Portimao: Series race report

Biaggi doubles up after winning two tight races In front of 77.000 people, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) won each 22-lap race at Portimao today to go second in the championship rankings, behind the rider who took two second places, Leon Haslam...

Biaggi doubles up after winning two tight races

In front of 77.000 people, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) won each 22-lap race at Portimao today to go second in the championship rankings, behind the rider who took two second places, Leon Haslam (Alstare Suzuki). The margin of victory for Biaggi was 0.200 seconds in race one, and 0.191 seconds in race two, as Max took his career win total to six. He scored his first SBK double win today, having started the race second on the grid. Haslam now has 85 points, Biaggi 69.

"Back in Portimao after just five months allows for some incredible tyre developments, seen already in Race 1 when six riders on five different bikes quickened the lap record as much as 0.75 seconds and the final race time by 16 seconds. After just one year from the start of Aprilia's renewed SBK project, Biaggi has found the ideal tyre performances to take his first double win. All these impressive results come from Diablo Superbike SC2 front and SC1 rear tyres recently inserted in the Pirelli racing range, based on confirmed solutions from the previous season. The eventful races and diverse podiums filled by the four manufacturer's bikes of Aprilia, Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha were no surprise, as starting from the 2nd Superbike practice, the first 18 riders were seperated by only 1.27 seconds. The FIM Superstock 1000 was also notable as congratulations to BMW Motorrad Italia on their first win in the class, to Berger (Honda) who brought down the Lap Record by 1 second, and the final podium filled with three different manufacturers - BMW Honda Yamaha -" Giorgio Barbier, Racing Director, Pirelli Moto

Race 1

Max Biaggi held off Haslam for the race one win but only after a strong man-to-man fight throughout. Jonathan Rea went third for Hannspree Ten Kate Honda, when Cal Crutchlow fell off his Sterilgarda Yamaha late in the race, remounting to go 14th.

Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) had to work hard to keep Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) behind as he scored fourth place. Shane Byrne (Althea Ducati) rode through the pain of a big crash on Saturday to take sixth. Noriyuki Haga recovered from his fifth row start to take eighth and the first BMW Motorrad machine home belonged to Troy Corser, ninth.

Race 2

A close four-rider fight for the win went to Biaggi again, from Leon Haslam, who was not quite able to overtake Biaggi and make it stick, as Max used his superior drive out of the final corner to pass Leon when it mattered. Cal Crutchlow scored his second career SBK podium, and his first as a series regular, running his Yamaha to third. Carlos Checa was fourth - and only 1.015 seconds covered the whole top four after another tense race. In the championship Haslam leads with 85 points, Biaggi is second on 69 and Checa third with 60.

FOUR MANUFACTURERS IN EACH TOP FOUR

In each race today there were four different manufacturers in the top four - Aprilia, Suzuki, Honda and Ducati in race one, and Aprilia, Suzuki, Yamaha and Ducati in race two. The second race saw a vee-four, a conventional 'screamer' four, a cross-plane crankshaft four and a 1200cc vee-twin fill the top four places - all the engine configurations competing in SBK this year within a second of each other after 22 laps and almost 160km of close racing.

VAST IMPROVEMENT

It was only last October that the previous Portimao round was run, but in those short months the progress has been amazing. Race one today was 16 seconds faster than it's equivalent in October and race two was 13 seconds faster this year compared to last.

RIDER COMMENTS

Max Biaggi: "It is great to get my first double win in World Superbike. The feeling is great and the first double win of anybody this year so I feel confident and we are in a good rhythm. We go to Valencia next and we will ask very much of ourselves there as well. We had good speed down the straight today but if you saw how fast we could exit the last corner then you would know it was not just the engine. Our bike is fast but other bikes are also fast."

Leon Haslam: "I was trying everything to pass Max and in race two I timed it so I could be in the lead with a few laps to go and make a break, but Max came back past me on the straight. It was hard racing today from lap one right to the end. We got two podiums and although I was disappointed not to get another win, we are still leading the championship. That puts a smile back on my face."

Jonathan Rea: "Somebody ran me a bit wide on the first turn of race one and I was held up a lot after that, so when I picked up some pace it opened my eyes to what I could do. In race one I think I made one mistake and had to catch up quite a few riders, but I still finished third."

Cal Crutchlow: "The places where I was losing time where the places I was using the tyre a lot, and I was making a few small mistakes as well. I had Carlos right behind me for most of the second race and that kept me on my toes. Fortunately Max and Leon made a few little mistakes running wide and that allowed me to hang on in there until the end."

World Supersport

Sofuoglu supreme in Portugal

Kenan Sofuoglu (Ten Kate Honda) won a thrilling Supersport race by 0.031 seconds from Joan Lascorz (Motocard.com Kawasaki) and Sofuoglu's team-mate Michele Pirro. Long time leader Eugene Laverty was caught and passed by both Sofuoglu and Lascorz with a few laps left to run and soon after lost the front, falling but restarting to finish 11th. Chas Davies (ParkinGO Triumph BE1) was fourth on his three-cylinder machine. Local rider Miguel Praia was forced to stop on his Parkalgar Honda.

After the second round, Sofuoglu leads the championship, 41 points to Lascorz' 40. Laverty has 30 points in third.

Superstock 1000 FIM Cup

Badovini wins debut race for BMW

The arrival in Superstock 1000 of the S1000RR was an immediately successful one, as Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) took the win after race long rival Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Racing Junior) ran off track and lost 2.5 seconds on the final lap. Third was Loris Baz (MRS Racing Yamaha) meaning there were three different machines on the podium.

-source: wsbk

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Max Biaggi , Carlos Checa , Noriyuki Haga , Troy Corser , Kenan Sofuoglu , Shane Byrne , Eugene Laverty , Leon Haslam , Miguel Praia , Jonathan Rea , Maxime Berger , Cal Crutchlow , Leon Camier , Joan Lascorz , Michele Pirro , Ayrton Badovini , Loris Baz