– World SBK 2012 – Round 13 – Portimao
– Biaggi asserts his authority at penultimate round
– Sofuoglu crowned Supersport Champion
– Staring takes third victory of season

Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) scored a single podium for third place in race two at the eni FIM Superbike World Championship round in Portugal today, but two strong points scores saw him extend his overall lead as his other championship rivals found trouble. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) won his first race of the 2012 season in the second outing today, which went to all 22-laps duration.

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) started well, as he won the first race in front of 51,000 weekend spectators, but he had to retire with an engine Portimao_Sunday_Laverty_action Portimao_Sunday_Race2_podium Portimao_Sunday_Sofuoglu_champion Portimao_Sunday_Sykes_finishfailure in the second race. With Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) injured in the aborted first race, the Italian scored no points today.

The final result from Portugal, with one round and two individual races to go in France in two weeks’ time, is that Biaggi has a total of 347 points, 30.5 more than Sykes, while Melandri is 38.5 points adrift of Biaggi.

Race 1

Full wet conditions arrived on Sunday morning and they were to play a part in the race being halted because of an oil spill after a crash. A restarted race, over only 16 laps, was won by Sykes who scored his third win of the season and drew himself – temporarily – closer to championship leader Biaggi as a result. Max was fourth in the opening race after several incidents and changing fortunes as the race unfolded. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) looked like he could pass Sykes at the end but was unable to in the final two laps, and he settled for second place. PATA Racing Ducati privateer rider Sylvain Guintoli scored himself another podium finish, in third place. A collision on lap one of the first start saw Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) crash after an attempted pass on Biaggi and he was taken to hospital for scans on a bruised kidney, missing out on any further Portimao action.

Tom Sykes: “I’ve got to start by thanking the team and Kawasaki, the boys made a big change in between the two parts and it was a different bike in the second rerun. I was so comfortable and much happier and was able to predict what the bike was doing. We got to the front and managed the tyres very well, racing with these guys was fantastic. It’s good for the championship but we’ll take it race by race.”

Results: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 16 Laps/73.472 km in 31’42.011 average 139.063 kph; 2. Checa (Ducati) 0.300; 3. Guintoli (Ducati) 2.732; 4. Biaggi (Aprilia) 11.564; 5. McCormick (Ducati) 11.771; 6. Rea (Honda) 11.792; 7. Baz (Kawasaki) 28.693; 8. Aoyama (Honda) 29.581; 9. Badovini (BMW) 31.507; 10. Fabrizio (BMW) 31.587; etc.

Race 2

After a tense battle Laverty took his first victory of the season, and his first on an Aprilia machine, as he held off the impressive late charge of Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) by only 0.162 seconds. Eugene became the ninth rider in 2012 to win a race. Laverty had been a clear leader but in the final laps Rea put in a real charge at the undulating Portuguese circuit. Over three seconds behind the race winner, Biaggi was third and now carries a more than useful lead into the final round in France. His new main championship rival Sykes no scored.

Eugene Laverty: “I rode hard at the beginning to get a gap but Jonathan pushed me hard towards the end. The grip wasn’t there, which was evident in the lap time, but I just kept going towards the end. I managed to hang on. The win has been so long coming, the last time was Monza and of course this is the first for Aprilia, I’m ecstatic about it!”

Results: 1. Laverty (Aprilia) 22 Laps/101.024 km in 38’35.105 average 157.093 kph; 2. Rea (Honda) 0.162; 3. Biaggi (Aprilia) 3.766; 4. Guintoli (Ducati) 10.440; 5. Checa (Ducati) 20.153; 6. Badovini (BMW) 23.152; 7. Baz (Kawasaki) 27.314; 8. Fabrizio (BMW) 35.682; 9. McCormick (Ducati) 35.766; 10. Lanzi (Ducati) 38.311; etc.

Points (after 13 of 14 rounds): 1. Biaggi 347; 2. Sykes 316,5; 3. Melandri 308.5; 4. Checa 278.5; 5. Rea 255.5; 6. Laverty 241.5; 7. Haslam 189; 8. Guintoli 172.5; 9. Davies 156.5; 10. Fabrizio 133.5; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 422.5; 2. BMW 394; 3. Ducati 375; 4. Kawasaki 356.5; 5. Honda 270.5; 6. Suzuki 130.5.

World Supersport

Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini) won his third world championship by finishing behind the only man who could have caught him before the Portimao round, Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda). Cluzel gave his all to keep the title alive for another weekend but with so many changes of lead and position inside the top four riders today, nothing was certain until the very last corner when he had stretched out a winning lead. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) was third in the race, just less than a second from Cluzel. Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) was fourth and Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) fifth. In the rankings, with one round to go, Sofuoglu has a peerless 218 points, Cluzel 185 and Foret 160.

