Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) pushed his way to the top of the opening day timesheets at Portimao as WorldSBK action got underway again after its long summer break.
Second fastest rider, after improving his best time in FP3, was Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) with popular Spanish riderJordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) third going into Superpole 2 directly on Saturday like the rest of the top ten Friday riders.
Surprise package Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) placed fourth at the hilly Portimao today, with Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team Ducati) completing the top six.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was seventh in his return from injury, with official R1 pairing Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK) eighth and ninth respectively.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba Racing IT Ducati Junior Team) was tenth. Chaz Davies, in his own return from recent shoulder injury, was 15th today.
After a gigantic nine weeks without any competitive track action the WorldSSP riders got going again under a hot Portuguese sun at Portimao.
The fastest rider of all proved to be Jules Cluzel (NRT Yamaha), with Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) second andSandro Cortese (Kallio Racing Yamaha) third. Long time leader on lap times, Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) placed fourth, Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha) fifth and late charger Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing Yamaha) sixth, for an all R6 day once again. Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) was seventh, Hannes Soomer(Racedays Honda) eighth, and top MV Man was Ayrton Badovini (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) in ninth place.
The increasing temperatures over the first day held lap times back for a time in FP2, with Corentin Perolari (Yamaha GMT94) one who bucked the trend but slipped to an eventual tenth when the top riders really got going.
By Gordon Ritchie