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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

WSBK ready for Portimao rollercoaster

Rome (Italy), Monday 3 June 2013 – The eni FIM Superbike World Championship heads to the magnificent shores of Algarve for Round 6, that will take place the upcoming weekend at Portimao’s Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. The Portuguese track made its debut onto the WSBK scene in 2008 – not long after its completion – and it has been a permanent fixture of the calendar since then.

The track is a riders’ favourite thanks to the challenging, fast and undulating layout that gives a unique character and offers great racing. The “man on a mission” Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), who ended up last year 1st and 3rd – after securing the top slot on the grid in the Tissot-Superpole – he’s now looking forward to building on the momentum he gained after dominating the European Round at Donington Park.

Double podium finisher in UK Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) still holds the lead in Riders Standings, despite not climbing onto the top step of the podium from the very first race of the season at Phillip Island. He was 3rd at the end of Race 1 last year and in 2011, after being edged out twice from second place by Carlos Checa. Team mate Eugene Laverty scored last time out at Portimao a late first – and only one – race win of his maiden season with Aprilia.

Following a weather-hampered two-day test at Aragon last week, BMW official riders will aim for strong results after the mixed feelings of the past event. Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies – who  won 3 out of 10 races so far in the season – are currently 46 and 61 points behind the leader and desperately looking to make up ground at Portimao. In 2012 Melandri had a nightmare weekend, ruining his World Title chase as he crashed out of Race 1 – injuring his back – and was forced to withdraw from the following one.

While Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) had to sit out of the last two races due to his left leg injury – despite his efforts to be on track in front of his home crowd – fellow Brit Jonathan Rea tried everything he could to resurrect the flagging fortunes of the Team in 2013 and he is now looking forward to trying his very best again on the venue that saw his first WSBK appearance in 2008. Haslam, on the other hand, is continuing his rehabilitation hoping to be fit enough to race this weekend.

Team Ducati Alstare is back to a two-rider line-up after Niccolò Canepa’s one-off ride at Donington. Carlos Checa is still dealing with the osseus edema on the head of his left humerus, that forced him to withdraw from Donington second race, and is about to face another physically demanding track. The Spaniard’s only victory on the Portuguese track dates back to 2011 (Race 1).

Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) had one of the best performances of the past season last year at Portimao in Race 2, when he fought hard against former team mate Max Biaggi for 3rd place until a technical problem ruled him out of the race, on the penultimate lap. Although last year’s unfortunate events, Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) has fond memories of the track that hosted his World Superbike debut in 2011, straight after his coronation as FIM Superstock 1000 Cup Champion.

Standings – provisional* (round 5 of 15): 1. Guintoli 173; 2. Sykes 169; 3. Laverty 149; 4. Melandri 127; 5. Davies 112; 6. Baz 95; 7. Rea 89; 8. Fabrizio 86; 9. Giugliano 72; 10. Cluzel 55; 11. Camier 49; 12. Neukirchner 45; 13. Badovini 37; 14. Checa 33; 15. Haslam 29; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 208; 2. Kawasaki 180; 3. BMW 175; 4. Honda 96; 5. Suzuki 82; 6. Ducati 65.

* Possible updated results could be defined by the International Disciplinary Court which is dealing with the appeal lodged by Aprilia Racing Team and rider Sylvain Guintoli, following the decision taken by the FIM Stewards in Monza (Italian Round, last 12 May) to cancel the drop of position sanction (from third to fourth place in race 2) imposed by the Race Direction on rider Tom Sykes.

World Supersport

There is no better place than Portimao for Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), currently ranked 2nd in the points, to try and stop Sam Lowes’ impressive momentum. The Reigning Champion was victorious in three of the four races he’s tackled on the Portuguese track, even in 2008 when he marked his return to the series by taking Jonathan Rea’s place for the Season Finale.

It won’t be an easy task for the three-time Supersport Champion, as Lowes has won the last three races and now leads the Riders Standings with a 30 points margin. The Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha rider put up an outstanding performance last time out at Donington Park dominating the whole weekend in flawless fashion.

Mahi Racing Team India’s Fabien Foret aims to bounce back following some difficult results in the last two rounds. The French veteran scored his only rostrum finish at Portimao last year, third at the chequered flag behind race winner Jules Cluzel and 2013 team mate Sofuoglu.

After injuring himself during a motocross training session before his home race at Aragon and missing four rounds, Spaniard David Salom (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) will make his comeback at Portimao to join team mate Luca Scassa.

Miguel Praia will be lining up for Team Honda Lorini, to take the seat left empty by the return of Alex Baldolini to Team Suriano, for a one-off on his home track. The former Supersport regular rider, who is racing full-time in Brazil, hopes to quickly get to grips with the 600cc Honda of the Italian squad.

Standings (round 5 of 14): 1. Lowes 95; 2. Sofuoglu 65; 3. Foret 61; 4. Zanetti 53; 5. Vd Mark 49; 6. Scassa 45; 7. Rolfo 38; 8. Antonelli 37; 9. Kennedy 34; 10. Marino 31; 11. Russo 28; 12. Coghlan 22; 13. Leonov 21; 14. Morais 19; 15. Ivanov 18. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 110; 2. Yamaha 103; 3. Honda 78; 4. MV Agusta 38; 5. Suzuki 9; 6. Triumph 6.

Superstock 1000

This year’s FIM Superstock 1000 Cup is proving to be extremely challenging, as the top-4 in the standings is within 8 points of each other and there have been three different race winners out of the three rounds held so far – all on different machinery.

Championship leader Niccolò Canepa (Barni Racing Ducati) is looking forward to taking his first victory of the season – the last one was in 2007 at Brands Hatch – following the excellent results of his One Event participation at Donington Park, with Team Ducati Alstare, in the Superbike class.

The 23 year old Italian will have to defend his position by team mate Eddi La Marra and Frenchmen duo of defending Champion Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) and Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki). Latest race winner Lorenzo Savadori (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) will aim for a repeat performance to keep his title chances alive.

Standings (round 3 of 10): 1. Canepa 52; 2. La Marra 49; 3. Barrier 45; 4. Guarnoni 44; 5. Mercado 36; 6. Savadori 33; 7. Lanusse 29; 8. Jezek 24; 9. Bussolotti 19; 10. Lussiana 15; 11. Bergman 15; 12. Magnoni 11; 13. Ferrer 7; 14. Gildenhuys 6; 15. Andreozzi 6. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 61; 2. BMW 56; 3. Kawasaki 54; 4. Honda 6; 5. Suzuki 5.

Superstock 600

After seeing his winning streak coming to an end on the soaked wet Monza track three weeks ago, Gauthier Duwelz (MTM-MVR Racing Yamaha) hopes to reinstate himself as the man to beat in 2013 Superstock 600 European Championship. Last year the Belgian talent was edged out from 3rd place at Portimao by team mate Adrian Nestorovic, as the Australian rode to his first ever STK600 podium finish. Supersport debutant at Donington Park Tony Covena (Nito Racing Kawasaki) is looking forward to mixing up at the front too, as well as Italian round winner Nicola Morrentino (Team Trasimeno Yamaha) and Bastien Chesaux (EAB Ten Kate Junior Honda).

Standings (round 3 of 10): 1. Duwelz 57; 2. Chesaux 40; 3. Coveña 39; 4. Morrentino 33; 5. Nestorovic 31; 6. Morbidelli 29; 7. Mulhauser 24; 8. Salvadori 22; 9. Gamarino 20; 10. Tessels 19; 11. Tuuli 17; 12. Tatasciore 16; 13. Nocco 15; 14. Casalotti 15; 15. Schmitter 13; etc.