7, 9 points

Race 2: Grid - P4 Finish - P4, 13 points

“Superpole was great and the bike was good for the whole session, and one lap in particular. We were really strong then and we knew we could be this weekend.

Race One was disappointing, and I knew from the start that it was going to be tough on the rear. The guys coming past me still had rear grip which made it difficult to defend, so that’s an area we had to improve on.

Race Two was definitely better for us. I was worried about the rear dropping off after a few laps like in Race One, but today but we put up a good fight and fourth was a good result.

The steps we made overnight were huge and morning warm up was fantastic. We lost a bit of pace and grip in the hotter conditions this afternoon, but I was much happier with today and we have a reason for optimism.

For Monday's test we'll be pursuing the same direction we've been following for the last few rounds. That has worked and is improving for us, and I think we will be in stronger position next time out at Magny-Cours."

Lorenzo Savadori #32

Race 1: Grid - P3 Finish - P8, 8 points

Race 2: Grid - P5 Finish - P6, 10 points

"The qualifying was good, and I was really happy with a consecutive front row start. We made some good changes to the setup from which clearly helped us in qualifying, but there is a big difference between one lap and a race distance.

I struggled with the rear grip in Race One which affected my rhythm, and it was difficult to make a pass or defend. I was OK for the first few laps, but by lap four it was losing grip.

I hope we can work on something tonight that will let us use the rear for longer and to let me push harder. For sure we have made some good steps this weekend, and we just need to keep working and I hope we can have a good result in Race Two.

Race Two was a better result for sure, but my feeling on the bike today was worse. I struggled with rear grip again. I lost a lot of time at the start, but from the middle to the end of the race my pace was quite strong and I could have challenged for P4 I think.

We did not make many big changes between Race One and Race Two, but for sure we saw an improvement in pace. Tomorrow's test will be very important for us, and we have a lot of new ideas to try before we head to the end of the season."

Shaun Muir

Team Principal

"Saturday was a disappointment for us. We had a great qualifying result and proved to everyone and to ourselves that we have pace when we have grip. When we don't have grip the pace isn't there and the lap times drop off significantly, which Race One showed.

We can look at the riders but if we're not giving them the tools for the job then we won't get the results we're targeting, and to start P2 and P3 and finish P7 and P8 just isn't good enough.

We should be happy with what Eugene and Lorenzo did in Race Two, P4 and P6 is our best result of the year, but again we can't take much credit from it because we are still twelve seconds from the win. We get the same result whatever setting we try which is no grip, and from the halfway stage in the race we are there for the taking.

Each race we are moving closer towards the front but to be truly competitive, we need to work hard with Aprilia Racing to keep the pace over race distance. We have made steps forward again between both races and we will analyse the data from our riders and Mercado to see how the common complaint can be improved, and look towards Aprilia for the next step.

For Monday's test we have a busy programme to investigate some options based on the data from the weekend, but also to make some initial base testing on different parts in order to gain information in preparation for 2018."


Top five for Torres at Portimão

Portimão (Portugal), Sunday 17 September 2017

The Althea BMW Racing team has just concluded round ten of the Superbike world championship at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal. It proved to be a great second race for rider Jordi Torres, who crossed the line in fifth place, while Raffaele De Rosa unfortunately crashed out in the early stages.

Superbike - Race 2 – from third on the race grid, Torres suffered off the line, slipping back to eleventh position, just ahead of his team-mate De Rosa, lying twelfth. From there, both Althea BMW men pushed to try and make up for lost ground but on lap four, Raffaele unfortunately crashed, with no chance of continuing his race. Jordi meanwhile made a great recovery, catching and passing a series of riders to climb from tenth to sixth place by mid-race. The second half of the race proved to be a rather solitary affair for the Spaniard who, separated from both the riders immediately ahead of him and those behind, crossed the line in fifth place, a very positive result that reflects the hard work completed this weekend by rider and team alike.

After ten championship rounds, Torres lies ninth in the standings with 130 points while De Rosa has 36 points, and positions seventeenth.

Jordi Torres

“I expected a good race today after a positive warm-up this morning. But it turned out to be a tough one, as the bike was sliding around a lot and there was some vibration. I struggled at the start especially, losing a lot of ground. I gradually got back into my rhythm, despite continuous sliding at the rear and the lack of grip. I did all I could to manage the situation and in the end we finished fifth. I’m quite pleased with the final result but not with how the race went; I want to do more.”

