Take a look back over some of the best races seen in Portugal ahead of the series return
Portugal is the destination for the 10th Round of the WorldSBK championship, as the paddock makes its return to Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. Racing from 2008 – 2015 at the Portimao circuit, there have been some stunning races held along the Algarve coastline and WorldSBK.com take a look back over some highlights.
Back in 2008, the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship made its debut around Portimao, and it was also the last time an Australian won in the championship, and in dominant style. Crossing the line in both races with a lead of over two seconds, Troy Bayliss cruised his Ducati Xerox Team bike to the victory in the final two races of the season. After being crowed champion before in the round before, Bayliss ended his final full season in the best way as he took the victory.
2009 was the sole season in which American Ben Spies competed in the WorldSBK championship, and it all went down to the wire as he fought for the title in the final round, hosted at Portimao Circuit. Getting a stunning start off the line, Spies was able to shoot into the distance and secure a solid lead with Italian Max Biaggi in hot pursuit. In a tense race, the American was able to hold his rivals off, crossing the line 1.697s ahead, which would be his last WorldSBK race win. His performance put him one step closer to securing his debut World Title, which was secured in Race Two.
Carlos Checa secured Spain’s only victory in Portugal, in 2011’s Race 1 after a slow start, which saw him down in the mid-pack in the opening lap. Picking his way through the field, he was faced a two second deficit behind early race leader Sylvain Guintoli. However the Spanish champion held no prisoners, and was able to move up through the field into the fight for the lead, as he began to set strong lap times to battle against the Frenchman. Taking his 15th win of the season, Checa made a bold move in the closing laps and secured his final win of 2011.
Eugene Laverty, who has made his return to the WorldSBK paddock this season, has some fond memories of the Portuguese circuit, securing dominant victories in 2012 and 2013. 2012 welcomed a wet race and a stunning start from Laverty in race one, but he quickly dropped down the order in the opening laps. Race two saw a calmer and dry race, and another strong start off the front row saw the Irishman take a dominant lead early on. With a championship battle going on behind him, Laverty confidently took his Aprilia to the victory by 0.162, despite a late challenge from Jonathan Rea. 2013’s Race 2 saw another front row start from Laverty, but this time without a poleman, as Tom Sykes was unable to start the race. Getting away smoothly off the line, Laverty cruised off into the lead and left his rivals to battle behind him, crossing the line four seconds clear.
Reaching the halfway point of the season in 2015, we saw a stunning double victory from Jonathan Rea, who was now with the Kawasaki Racing Team. Race one saw a green battle for the lead, with Rea catching Sykes in the closing laps, but weather intervened and tyres were changed with five laps to go. But this didn’t stop the Kawasaki duo, as a stunning battle ensued in which Rea came out on top after a move on the run to turn 13. In a dry race two, Rea was able to put in a strong opening lap to pick his way through the field. Getting into the lead with over ten laps to go the Northern Irishman found himself putting in a solid set of laps and take the flag as the victor.
Relive some of your favourite WorldSBK Portimao memories, or keep up with the return to the circuit from 15th – 17th September all with the WorldSBK VideoPass.