9 riders and five manufacturers all covered by less than a second as the first track action fires up in Portugal
The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season is coming into its closing stages as the final European round beckons at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve for the Motul Portuguese Round. The Portimao track, welcoming WorldSBK in all-but-one year since the circuit’s inauguration in 2008, will play host to the next chapter of the Championship battle and FP1 saw the advantage go to Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), with the Ulsterman striking first at the circuit he’s won at 12 times in WorldSBK.
Leading the way after setting a strong pace throughout the course of the opening session of the weekend, Rea was in top form at Portimao, getting down to business straight away and continuing to improve until the final lap of the session. The defending six-time World Championship, who is 20 points adrift of the Championship lead, had Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) right behind him, just 0.141s behind. Gerloff did initially go faster on his final flying lap but a crash for wildcard Gabriele Ruiu (B-Max Racing Team) at Turn 3 saw his time cancelled for yellow flags. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was in third, the #22 being far from fully fit. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) was fourth, with the Championship leader just 0.011s ahead of super-sub Loris Baz (Team GoEleven), making it two Independents in the top five.
Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was the first Ducati in sixth place, whilst Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) was impressive once again, placing in seventh place and continuing his recent run of strong form. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) took eighth, ahead of Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in ninth and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing). Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) was impressive in 11th, whilst Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was left in 13th. Leon Haslam (Team HRC) and Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) both crashed at Turn 8 in separate incidents but were both OK, whilst Samuele Cavalieri (Barni Racing Team) also crashed, this time at Turn 13. Haslam’s crash meant Razgatlioglu lost his fastest lap which was set under yellow flags, and the Turk didn’t go faster.
Top six after FP1, full results here:
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’41.542s
2. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +0.141s
3. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.161s
4. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.207s
5. Loris Baz (Team GoEleven) +0.218s
6. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.477s
FP2 kicks off at 15:00 local time (GMT+1), so make sure you watch the action with the WorldSBK VideoPass!