Raffaele De Rosa

“I made quite a good start, maintaining my position. After having tried something different in warm-up, I was feeling a bit more comfortable on the bike. Unfortunately though, at a certain point I forced too hard in braking and crashed. I’m sorry, as we could have scored a good result today and improved on yesterday’s performance. Not what we wanted but we’ll continue to give it our all to try and do better next time…”

Genesio Bevilacqua

“Quite a positive weekend for us, with sixth place yesterday and fifth today, results that go some way to repaying the work done by the whole Althea team. We hoped to do more of course but seeing how things are right now, at a technical level, with the Kawasakis and the Ducatis, I think we can consider this a great result. I’m sorry about the situation with Torres’ starts, something that forces us to play catch-up; without a good start, we cannot compete for the podium. We are working on it, trying to give the technicians as much input as possible in order to improve the situation. Torres nevertheless completed two great races. A different story for De Rosa, who unfortunately crashed early on. We hope he can bounce back quickly and prove his potential. Tomorrow Michel Fabrizio will be on track with us, to provide feedback and help us improve the general situation.”


Takahashi wraps up WorldSBK debut with top-10 finish as injury sidelines Bradl

Portuguese Round

Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, Portugal

The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team has secured a top-10 finish today at Portimão’s Autodromo do Algarve courtesy of Takumi Takahashi, who wraps up his World Superbike debut in style after scoring his first World Championship point in race one yesterday. Full-time rider Stefan Bradl was unable to line up on the grid today due to a painful right wrist.

Takahashi enjoyed a good start from 18th place on the grid and immediately settled into a good rhythm, which allowed him to gain some positions. As the encounter reached its halfway point, the Japanese rider was promoted to 11th place. He then brilliantly maintained his position by getting some margin over the following riders. In the final stages of the encounter, Takumi made his way into the top-10, which he held onto up to the chequered flag.

Takahashi now leaves Portimão with a tally of six points and a lot more experience ahead of his track WorldSBK return, scheduled at Jerez in a little more than a month’s time.

After yesterday’s highside at turn 14 during race 1 – which had apparently left the German uninjured – Stefan Bradl endured severe pain in his right wrist overnight. The 27-year-old German rider tried to get on track this morning on board his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 for warm up in order to test his condition, but after a quick-lap attempt the pain became too strong for him to use the throttle accordingly, so he had to make his way back to the pits.

He then returned to the Medical Centre, where he was declared unfit to race due a right-wrist functional impairment. Stefan will return home to undergo an MRI scan to investigate possible micro damage in his wrist, which x-ray scans did not reveal between yesterday and this morning.

The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team will stop at Portimão for a day of official testing tomorrow, before returning to its home base in the Netherlands to start the preparations for the French Round, which takes place at Magny-Cours in a fortnight’s time.

Takumi Takahashi 72

10th

Today we made some improvements with the set-up on the bike and, although I had the same kind of issue to get up to speed in the early stages, in the last part of the race I found myself in a position trying to bridge the gap with Badovini for ninth place before the chequered flag. We managed to finish in the top-10 with a bit of luck today and we garnered more experience, so I am now looking forward to Jerez, a track I know already, in order to push for more.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Stefan Bradl 6

DNS

Unfortunately, yesterday’s crash led to some problems with my wrist. We did an x-ray yesterday and it showed no fracture or damage, but during the night the situation got a bit worse because I was really in lots of pain. I tried this morning during warm up with the help of Clinica Mobile – who I want to thank for the help – but I noticed almost immediately that I didn’t have the full control of the bike. I wasn’t fast because I was not in a condition to push, so I went back to the Clinica and the doctor suggested an MRI scan back home in order to search for any possible tiny crack or ligament damage that would explain the pain. Another very unlucky weekend for us, especially because we showed signs of improvement and things were looking better. But we can take these positives into the next race at Magny-Cours and I really hope I will be fully fit for then.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Ronald ten Kate

Team Manager

This morning during warm up we found out that Stefan’s problem was worse than we had feared. He tried to ride but he was in pain and had limited movement in the wrist, and therefore was declared unfit to ride. It’s a shame because he was looking good this weekend and we could have used another try for a good result. Takumi improved his performance from yesterday and a top-10 result is really good, considering it was his maiden weekend in the series. I’m sure things will be easier for him at Jerez, with the experience he’s made this weekend and his previous knowledge of the track.



WorldSSP: Sofuoglu narrowly secures fifth victory of 2017

Turkish rider beats his rivals to move to the top of the championship standings

The reigning WorldSSP World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was in fine form as he notched up win number five of the season at the Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round on Sunday. On his Kawasaki ZX-6R Sofuoglu rode with caution in the early laps but ultimately beat championship rival Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) by just 0.08s, whilst Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) crossed the line in third.

