Rea heads British supremacy at Portimao Jonathan Rea powered to the best time at the end of the three-day Infront Motor Sports official Superbike test session at Portimao in Portugal. The Northern Ireland youngster's time of 1 minute ...
Rea heads British supremacy at Portimao
Jonathan Rea powered to the best time at the end of the three-day Infront Motor Sports official Superbike test session at Portimao in Portugal. The Northern Ireland youngster's time of 1 minute 42.270 seconds was quicker even than Ben Spies' 2009 pole mark for Yamaha.
The battle between Rea and his fellow-Brit Leon Haslam, who had been quickest on day 1, continued right until the very end, the Suzuki Alstare man ending up three-tenths behind. British rider domination continued with Shane Byrne taking his private Althea Ducati 1098 to third place in the timesheets, and with Cal Crutchlow, one of Yamaha Sterilgarda's two new 2010 signings, in fourth.
In the final stages, after most of the top riders had used their soft tyres normally reserved for Superpole, Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) found himself in fifth place with a time of 1'43.137 ahead of former double world champion James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda), who returns to Superbike after a gap of two seasons.
Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) was the only one of the leading runners not to go out on softer rubber and the Italian finished the test in seventh place with a time of 1'43.364, just ahead of 2009 runner-up Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox), forced to slow with a technical problem during his quick lap.
Jonathan Rea: "This test was a lot of fun, we worked through everything methodically and we are in good shape to begin the season. We got most of the big things like suspension spec, linkage and swing-arm teed off so now we can go to Phillip Island and fine-tune our racing. To say we are ready to go racing at Phillip Island, we're not sure about that, but the bike is ready and now I plan to put the next three or four weeks to good use with my trainer and hopefully I'll be ready. We're all excited about the prospect of racing for a world championship."
Leon Haslam: "It's been a really positive test, we managed to test the Suzuki for the first time in the rain and intermediate conditions. We had a few issues at the end of the day but ended up second and I was really happy with that. Every test I've been to so far, this is our fourth, we've not been outside the top 2. Hopefully we can continue progressing and I can take it to Phillip Island." Shane Byrne: "This is my third year riding the Ducati and I honestly thought I knew everything there was to know about these bikes, but this year Genesio (Bevilacqua, team owner) has put together a fantastic team and we have two very good bikes. I have a strong team-mate, everything about the team is very good, the bike is so different from last year, and we made some really good progress in three days. I wish the second day had been dry also, so we still have some more work to do now at Valencia and Phillip Island before the first race."
The 2010 Superbike winter tests will conclude at Phillip Island the week before the start of the season at the same circuit in Australia on February 28th. In the next few days however several teams, including BMW, Aprilia and Ducati, will be heading to Valencia for some extra testing.
Eugene Laverty (Honda Team Parkalgar) finally made the breakthrough he had been looking for in the three-day World Supersport test at Portimao as he knocked Spain's Joan Lascorz off the top slot towards the end of the final session.
Last year's championship runner-up lapped the Algarve circuit in 1 minute 45.104 seconds, a fraction quicker than Lascorz's lap record, set last October. The circuit best lap of 1'44.836 remains in the hands of Laverty, with his 2009 pole time.
The Irishman was the only one of the leading group to improve in the sixth session and he ended up a tenth quicker than Lascorz, who had dominated Friday and Saturday. Third place, with a time of 1'45.587, went to an impressive Michele Pirro, the Italian putting in some serious lap time on his new Hannspree Ten Kate Honda mount. Team-mate Kenan Sofuoglu was unable to take part in the test as the Turk will still require more recovery time for his fractured left ankle.
Sixth place went to Chaz Davies on the Triumph 675 in 1'46.988, while on the same BE1 Racing machine American rookie Jason DiSalvo also eased his way into the picture with tenth quickest time of 1'47.054.
Kuja Racing Honda's Paolo Cazzola, the first woman to take part full-time in the world championship, finished in a respectable 13th place on her debut.