Results: 1. Cluzel (Honda) 20 Laps/91.840 km in 36’05.886 average 152.651 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 0.645; 3. Foret (Kawasaki) 0.969; 4. Parkes (Honda) 1.035; 5. Lowes (Honda) 3.905; 6. Morais (Kawasaki) 5.936; 7. Linfoot (Kawasaki) 22.555; 8. Baldolini (Triumph) 22.595; 9. Quarmby (Honda) 23.121; 10. Scholtz (Honda) 23.740; etc.

Points (after 12 of 13 rounds): 1. Sofuoglu 218 (champion); 2. Cluzel 185; 3. Foret 160; 4. Lowes 152; 5. Parkes 135; 6. Morais 94; 7. Baldolini 86; 8. Quarmby 84; 9. Iannuzzo 60; 10. Leonov 52; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Honda 262; 2. Kawasaki 257; 3. Triumph 115; 4. Yamaha 102; 5. Suzuki 6.

Superstock 1000

Bryan Staring (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) pushed himself ahead of long-time race leader Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) to score the win in Portugal, his third victory of the season, with Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) pushing on to record third spot.

In the championship Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia Ducati) is now second by three points behind Barrier, after he finished fifth at Portimao. Lorenzo Savadori (Barni Racing Team Italia Ducati) was fourth today. Three riders can now win the title, Barrier, La Marra and Staring, although the Aussie rider is 22 points behind the lead.

Results: 1. Staring (Kawasaki) 12 Laps/55.104 km in 21’34.528 average 153.241 kph; 2. Barrier (BMW) 1.722; 3. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 3.839; 4. Savadori (Ducati) 6.249; 5. La Marra (Ducati) 6.444; 6. Bergman (Kawasaki) 12.990; 7. Massei (Honda) 16.963; 8. Mercado (Kawasaki) 19.648; 9. Reiterberger (BMW) 19.708; 10. Jezek (Ducati) 20.487; etc.

Points (after 9 of 10 rounds): 1. Barrier 133; 2. La Marra 130; 3. Staring 111; 4. Guarnoni 98; 5. Savadori 91; 6. Reiterberger 85; 7. Bergman 78; 8. Massei 71; 9. Coghlan 68; 10. Baroni 56; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 168; 2. Ducati 165; 3. BMW 161; 4. Honda 71; 5. Aprilia 17.

Superstock 600

An early fight between UEM European Superstock 600 Championship rivals Michael van der Mark (EAB Junior Team Honda) and Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha) was effectively over when Russo ran wide at mid race distance. Van der Mark now has a seven-point championship lead, with one round remaining in France. He has scored five race wins so far while Russo has scored four. Adrian Nestorovic (MTM Racing Yamaha) was a strong third in front of his team-mate Gauthier Duwelz at Portimao. In the championship, van der Mark has 194 points, Russo 187, Duwelz 91 and Nestorovic 74.

Results: 1. Vd Mark (Honda) 10 Laps/45.920 km in 18’19.861 average 150.303 kph; 2. Russo (Yamaha) 5.992; 3. Nestorovic (Yamaha) 6.055; 4. Duwelz (Yamaha) 7.133; 5. Morbidelli (Yamaha) 7.401; 6. Schacht (Honda) 10.991; 7. Gamarino (Kawasaki) 10.998; 8. Cecchini (Honda) 11.478; 9. Vitali (Yamaha) 11.779; 10. Mulhauser (Yamaha) 11.790; etc.

Points (after 9 of 10 rounds): 1. Vd Mark 194; 2. Russo 187; 3. Duwelz 91; 4. Nestorovic 74; 5. Vitali 66; 6. Schacht 65; 7. Morbidelli 63; 8. Calero Perez 59; 9. Gamarino 58; 10. Chesaux 50; etc.

Official Tyre Supplier – “Before analysing the Superbike races, Pirelli would like to congratulate Kenan Sofuoglu (on his return to the category) and team Kawasaki Lorenzini on their victory in the World Supersport Championship which rewards the rider’s excellent performance and the team’s consistent work throughout the season. But the Portimão round, the penultimate of the World Championship, was first and foremost an extremely important weekend in the Superbike class main feature which, despite the uncertain weather conditions, provided fans with two very heated and exciting races. In particular race1 was ridden on rain tyres by all the riders for both the first start, when the track was actually still quite wet, and for the restart after the race was red flagged to clean up oil left on the track by Brignola’s unfortunate crash. For the latter case, in spite of the track being almost completely dry and therefore not in ideal performance conditions for the wet solution, the tyres performed superbly and surpassed all expectations, allowing the riders not only to finish the race without problems but even to improve lap times as the race went on. Clear evidence of this is the best lap, realised by Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) during the last lap, at a time when the track had already quite completely dried off. Race2, on the other hand, was run on slicks. More specifically, almost all the riders opted for the oversized profile SC0 R874 solution which proved to be a valid alternative to the SC0 solution which was the standard selection here, as well as at Brno, Misano and Phillip Island. With a 30.5 advantage over the closest contender (Tom Sykes) and 38.5 over Marco Melandri, Max Biaggi has staked a strong claim on the title, but on several occasions Superbike has demonstrated just how unpredictable the races can be, so we will have to wait and see what happens during the final round which will be held at Magny-Cours in two weeks.” – Giorgio Barbier, Racing Director Pirelli Moto

