Championship Leader Mahias Confident ahead of Portimao
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are focused and ready to get back on track at Portimao this weekend for the round nine of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship. Having completed a recent test at the track, championship leader Lucas Mahias is feeling confident he can hit the ground running on Friday. His teammate Federico Caricasulo is looking to continue his fight for third in the championship after his unfortunate DNF last time out at the Lausitzring while battling for the race win.
Mahias (121 points) heads to Portimao with a one-point lead in the championship standings over his rival Kenan Sofuoglu, after finishing in third at the Lausitzring in the red-flagged race. The 28-year-old French rider was battling for the lead when he was taken out by his teammate's bike during the race, in the incident that brought out the red flag, but showed quick thinking to return to the pits within the time limit to secure his sixth podium of the season. The team's recent test at the track means that Mahias will arrive in Portimao confident with the base setup of his Yamaha R6 and ready to take the title fight to his rivals.
Caricasulo showed great pace throughout the weekend in Germany, qualifying in second and battling for the race win before his unfortunate crash. The 21-year-old Italian was left with bruising and a slight concussion, but feels 100% recovered and ready to hit the ground running in Portimao after a very positive test at the track. He currently occupies sixth in the championship standings with 51 points but is just 50 points behind the rider in third. Caricasulo is looking to bounce back after his DNF at the Lausitzring and record his third podium of the season at a track he, like many riders, clearly enjoys.
The Prosecco DOC Portuguese Round takes place at the iconic Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao, as the WorldSBK championship returns to the track after a year's absence. The circuit is located in the Algarve region in Southern Portugal and is known for its challenging layout, which includes a mix of fast sweeping turns and slower hairpins, incredible elevation changes, and a 970m long start/finish straight. Opened in 2008, it held its first WorldSBK round that year and is 4,592m in length, with 6 left and 8 right-handed corners.
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team hit the track on Friday at 11am local time for FP1, with Saturday's qualifying starting at midday, and Sunday's 18-lap race also scheduled for midday.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 1st - 121 points
"I am feeling confident to start this weekend in Portimao, it is a track I really like! After the recent test we did, I have a very good feeling with my R6 on the track and feel we have found a good base setup. It's funny, I remember the track at Portimao as being quite bumpy, but after riding at the Lausitzring and then coming here for the test, it honestly felt like a pool table in comparison! Right now, I am not really feeling any stress. I am not thinking about the championship, I am just focusing on each race at a time, and I want to go out and win!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 6th - 51pts
"The test we had here at Portimao was very good. We worked hard to get a good feeling with the bike at the track, and also managed to find a good base setting for us to work from on Friday. This weekend will be very important to me, after my crash at the Lausitzring, and I am looking to bounce back and continue my fight for third in the championship."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
"We tested for a day at Portimao and it went really well. Both riders know the track well, but it was good to get them out on the R6 and getting used to the track on the bike. We didn't have anything new to test so we could just focus on working on each rider's setup. The track is rather unique, so it was good to test as we can hopefully arrive on Friday with a good base setting and focus on our race-pace for Sunday. The lap times were good from both riders and we feel confident for the weekend ahead. The riders are full of confidence and the R6 works well at the track. Lausitzring was a very strange race for us, we could have had a double podium, but everyone knows what happened and racing is racing! So, for Portimao we are ready, the settings, the bike and our riders are raring to go. The aim for Lucas is to try and get the best result and to maintain his championship lead, while Federico felt so confident at the Lausitzring before his crash, so we want to see another good performance from him. Luckily, he is 100% recovered, fully fit and will be out to fight for the podium once more!"