Giugliano the man to beat on opening day at Portimao WorldSBK
Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) moved to the top of the WorldSBK times after the opening day of on track action at Portimao’s Autodromo Internacional do Algarve and will head into FP3 tomorrow as the man to beat, courtesy of his 1.43.323s lap set during the final five minutes of this afternoon’s second Free Practice session.
Behind Giugliano, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), who leads the overall championship standings by 101 points, also improved despite missing out on the fastest time of the day by 0.058s.
Winner of both races last time out Tom Sykes put the second factory Kawasaki into 3rd overall, almost three tenths behind the leader as the top-12 riders were split by a second.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) made it two Kawasaki and two Ducati riders in the top-4 with Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) and Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 5th and 6th. The Italian improved by one position from to FP1 despite an early crash, which cost him half an hour track-time.
Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) continued to improve to head into tomorrow’s decisive FP3 in 7th ahead of the Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils machine of Leon Haslam and the Pata Honda of Sylvain Guintoli completing the top eight. Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing – Red Devils) was 9th ahead of Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing Ducati).
The other riders inside the top 15 and looking to make it into Superpole 2 automatically tomorrow are: Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing), David Salom (Team Pedercini Kawasaki), Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki).
Davide Giugliano – Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team – 1st – “We worked hard during the two sessions to improve the feeling, which we did. This is only the first day. I am confident ahead of tomorrow’s Superpole and we are hopeful to have the pace in the two races on Sunday.”
Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team – 2nd – “Another good day for us. Everyone in the team is working well and we were able to find a good setting almost immediately. Despite today being all about Kawasaki and Ducati, we cannot lose sight of our nearest rival in the points Leon Haslam. For sure he is nursing an injury but he is a fighter and he’ll be up there on Sunday.”
Tom Sykes – Kawasaki Racing Team – 3rd – “I have arrived here full of confidence and it would be great to repeat what we achieved at Donington Park. The circuit this year is bumpier which I think explains why the times are not maybe as quick as we expected. It’s only Friday so we must keep working to put ourselves in the best position.”
Alex Lowes – Voltcom Crescent Suzuki – 6th – “We made a big step forward with the bike at Donington and we have started the weekend here with the same set-up. I knew we could be quick but a third place on the opening day was a bit of a surprise. Nevertheless we showed this afternoon that we have the pace to run within the top-6, which gives me confidence for the rest of the weeekend.”
Sylvain Guintoli – Pata Honda World Superbike – 7th – “It’s been a more positive weekend so far. Everybody knows the level we have been at but we found some things in the last race and they seem to be working here. Of course after the highs of last year it has been a tough start to the season but everyone is working, we will not give up and the goal is to put the Honda as close to the top step as possible before the end of the year.”
WorldSBK Portimao – Combined times Free Practice 1 and 2
Cluzel commands Portimao WSS opening day
Jules Cluzel dominated the opening day of World Supersport action, powering his MV Agusta Reparto Corse machine to the top spot, despite failing to improve in the warmer afternoon session. His time from FP1 of 1.46.005s kept him 0.147s ahead of biggest rival and championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) who closed the gap to the Frenchman on his final lap of the second session.
Cluzel’s team mate Lorenzo Zanetti ended the day 3rd despite a small crash at turn 5 with 12 minutes to go. The Italian was unhurt. PJ Jacobsen made a solid start with his new team (CORE Motorsport Thailand) taking 4th, the American narrowly edging Gino Rea (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda) and Roberto Rolfo (Team Lorini) who were 5th and 6th respectively.
Kyle Smith (Pata Honda World Supersport Team), Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25), Marco Faccani (San Carlo Puccetti Racing) and Martin Cardenas (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda) completed the top ten.
Miguel Praia (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda) is making his final World Championship appearance this weekend. The local rider who is replacing the injured Kieran Clarke finished the day in a respectable 17th.
Australian Glenn Scott was 19th quickest and is loving the layout of the Portimao circuit.