Pole man Sofuoglu dropped back to fourth in the early stages with PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Mahias contesting the lead and Cluzel also getting in the mix.

But Jacobsen would eventually fall back to finish fifth, behind fourth placed Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing), whilst Cluzel ultimately ran a lonely last few laps to third.

Mahias put some pressure on Sofuoglu on the last lap as the Frenchman sought to retain the lead in the general standings, but the Kawasaki rider was too strong as he showed his class for a narrow – but crucial – triumph.

Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing), Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), Lorenzo Zanetti (Team Factory Vamag), Christoffer Bergman (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) and Rob Hartog (Team Hartog - Jenik - Against Cancer) completed the top ten.

In an incident packed 18 lap contest there were crashes for the likes of Stefan Hill (Profile Racing), Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing), Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing), whilst Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25) missed out on the race due to technical problems with his MV Agusta F3 675 machine.

The WorldSSP riders return to action at the Pirelli French Round in two weeks’ time.

P1 - Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)

"This one is very special, if you win a difficult race it means more. Lucas was very strong, I was ready for the fight and because it is also the battle for the championship with Lucas it is more special for me."

#PORWorldSBK: WorldSSP Race

1. Kenan Sofuoglu (TUR) Kawasaki

2. Lucas Mahias (FRA) Yamaha +0.080

3. Jules Cluzel (FRA) Honda +2.294


Sofuoglu Wins After Portimao Masterclass

Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) took the championship lead in the WorldSSP championship for the first time in 2017 after a textbook race win at the Portimao circuit in the Algarve.

Kenan’s fifth win of the season came after he had qualified in pole, but he had been in fourth position in the early laps until he moved forward to make a push for the race win. The final contest was between Kenan and his closest championship rival, Lucas Mahias, with Kenan doing enough to win his fifth race of the year, and the 43rd of his career.

After his latest competitive display on his official Kawasaki, Kenan leads Mahias in the championship by four points. Sofuoglu was unable to score in the first three rounds of the year, through injury and then a collision caused by another rider, but he has picked up 145 points from a possible 150 in the past six races alone.

Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was in a good position to score strongly in the early laps but he fell on lap three, at turn seven, and could not restart. In the championship Kyle sits ninth, on 43 points.

Three rounds of the championship remain, the next one coming along on 1 October, at Magny Cours in France.

Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “If you win races after a really good fight you enjoy it more. This one was a very good race for everybody because Lucas Mahias and me we are also fighting for the championship, and we fought today in Portimao. This race was very special because of this. I think it is a very good last part of the season. I have to say a very big thanks to my team because yesterday we had a crash but we came back from it to win. Losing the chance to score points in the first three races made me hungry, but also relaxed and able to just ride the bike and try to win races. At the moment I am just enjoying it and today I rode the bike to win the race, not the championship. I want to continue in this way and I hope it will work well and we can win the championship when we get to Qatar for the final round.”

Kyle Ryde, stated: “Obviously I am disappointed that I could not finish the race but I got a good start and was maybe 10th or 12th, in the leading group, and with a big gap behind me to the next one. I was trying my hardest and just made a silly little mistake. I took too much brake and tucked the front. Although I am unhappy that I crashed I am happy that I got such a good start and was in there with the top guys. It was a tough way to finish but least I know I was there.”

ESS rider Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Jenik Against Cancer Kawasaki) was tenth in the Portimao race and Michael Canducci (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI Kawasaki) 13th. Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) ended his raceday 14th.

Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) just missed the points in 17th place. Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) 17th was an early faller, as were Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) and Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki).


Mahias Storms to Podium in WorldSSP at Portimao

Race

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team's Lucas Mahias was involved in an exhilarating race-long duel with championship rival Kenan Sofuoglu during Sunday at Portimao for round nine of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship. The French rider battled with his championship rival up until the chequered flag, just missing out on the race win by 0.080s as he crossed the line in second to record his seventh podium of the season. His teammate Federico Caricasulo had looked strong all weekend but the wrong tyre choice meant he missed out on a possible podium chance, despite this, the Italian fought hard to bring his Yamaha R6 home in seventh place.

Mahias lined up on the middle of the front row for Sunday's race, after an impressive qualifying performance on Saturday, leading the championship by one point from Sofuoglu. When the lights went out he made a great start and got the holeshot into turn 1 and over the first few laps he was involved in an excellent battle for the lead with Sofuoglu, PJ Jacobsen, and Jules Cluzel. By lap 8, the 28-year-old had broken away at the front with Sofuoglu and it came down to an epic game of cat and mouse between the two riders. Biding his time to make a move at the last corner on the last lap, Mahias stalked Sofuoglu and there was nothing to separate the two riders. Unfortunately, when the last lap came Mahias had a big moment at Turn 6 and almost crashed, but somehow, recovered to put pressure back on Sofuoglu and coming out of the final corner it was a sprint to the line between the two championship rivals. Mahias just missed out on the race win in a finish that saw just eight-hundredths of a second split the two. The 20 points Mahias collected means he is now second in the championship standings with 141 points, just four points behind Sofuoglu, heading into his home round at Magny-Cours.

