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Biaggi double team triumph for Aprilia at Portimao

Max BiaggiMax Biaggi’s first double victory in the Superbike World Championship came after two tense and exciting races at the Portimao circuit in Portugal.

A mistake just four laps before the end of the race seemed to have compromised Biaggi’s run to a second win of the day. In the span of one curve, he found himself relegated to third place, having been passed by both Haslam and Crutchlow. The Roman’s desire to win was exceptional however, and he immediately regained ground on the Yamaha man and took off after Haslam, whom he managed two pass just two laps before the end of the race. Resisting the Suzuki’s attempt to regain the lead, Biaggi crossed the finish line in first place.

Not since 1998 has an Italian rider (Pierfrancesco Chili at Kyalami) won a double victory on an Italian motorcycle. With these two wins Biaggi moves up to second place in the world classification with 69 points, behind his rival Haslam (85 points).

“It’s a pleasure to be back on top after the problems we had in Australia,” said Biaggi. “We’ve improved with respect to last year. The pace was a bit slower in Race 2 and we were all quite close. It was really a great battle with a lot of passes and a few mistakes. I’m really very happy for this dual victory because it is truly a great outcome, both for me and my team, as well as Aprilia, which is really doing a great job.”

March 29, 2010 | Comments Off on Biaggi double team triumph for Aprilia at Portimao | Permalink

Biaggi doubles up after winning two tight races

Max Biaggi and Leon HaslamIn front of 77.000 people, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) won each 22-lap race at Portimao today to go second in the championship rankings, behind the rider who took two second places, Leon Haslam (Alstare Suzuki). The margin of victory for Biaggi was 0.200 seconds in race one, and 0.191 seconds in race two, as Max took his career win total to six. He scored his first SBK double win today, having started the race second on the grid. Haslam now has 85 points, Biaggi 69.

Race 1

Max Biaggi held off Haslam for the race one win but only after a strong man-to-man fight throughout. Jonathan Rea went third for Hannspree Ten Kate Honda, when Cal Crutchlow fell off his Sterilgarda Yamaha late in the race, remounting to go 14th.

Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) had to work hard to keep Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) behind as he scored fourth place. Shane Byrne (Althea Ducati) rode through the pain of a big crash on Saturday to take sixth. Noriyuki Haga recovered from his fifth row start to take eighth and the first BMW Motorrad machine home belonged to Troy Corser, ninth.

Race 2

A close four-rider fight for the win went to Biaggi again, from Leon Haslam, who was not quite able to overtake Biaggi and make it stick, as Max used his superior drive out of the final corner to pass Leon when it mattered. Cal Crutchlow scored his second career SBK podium, and his first as a series regular, running his Yamaha to third. Carlos Checa was fourth – and only 1.015 seconds covered the whole top four after another tense race. In the championship Haslam leads with 85 points, Biaggi is second on 69 and Checa third with 60.


In each race today there were four different manufacturers in the top four – Aprilia, Suzuki, Honda and Ducati in race one, and Aprilia, Suzuki, Yamaha and Ducati in race two. The second race saw a vee-four, a conventional ‘screamer’ four, a cross-plane crankshaft four and a 1200cc vee-twin fill the top four places – all the engine configurations competing in SBK this year within a second of each other after 22 laps and almost 160km of close racing.


It was only last October that the previous Portimao round was run, but in those short months the progress has been amazing. Race one today was 16 seconds faster than it’s equivalent in October and race two was 13 seconds faster this year compared to last.


Max Biaggi: “It is great to get my first double win in World Superbike. The feeling is great and the first double win of anybody this year so I feel confident and we are in a good rhythm. We go to Valencia next and we will ask very much of ourselves there as well. We had good speed down the straight today but if you saw how fast we could exit the last corner then you would know it was not just the engine. Our bike is fast but other bikes are also fast.”

Leon Haslam: “I was trying everything to pass Max and in race two I timed it so I could be in the lead with a few laps to go and make a break, but Max came back past me on the straight. It was hard racing today from lap one right to the end. We got two podiums and although I was disappointed not to get another win, we are still leading the championship. That puts a smile back on my face.”

Jonathan Rea: “Somebody ran me a bit wide on the first turn of race one and I was held up a lot after that, so when I picked up some pace it opened my eyes to what I could do. In race one I think I made one mistake and had to catch up quite a few riders, but I still finished third.”

