What to look out for in Portimao

Championship P1 – 394 points
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati – Racing)

  • Bautista is a race winner at Portimao. He won Race 2 back in 2019 when he was racing with Ducati.
  • In 2021, his best result was a fifth place in the Tissot Superpole Race whilst he didn’t finish Race 1 and 2.
  • A hat-trick in Barcelona extended Bautista’s lead in the Championship standings to 59 points over Razgatlioglu.

“After the hat-trick we did at the Catalunya Round, I’m so motivated and I enjoyed it a lot. For sure, we will go to the next round in Portimao full of charge, not only me but also all the team. We will approach the weekend like nothing happened in the past. We will start working from Friday on, trying to work with the bike to find a good feeling like I had during the season so far, and try to enjoy. Let’s see how much we can push, which is the real position for that weekend. Portimao is a very tricky track with a lot of up and down parts and because of that it’s not easy to find a good setup in the bike. You have a lot of different kinds of corners so it’s not easy to find a good setup for all areas of the track. But in any case, it’s a track that I enjoyed a lot in the past, I won there once with Ducati three years ago. Let’s see but for sure, we go there trying to do our best and get the maximum in the conditions we will have there.”

Championship P2 – 335 points
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)

  • In 2021, Razgatlioglu won Race 1 at the Autodromo International do Algarve. He was sixth in the Tissot Superpole Race and didn’t finish Race 2.
  • Overall, he was on the podium four time since 2018 at Portimao.
  • Razgatlioglu’s maintained second place in the Championship standings with an eight-point advantage over Rea.

“I like this Portimao track, but we know Jonny is very strong there. At the start  of this year we had a very positive test with very good lap time, something like 1’39.6… everyone is faster this year so we will see. I hope for a good battle, but I need to fight for the win again, this is important. We keep focusing race by race.”
Championship P3 – 327 points
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)

  • Having made his WorldSBK debut at Portimao back in 2008, Rea is the most successful WorldSBK rider at Portimao with 21 podium places including 13 wins, the last one being Race 2 2021.
  • He is the record holder for podium finishes here: no fewer than 21 out of 29 races contested.
  • Rea is third in the Championship standings; eight points shy of Razgatlioglu and 67 points behind Bautista.

“Portimao is a great circuit, one that has a lot of special memories. The first ever SBK race there in 2008, I was lucky enough to take part in my rookie Superbike race so it’s special memories. The circuit is very challenging. It has a lot of different characteristics from slow corners, fast corners, blinds apexes. there is a lot of rider input required. We’ve enjoyed some success there. After Barcelona where we were able to extract our full potential of the ZX10RR, I except to go to Portugal and keep working with my team to make a good package for the race. The race in Portugal is also really cool because I’ll have a lot of traveling support from Northern Ireland. It’s a great circuit for viewing as well. Looking forward to it. The target is to have a really good weekend. I really want to get back to winning ways after the start of the season, after this mid-part of the season where I had a bit of a win drought. I’m going to do my best. Our team had two good days testing, one in Barcelona following the race and one at MotorLand so we have a lot more information. I’m really excited to put that to good use in Portugal.”
Championship P4 – 205 points
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati Racing)

  • Rinaldi has not stood on the podium at the Portuguese venue. His best result so far is a fourth place in Race 1 2021.
  • He currently stands in fourth place in the standings with 205 points, as he is still aiming for his first win of the season.

“We go to Portimao after two consecutive podiums, and I think it’s my first double podium in WorldSBK. I think that now we are pretty strong, pretty fast. The result in Catalunya, especially for the team because we made a 1-2, created a really good atmosphere and the motivation is higher than ever. I think this can help us for the Portimao weekend. For sure, this year the competitors are really strong, but our goal is to be there on top always, for all the races. I will keep working on that, keep working to be fast always. My plan is to fight for the podium also in Portimao.”
Championship P5 – 173 points
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)

  • Locatelli is a podium finisher at Portimao in 2021 with a third position in Race 2.
  • He is fifth in the Championship standings, 32 points behind Rinaldi and only three points ahead of Bassani.

“The most important point for Barcelona weekend was to return to being fast and stronger, and I think we completed this even though we were a bit unlucky during the races. Last year in Portimao was not so bad, it was my first year with the R1 WorldSBK there, so for sure it will not be easy because it is a difficult track to learn but the confidence, I have with the bike is very good now. We will do another long run on Friday afternoon and then we will see. We will try to take home some good points because we need it for the Championship, and also to continue in a strong way to finish the season.”
Championship P6 – 170 points
Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing)

  • In 2021, Bassani finished all three races in the top ten, finishing seventh in Race 1 and in the Tissot Superpole Race.
  • He is challenging Locatelli for fifth place in the standings, as he stands only three points behind his fellow countryman.

“For the next race in Portimao, I don’t know what to expect because last year was difficult. But this year, we arrive with a different setup so I think we can do a good job, a good weekend. I hope to continue in this way and to finish every race in the top five, and to take the fifth place in the Championship before starting the overseas races. I’m happy now, I feel good with the team and we are ready for the last races of the year.”
To keep an eye on:
It will be Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) and Xavi Vierge’s first time racing at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve circuit in WorldSBK.
BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team’s riders, Scott Redding and Michael van der Mark will be hoping for solid results at the Portuguese venue, at track where they both had success in the past. Redding has four podiums there, all of them being second place, whilst van der Mark is a race winner at Portimao as he won the Tissot Superpole Race in 2021 with BMW. He also has seven podium finishes at Portimao.
MotoAmerica champion Jake Gagne (Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing) will take part in the Pirelli Portuguese Round as a wildcard, returning to the WorldSBK grid for the first time since 2018. He already raced at Portimao during his 2018 campaign with a 12th place as his best result at the track.

Championship standings (after Race 2 – Round 8)

1. Alvaro Bautista (ESP) Ducati (394 points)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (TUR) Yamaha (335 points)
3. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki (327 points)

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