– Kawasaki Report

Unfortunately for Tom and his team a race two technical problem prevented them from going for the double win, or another podium finish, leaving Tom both frustrated at being forced to retire but also clear in the knowledge that he has moved to second in the championship rankings.

Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) took two good points scores in seventh place in each race today and in doing so he is ranked 12th overall, with a total of 116 points.

Raceday dawned fully and surprisingly wet, with some parts of the track underwater for a time, with residual wet patches and a generally damp surface putting the riders on rain tyre choices. The race was stopped after a few laps and the first part cancelled, with the final result being taken from a 16-lap restart. Sykes’ team changed two settings on his machine and Tom was able to run out the race winner, for the third time this year, and get to within 14.5 points of leader Max Biaggi, who was fourth.

In race two, in dry conditions, Sykes was forced out when smoke appeared from his exhaust and with Biaggi scoring 16 points for third place, Biaggi moved 30.5 points ahead of Tom. Previous second place rider Marco Melandri crashed out of the cancelled first part of race one and was unable to restart either race, so Tom is now eight points clear of Melandri with two races left at the final round in France.

For Loris Baz Portimao was to provide two top seven finishes, and very useful championship points, but a morning warm-up crash made the races painful the difficult to complete. He still made great improvements compared to his Superpole qualifying result of 12th.

Pedercini Team Kawasaki rider Alexander Lundh scored 14th place in both SBK races today, with his team-mate David Salom retiring in race one but taking points for 13th place in race two.

In the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup race Team Pedercini Kawasaki rider Bryan Staring took his third victory of the year in impressive style, winning by 1.722 seconds and as a result keeping his slim championship hopes alive. He is now 22 points behind the leading rider, 19 behind second place, so now Bryan needs to win and hope his two main rivals score very few points if any to take the title in France. MRS Kawasaki rider Jeremy Guarnoni was third today, and is now fourth overall, one place and 13 points behind Staring.

Tom Sykes: “We have had some good luck today and also had some bad luck. Obviously on the good luck side in race one, in the first start, we were really struggling. We made two big changes to the bike after the red flag so on the restart it was a different motorcycle and I was able to do what I wanted with it. I felt more comfortable. So a big thanks to the team and Kawasaki for the snap decision to make those changes. I was feeling confident for race two because we had done a lot of work this weekend and I definitely felt we could have had a very strong race. Honestly I felt I could have been top two in that second race, or maybe even better, but it is what it is. Everybody has seen today what happens in racing. Melandri has been relatively on the pace this weekend and through a change of luck of his own he went out of two races. So anything and everything can happen. We had a win in race one, we had problems in race two, and that is what happens sometimes. We are racing at a very high level and sometimes you get dealt this card. I accept it even though it is hard to take having got to within 14.5 points of the lead after race one. I felt I could have reduced that gap again. But it was not to be, so what can you do? We got to France next, pick up where we left off and try to have a strong weekend.”

Loris Baz: “Race one was not so bad when it was wet because we had a problem at the beginning so we were lucky that the red flag came out. We had made a small change but the consequence was really big in the first start. So we were better in the real race. Race two could have been better but we have worked well and when I realised I could not follow Badovini I had to take it easy. I had a big crash in warm-up this morning, a big highside in a downhill corner, which affected me in the races a bit. But last week if you had told me I would come here and take two seventh places, I would have signed up for that.”

The 20-lap race at the Portuguese circuit of Portimao was a classic encounter, with up to five riders in the leading group at any one time, but with Sofuoglu just having to finish somewhere near the front he was happy to allow eventual race winner Jules Cluzel to keep the lead to the end.

Sofuoglu made a late push to ensure he would get in the podium on his own merit and not just as the new champion. After a tough but ultimately successful year he was most interested in sealing what is his third World Championship in this class without any last lap risk.

Kenan is the most successful rider in WSS history and allied to his Kawasaki Lorenzini Ninja ZX-6R he has been a potent force throughout the season, winning four races – so far. Kenan now joins Andrew Pitt as a rider who has won the WSS Championship on a Kawasaki.