Caricasulo had shown great race pace all weekend. Qualifying in seventh, he didn't have the best of starts during the race after choosing to go with the SC1 soft rear tyre. The 21-year-old Italian just didn't have the same feeling on his Yamaha R6 as he had in practice on the SC0 tyre, but he gave it his all to try and stick with the leading group. On lap 11 he was in sixth when he ran off track and rejoined in eighth, which meant he had to get his head down and try and make up for lost time. He did just that, riding superbly over the last few laps to fight back and cross the line in seventh. With this result, Caricasulo remains sixth in the Championship standings with 60 points, 19 points behind PJ Jacobsen in fifth.

The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team returns to action for round ten of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship at Magny-Cours on the 29th September-1st October in France. Check out the race results.

Lucas Mahias

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 2nd +0.080s

"The race was very good, I am very happy! I felt very strong and I pushed a lot to follow Kenan and I hoped to overtake him in the last corner but I made a mistake on the last lap and after that, it was difficult to get past. For the championship, it doesn't make much difference, he only has a four-point lead and Portimao is the last track on the calendar that I don't have a great feeling at. Now, the next three races, I like the tracks a lot and have good experience riding at them so, for sure, the championship is not finished yet! It is my home race next at Magny Cours and I will try my best to win!"

Federico Caricasulo

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 7th +22.990s

"I was very confident about my rhythm in the race and felt I could stay with the front riders but we chose the wrong tyre. We went with the SC1 rear tyre and everyone else in the top ten was on the SC0 and it was impossible to stay with them. It is a shame because my pace during practice on the SC0 was really good and I believed I would be able to fight for the race win. Unfortunately, that didn't happen so I tried my best to achieve the best result I could. I am looking forward to Magny-Cours already!"

Filippo Conti

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager

"I am really proud of what Lucas did today. We finished second, but that's not important. Even the fact he lost the championship lead doesn't really matter as I am confident that we are able to win the championship because today Lucas showed that we are there and we just need to make one more little step and to allow us to win the last few races. I am very proud and very happy. The team and Yamaha have worked so hard this weekend, to be honest, it has been rather challenging so I am happy with the result reached. For Federico's side, the team chose a different strategy for the tyres, which we know now was not the right one. This meant at the start his rear tyre was spinning and he didn't have the chance to catch the leaders, otherwise, I think he could have got a great result, but he still did a good job. Up next is Magny-Cours, Lucas' home round, and he knows the track very well and we try to take advantage of this to retake the championship lead!"


Fighting Third and Fastest Lap for Cluzel at Portimao

PTR Honda·Sunday, September 17, 2017

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider, Jules Cluzel set the fastest lap and crossed the line in third in today's World Supersport race from Portimao. Cluzel made a strong start from fifth on the grid and fought hard contesting the lead with Sofuoglu and Mahias to claim his fourth podium of the season.

Jules said: “I am happy with a podium but you could say disappointed because I was looking for a win. We worked hard for that. We tried to be as ready as possible before the race and I think we were but this morning's warm up gave us a warning. In the cooler conditions we were quite far from Kenan and destroying the tyre. The bike is a good bike, it's stable and for sure over the year we were one of the strongest. But we have to look forward, the target is still to win. We are close but not enough to be able to overtake on the last lap. So I am looking forward to Magny Cours where I have won three times in wet and dry conditions. We will try to improve the initial grip which is the only point where we are losing time.”

Christoffer Bergman achieved his target of a top ten finish in the incident packed 18 lap race with a superb ninth position at only his second WSS race of 2017.

Starting from 22nd on the grid following a challenging weekend, Hikari Okubo set a solid race rhythm and secured a points finish in 12th position.

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “It was a really good race we were right there fighting for the win but we didn't quite get there. Just towards the end of the race Jules just lost the front and had to settle for third. We've closed the gap to third in the Championship but we are a little bit off the World Championship, maybe we can only aim to be in the top three now but we will keep fighting because you never know what is going to happen, things have happened to us in the past. Still it was a great race, we are on the podium and we go to Jules's home round at Magny Cours in good shape still looking for our first win of the year.”

