The Portuguese track is a riders’ favourite thanks to the challenging, fast and undulating layout that gives a unique character and offers great racing.
Rome (Italy) – 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.