Portimao WorldSBK test: Rea and Lowes ahead on day one

Picture: GeeBee Images

Reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea took top spot on the first day of WorldSBK testing at Portimao and, like at Jerez, the Kawasaki man was shadowed by Alex Lowes.

Rea set a 1’42.195 to end four-tenths ahead of the Pata Yamaha man and a late charge from Aruba Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista saw the MotoGP exile close to 0.068s of the Derby rider on his debut at the track.

Working on different aspects of their YZF-R1 compared to the last test at Jerez, the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK team were able to confirm the excellent work done until now, as both Lowes and Dutchman Michael van der Mark finished close to the top.

Lowes was just 0.419s off Rea’s lap time, while on the other side of the garage van der Mark, who had a small issue in the morning that brought out the first red flag of the day, closed in seventh position just 0.677 s off the top of the timesheets.

The red machines weren´t far of the pace, as Bautista finished third just a few tenths of a second behind the Yamaha of Lowes.

For the Aruba Ducati team the first day at Portimao was a busy one, as they continued to work on all aspects of their all-new Ducati Panigale V4 R.

Both Chaz Davies and the Spanish rider didn’t focus on their lap times, but they worked mostly on finding the base setup for the first round of the year.

Still struggling with some back pain (click here), Davies closed in tenth position, but will have another day tomorrow to put in more laps on the new Ducati beast.

Continuing to make steady progress, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) had a positive day working alongside his new crew chief and finding a good set-up for his Kawasaki ZX-10RR.

The Turkish rider was the fastest rider in the morning and closed the day in fourth position.

BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team had a lot to do today as they were working on different areas including the chassis and different electronics strategies for the new BMW S1000 RR. Following both the same program, Tom Sykes and Markus Reiterberger put in respectively 47 laps and closed the day in fifth and ninth position. Pleased with their overall improvement, the two riders will have a special day two at Portimao tomorrow, as they will be unveiling the 2019 livery of their bikes before hitting to the track.

Resuming from where they left off at Jerez, Leon Haslam and the Kawasaki Racing WorldSBK team continued to work on consistency through race simulation while fine-tuning the bike set-up for Australia. The British rider closed in sixth, 0.625 s off his teammate, and will continue with the same program tomorrow.

Also, new team GRT Yamaha WorldSBK continued their preparation for their first season in WorldSBK around Portimao. The Italian based squad has been following two different testing programs to suit their riders’ needs. Veteran Marco Melandri finished eighth as he worked on improving the YZF R1s performance, while WorldSBK rookie Sandro Cortese, who closed eleventh, continued to adapt to his machine.

Taming the Ducati V4 R, Michael Rinaldi (Barni Racing Team) and Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) closed respectively in thirteenth and twelfth position. The young Italian rider had a tough day adapting his riding style to the new beast, while the Irishman who had his first shakedown test with the new Ducati bike at Jerez, was now focused on the chassis and finding the right balance.

Portimao Test Day One Unofficial Times:

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing WorldSBK Team) 1’42.195
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’42.614 +0.419
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) 1’42.682 +0.487
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) 1’42.687 +0.492
Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 1’42.808 +0.613
Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing WorldSBK Team) 1’42.820 +0625
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’42.872 +0.677
Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) 1’43.033 +0.838
Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 1’43.682 +1.487
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’43.702 +1.502
Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) 1’43.847 +1.652
Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) 1’44.200 +2.005
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) 1’44.663 +2.468
Alessandro Delbianco (Althea MIE Racing Team) 1’45.732 +3.537

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