“Another great job by Chris, only two races and already inside the top ten, that's been a real boost for his crew, Kevin and George. He was really close to the battle for 7th with Caricasulo and Zanetti and I am sure he will only build on this for the last three races.”

“As always, Hikari showed his true fighting spirit to fight his way through the field to 12th and well inside the points. He has a lot to do to achieve his ambition of top ten in the Championship but we will keep fighting to try to improve, to get all three riders into the top ten and Jules his first win.”



WorldSSP300: Carrasco takes debut victory in Portuguese thriller

First female victor in new series as title fight continues to heat up

11 laps of the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve awaited the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship riders on Sunday, and it was Ana Carrasco (ETG Racing) who took the victory in yet another spectacular race.

Pole position man Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) got a slow start off the line, and it was championship leader Marc Garcia (Halcourier Racing) who took the early lead, as a group of three race leaders began to develop into a tough fight for the podium with Daniel Valle (Halcourier Racing) and front row starter Ana Carrasco (ETG Racing).

The three Spanish riders were locked in the battle for the podium finishes, but it was Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) who was hunting down the leading group as he set the faster lap times of 1.58.820. Catching the front group in the closing laps, the Spaniards were joined by Coppola who was able to find some stunning pace in the closing laps which meant he was able to join the battle for the victory.

In a stunning display on the final lap, the race all came down to the final corners and Carrasco responded perfectly to the pressure from her competitors on the final laps as she was able to take the victory over the line, narrowly beating the field by 0.053s. Coppola took second position following a well timed use of slipstream over the line, with early race leader Garcia finishing in third position. Valle missed out on the podium to take fourth position, ahead of Perez who gave his all from 11th on the grid to keep his championship fight alive, with Borja Sanchez (Halcourier Racing) in sixth position.

As the WorldSSP300 race continues to provide endless entertainment and Carrasco becoming the fifth different winner in the series, the title fight heats up and Coppola now leads the championship by one point ahead of Garcia. Early championship leader Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) sits in third position, 18 points off the leaders as Perez is in fourth – 19 points off the top.

As the championship fight heats up into the final two rounds, relive some of the inaugural WorldSSP300 action from 2017 with the WorldSBK VideoPass.

P1 - Ana Carrasco (ETG Racing)

"I am really happy today, it's incredible. We have worked really hard and I want to say thank you to all the team, they worked really hard. This is a dream come true for me, and it is fantastic for the championship too. For the whole race I tried to stay with Garcia and I was able to secure the victory."

#PORWorldSBK: WorldSSP300 Race

1. Ana Carrasco (ESP) Kawasaki

2. Alfonso Coppola (ITA) Yamaha +0.053

3. Marc Garcia (ESP) Yamaha +0.062



Eleventh place and solid growth for Julian Puffe at Portimão

Portimão (Portugal), Sunday 17 September 2017

In the seventh Stock1000 race of the 2017 season, which took place today at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal, Julian Puffe, riding for the Althea MF84 team, continued to demonstrate his growth, crossing the line in an encouraging eleventh position, while Marco Faccani was ruled out after a crash mid-race.

Stock1000 race: Julian Puffe quickly gained two places in the opening stages and was lapping fifteenth on lap three. A good pace allowed him to improve further through the central part of the race, with the young German lying thirteenth by mid-race. Able to earn another two places during the second phase, Puffe was eleventh and on the verge of securing tenth place when the red flag brought proceedings to a premature end, after 9 of 14 laps, due to a mechanical failure for another rider. A pity about the red flag, as Puffe continues to prove that he is able to fight for the top ten and, without today’s interruption, he would in all likelihood have closed at least tenth.

A good start saw Faccani immediately move into seventh place. Thanks to his strong pace, Marco pushed to take sixth and then fifth position by lap seven. Unfortunately, it wasn’t his day though and a crash on that same lap ruled the Althea BMW rider out of the race ahead of time.

Julian Puffe

“It was a pity about qualifying yesterday but we were able to make some improvements in this morning’s warm-up and I was confident ahead of the race. I didn’t make a good start off the line but was able to find a good rhythm and start to pass a number of riders. Unfortunately, just as I had moved into tenth place, the red flag came out, meaning that my final position was declared as eleventh. Anyway, we’ve scored some more points and will now focus on the next round, where I hope to improve further.”

Marco Faccani

"A race to forget today. I wasn’t doing too badly, though I was missing maybe two or three tenths. Anyway, in the end I crashed over the pothole at turn 5. I thank the team anyway, as we really improved the bike over the course of the weekend, but unfortunately we weren’t able to put the work done on Friday and Saturday into full effect in the race. All we can do is turn the page and look ahead.”


Source: 
Round Number: 
10
2017

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