The final day of 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship testing from Portimao has ended with a flurry of action taking place at the rollercoaster venue. Despite numerous incidents bringing out several red flags, nothing and nobody could stop Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WORLDSBK OFFICIAL TEAM) from hitting the top of the standings in Portugal, with Yamaha’s new recruit the man to beat heading to Australia.
Beavering away frantically in the last testing day before jetting off to Phillip Island in Australia, it was PATA YAMAHA WORLDSBK OFFICIAL TEAM who featured prominently on the final day. Toprak Razgatlioglu was on top at lunch as he worked his way towards a better front end set up, whilst also adapting his style towards the 2020 R1 Yamaha. He set quick laps on both of his bikes to finishing top overall, whilst teammate Michael van der Mark was also right up at the sharp end too, placing fourth and looking to conserve tyre life more ahead of Phillip Island.
Having led the way on day one at Portimao, Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) placed at the front again, saving his pace until the final ten minutes to initially deny Loris Baz top spot, before being pipped himself by Turkish star Razgatlioglu. Redding focussed on tyre life and especially grip, with Portimao offering the perfect opportunity to do so ahead of the equally as fast Phillip Island, with the Brit second overall. Teammate Chaz Davies was outside of the top ten in the later afternoon, eventually ending in fifth after a late charge.
At Jerez, he was quick but Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) was a stand-out performer at Portimao, proving that the wet weather in the south of Spain was absolutely no fluke. The 26-year-old was right on the money in Portugal and continued his back-to-back testing with the 2019 and 2020 Yamahas. He was third at the end of testing, with fellow Independent Yamaha riders Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) and his teammate Garrett Gerloff impressing in ninth and tenth respectively.
There were more positives for the HRC Team, who continued their work, keeping their cards close to their chest throughout Portuguese testing. Leon Haslam once again led the charge from the Japanese manufacturer, setting a faster lap time than he managed throughout racing action at Portimao to go sixth. Alvaro Bautista was less prominent and was down in 15th place ahead of the trip to Australia in a few weeks’ time.
German manufacturer BMW were inside the top five at Portimao on the second day, with Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) enjoying plenty of positives at Portimao. Sykes was relentless and was continuing to focus on set-up, whilst Laverty enjoyed an incident-free day on day two. Sykes was seventh, whilst Laverty concluded his action in eighth.
Outside of the top ten, there were plenty of positives carried forward for Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) in 11th, whilst Leandro Mercado (Motocorsa Racing) was 12th. Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 13th ahead of Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Performance), whilst Sandro Cortese (Barni Racing Team) was 16th, having suffered a crash at Turn 7 this morning.
WorldSBK Portimão Test Day Two Unofficial Times:
1.) Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WORLDSBK OFFICIAL TEAM) 1’40.804
2.) Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) +0.079
3.) Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.190
4.) Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WORLDSBK OFFICIAL TEAM) +0.622
5.) Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) +0.795
6.) Leon Haslam (HRC Team) +0.851
BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team continues its pre-season preparations with the BMW S 1000 RR in Spain and Portugal.
Four days of testing in Jerez de la Frontera and Portimão with Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty.
Extensive test programme with the BMW S 1000 RR.
Fitness training also forms part of pre-season preparations.
Jerez de la Frontera/Portimão. The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team has continued its preparations for the 2020 season of the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) with a double test. Last week, the team and its riders Tom Sykes (GBR) and Eugene Laverty (IRL) spent two days testing in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. This was followed on Sunday and Monday by a further two days of testing in Portimão (POR). The team used the tests to work through a comprehensive programme with the BMW S 1000 RR.
Both riders had two bikes at their disposal. This allowed Sykes, Laverty and their respective crews to evaluate more new components and many different set-up configurations, in order to establish the best possible basis set-up in time for the start of the season. While it rained repeatedly on both days in Spain, conditions were dry and sunny at times in Portugal.
