Portimao Superbike first day of test A month after Carlos Checa’s fantastic victory at the first round of Phillip Island, the Althea Racing team today returned to the track, this time in Portimao, for the first day of qualifying of this, the second round of the World Superbike season. Today’s two sessions took place in warm, dry conditions. In the early afternoon’s free practice, both Althea riders worked to refine the set-up of their 1198 machines. Checa recorded the twelfth fastest time (1m45.071s) and Byrne the fourteenth (1m45.128s).
In the afternoon’s qualifying both Checa (1m43.645) and Byrne (1m43.881s) significantly improved on the times set earlier and recorded the third and seventh fastest times respectively, with performances that auger well for tomorrow’s qualifying and Superpole sessions.Carlos Checa
"This morning I used both my bikes and built up confidence with both the 1198 and with the track. In the afternoon we tried a different tyre solution and I was able to improve by more than a second. We worked hard on the set-up of my Ducati and I am quite happy with the work we’ve got done, even though I hope to improve further in the third split where I’m still having a few problems."Shane Byrne
"I am very satisfied with how things went today. In the morning we worked a lot on the suspension and settings. It was important to do that this morning in free practice while we didn’t have the pressure of needing to do very fast times, and so were happy to get all that work out of the way so to speak." "In the afternoon the bike performed much better thanks to our earlier work and with a softer tyre I registered some good lap times. I’m happy because compared to the practices in Australia, I am going much better and I’m feeling comfortable on the 1198. I hope to continue to do well for the rest of the weekend."Genesio Bevilacqua – General Manager"I’m happy because Shakey has demonstrated that he is in strong physical shape and is not suffering any after effects from his crash in Phillip Island. He was able to work well with his team and the results are evident. I think that he is on the right track and he should be able to improve further tomorrow. Carlos needs to improve slightly in the third sector where he doesn’t yet have total confidence with the rear tyre. I am confident ahead of tomorrow and we hope to be up at the top of the timesheets."Free practice : 1) Toseland (Yamaha) – 2) Haslam (Suzuki) – 3) Neukirchner (Honda)- 4) Biaggi (Aprilia) ……… 12) Checa (Ducati) – 13) Corser (BMW) – 14) Byrne (Ducati)Qualifying practice : 1) Haslam (Suzuki) – 2) Fabrizio (Ducati) – 3) Checa (Ducati) – 4) Biaggi (Aprilia) – 5) Toseland (Yamaha) – 6) Crutchlow (Yamaha) – 7) Byrne (Ducati)