Championship title contender Ben Spies got straight down to business today under a clear blue sky and brilliant Portuguese sunshine, spending both the free practice session and following first qualifying session re acquainting himself with the Portimao circuit. Spies spent the sessions working through different tyre options and race settings, looking for the optimum set up ahead of tomorrow’s second qualifying and following Superpole sessions. He showed a consistent pace throughout qualifying, before putting the hammer down as the final seconds ticked away to finish third in the standings, less than one tenth of a second off fastest man Rea.
Team mate Tom Sykes had a less enjoyable day. The British rider showed true courage to work hard through both sessions despite suffering constant shoulder pain resulting from his collision with Carlos Checa in the second race at Magny Cours.
Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team (3rd, 1’43.870)
“we had a good day today, we worked a lot on the race set up and evaluated a couple of different tyres. The package feels good and the bike feels good on the track, all we can do is keep trying to make it better and better and keep working on my riding and see what happens. The track is still a little green but it’s getting better.”
Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team (18th, 1’45.239)
“it’s definitely not going to plan today. I’m upset for myself and for the team, I had very big expectations of this weekend especially as in the test I was running as fast as the front guys. I’m struggling a lot with the shoulder, it’s worse than I expected. I’m finding it hard but trying not to let the boys down so I’m going to the clinic tonight to see what the boys can come up with. I hope we can get stronger over the next couple of days.”
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
“Ben is quite satisfied, he says the bike still needs some improvements in a couple of corners but he’s feeling confident. We are still working to find the right race tyre. Unfortunately Tom is in a lot of pain, I know how he feels because I had the same problem many years ago. We hope he can get some more help from the Clinica Mobile and will be able to improve tomorrow.”