Portimao (Portugal) - Close competition was the key factor in today's Qualifying 1 for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship. Under dry track conditions and good temperatures throughout all 45 minutes available the top-10 riders were - in the end - all within a second of each other.
Ulsterman Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) stormed to the top in the final stages to secure 1st place for just 52 thousands of a second over Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) and 97 on the "King of Donington" Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team).
Factory Aprilia rider Sylvain Guintoli rode to a final 4th place followed by Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) and works BMW duo of Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) showed some good signs of recovery - after the unfortunate but almost inevitable withdrawal from Race 2 in the previous round - to end up 8th ahead of Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki), Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare).
French WSBK rookie Jules Cluzel (12th) lost control of his FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 for a seemingly innocent crash at Turn 3 with few minutes left on the clock. It was again a tough ride for 13th place Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike), still dealing with the difficult left leg injury that is heavily affecting his performance.
No time set for Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), following the encouraging 2nd place in FP1, as the rider from Rome was stopped twice by technical problems on his RSV4
Times: 1. Rea (Honda) 1'43.551 average 159.643 kph; 2. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'43.603; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'43.648; 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'43.934; 5. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1'44.017; 6. Melandri (BMW) 1'44.026; 7. Davies (BMW) 1'44.245; 8. Checa (Ducati) 1'44.246; 9. Camier (Suzuki) 1'44.278; 10. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'44.496; 11. Badovini (Ducati) 1'44.550; 12. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1'44.593; 13. Haslam (Honda) 1'45.075; 14. Neukirchner (Ducati) 1'45.827; 15. Lundh (Kawasaki) 1'46.269; 16. Iannuzzo (BMW) 1'46.469; 17. Sandi (Kawasaki) 1'47.322; 18. Clementi (BMW) 1'47.844.
World Supersport - Sam Lowes continues to impress
After leading the first World Supersport free practice session, Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) found himself on top again by setting the best lap-time in Q1. The current Championship leader was in 1st place already as the session was drawing to an end, but he decided to get back on track anyway to further improve his performance to a final 1'45.724, 0.522 seconds quicker than main rival for the World Supersport title Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki).
Following the encouraging performance last time out at Donington, Irishman Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) proved to be again on the right pace in qualifying as he finished third ahead of an impressive David Salom (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki), considering his 4-round absence due to a complicated hand injury.
French WSS veteran Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) ended up with a competitive 5th - despite a 1.225 seconds gap from the top - followed by Luca Scassa (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki), Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda) and the still injured - and unfortunate victim of a technical problem - Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport).
Times: 1. Lowes (Yamaha) 1'45.724 average 156.362 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'46.246; 3. Kennedy (Honda) 1'46.344; 4. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'46.718; 5. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'46.949; 6. Scassa (Kawasaki) 1'47.002; 7. Morais (Honda) 1'47.019; 8. Vd Mark (Honda) 1'47.115; 9. Antonelli (Kawasaki) 1'47.153; 10. Scholtz (Suzuki) 1'47.194; etc.