In the final day of World Superbike testing at the Portimao circuit Castrol Honda’s Ruben Xaus captured the fastest lap by 1.2 seconds ahead of Alstare Suzuki’s Michel Fabrizio and more than six seconds ahead of Aprilia’s Noriyuki Haga. Once again the weather hindered lap times, with poor track conditions dominating yesterday’s sessions as well.
With the inclement weather, the Day 1 times held as the fastest of the three-day test, with Ducati’s Jakub Smrz leaving Portimao the fastest rider courtesy of his 1’43.503 lap. Smrz was 12th-fastest on Day 3.
“We brought two bikes here, one with almost the set-up as the one I used for a while last year and one set up like the factory team of last year,” said Smrz. “That had some different things with geometry, gearing, swingarm and so on and I was fastest on that one on the first day. The other two days there was not so much done, because the conditions were not fully dry, not fully wet, most of the time. The team worked perfectly and it is great for them to start the season being fastest in this test.”
Closely following the Czech rider on the combined sheets by just .173 seconds was Castrol Honda’s Jonathan Rea, who snagged a top time of 1’54.718 during Day 2. Frustrated by the wet conditions which interrupted testing, Rea and his team were unable to run with new parts for the Honda CBR1000RR machine, but did collect vital information regarding how the bike runs under wet conditions.
Castrol Honda’s Jonathan Rea took the second-fastest lap at Portimao and was only .173 seconds behind Smrz.
“We didn’t get the best testing weather – we wanted dry days, really, to try and progress the bike,” said Rea. “We had some new things to try and, to be honest, I think we got two sessions, but we were pretty much at the sharp end in both of them. We’ve reconfirmed that my wrist is perfect and my shoulder’s good. It’s exactly what I needed before I head off to Australia on Tuesday where my trainer’s meeting me to get some sunshine and get me properly prepared.”
WSBK rookie Eugene Laverty of Yamaha landed a solid third during the tests and was only .204 seconds adrift of Smrz’s time in the end. Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes took fourth overall in the Portimao test with a best time of 1’43.770. After posting top-five times during the first two days of testing Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa finished fifth and .286 seconds off the pace of Smrz. The 2010 World Superbike Champion Max Biaggi claimed sixth overall while Fabrizio rounded out the top-seven riders with a fastest lap of 1’43.879 set during the first day.
“I may have only ended seventh on the timesheets, but I was only three-tenths-of-a-second behind the fastest guy, and so I feel very positive about these tests,” said Fabrizio. “I had two crashes on the second day: Both were high sides, but I managed to escape without any injury; though it made extra work for my mechanics and for that, I am sorry.”
There will be one more official pre-season test at Phillip Island on February 21-22 before the season opener, also at Phillip Island, on February 27.
2011 World Superbike Portimao Test Day 3 Results:
1. Ruben Xaus (Honda) 1’47.065
2. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki) 1’48.267
3. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) 1’53.414
4. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 1’54.130
World Superbike rookie Eugene Laverty had the third-best laptime in the first pre-season test at Portimao.
5. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 1’54.348
6. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1’54.516
7. Maxime Berger (Ducati) 1’55.633
8. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’56.276
9. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’56.328
10. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1’56.361
11. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’56.378
12. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1’56.571
13. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1’57.759
14. James Toseland (BMW) 1’58.234
15. Leon Camier (Aprilia) 1’58.703
2011 World Superbike Overall Portimao Test Results:
1. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1’43.503
2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’43.676
3. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 1’43.707
4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’43.770
5. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’43.789
6. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’43.840
7. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki) 1’43.879
8. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1’44.369
9. Leon Camier (Aprilia) 1’44.446
10. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1’44.752