Portimao WorldSBK: WorldSSP set for Portugese fireworks

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Portimao’s WorldSBK round is set for fireworks in the WorldSSP class as team-mates and championship rivals Randy Krummenacher and Federico Caricasulo will resume their battle.

Just 15 points divide championship leader Krummenacher from Bardahl Yamaha teammate Federico Caricasulo. Also, Frenchman Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha), now third in the standings 26 points behind Krummenacher, is back in contention after the outstanding victory taken in the UK before the summer break.

For the three title contenders, there is no much time left before a champion will be decided. That is why Portimao leaves no space for mistakes. But, at the same time, it is when risks should be taken in order to make the difference.

For Krummenacher, the Portuguese round could represent a pivotal moment to extend his championship lead. But to do so, the Swiss rider knows that he has to finish in front of Caricasulo, that this year has always shared the podium with Krummenacher apart from Donington Park.

In the UK, it was Krummenacher himself to miss his regular visit to the parc fermé for the first time in 2019. On the other hand, the Italian has an excellent chance to remount on the championship leader.

“My first target from Portimão onwards must be to take points from my teammate in order to close the gap to the top of the standings. The second target is to win races, said Caricasulo.

The two-day Portimão test was an important one for us. We were very fast, and it means we go into the first of the remaining four races in Portugal with some confidence.

“We have a lot of data from the test that we can refer back to, so I think we’ll be strong from the first free practice session at Portimão this weekend.”

At the Official Test, that took place at the same Portimao racetrack in August, Caricasulo showed off a good pace setting the fastest lap time. But, once again, Krummenacher was close behind him, second quickest.

Although the battle for the world title remains a matter between three men, we can’t say the same for the Portuguese race trophy fight. Fresh off the back of his two consecutive podiums in Misano and Donington Park, 2017 WorldSSP World Champion Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) looks forward to keeping on with his momentum in Portugal.

The Frenchman didn’t take part in the Official test but spent two useful days working with his team in Misano during the summer break. 2018 saw Mahias taking the pole position and the victory in Portugal. Will the French rider be able to do the same this year with the Kawasaki ZX-6R of the Puccetti Team?

With just two rounds more for the European FIM Supersport Cup, Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing) has his first chance to win the title in Portugal by extending his championship lead of at least 25 points on the second. Will the British rider will be able to celebrate in Portugal?