GRT Yamaha Target the Podium in Portimão
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team head this week to the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão, and Round 9 of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship, with their sights set firmly on the podium. Federico Caricasulo took his first win of the season last time out in Misano and the Italian is keen to repeat that success in Portugal this weekend, as the WorldSSP protagonists finally return to action after the long summer break. Lucas Mahias heads to Portimão determined to return to the podium after a DNF last time out in Misano, while Alfonso Coppola is also looking for a return to form after a crash dashed his hopes of a second consecutive points scoring finish in Italy.
All three GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team riders head to Portimão with confidence, following a productive two-day test at the 4.6km circuit back in August, during which they were able to work to refine the set up of their Yamaha YZF-R6 machines in similar conditions to those they'll experience during the race weekend.
Caricasulo's win in Misano, his first since Jerez last season, saw him leapfrog his teammate Mahias to move up to fourth in the championship standings. The Italian currently trails championship leader, and fellow Yamaha rider, Sandro Cortese by just 34 points, a gap he is keen to close with a good result this weekend in Portugal.
Mahias left Misano with no points after crashing out of the race following contact with Raffaele de Rosa and the 30-year-old Frenchman knows that he needs to return to the rostrum this weekend if he is to keep his dreams of defending his WorldSSP title alive. The winner of the opening race of the season at Phillip Island is fifth and 35 points behind Cortese in the championship standings with just four races remaining.
European Supersport Cup rider Coppola remounted following a crash to finish 23rd last time out in Misano, but the 22-year-old Italian heads into the race weekend confident of making amends with a points scoring finish, having completed two successful days of testing at the Portimão circuit two weeks ago.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 4th - 104 Points
"I am looking forward to the return to racing this weekend in Portugal. I've been training hard all through August ready for the second half of the season and we enjoyed a very positive two-day test at the Portimão track two weeks ago, so I'm ready to fight! We ended the first half of the season on a high with a race win in Misano and, of course, it would be good to start the second half in the same way."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 5th - 103 points
"I enjoyed the summer, but I'm happy to be back on the bike this weekend in Portugal after such a long break from racing. We had a very productive test at the Portimão circuit during the break, where I was able to work a lot with my crew to improve our package. I finished the two days with a good lap time and my race simulation was really consistent. My target this weekend is to enjoy it like always, but also to race for the win. Now I'm in a different position compared to last year so it's time to push for race wins."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team - 27th - 2 points
"Finally after so long off the bike we can get back to racing! Portimão is a beautiful track, but it's also both demanding and challenging for a rider. I have been working hard on my training since the last race in Misano, so I'm ready for the weekend ahead. We ended the first half of the season with a disappointing result but I am motivated to start the second half much more strongly."
GRT Yamaha Offical WorldSSP Team Manager
"It's been a long break, but now we've got the last four races in quick succession so it will be a busy end to the season. We had a successful two-day test at Portimão two weeks ago, with all three riders making good progress. It means we head into this weekend confident of a strong performance. The championship is still very much open, with just 34 points separating Federico from the top of the standings and Lucas just one point further behind. I am sure that both riders can close this gap, but with only four races left we need to start this weekend with two good results in Portimão. We have the package now to fight for the podium, as we saw in Misano, and I'm confident we can do the same this weekend in Portugal."