Team Suzuki Alstare riders Yukio Kagayama and new boy Sylvain Guintoli ended the first day of practice and qualifying at the Portimao World Superbike 14th round in Portugal with the 11th and 22nd fastest laps respectively.
Kagayama suffered rear suspension problems, but is confident that he and the team will improve the bike tomorrow so that he can attack Superpole and be in a good position for Sunday’s races. For Guintoli, today was all about learning the bike, learning a new track and working with his new team. He worked hard in both sessions and is now looking forward to tomorrow and making significant progress. Jonathan Rea (Honda) set today’s fastest lap, with Jakub Smrz (Ducati) second, Ben Spies (Yamaha) third and Carlos Checa (Honda) fourth.
Yukio Kagayama – 11th, 1:44.674:
“Today was not so bad and I am a bit happy because the front suspension is working well and I am getting a lot of feedback from it. This means that I can push the front much harder and attack more. Now we have to do more on the rear because, at the moment, the feeling is not so good. We can improve this for sure, but we just need more kilometres. I tried a soft tyre at the end of qualifying today, but for me, the grip was no better than race rubber. I am a bit sad, because this weekend will be my last race with Suzuki Alstare and so I want to qualify well and say thank you to the team by ending with a good result.”
Sylvain Guintoli – 22nd, 1:45.508:
“Considering that today was my first time on this bike and my first time at this track, I am pretty happy with what we did. Although I raced a GSX-R1000 Suzuki in the British Superbike Championship this year, the Suzuki Alstare bike feels very different and that means I have to learn about it. Also, this was my first time at this track and I can tell you that it is a very technical track and very demanding. On TV, you don’t get a true impression about the elevation changes and this track is a real roller-coaster! I am happy because I think we found a good base set-up today and I am very happy about how well I have got on with this new team. Already I feel part of it and this makes it easy to look forward to tomorrow and making further progress.”