WSB: Davies on top in Portimao
Chaz Davies led the second major pre-season test in the absence of his main rivals from KRT, Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes.
Davies set a 1’41.813 on Sunday 29th to go 0.189 seconds faster than the next best rider could manage. The Welshman was on dominant form on both days and had been half a second quicker than anybody after day one.
Despite a hard fall in the Jerez tests last week Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) came back to finish second on the second day at the undulating and bumpy Portimao circuit, which will appear back on the WorldSBK calendar in 2017.
Already into the upper echelons of the class during his pre-season preparations at Jerez last week Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) was third quickest on his official RSV4, in what was a great test for the revamped British based SMR squad since their switch to vee-four power.
No Rea or Sykes at Portimao but the there was stiff Kawasaki competition all the same in the shape of Leon Haslam, standing in for the injured Randy Krummenacher in the rookie WorldSBK Puccetti Racing Team. He was fourth overall, and just ahead of the first-time winter tester Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse). Camier was just over half a second down from Davies, but ahead of both Pata Yamaha riders.
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha World Superbike) placed sixth on the final day timesheets, his new team-mate Michael van der Mark seventh.
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Marco Melandri was over 1.5 seconds off Davies on day two and a Nicky Hayden (Honda WorldSBK) was also well off the best pace of Davies. Nicky was finding even more issues at Portimao on the recently arrived 2017 Fireblade than he and his team-mate Stefan Bradl had experienced at Jerez.
BSB multi-champion Shane Byrne split Hayden and Bradl’s Hondas with his Ducati, 1.851 seconds off Davies on the WorldSBK Panigale.
Althea Racing BMW test rider Raffaele De Rosa was confidently ahead of regular rider Markus Reiterberger, with Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Ducati), new WorldSBK boy Riccardo Russo (Guandalini Racing Yamaha), Tati Mercado (IodaRacing Aprilia) and BSB runner Glenn Irwin also all ahead of Reiterberger.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Australia’s Mike Jones were right behind the former German Superbike champion on their Superstock 1000 Aruba.it Ducati Junior Team Panigales - with another Superstock competitor, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) right behind them.
The best of the Supersport 600 riders was new MV Agusta signing Patrick ‘PJ’ Jacobsen.
For most of the Portimao runners this was their final European track outing before they decamp to Australia for the official pre-season tests, to be held at Phillip Island between 20 and 21 February.