Gerloff storms to top spot in WorldSBK FP1 at Portimao, Bautista leads titanic trio behind

Friday, 29 September 2023 10:31 GMT

The American ace bolted in two fast lap times on fresh rubber at the end of the session to lead the way after Friday morning

The 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s penultimate round is underway, as the Pirelli Portuguese Round from the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve hosting action. In beautiful conditions and a rising track temperature, the titanic trio were at the summit of the standings for most of the session but with unpredictability guaranteed this weekend, it was Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) who stole the show in FP1 with late laps placing him top of the order.

With a fantastic penultimate flying lap with fresh rubber, Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) was on a mission to go top from P4 with more than a three tenth of a second advantage over the opposition. Gerloff wasn’t done just yet, as he underlined his and BMW’s strengths with an eventual four tenth margin. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) was second on Friday morning at a track where he’s won at twice – both for Ducati. The Spaniard, who sports a 47-point lead ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK), was on red-hot pace over one lap and the longer runs, fending off Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who took P3. With 13 wins at Portimao, Rea is right in contention this weekend. Toprak Razgatlioglu was fourth at the end of the session with no late improvement and made it four different manufacturers in the top four places, whilst Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) was strong again in P5.

After a tricky Saturday and Sunday at Aragon, Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) was back inside the top six with P6, ahead of Iker Lecuona (Team HRC), with the Spaniard being the top Honda and thus making it five manufacturers inside the top seven at a track which offers great parity. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was eighth, one place ahead of Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) – who has a back of the grid penalty carried forward for ignoring the black flag with orange disc after his Race 2 tech issue. Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) was tenth, whilst returning Kawasaki rider Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was 14th, two places higher than Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), who struggled on Friday once more.

Top six after WorldSBK FP1 at Portimao, full results here:

1. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 1’40.763s

2. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) +0.433s

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.631s

4. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.656s

5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) +0.717s

6. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +0.732s

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