WSBK Concludes Three Days of Testing in Portimao

01/28/2011 @ 9:13 pm, by Victoria Reid2 COMMENTS

Posting the fastest time of the official World Superbike test in Portugal, Jakub Smrz was the fastest man at Portimao. A feat in its own right, Smrz’s accomplishment is compounded by the fact that the Portuguese track saw three days of continuously changing weather. In a climate that kept the bikes off the track, and the riders bored in the garages, Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty rounded out the fastest three riders at Portimao, with times set also on Wednesday afternoon. The first day was fair, though conditions worsened greatly overnight, making Thursday morning entirely unappealing for test laps. Luckily, Friday dried out through the afternoon, but no one was able to best Smrz’s early mark of 1:43.503 during the testing sessions.

All too often winter testing provides plenty of data for the teams and riders, but not nearly enough for journalists and fans who wish to prognosticate. While teams might focus on a certain sector during one lap and another the next, they hide their own flaws and keep their best performances to themselves. Combined with poor weather conditions, a rider sitting out to recover from surgery (Chris Vermeulen), and an entire team testing at another location, the WSBK winter test leaves very little actual story to tell before the start of the racing season.

An alternate way to see how the riders and teams are performing at this stage is to compare not their quickest times, but their overall rankings over the course of the sessions. With the Portuguese weather remaining uncooperative, times varied between and within the sessions, and though not every rider posted times for each session, how he did in comparison to his fellow lap-setters within that session and overall can make it easier to guess which teams and riders are doing better than others.

Session Rankings for January 26th-28th Test at Portimao:

RiderWed #1
(16 riders)
Wed #2
(16 riders)
Thur #1
(8 riders)
Thur #2
(12 riders)
Fri #1
(14 riders)
Fri #2
(15 riders)
Tier 1
Rea1st2ndNo time1st8th11th
Xaus6th13thNo timeNo time1st1st
Smrz2nd1stNo time5th11th12th
Tier 2
Laverty14th3th2nd7thNo time4th
Tier 3
Biaggi3rd6thNo timeNo timeNo timeNo time
Tier 4
Camier8th9thNo timeNo time14th5th
Guintoli11th8thNo time4th4th6th
Lascorz9th10thNo timeNo time7th10th
Sykes5th4thNo time6th6th9th

At the end of this first official WSBK test, we only know who posted the fastest time and who was most often within the three fastest riders in a session, however it is unlikely that any of this will have much affect on racing and who wins the 2011 World Superbike Championship. The point of testing is just that: to see how things are working, to know what needs to be changed, and what should not be changed. In the end, who does what now makes little difference to what will happen. But it does make for a break in winter.

Final Combined Times for January 26-28 Test at Portimao:

1.96Jakub Smrz1:43.503Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing (Ducati)
24Jonathan Rea1:43.676Castrol Honda
3.58Eugene Laverty1:43.707Yamaha WSBK Team
4.66Tom Sykes1:43.770Kawasaki Racing Team SBK
5.7Carlos Checa1:43.789Althea Racing (Ducati)
6.3Max Biaggi1:43.840Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team
7.84Michel Fabrizio1:43.879Team Suzuki Alstare
8.50Sylvain Guintoli1:44.369Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing (Ducati)
9.2Leon Camier1:44.446Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team
10.17Joan Lascorz1:44.752Kawasaki Racing Team
11.52James Toseland1:44.764BMW Motorrad SBK Team
12.41Noriyuki Haga1:44.857PATA Racing Team Aprilia
13.111Ruben Xaus1:44.885Castrol Honda
14.121Maxime Berger1:44.886Supersonic Racing Team (Ducati)
15.33Marco Melandri1:45.461Yamaha WSBK Team
16.86Ayrton Badovini1:45.678BMW Motorrad SBK Team

Source: WSBK; Photo: Castrol Honda

  • irksome

    In other words, “Nothing to report here except the weather kinda sucked, but at least I didn’t have to shell out for the airfare or a room.”

    You could at least have gotten a better photo.

  • jamesy

    In my op, the fact that the top seven times were all covered by 1/2 second AND contained SIX different bike brands is news. Huge, wonderful news indeed.
    This may portend to the best season since Ben bitchslapped Biaggi! Cannot wait for the racing.