2013 Portimao World Superbike | Preview

Aprilia Racing Team's Sylvain Guintoli

2013 Portimao World Superbike

As the 2013 World Superbike Championship heads to the shores of Algarve in Portimao for round six of 15, one man is stealing the pre-race headlines – Tom Sykes.

The Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R Ninja pilot has taken four Superpoles this season, and three race-wins, including his double two weeks ago at Monza.

And this weekend, Sykes returns to the track where he secured the Superpole and took the race-one win last year. The circuit, which joined the World Superbike Championship in 2008 shortly after it was completed.

But though Sykes is on a tear,due to his podium finishes at every race so far this season, Aprilia Racing Team’s Sylvain Guintoli is the Brit’s biggest threat.

The Frenchman, who won the opening World SBK race of the season at Phillip Island, finished third in race one last year, after being edged out twice from second place by Carlos Checa. Guintoli’s Teammate Eugene Laverty scored last time out at Portimao a late first – and only one – race win of his maiden season with Aprilia.

Following a weather-hampered two-day WSBK test at Aragon last week, BMW official riders will aim for strong results after the mixed feelings of the past event. Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies – who  won three out of 10 races so far in the season – are currently 46 and 61 points behind the leader and desperately looking to make up ground at Portimao.

In 2012 Melandri had a nightmare weekend, ruining his World Title chase as he crashed out of Race 1 – injuring his back – and was forced to withdraw from the following one.

While Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) had to sit out of the last two races due to his left leg injury – despite his efforts to be on track in front of his home crowd – fellow Brit Jonathan Rea tried everything he could to resurrect the flagging fortunes of the Team in 2013 and he is now looking forward to trying his very best again on the venue that saw his first WSBK appearance in 2008. Haslam, on the other hand, is continuing his rehabilitation hoping to be fit enough to race this weekend.

Team Ducati Alstare is back to a two-rider line-up after Niccolò Canepa’s one-off ride at Donington. Carlos Checa is still dealing with the osseus edema on the head of his left humerus, that forced him to withdraw from Donington second race, and is about to face another physically demanding track. The Spaniard’s only victory on the Portuguese track dates back to 2011 (Race 1).

Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) had one of the best performances of the past season last year at Portimao in race two, when he fought hard against former team mate Max Biaggi for third place until a technical problem ruled him out of the race, on the penultimate lap. Although last year’s unfortunate events, Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) has fond memories of the track that hosted his World Superbike debut in 2011, straight after his coronation as FIM Superstock 1000 Cup Champion.

2013 Portimao World Superbike on TV

beIN Sport will cover the World Superbike round live beginning at 6:45 a.m. EDT Sunday, June 9.

2013 World Superbike Point Standings (after five of 15 rounds):
1. Sylvain Guintoli, Aprilia: 173
2. Tom Sykes, Kawasaki: 169
3. Eugene Laverty, Aprilia: 149
4. Marco Melandri, BMW: 127
5. Chaz Davies, BMW: 112
6. Loris Baz, Kawasaki: 95
7. Jonathan Rea, Honda: 89
8. Michel Fabrizio, Aprilia: 86
9. Davide Giugliano, Aprilia: 72
10. Jules Cluzel, Suzuki: 55
11. Leon Camier, Suzuki: 49
12. Max Neukirchner, Ducati: 45
13. Ayrton Badovini, Ducati: 37
14. Carlos Checa, Ducati: 33
15. Leon Haslam, Honda: 29
16. Ivan Clementi, BMW: 14
17. Federico Sandi, Kawasaki: 14
18. Niccolò Canepa, Ducati: 11
19. Fabrizio Lai, Kawasaki: 8
20. Alexander Lundh, Kawasaki: 8
21. Vittorio Iannuzzo, BMW: 7
22. Glen Allerton, BMW: 6
23. Jamie Stauffer, Honda: 4
24. Kosuke Akiyoshi, Honda: 2
25. Mark Aitchison, Ducati: 2