The career statistics for Kenan are simply outstanding, with three titles (2007, 2010 and 2012), 48 podiums from 68 races, and a record total of 21 individual race wins. Four of those wins and nine of the podiums have come in his first year as a Kawasaki rider.

Kenan was joined on the podium today by third place finisher Fabien Foret (Intermoto Step Racing) while Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Lorenzini) battled hard to go sixth today and be sixth overall in the championship with one round to go.

MSD R-N Team India Kawasaki rider Dan Linfoot was an impressive seventh today, his team-mate Florian Marino unlucky to miss a point in 16th place. Romain Lanusse (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) was 19th.

Kenan Sofuoglu: “We knew that we did not have to come to Portugal to win the race to win the title. We had a few problems with set-up yesterday but we were in good shape today and I could take the lead. I made some mistakes and dropped back. I knew I only had to finish fourth but in the last couple of laps I thought I would try to take a podium so I finished second. Sometimes in the race I was thinking that I was already going to be World Champion, so I was asking myself why I had to take more risk, so I was careful, especially on the last lap not to attack Cluzel in the lead. It was great to win the title with Kawasaki but it has not been an easy year for us. I have had some problems with my knee injury but we won the title with one race to spare and I am very happy to have done it with Kawasaki. They gave me a good opportunity to win the title with them and finally I was able to give them the answer, so big thanks to them. I am very happy for them and Lorenzini. It is difficult to compare championships with each other but at one point this season I was very afraid because I had some bad luck but the last couple of races I knew could win the title without any mistakes in the final rounds. WIinning races brings me confidence. To win the title in the first year with Kawasaki makes me very happy.”

Sheridan Morais: “I got a decent start but once near the front I ran wide at turn five a few times and lost two or three seconds, so I just could not close the gap. I could maintain it but not close it, no matter how hard I tried, and I tried really hard. It was a tough race but I earned some good points and I am sixth in the championship. So I am looking forward to the next round in Magny-Cours. Well done to Kenan and everybody for winning the championship.”

– HRC Report

FIM Superbike World Championship competitor Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) pushed all the way through 22-laps in the second race at Portimao in Portugal and came within 0.162 seconds of his third win of the year. Rea had been sixth in a wet race one, which had to be stopped after a red flag caused by an oil spill on a wet track surface. After extensive cleaning a damp surface remained, but it dried towards the end, and in a 16-lap race Jonathan scored sixth place. He had qualified fifth in superpole.

He is in fifth place in the overall championship standings, on 255.5 points, with one round and two races remaining. Jonathan will continue as a Honda Superbike rider in 2013, with news being confirmed at Portimao that he and Leon Haslam will team up on the CBR100RR in the official Honda entry, with snack food producers PATA unveiled as the new title sponsor.

Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) was eighth in race one today a great result for the rookie rider in this class, as it equalled his best SBK result to date and came at a circuit he had never seen before race weekend. He missed out on qualification for Superpole and was 17th on the grid. He was retiree in race two with a technical issue. Hiroshi is 18th in the championship itself, with a total of 59.5 points.

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) won the Portuguese races, with Max Biaggi (Aprilia) extending his championship lead after race two, as Sykes’ machine broke down and his previous closest championship rival Marco Melandri (BMW) fell in the abandoned race one. He suffered a bruised right kidney and took no further part in proceedings. Biaggi now has 347 points, Sykes 316.5, Melandri 308.5, Carlos Checa (Ducati) 278.5.

Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) scored the third win of his rookie season in the FIM Supersport World Championship race at Portimao, but despite his victory and full points score Kenan Sofuoglu
(Kawasaki) won his third title in this class, by finishing second on track.

A fabulously entertaining race had three main Honda protagonists fighting at the sharp end for all 20 laps, in dry but still slippery conditions after monsoon-like morning rains had cleared away.

Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) was one of many riders who led for a time, but he would finish fourth, 1.035 seconds from Cluzel and behind Kawasaki riders Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret. Parkes had claimed pole in qualifying.

Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) lost contact with the leading group after one worrying moment when he almost fell from his machine, but he still finished fifth, only 3.905 seconds from the win.

South African riders Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda) and Mathew Scholtz (Bogdanka PTR Honda) finished ninth and tenth respectively, with Scholtz equalling his season best finish.

The last Honda rider to score a point today was Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda) in 15th place, a slightly disappointing result for a rider who has been making great strides since he joined the series mid-season. Former Honda WSS regular Miguel Praia (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) was 17th in a one-off ride; Valentin Debise (SMS Racing Honda) was 18th.

Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda) went 20th today, his team-mate Balazs Nemeth (Racing Team Toth Honda) 21st and Martin Jessopp (Riders PTR Honda) 22nd. Danilo Marrancone (Kuja Racing Honda) finished his race in 24th place.

