Barcelona (Spain), Tuesday 1 July 2014 – The eni FIM Superbike World Championship returns to Portugal’s charming southern coast for the eighth round of the season, which will take place this weekend at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao. The stunning 4.592km racetrack has been part of the World Superbike calendar since 2008, debuting shortly after the circuit’s completion. Given its fast and flowing layout, with many elevation changes and blind crests, the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve has always produced great racing.
Current points leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) has become a real headache for his opponents following his third double of the season two weekends ago at Misano and he is looking for more at Portimao, where he has won once previously (race one, 2012). The reigning champion has further extended his lead in the standings as he is now 39 and 41 points ahead of Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) and teammate Loris Baz, respectively.
The two Frenchmen had different results in Italy: Baz was twice second at the flag whilst Guintoli could never really challenge for a podium finish in any of the two encounters at Misano, despite the good form shown in the first two days, finishing 5th and 4th.
For the second round in a row the best classified Aprilia rider was Marco Melandri, who claimed two third places in his second home round of the season. The 31 year old from Ravenna, Italy, has scored 82 of his 179 points in the last two events and with two race wins he is the most successful WSBK active rider at Portimao, along with former teammate in the Yamaha days Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki).
Following another disappointing race day in the season, the Irishman hopes to display the same level of performance shown at the start of the year at Portimao, when both he and teammate Alex Lowes were atop the timesheets in the first private test of 2014. Despite taking a historic win on his Suzuki debut Laverty has failed to challenge the front runners on a regular basis, with his younger team mate Lowes often coming home as the lead Suzuki finisher.
Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea made his WSBK debut at Portimao as he stepped up from World Supersport for the season finale in 2008. The Ulsterman has claimed seven rostrum finishes out of twelve individual races in Algarve but he is still looking for his first win.
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) also had his first World Superbike experience at Portimao in 2011 after clinching the FIM Superstock 1000 title in the penultimate round of the season.
Claudio Corti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) has previously raced at Portimao in STK1000, with a best finish of second scored in 2009.
Portimao will be another new track once again for the Team Hero EBR duo Geoff May and Aaron Yates, who are hoping to improve their performance aboard their 1190RX machines after another disappointing round at Misano.
The battle for the ultimate prize in the EVO class continues as David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) is still the man to beat after seven rounds have been completed already. Niccolò Canepa (Team Althea Racing Ducati), Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki), Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) and the rest of the EVO field will try and challenge the Spaniard for the best placement in the two races at Portimao.
After an impressive return at Misano a fortnight ago, Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team – EVO) is aiming to do even better in Portugal, where he won the STK1000 race last year. Luca Scassa (Team Pedercini Kawasaki – EVO) will be back in action following the injury sustained a few days after the Italian round at Imola in May.
The new adventure of Team Bimota Alstare in the series started at Portimao in March, when Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon rode their EVO-spec BB3 machines for the first time during a shakedown test.
Standings (Round 7 of 13): 1. Sykes 251; 2. Guintoli 212; 3. Baz 210; 4. Rea 199; 5. Melandri 179; 6. Davies 143; 7. Giugliano 111; 8. Elias 109; 9. Laverty 106; 10. Haslam 99; 11. Lowes 88; 12. Salom 67; 13. Canepa 43; 14. Camier 30; 15. Guarnoni 19; 16. Scassa 16; 17. Foret 14; 18. Corti 13; 19. Morais 10; 20. Andreozzi 9; 21. Barrier 6; 22. Allerton 6; 23. Bos 5; 24. Goi 5; 25. Staring 3; 26. Russo 2; 27. Toth 2; 28. Fabrizio 2; 29. Lanusse 1. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 266; 2. Aprilia 244; 3. Honda 199; 4. Ducati 178; 5. Suzuki 156; 6. BMW 42; 7. MV Agusta 13.
The battle for supremacy in Supersport is shaping up as a two-way affair between points leader Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) and Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse). The two riders have been challenging each other for the race win in the last three rounds but, unlike at Donington and Sepang, Cluzel was able to edge out van der Mark for the win at Misano.
Both stars have fond memories of the Autodromo do Algarve, as Cluzel claimed victory over Kenan Sofuoglu in the 2012 World Supersport encounter, whilst van der Mark edged Riccardo Russo in STK600 on his way to secure his first title at international level. Last year the Dutchman was fourth at the flag in the WSS race after a spectacular four way battle for the win.
Florian Marino (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) needs to get back to the type of form shown earlier in the season as the Frenchman is now 50 points behind the leader in third. Several riders are looking for a strong result at Portimao in order to change the momentum and make up some ground in the standings, including Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), Kev Coghlan (DMC-Panavto Yamaha) and Jack Kennedy (CIA Insurance Honda).
After his maiden podium scored two Sundays ago at Misano, American PJ Jacobsen (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) is looking forward for another good result in his rookie WSS season.
