WSBK Portimao Test Day Two
Toprak Razgatlioglu has proven the man to beat at the Portimao Test as the Turk topped the timesheets for Pata Yamaha. That man Jonathan Rea though and KRT were not present in Portugal, and were instead at Montmelo near Barcelona for their own test session.
“It has been so nice to get this extra day after Jerez, because we got really decent weather, the track was dry and we managed to put in a lot of laps. We were able to back-to-back some items that we were not sure about with the weight balance of the bike in Jerez. In the end we tried something on the front suspension and did some practice starts. The big positive is that I really enjoyed the track and the bike works really well here. I think it sets us up in a good frame of mind now. I feel fast and consistent and this positive test has prepared us to go to Australia, where we will start the new season. Thanks to the team for pulling out all the stops to get us a proper test day here because I know it was not in the plan. Next is the team launch where we get to be all excited about our new colours and then move on.”
Kawasaki Racing Team had their own separate test at Montmelo
“I want to say a big thank to KRT for working really hard to get us this extra test. Obviously I have not had too many chances to have dry laps this winter so I really appreciate this extra day at Montmelo. The track is fantastic. It is always exciting coming to a track for the first time. I am getting old now so there are not many tracks I have not ridden! I have really enjoyed it today and I probably learned more about the bike than in the other tests, so that is really positive for me going into Phillip Island. I really enjoyed working with the team and I cannot wait to start racing now.”
With KRT absent from Portimao it was Razgatlioglu topping the timesheets from Scott Redding by just 0.079s as the test came to a close.
“It was a good day even though, to be honest, I couldn’t find the ideal pace. On a few occasions, I found traffic on the track and when I tried the new tyres, the four almost consecutive red flags didn’t allow me to lap consistently. The result of the test is still very positive, considering that this is a circuit where I only rode once in the past and it can’t be considered the most favourable for Ducati. All things considered, we have worked very well and I am satisfied.”
Michael Van Der Mark was fourth fastest, focusing on conserving tyre life, in a move likely to pay dividends at Phillip Island.
Chaz Davies completed the top five as the second Ducati, with Yamaha otherwise dominating the top five, with three of the fastest five riders.
“It’s been a busy couple of days. We were lucky because the weather helped us to carry on our work. We tried new solutions: some of them gave positive results, while on other aspects we will have to work further. The lap-times? We will return to Portugal in September and the track conditions will be completely different so the crono wasn’t our first target. In view of the first Grand Prix in Australia, I feel much more ahead of what I felt last year.”
Leon Haslam was the fastest Honda, ahead of BMW’s Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty.
“We’ve made some good steps today and have got through a lot of the things we had down to test. We didn’t perhaps make the step that others did with the soft qualifying tyre, but all in all the lap times aren’t too bad and I was pretty happy with the race tyres. We have a lot of work ahead of us of course and we’re not yet at the stage where we’re fine-tuning the bike, as we’re still testing fundamental components. I can’t wait to get to Phillip Island now, it’s one of my favourite circuits. The test there will be very important too, and then the aim for the race weekend is to try to be competitive right from the outset.”
Both BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team riders had two bikes at their disposal, allowing Sykes and Laverty and their respective crews to evaluate more new components and different set-up configurations, working on the best possible basis set-up in time for the start of the season.
“I’m very happy with the two tests. Jerez obviously was very challenging on the weather front but we were able to utilise that and do some little fundamental things. It then was much more consistent here in Portugal and we were just able to do a lot of work with our BMW S 1000 RR. We just had to turn a bit of a blind eye to what was going on on track and focus on what we are doing. We worked really hard on different chassis set-ups, on the brakes, electronic strategies… and the list goes on. A big credit to the entire BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, the boys have worked really hard over these days. Now it’s time to go back home and get everything ready for Phillip Island and where we can focus more on performance.”
“I am really delighted and optimistic coming away from the test. The November test was a bit of a tough one as I got a few surprises when I rode the RR for the first time. The work that the guys have done since is incredible. That’s the nice thing of being involved with a factory team again: the progress is so quick and these guys are so intelligent. I give my comments but in the end my comments are only backing up what they already know. These guys understand very well how to make the bike work. The focus in Spain had been power delivery and traction control and when we arrived at Portimão, we started to play around with the chassis setting. The performance in the end was really good. So after these tests, I’m very happy, we’re in a good position.”
Top Kawasaki performer was Xavi Fores, but that was due to the Kawasaki Racing Team testing at Montmelo, instead of at the Portimao Test.
Alvaro Bautista worked non-stop across both Sunday and Monday in order to make headway with a intense schedule and provide the engineers with as much information as possible so as to facilitate bike development work, and was 16th fastest.
“These tests have been tough for us because in Jerez we could not test much due to the bad weather. So we had to concentrate all the work here in Portimao, basically trying to complete four days of work in just two days. That meant we were forced to spend more time inside the garage than on track and this of course is a bit frustrating when you just want to have everything ready, put in a new tyre and go for it. Anyway, this is the kind of job that has to be done with a new project. I think we now have a lot of data that can be useful in developing the bike and we’ll see how the next step goes in Australia. Those tests prior to the first round will be very important.”
The final pre-season tests will take place at Phillip Island, the venue for the opening round in Australia, just a few days before the start of a whole new racing season.
WorldSBK Portimão Test Day Two Unofficial Times
|4||Michael Van Der Mark||Yamaha||+0.622|
Jules Cluzel leaves the Portimao test as the man to beat in the World Supersport class, closing out the test ahead of Andrea Locatelli and Steven Odendaal, although it bears mentioning it was Locatelli’s first time at Portimao.
Steven Odendaal also worked on coming to terms with the WSSP Yamaha, while Lucas Mahias was the top non-Yamaha rider in fourth on the Kawasak Puccetti Racing machine.
Corentin Perolari made for another Yamaha in the top five on the GMT94 Yamaha, while Philipp Oettl was sixth.
Top Honda was Hikari Okubo in seventh, having made the move from Kawasaki in 2019 to Dynavolt Honda for 2020.
WorldSSP Portimão Test Day One Unofficial Times
|10||Jaimie Van Sikkelerus||Yamaha||01:47.4|
had their own separate test at MontmeloJonathan worked on balance and overall set-up on his Ninja ZX-10RR machine while Alex learned not just a new track layout but also more aspects of his Ninja ZX-10RR’s character to take into the first competitive round.