Dino Lombardi (Team Lorini Honda) and his team-mate Roberto Tamburini no scored, as did first time WSS rider for the Bogdanka Honda PTR team Adrian Pasek.

In the overall championship standings, Cluzel is second, 33 points behind Sofuoglu, Lowes is fourth on 152 points, Parkes fifth on 135 and Quarmby is eighth on 84. Tamburini dropped to 12th overall today.

Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team): Race result: 6th / 2nd Championship position: 5th “I guess we’ve got to be satisfied with the results today after we didn’t take advantage in Superpole yesterday. I felt really good in both races and in race one I was sitting pretty in second place feeling really comfortable when the red flags came out. Unfortunately, the track was drying for the second part, with zero standing water, but the bike was just too soft for the conditions, so I could only nurse it home. Race two was pretty good and my team gave me a CBR that I was able to compete with at the front. I got held up a little early on and Laverty opened a bit of a gap. When I got clear track in front of me I was able to reel him back in bit by bit but we ran out of laps in the end.”

Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team): Race result: 8th / DNF Championship position: 18th “I didn’t have a good feeling in the first part of race one and I think we went in the wrong direction after warm-up. But after the red flag we had an opportunity to change the set-up and went the other way. It worked much better and I was able to pass some riders and fight for higher positions with the others. I had a not too bad race and I was excited to have another go in race two. Unfortunately, I had some technical problem so I was not able to finish the race.”

Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda): Race result: 1st Championship position: 2nd “That was one of my hardest races so I am really happy to win. I had big problems braking at the start of the race, but then I calmed myself down and really concentrated. Then at the end I relaxed for the last three laps and was able to do good lap times. For me the target was to do my best and win if I could, I was not thinking about the Championship. I will be more relaxed now the title is decided for my home race at Magny Cours and will want a good result as I think I will have a lot of fans coming to watch.”

Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda): Race result: 5th Championship position: 4th “It was a bit of a strange race really because it had been incredibly wet then it dried up for my race. I got to the front, but then made a couple of mistakes then at one point he wind got underneath the bike and I lost the front, then that set the back off and it kicked me about and I was of the side of the bike. It pulled my shoulder and I dropped a couple of seconds a lap. It was unlucky to have the race in a bit of strange conditions as the track wasn’t very good after the rain and the lap times were a lot slower than in practice; but I’m looking forward to Magny Cours already and want to end the season on a high. Congratulations to Kenan on winning the championship.”

Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda): Race result: 4th Championship position: 5th “It was a good fight in that race and I was really happy to be in it. I felt quite comfortable to run with the guys and having a good battle. I gave everything but with a couple of lap to go I was finding it a bit difficult then I had a big moment out of the last corner. I really wanted to get on the podium, but unfortunately I just missed. But at least we were there for the fight. One more race so hopefully we can give everything and win the last race”

– BMW Report

It was a black Sunday for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport at Portimão (POR). Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) crashed on the opening lap of race one. As he was lying on the tarmac, he was hit by the bike of Chaz Davies (GBR), who fell when trying to avoid him. As Marco’s was severe pain after the heavy impact, the Italian was taken to Portimão Hospital for precautionary checks. He returned to the team in the afternoon shortly after the second race. The examinations showed that he suffered no major injuries but has painful contusions on his back. His team-mate Leon Haslam (GBR) finished a more than difficult first race in 19th. In the second race he had to retire due to an electrical issue.

After the penultimate round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship on the Algarve coast saw a sunny Friday and Saturday, the conditions changed completely today and it rained heavily in the morning, making race one once more again this season a tyre lottery as the rain stopped shortly before the start. Marco opted for front and rear rain tyres on his BMW S 1000 RR, while Leon went out on a rain tyre on the front and an intermediate on the rear. He hoped for the track to dry up and to then have an advantage. Right after the start Marco was in the leading group but crashed on lap one while fighting for position. Leon was struggling with his intermediate rear tyre in the wet in the early stages of the race and fell towards the back of the field. He did not get the chance to catch up because after six laps the race was red flagged due to oil on the track.

After 45 minutes the race was restarted with grid positions determined by positions on track before the red flag. This meant that Leon was 20th on the grid. As the track was still wet he opted for rain tyres on both front and rear but again in the second part of the race Lady Luck was not on Leon’s side. He got a ride through penalty for a jump start and entered the pits after three laps. In the meantime conditions had bettered so he decided to change his rear tyre to an intermediate but this did not reap benefits as shortly afterwards light rain started again. On top of that he still had to take his ride through penalty. He did so after lap seven and finished the race in 19th. For race two the sun was shining again and conditions were dry. Leon started from fifth but lost some places. His bike then stopped due to an electrical issue. He pushed it back to the pits but had to retire when the race was in its third lap. Ayrton Badovini (ITA) of the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team finished the races in ninth and sixth, his team-mate Michel Fabrizio (ITA) was tenth and eighth.

