Portimão – The practice sessions and foretold what was to come: Superbike at Portimão will be come down to hundredths of seconds. With minimal gaps between the top 10 finishers, the battle for Superpole was extremely tight. The Aprilia riders took on the decisive session in two different states of mind. Marco Melandri had been fast in all the sessions, whereas Sylvain Guintoli was forced to skip the last free practice session due to a crash (without consequences despite the high speed) on the last turn.
In spite of a less then optimum feeling with the qualifier tyre, Melandri put to good use what he had learned from yesterday’s tests and rode his RSV4 to within a shout of the front row (114 thousandths of a second). Fourth place on the grid is a good starting place and if the races go as expected we will see a compact group in the first phase, whereas the difference will be seen in the last laps. This is a situation that Marco has tried to prepare for as best he can with targeted testing on tyre life and a setting that will allow him to be consistently fast.

Marco Melandri: “I knew it would be a close Superpole. On this track it is very hard to stand out and a lot of riders showed their potential to be fast. I think we’ll see a tight group tomorrow for the first ten laps and then we’ll begin to see who did the best work on race pace. From that point of view starting from the fourth spot on the grid is not bad. I would have preferred the front row but I know that I’ve worked well on my pace. It isn’t very easy to overtake on this track. The best place is on the final straight stretch as long as you come out of the last turn well. In any case we will be in the thick of it”.

Crashing in FP4, Sylvain Guintoli had to deal with the strong wind that is a particular problem for him. It won’t be a problem in the race but when the French rider was pushing the bike to the limit, as is typical in Superpole, he lost a bit of accuracy because of the strong gusts on the Portimão circuit. His session ended with the sixth spot on the grid, a position that doesn’t worry Sylvain as he is confident that he’ll be able to improve throughout the race.

Sylvain Guintoli: “Unfortunately, as has happened during other weekends, the strong wind gave me some problems. It isn’t a problem that will affect me during the race where pace is the priority, but when pushing the bike to the limit on a qualifier tyre I’m unable to be as accurate as I need to be to follow my ideal line. I have been really fast in practice recently and then I’ve struggled in the races, so I hope this is where that trend will be reversed! Now we need to carefully analyse the data and try some things during tomorrow morning’s warm up sessions. If we are able to improve we will be able to shoot for a good result”.


1. Sykes (Kawasaki)                           1’42.484

2. Rea (Honda)                                   1’42.765

3. Davies (Ducati)                                1’42.924

4. Melandri (Aprilia)                           1’43.038

5. Baz (Kawasaki)                               1’43.048

6. Guintoli (Aprilia)                             1’43.076

7. Laverty (Suzuki)                              1’43.245

8. Giugliano (Ducati)                           1’43.317

9. Haslam (Honda)                             1’43.475

10. Barrier (BMW)                                1’43.754 

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