Portimao (Portugal), Friday 7 June 2013: Team SBK Ducati Alstare’s riders, Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini, were pleased with the progress made today at the Portimao circuit in Portugal, having completed first qualifying just a few tenths of a second from the frontrunners.
In the opening free practice session that took place in dry conditions (air temperature 20˚C, track 31˚C) Checa and Badovini both made some solid progress, continuing to improve lap times throughout the 45-minute session and recording a best of 1’45.0 and 1’45.7 respectively. These lap times placed Carlos and Ayrton in eleventh and thirteenth position at the session’s end.
In this afternoon’s qualifying session Badovini made a solid step up during the first phase, lowering his best time set in the morning’s session by almost a second. The work carried out during the remainder of the session allowed him to improve further in the final stages, with the Italian rider recording a best of 1’44.5 that put him in eleventh place at the end of the session, one second from leader Rea. Checa too dropped his time by almost a second to conclude the first of two qualifying sessions in eighth position with a best of 1’44.2. The times of the top ten riders were so close that had the Spaniard gone just three tenths quicker he would have placed fourth. Both Ducati Alstare riders are confident that they will be able to continue in the right direction tomorrow.
Carlos Checa: “Today’s been quite a positive day. It seems like we’ve taken a step forward and this has allowed us to get closer to those ahead of us. In qualifying we reduced the gap between us and the leader to just over half a second and this bodes well. I think there’s been some improvement on the chassis side and as a result we’ve gone faster here than we have done until now. My shoulder hasn’t been an issue today, it’s not yet 100% but it’s manageable when completing a short series of laps and so hasn’t bothered me too much.”
Ayrton Badovini: ‘Today’s probably been our best Friday in the dry since the start of the season, so we can say it’s been a positive one. We still need to improve in a couple of sections, there’s work to do in the last two corners for example where I’m losing precious time. We haven’t used anything different or new, rather I just feel like I’m finally getting to grips with the bike which has allowed me to improve. I think we have the potential to improve further tomorrow and am feeling optimistic.”
TIMES (Qualifying): 1. Rea (Honda) 1’43.5; 2. Laverty (Aprilia) 1’43.6; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’43.6; 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’43.9; 5. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1’44.0; 6. Melandri (BMW) 1’44.0; 7. Davies (BMW) 1’44.2; 8. Checa (Ducati Alstare) 1’44.2; 9. Camier (Suzuki) 1’44.2; Baz (Kawasaki) 1’44.4; 11. Badovini (Ducati Alstare) 1’44.5