In the Riders’ Championship, Marco is third with 308.5 points, 38.5 points behind leader Max Biaggi (ITA). Leon is seventh with 189 points. In the Manufacturers’ Standings BMW is second with 394 points, 28.5 points behind Aprilia. The races were won by Tom Sykes (GBR) and Eugene Laverty (IRL) respectively. In the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup race, Sylvain Barrier (FRA) from the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet STK Team claimed another podium, finishing second.

Leon Haslam:
Result Race 1: 19th / Gap to 1st: 1 lap / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:56.887 min
Result Race 2: DNF / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:52.843 min
“All weekend we felt so confident with the slick tyre and the race set-up and today it rained. Normally I like the rain, but today it was difficult. For race one I thought that it would dry up and we chose the intermediate rear tyre which was a bit of a gamble. But it did not dry up before the race was red flagged. As before the restart the track still had not dried much so we decided to go with the same as all the other guys, but I made a jump start. Even before I had the ride through I had an issue with the bike in the wet so after I entered the pit lane twice the race was done for me. In race two we didn’t get the best start but the race pace was not so fast. It was more than two seconds slower than what I did yesterday on the same tyres. In addition we had a technical issue; it was nobody’s fault, but it was me again who had the bad luck. This is very frustrating.”

Marco Melandri:
Result Race 1: DNF / DNR
Result Race 2: DNS
“Once more it was a very bad day for me. When Max Biaggi passed me I kept my inside line and I did not really see him. I just heard the sound of somebody touching the front of my bike and I went down and I felt something hit my back. I was very worried about my back, kidney or liver because it hurt very badly. Fortunately the medical exams show that everything is okay. Now it is a bit better because I took a lot of painkillers, but I still don’t feel very well.”

Bernhard Gobmeier (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director):
“It was a really disappointing day for us. It started with a gamble on the tyres which, for Leon, we lost. In the second race, Leon had to retire early due to an electrical issue which we now will analyse closely. Regarding Marco, it was a racing accident due to the tricky conditions, with the result that he got hurt pretty bad by the heavy impact he suffered from behind. Nevertheless, we are very relieved that, according to preliminary investigations from the hospital, he escaped major injuries, except for some massive contusions. We hope that with some rest he will be fit again very soon. In the second race Leon had to retire early due to an electrical issue which we now will analyse closely. It was a tough day, but we will keep our heads held high. Our focus is now on the season finale in two weeks’ time at Magny-Cours. We will continue to work hard and will give our best in order to return to winning ways.”

– Suzuki Racing

FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier looked like taking his second podium of the season during today’s final race at the eni FIM Superbike World Championship from Portimao in Portugal only to see his hopes disappear in the closing stages.

Camier started from ninth on the grid and had made his way up to sixth by lap-three. He continued to close the gap on the leading riders as the race progressed and was in a position to challenge championship leader Max Biaggi when the race entered its final few laps. Camier tried to make a pass on the Italian, as the Aprilia rider ran slightly wide, but Biaggi didn’t see Camier on his inside and cut back across, accidently hitting the FIXI Crescent Suzuki man. Camier stayed on-board and gave chase again, before making another attempt to get past Biaggi, he succeeded briefly, but couldn’t make the pass stick, so continued to line up the Italian for another attack. Unfortunately disaster struck for Camier before he had the opportunity as a transmission issue forced him into the pits and retirement from the race at the start of the very last lap – ruefully wondering what might have been.

In a disjointed and difficult first race, Camier was again looking menacing as he sat in eighth place and within touching distance of the riders in front, but due to an incident in the wet conditions the race was red flagged. A rider crashed on one of the many damp patches that were a result of the torrential rain that had fallen earlier and a re-start over 16-laps was ordered. Camier couldn’t quite find his rhythm in the second staging of the interrupted race and after a five-way battle for eighth place; he eventually finished in 11th on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R.

John Hopkins made a strong showing during his first races at the 4,592 Portuguese circuit, as he continued with his improvement over the demanding layout. In the second race – held in dry and sunny conditions – he made a good start from 19th on the grid and was up into 14th by lap-three. Hopkins continued to push for the remainder of the race and finally brought his FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R home for a safe and creditable 11th position, one place better than the 12th he secured in race one, where he too was in the battle for eighth with Camier and three other riders. Hopkins coped well with the difficult conditions in the first event and was unlucky not to pick up a top-10 result for his hard work.

Today’s races saw two different winners as Tom Sykes triumphed in race one, with Eugene Laverty on an Aprilia taking victory in the second event. Max Biaggi retained, and increased, his championship lead, with Sykes in second and Marco Melandri – who crashed in race one and was unable to participate in race two -now in third in the title chase.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki will next head to France, as the championship draws to a close, for the final two races of the season at Magny Cours on Sunday October 7th.

