Round seven of the 2015 World Superbike championship takes place at Portimao in Portugal this weekend (5-7 June) with Pata Honda riders Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark aiming to produce strong performances.
Guintoli is positive about the potential for further development of his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machine after a revised chassis configuration tested last time out at Donington Park in the UK gave him a better feeling on the bike.
The 32-year-old Frenchman has been on the Portimao podium five times in previous visits and is looking forward to pushing the CBR to the maximum in an effort to add to the machine’s own tally of nine podium finishes at the 4.592km Autodromo Internacional do Algarve.
Guintoli’s Pata Honda team-mate Michael van der Mark won at Portimao on his way to last season’s World Supersport championship but already has Superbike experience of the demanding and undulating circuit, albeit from a damp and cold pre-season test earlier this year.
Despite scoring two podium finishes at Assen in this, his rookie WSBK season, van der Mark has retired from the last three outings and is targeting strong finishes in Sunday’s two 20-lap races, which mark the halfway point in the 2015 World Superbike championship.
The weekend’s race event will be followed on Monday 8 June by an official World Superbike test at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve at which both Pata Honda riders will test new chassis components and electronics updates.
2015 World Superbike championship, round seven
Autodromo Internacional do Algarve – Portimao, Portugal
Event schedule(local times GMT +1):
Friday 5 June
11.15-12.00 – Free practice 1 15.00-15.45 – Free practice 2
Saturday 6 June
09.45-10.30 – Free practice 3 12.30-13.00 – Free practice 4 15.00-15.15 – Superpole 1 15.25-15.40 – Superpole 2
Sunday 7 June
08.40-08.55 – Warm-up 10.30 – Race 1 (20 Laps, 91.840km) 13.10 – Race 1 (20 Laps, 91.840km)
Sylvian GuintoliIt was clear from Donington that the new components and strategies that we tested were definitely a step in the right direction, so I’m looking forward to this weekend in Portugal to continue that development process. At Donington I felt that I was riding the bike well and I felt more comfortable on it. There was still a gap to the front that is larger than we would want but all we can do is keep working in the way we have been to try to close it. It’s not going to be easy but we’ll just keep our heads down and continue the hard work. I had a good weekend at Portimao last year and I really like the track which has been good to me in the years we’ve been going there, so we’re hoping for more positive progress this weekend.
Michael van der MarkLast year was good with the win in World Supersport, even though it came with the rain. But I’m really looking forward to the weekend because I love this place. We had a test earlier this year so I’ve ridden the CBR Superbike at Portimao and even though it was really cold and often wet I was able to make some laps. I love the roller-coaster ride with all the fast corners and blind crests. Some parts are quite different on the Superbike but that also makes it more fun! But after too many DNFs already this season I really need some good strong results, so I’ll be working hard with the team this weekend to get me and the bike ready for Sunday’s two races.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinatorWe’re bringing some more chassis parts with us to Portimao although we’re not sure yet whether we will test them during the weekend sessions or wait until Monday’s test, when we’ll also be trying out new software updates. Sylvain had a better, more positive feeling during the Donington event and said that the CBR felt more like his own race bike so we’re looking forward to developing that feeling this weekend. Michael had some bad luck at Donington but he likes the Portimao track where the rider needs a lot of confidence. I think the layout should suit him and the CBR better than other circuits.