Kawasaki Racing Team set their sights high ahead of Portugal
Anticipation is building for the return of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship to Portimao, and it’s a round both Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) are keen to get underway. The pair sit at the top of the championship standings, and have been evaluating their chances ahead of the Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round.
Reigning champion Rea quickly turned his attention to the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve for Round 10, and following a private mid-season test he is confident he will be able to build up his pace from Friday. Despite showing concern regarding the bumpy nature of the track, it is one he has some strong success around in the past – with the Northern Irish rider winning the last three races held around the 4.5km circuit.
“I'm happy to return to Portimao this weekend as it's a race weekend that I really enjoy,” begins Rea. “The circuit has a lot of character and is fun to ride, but in recent years the track has become very bumpy. It will be very important to optimise our set up to be strong for the full race. We had a great private test in the middle of the year so I'm sure we can start on Friday with a good feeling. I have spent the last few days here in Portugal already with my family, enjoying the Algarve weather and getting focused for what is a very important weekend for me. Our target is to try and win two races.”
British team-mate Sykes is on the cusp of securing the record for the most Superpole victories, sitting with 42 pole positions so far, 43 could take him to the overall record. At a circuit Sykes has taken two victories around – in 2012 and 2014 – he has made the most of the three week break and heads into the final third of the season refreshed. With time for reflection over the shorter break, the Yorkshire rider looks forward to working through some of his issues from so far this season.
Sykes explains: “I am looking forward to getting back in the saddle and getting some proper results in. We had almost another summer break in the season after Germany so I have had time to reflect on the year and I feel it is going OK. I need to work some more things out and honestly speaking I know I am capable of more. At the moment it is down to me trying to change my riding style and get a little extra from the bike. We will keep working on that. Portimao is a track I like, and where I have had some success, but the circuit itself is bumpy now. I am looking forward to going there again, especially after spending time away from the track since the previous round.”
Keep up with all the Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round updates, and see if Rea can secure his double victory he is aiming for, all with the WorldSBK VideoPass from 15th – 17th September.