Leon Camier: “The FIXI Crescent Suzuki worked really well in the morning warm-up, which took place in fully wet conditions, so I was quite happy about riding the bike in the same conditions in race one. When the race was restarted, the track was not completely wet and it began to dry out in some places. The settings we had just didn’t work as well as we hoped and I had to get round as best I could.

“Fortunately, race two was dry. I attacked right from the start and moved up the field. It took a bit of time to get past Guintoli, but once I had overtaken him I set about Biaggi. It was a close battle – close enough for us to make contact – and I really believed I could find a way past, make it stick and take third spot. I had a few problems with the gearbox during the race and then the bike locked up on me with two laps to go and I had to take to the run-off. I tried to keep going, but it happened a couple of times more and nearly spat me off, so I had no choice but to pull out. I’m happy though because the bike has come on a lot in the recent months and I now know we can fight with the best.”

John Hopkins: “Although the results are a bit average and I’d have preferred better ones, I’m quite happy with today. The first race was very tricky and if there hadn’t been a red flag it would’ve taken place in full wet conditions and that would’ve been easier to manage. Once the track started drying out, conditions worsened and it was pretty difficult to get round – especially towards the end when the tyres had completely gone.

“I got a good start in race two, but got bumped off the track by another rider and lost quite a few places. After that I kept my head down and went as hard as I could for a finish. This was my first time at Portimao. It’s a pretty hard track to learn, but this weekend we found some good information on the bike and that makes me very happy about the future.”

Jack Valentine – Team Manager: “It probably sounds a bit funny, but this has been a very productive and fantastic weekend for us and it’s been a good day for the team, because we’ve proved that we can be competitive and run with the best. I am very pleased because all the hard work the team has put in is showing dividends and it is a huge boost to our morale. It was great to see Leon fighting with Biaggi in the second race and this shows that the FIXI Crescent Suzuki is a genuine challenger. If it hadn’t been for the problem, I think we could’ve had another podium. The conditions in race one were hard for everybody and our bike settings didn’t work as well as we wanted, but even so, we learnt something and found some good directions for the future. Both riders brought their bikes home in the points, but I’m sure the results would’ve been better if the race had taken place in the wet, instead of half-and-half.

“John rode solidly in both races today and had some fun again and that’s good to see. Even though Leon failed to finish the second race today, the team are on a high, all really pumped up and looking forward to the next round. We want to show that our recent form has been no fluke and we’ll be going all-out for podiums at Magny-Cours.”

– Effenbert Liberty Ducati

“This fifth place is like a victory,” these are the words of the CEO of Effenbert Liberty Racing, Mario Bertuccio, about the excellent results achieved by Brett McCormick in race 1. The Team Owner also said – I am very happy with the race today, our team has faced during this difficult time in 2012, one of these was undoubtedly the injury of Brett at Assen. The whole team has waited for him with confidence and now he has paid off giving us this joy made this Gp, absolutely unforgettable. Brett McCormick, like the Liberty Racing team has proven to never give up, and how it is possible, remaining united, overcome any obstacle – The racing day has been completed by the ninth place conquered by the Canadian in Race 2 in front his teammate, Italian Lorenzo Lanzi. Great satisfaction for the Team Liberty has signed in this exciting way the penultimate round of the World SBK.

Since warm-up on Sunday morning, which took place in a real flood, the two riders of the Czech team have shown, making good lap-time, to know how to adapt perfectly to a track in such really critical conditions. The rain has continued until the first race, forcing the race direction to declare “Wet Race”. At the traffic lights go out, both McCormick and Lanzi, started respectively 13th and 21th position, have made a good start, recovering positions on opponents. McCormick has attacked the lead group and settled in fifth position, and the Canadian would have certainly improved but in the seventh lap, the race director has exposed the red flag in order to allow the marshals to clean the track from the oil with which Brignola, crashed down, had fouled a corner.

The second start saw McCormick start in the second row from the sixth position on the grid ahead of Guintoli, and followed by Sykes and Camier. The Canadian after duel with Spaniard Carlos Checa, has set its sights on the former world champion and the championship leader Max Biaggi. The challenge was completed only under the checkered flag with Biaggi and Brett separated by a blink of an eye, the Canadian author of a spectacular performance especially remembering that he is back on track after a long convalescence from the bad injury at Assen only at the Germany GP and still in physical recovery. In race 2 Brett McCormick, started well, had to surrender opponents like Carlos Checa while Lorenzo Lanzi after detached John Hopkins have found his race pace followed the companion McCormick. Under the checkered flag, Brett McCormick closed ninth and Lorenzo Lanzi tenth.