Cal Crutchlow: “The places where I was losing time where the places I was using the tyre a lot, and I was making a few small mistakes as well. I had Carlos right behind me for most of the second race and that kept me on my toes. Fortunately Max and Leon made a few little mistakes running wide and that allowed me to hang on in there until the end.”

World Supersport – Sofuoglu supreme in Portugal

Kenan Sofuoglu (Ten Kate Honda) won a thrilling Supersport race by 0.031 seconds from Joan Lascorz ( Kawasaki) and Sofuoglu’s team-mate Michele Pirro. Long time leader Eugene Laverty was caught and passed by both Sofuoglu and Lascorz with a few laps left to run and soon after lost the front, falling but restarting to finish 11th. Chas Davies (ParkinGO Triumph BE1) was fourth on his three-cylinder machine. Local rider Miguel Praia was forced to stop on his Parkalgar Honda.

After the second round, Sofuoglu leads the championship, 41 points to Lascorz’ 40. Laverty has 30 points in third.

Superstock 1000 FIM Cup – Badovini wins debut race for BMW

The arrival in Superstock 1000 of the S1000RR was an immediately successful one, as Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) took the win after race long rival Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Racing Junior) ran off track and lost 2.5 seconds on the final lap. Third was Loris Baz (MRS Racing Yamaha) meaning there were three different machines on the podium.

Pirelli (Official Tyre Supplier)

“Back in Portimão after just five months allows for some incredible tyre developments, seen already in Race 1 when six riders on five different bikes quickened the lap record as much as 0.75 seconds and the final race time by 16 seconds. After just one year from the start of Aprilia’s renewed SBK project, Biaggi has found the ideal tyre performances to take his first double win. All these impressive results come from Diablo Superbike SC2 front and SC1 rear tyres recently inserted in the Pirelli racing range, based on confirmed solutions from the previous season. The eventful races and diverse podiums filled by the four manufacturer’s bikes of Aprilia, Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha were no surprise, as starting from the 2nd Superbike practice, the first 18 riders were seperated by only 1.27 seconds. The FIM Superstock 1000 was also notable as congratulations to BMW Motorrad Italia on their first win in the class, to Berger (Honda) who brought down the Lap Record by 1 second, and the final podium filled with three different manufacturers – BMW Honda Yamaha -” Giorgio Barbier, Racing Director, Pirelli Moto

Performance Awards:

SBK Race 1 – Pirelli BEST LAP
Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing), 1’42.774 (Lap 4)

SBK Race 2 – Pirelli BEST LAP
Carlos Checa (Althea Racing), 1’43.285 (Lap 2)

Total BEST LAP (SBK): Haslam L. (Suzuki Alstare): 1, Guintoli S. (Suzuki Alstare): 1, Biaggi M. (Aprilia Alitalia Racing): 1, Checa C. (Althea Racing): 1

WSS – Pirelli BEST LAP
Michele Pirro (HANNspree Ten Kate Honda), 1’45.180 (Lap 2)

Total BEST LAP (WSS): Laverty E. (Parkalgar Honda): 1, Pirro M. (HANNspree Ten Kate Honda): 1

Stk1000 – Pirelli BEST JUMP FORWARD
Ondrej Jezek (MS Racing), From 19th to 12th (7 positions)

Stk600 – Pirelli BEST JUMP FORWARD
Riccardo Cecchini (Azione Corse), From 11th to 6th (5 positions)

March 28, 2010 | Comments Off on Biaggi doubles up after winning two tight races | Permalink

Crutchlow takes first pole and new best lap

Cal CrutchlowCal Crutchlow (Sterilgarda Yamaha) took his first career pole at Portimao with a new best lap, 1’42.092, beating Ben Spies’ previous record in the last session of Superpole qualifying.

Crutchlow even had a qualifying tyre left in his pit box as he had completed the first two Superpole sessions using race tyres, having spent most of practice riding on worn tyres to find a strong set-up for raceday.

Aprilia Alitalia rider Max Biaggi went second quickest on his vee-four machine in a session when the top five riders were competing with five different makes of machinery – Yamaha, Aprilia, Ducati, Suzuki and Honda.

With both factory Ducati Xerox machines ruled out early from the reckoning, after a Superpole 1 crash for Michel Fabrizio and a tough Superpole 1 session in general for Noriyuki Haga, Carlos Checa was once more best Ducati rider, taking his private Althea machine to third-best grid placing.

Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) could not make the most of his qualifying tyres and was fourth on the grid, but still starts from the front row for Sunday’s 22-lap races.

Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was a battling fifth, ahead of Pata B&G Ducati rider Jakub Smrz, and Checa’s fast team-mate Shane Byrne. The last place on the second row went to Troy Corser, who recovered from a technical problem in Superpole 1 to finish eighth overall. Top Kawasaki starting slot belongs to Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) after he was 12th in Superpole.

James Toseland (Sterilgarda Yamaha) crashed in Superpole two, and Max Neukirchner also had a fast fall, destroying his number one bike. He finished 13th, Toseland 15th.

Chris Vermeulen (Kawasaki Racing Team) will not race at Portimao, still suffering effects from his Phillip Island crash.

Cal Crutchlow: “We made some changes since the last race. Yamaha has worked really hard in the last month to work out our problems as well. The track here is better and better and our bike is also improving. I was quietly confident I could get pole and we even had one qualifying tyre left at the end because we used race tyres in the first two sessions. Pole is a bonus.”

Max Biaggi: “We made a good race here last year so we know what our level would be. Now we are back where we should be, fighting with the best guys on the top. We did not make many changes just got the set-up to work as best we can. The layout of the track and the tarmac just means that our bike is working better.”

Carlos Checa: “I think it is open tomorrow, because many riders have good pace with a chance to win and be at the front. We will see how the race turns out, but hopefully we will be there at the end and have a chance.”

Times: 1. Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’42.092; 2. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 1’42.513; 3. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098 R 1’42.586; 4. Haslam L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’42.596; 5. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’42.807; 6. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’42.8897. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1’42.960; 8. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’43.152; 9. Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’42.984; 10. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 1’42.999; 11. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 1’43.039; 12. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’43.199; 13. Neukirchner M. (GER) Honda CBR1000RR 1’43.380; 14. Lanzi L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’43.568; 15. Toseland J. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R11’49.401; 16. Scassa L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’44.249

Supersport World Championship – Laverty on pole at his team’s home track

Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) pushed his way to the pole time at Portimao, with Hannspree Ten Kate Honda riders Kenan Sofuoglu and Michele Pirro second and third. Top Kawasaki rider was Joan Lascorz in fourth, with the best Triumph BE1 machine under the control of Chaz Davies, sixth on the timesheets. Local rider Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda) was eighth and now starts from the second row.

Times: 1. Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 1’45.169; 2. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 1’45.313; 3. Pirro M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1’45.828; 4. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’45.903; 5. Foret F. (FRA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’46.082; 6. Davies C. (GBR) Triumph Daytona 675 1’46.161; 7. Fujiwara K. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’46.415; 8. Praia M. (POR) Honda CBR600RR 1’46.566

Superstock 1000 FIM Cup

Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) will start Sunday’s race from pole position, having held off the push of Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Race Junior) in combined qualifying. Marco Bussolotti (All Service System Honda) went third and Eddie La Marra (Team Lorini Honda) was fourth, each having moved up from Superstock 600 racing this year.

Times: 1. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’45.773; 2. Berger M. (FRA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’46.241; 3. Bussolotti M. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’46.609; 4. La Marra E. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’46.759; 5. Baz L. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’46.821; 6. Magnoni M. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’46.839; 7. Antonelli A. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’46.884; 8. Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’46.895

Superstock 600 Race – 10 Laps

In the first race of the season for the Superstock 600 riders pole man Florian Marino (Ten Kate Junior Honda) was a first lap faller, leaving Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Racing Yamaha) a clear run to the win. Second was Romain Lanusse (MRS Racing Yamaha) and third Frederik Karlsen (MTM Racing Yamaha).

Times: 1. Guarnoni J. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 18’18.901 (150,434 kph); 2. Lanusse R. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 6.101; 3. Karlsen F. (NOR) Yamaha YZF R6 6.277; 4. Calero Perez N. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R6 6.527; 5. Fanelli D. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 7.916; 6. Cecchini R. (ITA) Triumph Daytona 675 10.090; 7. Lombardi B. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 10.724; 8. Major N. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 14.105

March 27, 2010 | Comments Off on Crutchlow takes first pole and new best lap | Permalink

Haslam leads after one day in the Portuguese sun

Leon HaslamLeon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) made best use of a dry and steadily improving track surface to record the best qualifying time so far and take provisional pole with a 1’43.476. Late charger Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) was only 0.032 seconds back in second, with Phillip Island race winner Carlos Checa (Ducati Althea) third.

