Razgatlioglu unbeatable as frantic final day of Portimao testing closes
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.
It was a busy final day of testing at Portimao for the World Supersport riders and teams, as they looked to confirm their findings ahead of the first round of the season at Phillip Island, Australia. Going to ‘The Island’ as the man to beat is Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha), having romped clear at the head of the field from rookies Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) and Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing). Despite numerous red flags, there were plenty of talking points.
Cluzel ended 2019 strong and he looks like picking up from where he left off, blasting clear by nearly three tenths of a second as testing ended. Andrea Locatelli’s first experience of Portimao proved positive, with the former Moto2™ front runner in contention with Cluzel despite the sizeable gap by World Supersport standards. Making it three different nationalities in the leading three positions, South African Steven Odendaal continued to get used to Yamaha and WorldSSP equipment and was less than four tenths from the rampant Cluzel.
Leading the charge to the top three positions, Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was the first non-Yamaha runner in fourth, taking his ZX-6RR to the fore as he continued to gel with the slick tyres. Fellow Frenchman Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha) made it three French riders inside the top five, whilst Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) flew the German flag in sixth place, just under 1.5s from Cluzel at the front.
Japanese star Hikari Okubo (Dynavolt Honda) took the experience from his 2019 with Kawasaki to continue improving the CBR600RR, getting comfortable on the bike and declaring that the bike has the potential for wins in 2020. Can Öncü (Turkish Racing Team) made gains on day two to finish eighth, whilst Danny Webb (WRP Wepol Racing) was ninth as he continued his comeback to short circuit racing under the watchful eye of team manager, James Toseland. Jaimie van Sikkelerus (MPM Routz Racing Team) and Patrick Hobelsberger (Dynavolt Honda) were tenth and 11th respectively, both separated by less than two tenths of a second.