The two riders used the time between the two tests in Jerez de la Frontera and Portimão for another important part of pre-season preparations: fitness training. Sykes and Laverty trained together at times. The final phase of preparations now begin at the team headquarters in Guisborough (GBR) and at BMW Motorrad Motorsport in Munich (GER). The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team heads to Philipp Island (AUS) for a further two days of testing on 24th and 25th February, before the new season of WorldSBK gets underway at the same venue from 28th February to 1st March.
Quotes after the tests at Jerez de la Frontera and Portimão.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “On the whole, we are happy with both tests, as we were able to work through an extensive programme with both riders. We travelled with some new parts for the RR, including new wheels, and we made also more steps forward in terms of electronic strategies and their detailed set-up both in Jerez and Portimão. Over the course of the four days, we were able to sort out some important issues on both sides of the garage, and to gain a lot of information and data. We now have an even clearer idea of what direction we need to head in on Phillip Island. We also have reinforced the team in the form of new members, and the double test was the perfect way to fully integrate them in our team. We will now continue to work hard, to ensure we are as well prepared as possible when we travel to Australia.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “It was very productive days in Spain and Portugal with a very successful finish at Portimão. Good weather greeted us here and that also allowed us to go through the items we could not do in Jerez due to rain. We’ve made big steps with the elcetronics with both riders benefitting from it. Eugene overall got a lot of confidence now going to Australia, Tom tried some settings he was not used to evaluate them and to to find an even better direction for him. Both riders and the team took the decision not to put any special development or qualifying tyres on, so the times that we have got have been on the normal race tyre. Overall, both riders are very satisfied with the work we have conducted, we gathered a lot of valuable data and have a good base to move into Australia. So it was a positive test and we can’t wait to go to Australia.”
Tom Sykes: “I’m very happy with the two tests. Jerez obviously was very challenging from 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, 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.”
Eugene Laverty: “I am really delighted and optimistic. 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 did 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. And the performance in the end was really good. So after these tests, I’m very happy, we’re in a good position.”
Redding 2nd and Davies 5th with the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati as Portimao testing closes
The second 2020 test session, held at the Autodromo Internacional Algarve in Portimao (Portugal), ended with an excellent result for Scott Redding and Chaz Davies who finished in 2nd and 5th position respectively.
It was an intense two days testing for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati riders who continued the set up work started last week at Jerez De La Frontera.
After finishing the first session on top, Scott Redding (199 laps completed in total) repeated himself on the second day of activity, recording very interesting lap-times especially on the race pace, before finishing with the second-fastest time overall (1’40.883) just 79 thousandths of a second off Razgatlioglu (Yamaha).
It has been two profitable days for Chaz Davies also, as the welsh rider collected important data for the first round of the 2020 WorldSBK season scheduled at the end of February in Australia.
After the 59 laps completed in Day-1, finished in 7th position and with the top speed of the day (318.6 km/h), the Welshman completed 73 laps in the second day pushing the time attack (1’41.599) to end in 5th position.
Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #45) 1’40.883 (2nd)
“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”.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) 1’41.599 (5th)
“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”.
Portimão testing draws to a close for Team HRC
Following on from last week’s two-day testing sessions at Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), which were unfortunately seriously conditioned by wet weather, Team HRC moved to the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal and has completed two more days of testing, in more stable, albeit still cold conditions.
Together with their technicians, Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam worked non-stop across both Sunday and Monday in order to make headway with the pretty intense schedule and provide the engineers with as much information as possible so as to facilitate bike development work.
By the end of the sessions, Haslam had set a best time of 1’41.655, finishing 6th, Bautista a 1’43.559 which placed him 16th.
Team HRC will continue to work back at base in Japan in preparation for the opening round of the Superbike World Championship, taking place over the weekend of 28 February-1 March at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia.
The official team presentation will take place just prior to the opening round, on 21 February, in Tokyo.
Leon Haslam 91
“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.”
Alvaro Bautista 19
“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.”