Portimao The Final Pit Stop On The 2011 Campaign Trail
October 10, 2011
WSBK, Portimao, Portugal, 10 October 2011 - The 13th and final round of the Superbike World Championship takes place in Portugal this coming weekend with both Joan Lascorz and Tom Sykes out to finish off the season with a flourish.
In Sykes’ case another race win and further superpole success would add to the achievements already completed with the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R, while for WSBK rookie Lascorz any race finish higher than fifth would be a season-best individual result.
Greater points scoring consistency across the year saw Joan overtake Tom in the championship standings after the last round in France, with Lascorz now in 11th place on 142 points, and Sykes 13th on 133 points. Both riders still have realistic ambitions of finishing inside the top ten, with only 12 points separating the four riders currently competing for that spot.
The Portimao circuit layout is a tortuous ribbon of tarmac with a variety of corners and many hills along its route. An instant modern classic when it was first used in 2008, this well appointed facility is a very difficult circuit for Superbike riders in particular, as there are many changes of camber and steep hilltops for a 200+bhp machine to encounter at full racing speed.
Roberto Rolfo (Kawasaki Pedercini Team) will not make the Portimao race as he has recently hurt his knee is a cycling accident, but team regular Mark Aitchison will be in attendance at Portimao. Aitchison has been on impressive form all the way through his rookie WSBK season and now sits 19th in the championship, with two top ten rides under his belt. Rolfo is one place and six points ahead of Aitchison with one round and two points scoring races to go.
Joan Lascorz: “This track is where I tested a WSBK bike for the first time, at the end of 2009 when Kawasaki let me try the bike. My first feeling was good, but at the end I crashed while trying to pass Jonathan Rea! My ideal finish to the season this weekend would be to qualify on the second row and have the same kind of races I rode recently, but starting nearer the front and riding with the top five from the beginning. When we look at the season so far we can say in some ways it is not bad, but we have also had some less than good luck. It was great to see Tom winning in the wet in Germany and it was very motivating for me. Tom is so good in superpole and I'm better over a long distance at the moment. I'm happy for some of the races I made, but not too happy about superpole. I need to find more force to push the bike harder for just one lap, and I am sure I will improve in that area.”
Tom Sykes: “Portimao is a bit of a unique circuit. I am still on the fence about it in some ways because maybe the nature of the track is too over the top, with all the steep hills, but it is a fantastic facility and a circuit that provides great racing. My aim is simple there, to be consistent throughout race weekend and make the most of the race package. The year so far has been up and down. I am not where I wanted to be in the table now but we have shown signs of real potential and we have certainly improved the package to run with the top five or six in the series. Where we are now is where I wanted to be in the middle part of the season. Of course we have reached maximum in qualifying, won a race and taken a fastest lap, so we have actually achieved the maximum in all aspects at certain times. I am refreshed after the last round and I am confident that the new Ninja ZX-10R should work well this weekend again.”