Bautista leads Rinaldi in Ducati 1-2 at Portimao, two red flags disrupt first test morning

Tuesday, 31 January 2023 13:36 GMT

The reigning Champion put in the fastest time of the morning test to top the timesheets, while Alex Lowes and Xavi Vierge brought out the red flags

The first morning of MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve concluded with Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) on top of the timesheets in a session that was disrupted by red flags. Bautista was ahead of teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi at the halfway point of the opening day of action, which was interrupted by two red flags for crashes. All five manufacturers were in the top ten positions in the opening part of the test, separated by just over a second.

Bautista put in a time of 1’39.862s to top the times by just 0.020s ahead of teammate Rinaldi on a strong first morning for Ducati. Both riders were just two tenths away from the existing Superpole lap record at Portimao, which was set by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in 2022 and stands at 1’39.610s. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) put in a late lap in the morning to take third place, just a tenth down on Bautista, and around a tenth faster than teammate and 2021 Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu. Rea was fifth at the end of the morning after setting a 1’40.210s, just over three tenths down on Bautista’s quickest time.

The morning session featured two red flags due to crashes. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) crashed at Turn 10 not long into the session to bring out the first red flags, with Lowes re-joining the session on his second bike after the crash. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) brought out the second red flag when he had a crash at Turn 13 but, like Lowes, has been out on track since his crash.

In WorldSSP, Italian riders were on top in the morning with five Italians in the top six. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba Racing WorldSSP Team) was fastest with a 1’44.240s ahead of Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) in second and Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing) third. Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) took fourth in the morning with a 1’44.579s, while Stefano Manzi, on his first test day for Ten Kate Racing Yamaha, was fifth.

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