Aprilia Alitalia rider Max Biaggi was a competitive fourth quickest on his latest spec of machine, with Yamaha Sterilgarda rider and double WSBK World Champion James Toseland fifth, having been the first rider to get under the 1’44 barrier.

SBK rookie Cal Crutchlow (Sterilgarda Yamaha) was a fine sixth, and was one of seven riders to take their place at the top of the timesheets at some stage of the first qualifying session, before Haslam left his name on top.
Shane Byrne (Althea Ducati) held off Jakub Smrz (Pata B&G Racing Ducati) for seventh. Aprilia Alitalia rider Leon Camier pushed his machine to ninth place, and yet another British rider, Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was once again the top Honda runner, tenth. Jonathan had suffered a high speed crash in the first untimed practice session, but got going again in the afternoon.

Troy Corser took his BMW Motorrad Motorsport S1000RR to 12th, and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) posted a top Kawasaki ranking of 15th. His team-mate Chris Vermeulen elected not to ride in the qualifying session, to help his injured right knee heal up faster.

A total of 14 riders were covered by a second today, with an even closer level of competition expected in the next qualifying session, to be held tomorrow morning. The fastest 20 riders will then make it into Superpole, on Saturday afternoon, to fight for their ultimate grid positions.

Leon Haslam: “It is all feeling good here even though we are not as quick as we were at the winter test. We did a lot of laps on the same tyre to get ready for the race and it is pretty satisfying to be fast on the first day.”

Michel Fabrizio: “I only really got the chance to go for one quick lap time in the session but with a couple of more chances I think I could have gone faster. We worked well on the set-up today for the race and I am relaxed and confident that we will go even faster tomorrow.”

Carlos Checa: “We worked in the morning session to find a good set-up and as soon as we used the softer tyre in the afternoon session we were something like one second faster. We are only losing some time in the final split so we are now working on how to make that up.”


Supersport World Championship – Laverty steps it up

Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) moved up to the provisional pole position at his team’s home race, setting a best of 1’45.797. His nearest competitor is Michele Pirro (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Michele’s team-mate Kenan Sofuoglu was third. Chaz Davies proved to be top Triumph ParkinGO BE1 rider – fourth – with the best Kawasaki under the control of Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki in fifth place.

Superstock 1000 FIM Cup

Ayrton Badovini topped the first official timed session on his BMW Motorrad Italia machine, followed by Sylvain barrier in the Garnier Junior racing BMW. The unofficial session leader Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Race Junior) was third when it came to the first qualifying session, and a straight run of three French riders was completed by former European 600 Superstock champion, Loris Baz (MRS Racing Yamaha).

European Superstock 600 Championship

Florian Marino (Ten Kate Junior Honda) upped the ante in the 600 Superstock class, leading the time sheets in the first qualifying session of the new season. Norwegian Frederik Karlsen (MTM Racing Yamaha) was a close second; Gauthier Duwelz (MTM Racing Team Yamaha) joined his team-mate in the upper reaches, going third.


March 26, 2010 | Comments Off on Haslam leads after one day in the Portuguese sun | Permalink

The last two editions of the Portimao race

2008 – The last race weekend was held at the new venue of Portimao, in Algarve, Portugal, and it was pure Bayliss celebration as the Australian rider swept the board, taking a wet Superpole by almost 2.5 seconds over wild card Cal Crutchlow and pulling away in both races at a pace that in the early stages reached one second per lap at times.

Given Bayliss’ superiority, the show was behind him and started at the first lap of the first race, when Fabrizio tried to overtake Biaggi, fell, and collected his countryman. A little fight ensued and continued, verbally, in the paddock.

A couple of newcomers, Cal Crutchlow and Jonathan Rea, were able to lead the group of Bayliss’ pursuers in the early stages, which also comprised Xaus, Corser, Leon Haslam, Checa and Haga. The changes of positions were countless and things started to settle down only after ten laps, when tyres started to tell: before the race the riders were unsure about which tyre to use, given the frequent presence of the rain during the weekend and many choices were only made on the starting grid. At this point of the race the riders which had chosen the softer compound fell back and the others were able to keep a reasonable pace.

