Saturday got underway with FP3, during which the GRT Yamaha crew made some set-up changes to the two riders' Yamaha R1 superbikes, and the pair ended the session with Gerloff fifth and Caricasulo 13th.
In the Superpole, Gerloff flew to his first front row with the third-fastest time, whereas some difficulties with the new tyre saw Caricasulo manage only 13th. The two would then run two very different races, with the American fending off Jonathan Rea’s Kawasaki early on to equal his best result in third, whereas his Italian teammate ended his promising comeback prematurely due to a crash.
Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSBK Supported Team’s Loris Baz had shown early promise, but a fall in the Superpole compromised his running and he lined up 12th on the Race 1 grid. The Frenchman enjoyed a good start but with overtaking proving difficult at the Portuguese circuit, Baz could finish no higher than ninth.
Wildcard rider Jonas Folger, riding for the Bonovo Action by MGM Racing team, was just outside the top 10 in qualifying and started 11th for Saturday’s opener. The German ran a solid pace throughout and crossed the line in 11th, scoring more WorldSBK points.