Haslam fastest in final day rush at Portimao

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The weather was usually unkind at the well-attended two-day Portimao tests in Portugal, but there was enough in the track later in the final dry afternoon to allow Leon Haslam (Red Devils Aprilia) to go half a second faster than the next best rider and record a 1’43.5 lap.

On his full 2015 engine, which is 15bhp down on the 2014 version according to his team, Haslam continued on from his good form in Jerez testing last year.

“The lap time was not so bad and we got through quite a bit of work,” Said Haslam. “We had limited track time but it was pretty good. We did not get the chance to use the soft race tyre from the past few years. It was just cold and not must testing on the long runs but we got to try a few chassis things. The engine needs a bit more work with the mapping before Jerez. I was comfortable doing the times I was doing and to be honest I feel pretty happy with it.”

The often wet weather and then some red flags on the second day meant that the expected 5pm finish was extended to 6pm at the request of the teams, with some riders lapping to the onset of dusk, and under gathering dark rain clouds, to test that final new component or setting.

Second quickest overall was Alex Lowes (Crescent Suzuki) tied on time with another British rider, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it – Ducati World Superbike) although the all-new Ducati transponders and the circuit lap timer proved incompatible, meaning all Panigale times were made by hand.

David Giugliano (Aruba.it – Ducati World Superbike), who like all his peers was robbed of good track conditions too often at this test, set a 1’44.5, just ahead of the ever-charging BMW Motorrad Italia rider, with his 1’44.8.

New WSB recruit Matteo Baiocco (Althea Ducati) tied with the lone MV Agusta of Leon Camier, each outing in a 1’45.6.

Randy De Puniet (Suzuki) lodged a 1’45.7 and new Aprilia Red Devils rider Jordi Torres had to work hard for his 1’45.9 at such a tricky circuit as Portimao - especially on a windy second afternoon.

This 1’45.9 was the same pace set by Niccolo Canepa (Hero EBR) in what was a largely positive first European outing for the new-look American squad.

Returning two-time WSB Champion Max Biaggi carried on for the second day after falling on the first, fighting against a painful left shoulder and some still relatively new full MotoGP electronics (fitted to the full power 2014 season RSV-4 engine, in an RSV-4 Superbike chassis) to record a 1’46.4.

Larry Pegram, the rider/manager of the Hero EBR team had his first taste of Portimao and declared it a very hard circuit to learn. He still set a 1’47.1 on his first visit.

Leandro Mercado (Althea Racing Ducati) clocked in with a 1’47.4, a time matched by second day faller Nico Terol (Althea Racing Ducati).

Most but not all of the teams at Portimao will not head to Jerez for more testing, next Monday and Tuesday.

Portimao Best Lap Times - WSB

  1. Leon Haslam (Aprilia) 1’43.5
  2. Alex Lowes (Suzuki) 1’44.0
  3. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 1’44.0
  4. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1’44.5
  5. Sylvain Barrier (BMW) 1’44.8
  6. Matteo Baiocco (Ducati) 1’45.6
  7. Leon Camier (MV Agusta) 1’45.6
  8. Randy De Puniet (Suzuki) 1’45.7
  9. Jordi Torres (Aprilia) 1’45.9
  10. Niccolo Canepa (Hero EBR) 1’45.9
  11. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’46.4
  12. Larry Pegram (Hero EBR) 1’47.1
  13. Leandro Mercado (Ducati) 1’47.4
  14. Nico Terol (Ducati) 1’47.4

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Gordon Ritchie

By Gordon Ritchie