SBK-Preview Portimao

Category: World Superbike (WSBK)

By: BMW Motorrad Motorsport

With the opening race weekend of the 2010
FIM Superbike World Championship having taken place overseas - at Phillip Island in
Victoria, Australia - the teams are now preparing for their first European outing of the
season on 26th - 28th March. This will be the third time that the Autódromo Internacional
do Algarve at Portimão, Portugal has hosted races in the top category of production-
based motorcycle competition.
Troy Corser:
"We had an extensive test at Portimão back in January. The circuit is technically very
challenging with several uphill and quite steep downhill sections. You spend most of the
lap in second and third gear. The bike we raced at Phillip Island is very similar to the one
we tested at Portimão. Although the two tracks have different characteristics, I hope we
can use Australia as a benchmark and kick on from there. If the bike works like it did in
Race 2 in Australia, I think we can be relatively confident about our chances.
There's a four-week gap between the first and second race weekends this year, which is
fairly long. I've been training pretty much every day to make sure I stay in shape and am
as well prepared as I can be for the second race weekend of the season."
Ruben Xaus:
"After my crash with Noriyuki Haga in Australia I flew home on the Sunday night and, for
sure, I did a lot of thinking. I took a calm, careful look at the race weekend, and at the
beginning of March I sat down with Davide Tardozzi, Massimo Bartolini and my crew chief
Wolfgang Martens to look at the situation. One thing is clear: I know that I'm capable of
setting fast lap times without any problems. And that's why I'm feeling confident.
I'm looking forward to Portimão. The track is like a rollercoaster and I like it a lot. It's really
varied; there are a lot of fast corners, but also some slower ones. You take some of them
blind, so as a rider you have to be able to rely totally on your skill and intuition. Portimão is
certainly one of the most exciting venues in the championship."
Berthold Hauser, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director:
"After all our hard work over the winter and the turbulent start to the season at Phillip
Island, all of us at Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport are looking forward to Portugal.
Portimão hosted the final race weekend of the season in both 2008 and 2009, but this
year the circuit is the first European venue on the Superbike World Championship
It's now been several weeks since we returned from Australia. We've used the time to
analyse the race weekend at Phillip Island and continue working hard. Our testing team
has also been busy. They completed a test in Valencia in mid-March, and Troy and
Ruben are currently testing in Jerez. A lot of the team will travel straight to Portimão from
the Jerez test. The Autódromo Internacional do Algarve has a wonderful location and is a
real challenge for both the engineers and the riders. The unique, undulating track profile
and large number of long and tight corners demand a solid set-up for the bike.
Ruben has had an extremely difficult and turbulent start to the season. Since Phillip
Island, the whole team has been working hard to help him deal with the repercussions of
the season opener, and Ruben is putting himself under the greatest pressure of all. But
he's an experienced rider and knows how to deal with these kind of situations. The same
goes for the team."
Portimão is a popular holiday destination and tourist centre in the western Algarve, with a
population of just under 50,000. The town has a marina and numerous beaches; Praia da
Rocha, with its distinctive rock formations, is one of the best-known beaches on the
Algarve coast.
Work on the prodigious Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, nestling among the rolling
hills outside Portimão, was completed in October 2008. The inaugural event at the circuit
took place on 2nd November the same year with the final weekend of the 2008 FIM
Superbike World Championship. The Autódromo is part of the Algarve Motor Park, which
is also home to a state-of-the-art karting track, a technology park, a racing driver school
and a five-star hotel. Within a short period of time the circuit has established itself as a
firm fixture on the race calendars of many high-level motorcycle and car racing series.
Fine weather all year round and the demanding layout of the circuit also make Portimão
an excellent location for testing.
The undulating character of the circuit, with its climbs and steep downhill sections, is a
major factor in making this such a challenging track. The last corner at Portimão is crucial
in generating the necessary speed to attack the almost one-kilometre-long start/finish
straight. The host of long, sweeping corners at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve
demand a solid set-up. The bike has to be just right - especially under acceleration out of
the corners. Nowhere is this more important than around the tight and twisty infield.
Facts and figures:
Circuit/Date                           Autódromo Internacional do Algarve / 28th March 2010
Start time Race 1 (local/CET)          12.00 hrs / 13.00 hrs
Start time Race 2 (local/CET)          15.30 hrs / 16.30 hrs
Lap/Race distance                      4.592 km/101.024 km (22 laps)
Corners                                7 left-hand and 5 right-hand corners
Winner                                 Race 1: Ben Spies, Yamaha WSB, 38:15.390 min
2009                                   Race 2: Michel Fabrizio, Ducati Xerox Team, 38:19.654 min
Fastest race lap 2009                  Michel Fabrizio, Ducati Xerox Team, 1:43.529 Min.
Data 2009:                             Top speed: 305.9  km/h (Ben Spies, Race 1)
Longest section at full throttle: 9.5 sec / 700 m
Fastest corner: Turn 9, third gear, 186 km/h
Maximum deceleration: 307 km/h - 116 km/h

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