Now the focus is on the last race of the World Championship where the two riders, Brett McCormick and Lorenzo Lanzi will be ready to get on track with the determination that characterizes the Liberty Racing Team.

Brett McCormick # 68
“Race one was fantastic, to be in the top five was really exciting, I have no words to describe the happiness of the moment. The bike was working very well and I had a good feeling, I was very fast. Even in race two, the bike was very good and I felt comfortable, the ninth-place is still a good result. This weekend has been a success, and I am happy to share it with my staff and the team”.

Lorenzo Lanzi # 57
“In the warm up with the rain we had some good lap-times, and I hope to do well in race one, but in the second restart the track conditions changed, and I didn’t find a good feeling with the bike. In race two the things went better, the pace was not fast but I was constant. Now we will go to France, where the track is relatively simple, having the advantage of a good base of four heats rode. We continue to improve, and I am very comfortable with the team and thank all for the support and the opportunity given to me.”

– Althea Ducati

Another complicated race day for the Althea Racing team today at the ‘Autodromo Internacional do Algarve’. In race 1 Carlos Checa rode a great race to take his first podium since Brno while Davide Giugliano was robbed of his chance to do well after a collision early on in the race forced him to retire. In the second of the day’s races Giugliano was once again unlucky, suffering from presumed tyre problems while Checa was able to bounce back after a technical issue in the early stages to cross the line fifth.

After two hot and sunny days the Superbike paddock awoke to heavy rain and poor visibility on the Portimao track. After only a fifteen minute warm-up, the riders had little time to prepare for racing in these conditions.

Race 1 – the first race became a game of two halves. In the first ‘heat’ Davide was caught up in an crash when Melandri collided with him during the very first lap. He sustained an ankle injury but unfortunately the damage is not serious. Just a few laps later, as Carlos lay in fourth position, the red flag came out due to oil left on the track after a crash for Brignola. After a half-hour break the race (shortened to sixteen laps) was restarted, but without the participation of Giugliano. Checa immediately made up a couple of positions and then started his fight, first against McCormick and then Biaggi. On lap seven he got past the Italian and from that point the Althea rider put in a series of fastest laps, each quicker than the last, to close the gap between himself and leaders Guintoli and Sykes. Once past Guintoli, Checa continued to lap half a second quicker than Sykes and was up with him by the final stages. Despite his best efforts, and the fact he made the fastest lap of the race on the very last lap (1m56.4), he was unable to pass Tom, crossing the line in second place, 0.3 of a second after the Kawasaki rider.

Race 2 – at the end of the first lap the two Althea riders were eighth (Giugliano) and ninth (Checa). Due to the presumed traction control issue, Checa quickly lost a lot of ground in the early stages, finding himself fourteenth. Carlos deactivated and then reactivated the system and this seemed to solve the problem, allowing him to make up a lot of positions in what remained of the race. After a few laps Giugliano also slowed dramatically, due to what appeared to be a problem with the front of his bike; this meant that he returned to the garage, putting a premature end to his race. Carlos continued to gain ground throughout the rest of the race (he was tenth by lap five and seventh by lap ten). Thanks to a consistently fast pace that he was able to maintain to the line, the Spaniard closed race two in final fifth position.

At the end of this penultimate round, Checa is fourth in the standings with 278.5 points while Giugliano is eleventh with 125 points. Thanks to the results of race 1, Ducati now has 375 points and lies third in the manufacturer’s standings, with respect to the 394 held by BMW and the 422.5 held by Aprilia.

Carlos Checa: “Second position is very positive, considering the rain, and the fact that the race was stopped. It was difficult because Tom defended himself well and it was very risky to overtake. I had to be careful to control tyre wear as it was drying out later in the race of course. At the end I tried to improve my pace, and maybe I had better pace than Tom in the final stages but I could see no clear place to overtake. Anyway we are very happy, I thank my team that has done a great job all weekend; this is a great result. In the second race I was there with the leading group but then I had a problem and I couldn’t push, I didn’t know what it was but I deactivated and then reactivated the traction control and this seemed to solve it. I was able to catch up a lot of positions but it wasn’t easy, the bike wasn’t as easy to ride as it had been in the practice sessions. Considering all that happened I think fifth is a good result. Now we will concentrate on finishing the season in the best possible way at Magny-Cours.”

Davide Giugliano: “We didn’t need that today. In the first race contact between Melandri and I left me on the ground. I have hurt my left ankle but luckily I was able to take part in the second race. Then in that race I could feel that there was a problem almost as soon as we began, the front of the bike was not right. After I lost a lot of ground over a couple of laps I came back to the garage. We changed the tyre and I went back out to test it and it was fine, so it looks like it was an issue with the front tyre. That was a pity because I really felt that I was capable of two strong results today – next time hopefully.”