In the second part of the race the ones left in contention for second place were Haga, Corser and Checa, with Haga keeping up despite his softer tyre. The defining moment of the fight for second was the sixteenth lap, when Checa passed Corser and attacked Haga soon afterwards. The spaniard went wide and lost the position again, but after a couple of corners it was Haga’s turn to end up wide and Checa took second. At the beginning of the following lap Corser passed Haga and now it was clear that the Japanese had a mechanical problem and retired after a couple of laps. The order remained unchanged and Checa finished second in front of Corser.

The start of the second race was not so straightforward as the first one as Biaggi and Bayliss touched at the first corner, Bayliss losing some positions. It was clear though that the Australian had the same irresistible pace of race one and by the end of the lap he had already recovered all the lost ground and rocketed past Xaus, who was leading, down the main straight, setting off on his own.

Xaus and Haga were left battling for second, but after four laps Haga had to serve a ride through penalty for jump start and fell out of contention. The order was then Bayliss, Corser, Rea and Michel Fabrizio, which recovered from tenth after a poor start.

When Haga pulled into the pits, Corser made a move on Xaus, but ended up wide at the first corner. Rea was quick to snatch third, but after a couple of turns Fabrizio passed him and set after Xaus, while behind them Corser was sucked into a group composed of seven riders fighting for fifth.
Xaus and Fabrizio fought for the following two laps, swapping places several times until Xaus highsided his Ducati in one of the spectacular downhill turns of the Algarve circuit, slowing down Checa, who was right on his tail. This left Fabrizio with a good margin and gave third to Max Neukirchner. The podium places remained unchanged up to two laps to the end, when Haslam was able to take third from Neukirchner and claimed is second Superbike podium after a wait of four years.

2009 – One of the closest championship battles came all the way to the last weekend in Portimao and if Spies had to win both races, Haga had to win at least one. If he was second twice he would have had the same points of Spies, but he would have lost the title for an inferior number of wins.
Things looked bleak for Haga right in the middle of the qualifying session, when he failed to reach the final session and had to start only tenth. The fact that his team-mate Fabrizio was third and the private Ducati of Shane Byrne was second, merely added to his frustration.

On pole, for a record of eleven times in a season, was Ben Spies, with a time which left everyone else behind by at least half of a second.
Spies rocketed away at the start and was clear of everyone else at the first corner, with Biaggi in second and Byrne in third, soon passed by Rea. Haga was up to seventh on the opening lap, while Spies opened up a huge gap to Biaggi, and kept a high pace in order to be clear of any possible fight, winning the race alone.

The turning point of the race and the championship was Haga falling on the seventh lap, when he was running fifth behind Byrne and Rea. The Japanese lost the rear on a downhill left hander, tried to make the corner and slid off the track, virtually putting an end to his hopes of finally winning the title. Going into race two, Spies had only to finish sixth to claim the title.
The finishing order of the first race, with Rea claiming second in the last stages, Biaggi third with a sore arm after a fall on saturday, Byrne fourth and Fabrizio fifth, but fourteen seconds adrift, helped Spies on doing the math for the second race, while Haga was in tears in his garage: for the third time he was going to lose the title. This time squandering an advantage of 88 points he had after South Africa, the largest ball-drop ever in the championship history.

In the second race Byrne took the lead from Spies at the first corner, while Biaggi followed, soon passed by Rea. The couple continued to fight for third during the following lap, while Spies did nothing to attack a slower Byrne.

Byrne was holding everyone up: the leading group was so close that on the third lap Rea tried to pass Spies at the first corner, but in turn he was nearly passed by Biaggi. Further on the same lap Rea was able to take second from Spies, while Haga claimed fifth from Haslam.

Spies let his rivals by one by one, falling to sixth by the ninth lap. At this stage Byrne, Rea and Fabrizio were fighting for the lead, while Biaggi was alone in fourth, making several mistakes as his right arm continued to give him problems under braking. Fifth was Haga, with Spies trundling around behind him with less than perfect race lines.

Approaching mid-race Byrne’s pace began to fade due to tyre wear so Rea and Fabrizio were left to fight for the win. The Italian had the best of Jonathan after a fierce fight and on the last lap he was able to snatch the front at the first corner; it was not over, as Rea tried to pass Fabrizio, but went wide and allowed Haga to take second completing a Ducati one-two. Third was Rea, Byrne fourth and Spies fifth, as the American passed Biaggi six laps to the end.

Spies was champion in his rookie season, while Haga for the third time lost the title in the final stages.

March 25, 2010 | Comments Off on The last two editions of the Portimao race | Permalink