Portimao test: WorldSBK prepares for second outing

Friday, 26 January 2018 09:30 GMT

Riders head to Europe for the final European test

WorldSBK on track action continues to rev up ahead of the season opener in Australia from 23rd – 25th February, and following a two day test, ten teams will head south to the Portuguese circuit of Portimao. Continuing on the development from the first test of 2018, riders will be looking at perfecting their pace before heading down under.

Leading the way will be the Kawasaki Racing Team, as the duo of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes topped day one and two respectively of the Jerez test. Reigning world champion Rea was able to get back into the swing of his pace with the ZX-10RR, and left Jerez feeling happy with the pace he had. Aiming to check the settings found on his Ninja and improve the rider position, it will be an easier test for him. Sykes ended the test over half a second faster than his rivals, and has remaining part to test with on his bike, hoping to get some track time after his crash last season.

After a tough two days for Racing – Ducati in Spain, Marco Melandri will hope to understand his level of stability on the Panigale R, after the Italian struggled last season. Whilst Chaz Davies will look at improving his lap time after a tough return to the track.

Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) had a strong two days in Jerez, and despite his second day being cut short he will look forward to more track time in Portugal. Confirming some parts changes around the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, he will hope to challenge the front runners. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) will hope to improve his lap times on the YZF-R1, as the Dutch rider continues to make changes to his 2018 machine.

Milwaukee Aprilia feel they are heading into this new season in a stronger position than they were in 2017, and will make the most of the two days in Portugal. They plan to try out what they learnt about the RSV4’s in Spain, and will make some steps forward. Eugene Laverty looks forward to turning to a track he knows well, and will look at getting a strong lap time in, whilst Savadori will be working through another detailed plan.

Loris Baz (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team) has settled back into the WorldSBK paddock well, but is still getting to grips with the Pirelli tyres as he improves his pace on the BMW machine. Hoping to put in even more laps over the two days, he will look forward to working even harder on the pace.

Not present this week in Jerez, Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) will look forward to getting some track time in 2018 as he gets to grip with the new regulations. Catching up with his rivals, he will take to the Portuguese track and hope to make some impressive lap times.

Running with new riders for 2018 as they focus on their relationship with the riders and teams, MV Agusta Reparto Corse with Jordi Torres, Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team with Jake Gagne and Leon Camier, TripleM Honda with PJ Jacobsen, Puccetti Racing Team with Toprak Razgatlioglu and Guandalini Racing with Ondrej Jezek will have two busy days ahead of them, and will be teams to watch in Portugal.

Follow all the testing action on, and see exclusive footage and interviews with the WorldSBK VideoPass.