Portimao Test – Day 2
Topping the Portimao Test on Day 2 – the final day – of testing was Ducati test rider Michele Pirro, posting a 1:40.435, just a few tenths short of the fastest ever lap, set by Aleix Espargaro the previous day. It wasn’t all about laptimes, of course, but Pirro was also a few tenths clear of the competition on Thursday, with the Italian riding a GP20 and gathering data for the season finale, as well as trying out a few 2021 parts…
Stefan Bradl was second on the timesheets for Honda and the German put in a 1:40.833 as his fastest lap, the second and final rider in the 1:40s. He only rode in the morning – then heading up to Le Mans for Grand Prix duty – and was on the 2020 Honda. The number 6 especially praised the new asphalt at the Algarve venue, with Suzuki test rider Sylvain Guintoli having already said ahead of the test that some bumps in the previous surface were its only downfall. Bradl’s comments seem to confirm that’s now more than fixed at the stunning rollercoaster of a circuit.
Guintoli, for his part, had another positive day and was just as upbeat as he had been ahead of the test. The 2014 WorldSBK Champion has good experience at the venue and that in itself should be useful for Suzuki. The Frenchman staked that claim in the morning session as he put in his best lap of the day, a 1:41.153, and the Hamamatsu factory finished their testing programme by 1pm. Their main focus? Like most: adaptation, adaptation, adaptation – especially to the elevation changes.
Lorenzo Savadori, meanwhile, used some of the time to test 2021 parts for Aprilia. With prior knowledge of the venue already, the Italian was confident in splitting his time between the tasks and focused on the chassis and then the tyre selection for the GP. His best lap was a 1:41.483.
At KTM it was superstar test rider Dani Pedrosa out on track, the number 26 putting in the laps in both the morning and afternoon sessions as he got used to the Portuguese venue and gathered a useful amount of data for the Austrian factory. His quickest lap was a 1:41.627 set in the morning, but the speed wasn’t the focus – adapting to the undulating track was. Pedrosa was also out on a carbon-black RC16 on Thursday…
Finally, another superstar test rider took the reins at Yamaha: Jorge Lorenzo. He was one of two to improve in the afternoon as he spent the time on a 2019 machine, getting down to a 1:43.163. Not on a bike since the Sepang test in February, the ‘Spartan’ was another who, like Pedrosa, took part in both sessions on Thursday. Most of the day was spent working on the gearbox and finding the right ratios, but Lorenzo also said he needed more time on the bike. Will we see the number 99 back on track again testing anywhere before the season finale?
That’s it from Portimão until the paddock returns to take on the rollercoaster at racing speed in November.