Challenging Portimão Weekend for the bLU cRU Riders
Round 7 of the FIM World Supersport 300 Championship at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão proved a challenging one for the bLU cRU riders. All four riders struggled to find a set up to match the characteristics of the technical and demanding Portimão track during free practice, but Galang Hendra Pratama made a significant step forward ahead of Superpole to qualify in 15th position. It was an eventful race on Sunday, as Hugo de Cancellis took the honours as the first bLu cRU rider home in 22nd place, with Dennis Koopman the only other finisher in 33rd position. Galang Hendra was forced to retire with a technical problem and Luca Bernardi crashed out of the race at turn 13 whilst challenging for points with just two laps to go.
Hugo de Cancellis (Yamaha Pata | Toth - YART Team) qualified in 25th position for Sunday's 11-lap WorldSSP300 race, which was as action-packed and frenetic as ever, with huge battles for position going on throughout the packed field. The young French rider managed to remain calm and consistent after bring forced off track on the opening lap, fighting his way from the back of the field to finish at the first bLU cRU rider home in 22nd position.
Despite the best efforts of himself and his crew, Dennis Koopman (Yamaha Pata | Semakin di Depan | GRT Team) was unable to find a set on his YZF-R3 to suit the twists and turns of the 4.6km Portimao circuit during free practice. The Dutch rider eventually qualified in 36th after a difficult Superpole session, but showed great maturity to finish the race two places higher, banking a lot of valuable experience as a result.
Luca Bernardi (Yamaha Pata | Trasimeno Team) was hoping to repeat his success from Misano, where he secured his best result of the season with fourth place. However, the young Italian was hampered by his qualifying position for the race in Portimão, which he started from 22nd on the eighth row of the grid. The young Italian had forced his way through the field and into the points by half race distance, but then crashed out of the race with Nick Kalinin at turn 13 with just two laps remaining.
Galang Hendra Pratama (Yamaha Pata | Semakin di Depan | Biblion Motoxracing Team) also struggled to find a good set up during free practice, but the young Indonesian rider found some improvement ahead of qualifying to significantly improve on is lap time and to claim 15th position on the grid, just 0.7s off pole position. The Indonesian youngster was battling for a points scoring finish as the race drew to a close, but was forced to retire with an electrical problem just three laps from the end.
Hugo de Cancellis
Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge Rider - 22nd +35.229
"It was very enjoyable to race at Portimao, which is a beautiful track and one at which I gained a lot of experience this weekend. I worked hard all weekend with my team to close the gap to the front eventually qualifying in 25th place on the grid for the race. I went into the race looking to score more points, but on the first lap I had contact with another rider, which forced me to sit up and run straight on into the gravel trap. I rejoiced the race at the back and then just gave it my maximum to make up as many places as I could. In the end I finished the race 22nd, which was disappointing, but my pace was good enough to have secured a top six finish without the collision on the opening lap. I learnt a lot this weekend, which is very positive and I would like to thank both my tram and Yamaha for their support once again."
Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge Rider - 33rd +53.603
"I was looking forward to getting back on the bike in Portimão, as it's been a very long summer break. I raced at Portimao back in 2012, so I knew the layout, but the tarmac was a bit different this weekend, as some parts of the track have been resurfaced. I tried all weekend to get a good feeling with the bike, but we just couldn't find a set up I felt really comfortable with and this was the main problem all weekend. We tried a lot to find a solution, but it proved impossible. Now we need to focus on the final race in Magny-Cours, where I'm hoping to end the season with a better result."
Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge Rider - - DNF
"It was a difficult weekend in Portimão, mainly because it was my first time racing at this track. Qualifying was difficult, which meant I didn't start the race high enough up the grid to stay in contact with the leading group. I managed to recover and fight my way into a point scoring position, but then crashed without injury just two laps from the end of the race. Not the result I wanted, but my Trasimeno team worked really well to get me comfortable on the bike at a very difficult track, so many thanks to them and to Yamaha. Now we must look forward to the final race in France in two weeks time."
Galang Hendra Pratama
Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge Rider - - DNF
"In free practice I didn't have a good feeling with the bike, but together with the team I managed to make a step ahead of qualifying and I had a better feeling in Superpole, improving my lap by almost two seconds and ending the session just 0.7s from pole. This gave me some confidence ahead of the race. From the start I made up a lot of places to get into the top group and I was able to match their pace until I had a technical problem and was forced to retire. Now I'm looking forward to the final race in Magny-Cours, where I hope to finish the season with a good result."
Yamaha Motor Europe bLU cRU Racing Manager
"It was a difficult weekend for our bLU cRU squad. We introduced some new technical parts in Portimão and this made finding a good set up not so easy. But the positive thing is that all four riders gained good experience, both on the sporting and technical sides. Now we head with a positive spirit to the final race in Magny-Cours, where I hope we will see all of the bLU cRU riders in the points and some of them able to fight for a podium finish with which to end the season Let's go guys; let's do it!"