Standings (Round 7 of 12): 1. Vd Mark 135; 2. Cluzel 107; 3. Marino 85; 4. Zanetti 70; 5. Coghlan 68; 6. Sofuoglu 67; 7. Jacobsen 56; 8. Rolfo 55; 9. De Rosa 54; 10. Tamburini 48; 11. Wilairot 30; 12. Bussolotti 27; 13. Wahr 26; 14. Russo 25; 15. Kennedy 23; 16. Gamarino 22; 17. Menghi 19; 18. Nocco 16; 19. Leonov 15; 20. Gowland 9; 21. Zaidi 7; 22. Coveña 7; 23. Schmitter 3; 24. Calero 3; 25. Roccoli 2; 26. Rogers 1. Manufacturers: 1. Honda 156; 2. Kawasaki 119; 3. MV Agusta 115; 4. Yamaha 78; 5. Triumph 9.
With three races left in the season, Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Team Ducati) has a 14 point lead over Lorenzo Savadori (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) and teammate Ondrej Jezek as the series heads to Portimao for what will be a crucial round in this year’s title race.
The Argentinean was second at the flag last time out at Misano behind Savadori, who claimed his first race win of the season in front of his home crowd after the disappointment of the previous race at Imola when he had to retire due to a technical problem while he was comfortably in the lead.
Jezek is aiming to get back on the podium after being edged out for third last time out by the likes of Fabio Massei (EAB Racing Ducati), who is currently fourth in the standings with a 28 point gap to the top.
Kevin Valk (MTM Racing Team Kawasaki), Matthieu Lussiana (Team Garnier by ASPI Kawasaki) and Kyle Smith (Agro-On Wil Racedays Honda) will also try to be in the mix at the front for a top-3 finish.
Standings (Round 4 of 7): 1. Mercado 72; 2. Savadori 58; 3. Jezek 58; 4. Massei 44; 5. Valk 39; 6. Lussiana 39; 7. McFadden 38; 8. Lanusse 37; 9. D’Annunzio 30; 10. Smith 22; 11. Nemeth 22; 12. Day 21; 13. Bergman 13; 14. Muresan 11; 15. Grotzkyj G. 10; 16. Pagaud 10; 17. Suchet 8; 18. Schacht 8; 19. Walraven 6; 20. Calia 4; 21. Castellarin 4; 22. Egea 2; 23. Moser 2; 24. Alarcos 1; 25. Ayer 1. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 90; 2. Kawasaki 83; 3. Honda 38; 4. BMW 31; 5. Suzuki 6; 6. Aprilia 4.
Marco Faccani (San Carlo Team Italia Kawasaki) was almost uncatchable in the 13 STK600 lapper at the Misano World Circuit two weeks ago and the Italian rookie now has a 23 point lead over Finland’s Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing Team Yamaha), who crashed early on in the Italian race wasting a good opportunity to stay in touch with the leader in the title fight.
Of the top-5 riders in the standings, only Wayne Tessels (Waynes Racing Team Suzuki), third, and Luca Salvadori (Team 10 Lap Racing Kawasaki), fifth, have previously raced at Portimao. Boosted by an impressive maiden podium finish in the series at his fourth ever STK600 race, Italian Federico Caricasulo (Evan Bros. Racing team Honda), who was the only rider able to take the fight to Faccani at Misano, is looking forward to build on his recent result and further move up in the points table.
Standings (Round 4 of 7): 1. Faccani 81; 2. Tuuli 58; 3. Tessels 52; 4. Tucci 45; 5. Salvadori 38; 6. Manfredi 35; 7. Caricasulo 30; 8. Mikhalchik 27; 9. Casalotti 25; 10. Duwelz 23; 11. Rinaldi 19; 12. Stirpe 16; 13. Lahti 14; 14. Hartog 13; 15. Sabatino 11; 16. Morrentino 10; 17. Marchal 10; 18. Nestorovic 10; 19. Zaccone 9; 20. Puffe 6; 21. Mercandelli 5; 22. Gobbi 5; 23. Lewis 5; 24. Zeelen 5; 25. Canducci 3; 26. Monti 2; 27. Pittet 2; 28. Patronen 1.
European Junior Cup
After winning his third race of the season at Misano following the usual thrilling battle to the finish line with several opponents, Augusto Fernandez (WIL Sport)increased his lead in the Pata European Junior Cup, powered by Honda, to 18 points over compatriot Javier Orellana (Europ Food S.L.) as the one make entry level series of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship approaches the sixth round of the year. Early leader in the season Marc Miralles (Honda Spain) has slipped down to third, with 42 points to make up from the lead.
Standings (Round 5 of 8): 1. Fernandez 104; 2. Orellana 86; 3. Miralles 62; 4. Fernandez 50; 5. Licciardi 44; 6. Hubner 40; 7. Perez 40; 8. Harland 38; 9. Grassia 35; 10. Soomer 34; 11. London 28; 12. Van Sikkelerus 25; 13. Ciprietti 20; 14. Wisdom 20; 15. Geissler 16; 16. Brink 13; 17. Hill 9; 18. Gabellini 7; 19. Ortt 6; 20. Moreno 5; 21. Drayton 4; 22. Zhu 4; 23. Epis 3; 24. Van Schoonhoven 3; 25. Patterson 2; 26. Levy 2.