Michael van der Mark trailed his Pata Yamaha teammate by just two-tenths to secure fifth place on the timesheet on the opening day, again with a fastest lap posted during the cooler conditions of FP1 this morning.
The two Pata Yamaha riders declared themselves satisfied with their pace on the opening day, with both confident of further improvements ahead of WorldSBK Race 1 tomorrow afternoon.
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Sandro Cortese, showed that he is now fully recovered from the shoulder injury that hampered him in the previous two rounds. The reigning Supersport World Champion focused on tyre testing on the opening day, which he finished in seventh position, after posting almost identical lap times in both practice sessions.
It proved a difficult opening day once again for Marco Melandri, who is still struggling to find a set-up on his GRT Yamaha YZF-R1 to suit his riding style. The veteran Italian and his crew opted for a different direction with set-up here in Portimão but were left frustrated when the expected improvements failed to materialise. Melandri will focus tomorrow on increasing his confidence in the front, in a bid to rediscover his form from earlier in the season.
Loris Baz, who arrived in Portimão straight from the Pre-Bol d'Or test at the Circuit Paul Ricard, focused on race set-up and tyre strategy in free practice today, including a long race run when the track temperature was at its highest this afternoon. The Frenchman was happy with his pace in race trim but will be looking to shave a few tenths of his lap time on new tyres ahead of qualifying tomorrow.