Honda’s Rea Sets Pace at Portimao World Superbike

Pata Honda Racing's Jonathan Rea

Pata Honda Racing’s Jonathan Rea

2013 Portimao World Superbike Qualifying 1 Results

When round six of the 2013 World Superbike Championship got underway Friday with the first free practice session, Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes was quickly up to speed.

The ZX-10R Ninja pilot who took four of five Superpoles this season was quickest, posting a 1:44.241. But when the first qualifying session began, Sykes was ousted by not one, but two riders.

Leading the dry Q1 was Pata Honda Racing’s Jonathan Rea, the Irishman posting a 1:43.551 around the Algrave circuit. During the 45-minute session, the top 10 riders were all within a second of each other.

Following Rea 0.052 of a second back was Aprilia Racing Team’s Eugene Laverty. As for Sykes, coined the “King of Donington” following his double there two weeks ago, the Brit trailed by a mere 0.097 of a second.

Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike CBR1000RR Superbike) says: “It was quite a frustrating day as we had loads and loads of problems, but the good thing is that it didn’t stand in the way of a good run at the end. So it’s mixed emotions really, because although my guys worked really quickly to resolve the problems, it was frustrating that we’re still having issues on the electronics side.

“I’m enjoying riding here and although our bike has improved a lot, it feels like the circuit is a little bit slower. It’s a mix of a lack of rubber and how bumpy it’s got in the last year. It’s hard to make a perfect set up and it needs a lot of rider input and thinking outside the box to make the bike work in the fast bumpy areas.

“But for day one we’ve gained a lot of data, especially in the engine braking area, and we’ve made better inroads than we did on day one at Donington. I just hope that tomorrow we can steer clear of any little gremlins and work on a race tyre. I tried three different tires today and each one has positives and negatives, so we need to evaluate them some more tomorrow to make a choice.”

Finishing fourth was the current points leader, Aprilia Racing Team’s Sylvain Guintoli, who finished on the podium at every race this season.

The RSV4 rider was followed by Althea Racing Aprilia’s Davide Giugliano and the BMW Motorrad GoldBet duo of Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies.

Following some issues with his left shoulder that caused him to miss race two at Donington, Ducati Alstare 1199 Panigale R rider Carlos Checa showed great signs of recovery, finishing eighth ahead of Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camery and Kawasaki’s Loris Baz, who was the final rider to post within a second of Rea.

Checa’s teammate Ayrton Badovini finished 11th, followed by rookie Jules Cluzel. The Fixi Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 rider Clusel suffered a crash at Turn 3 with a few minutes remaining, but walked off the track.

As for the recovering Pata Honda World Superbike rider Leon Halsam, who broke his leg at practice for Assen, he continues to have difficulties. The Brit was 13th quickest.

No time set for Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) set no time at Portimao World Superbike Q1 after having technical issues with his RSV4.

The 18-rider World SBK grid will return to the Portimao circuit Saturday for another round of practice/qualifying ahead of Superpole.

2013 Portimao World Superbike Qualifying 1 Results:
1. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1’43.551
2. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’43.603
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’43.648
4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’43.934
5. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’44.017
6. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1’44.026
7. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1’44.245
8. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1’44.246
9. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’44.278
10. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’44.496
11. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1’44.550
12. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’44.593
13. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1’45.075
14. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1’45.827
15. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’46.269
16. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1’46.469
17. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’47.322
18. Ivan Clementi (HTM Racing) BMW S1000 RR 1’47.844

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