Lowes ahead of Rea at WSBK Portimao Testing 24-25 August 2019
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha) left the official DWO tests at Portimao without a firm knowledge of where he would be riding in 2020 but boosted by the status of the fastest rider over the two days – thanks to a 1’41.153 lap set on a soft tyre in the morning of the final day.
Almost all of the riders set their best times in that cooler morning session on day two, with Jonathan Rea (KRT) Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR finally second and 0.218 seconds from Lowes.
Cool was a relative term at Portimao in August with temperatures just over 30°C at times, and high 20s being evident almost all day.
Lowes gave himself a boost with his strong testing pace, especially as he said he knew he was not going to be a Pata Yamaha rider in 2020, but he has other possibilities, including one with another Yamaha team.
“This morning’s lap was (with) a softer tyre but I was still quite fast on the race tyre, a mid 1’41 on the race tyre,” said Lowes. “This afternoon we did a longer run but got a red flag in the middle so we did not put the laps together continuously. The last run was ten laps – the tyre were quite used at the start and I managed keep in the 1’42s. I think, in those conditions, that was quite good. I was just searching for a little bit of turning on the throttle really, for the race, in the longer corners. Apart from that I am quite happy with the test, no mistakes – good.”
Rea was a second after 100 laps of one of his favourite circuits. He and also made a final run-out in the last minutes of the final session with what appeared to be MotoGP-style black aerodynamic ‘wings’ fitted to the side of his bike. Nobody in Kawasaki colours would comment on the subject, with the bike rushed back into the pitbox after a few laps.
Despite a bout of food poisoning for a time on Sunday, day one fastest rider Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) was third quickest.
A late final afternoon session crash for Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha), after technical issue, halted his progress in fourth place overall. A third Yamaha made it into the top five places, via Ten Kate Racing and Loris Baz.
Leon Haslam (KRT) was sixth, the only rider at that level not to use a soft or Q tyre, according to Haslam, who said he was just two-tenths from Rea on ‘real’ race pace.
Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha) was seventh, the BMW bound GoEleven Ducati rider Eugene Laverty top Ducati rider in eighth and Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) ninth.
Bautista left the tests early after just 17 laps of day two, citing pain and inflammation in his left shoulder from his Laguna Seca injury preventing any more worthwhile track time for him. He now looks to the race weekend itself in two weeks’ time.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Barni Racing Ducati) was tenth and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Ducati) 11th but happy with the work done to help him in the final races of the season.
Two fast Friday crashes from Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad) saw him finally 12th of the 19 riders on display.
Riding to replace the still-injured Leon Camier, Takumi Takahashi (Moriwaki Althea Honda) placed himself 17th and the top Honda rider at Portimao.
The fastest WorldSSP rider was Federico Caricasulo (Bardahl Evan Bros WorldSSP) from his team-mate and championship leader Randy Krummenacher, Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was third and Jules Cluzel (GMT 94) fourth.
Words Gordie Ritchie