Jakub Smrz proved to be the fastest rider in official Infront Motor Sports pre-season World Superbike testing at Portimao in Portugal this week.
After three days of changeable weather conditions, the Effenbert-Liberty man’s time of 1:43.503 remained unbeaten throughout, giving the Czech-based Ducati team a great start to life in WSBK racing.
“We brought two bikes here, one with almost the set-up as the one I used for a while last year and one set up like the factory team of last year,” Smrz commented.
“That had some different things with geometry, gearing, swingarm and so on and I was fastest on that one on the first day. The other two days there was not so much do, because the conditions were not fully dry, not fully wet, most of the time.
“The team worked perfectly and it is great for them to start the season being fastest in this test.”
Few riders ventured out in today’s final two sessions, and it was Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team Aprilia) who was fastest in the afternoon with Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda) quickest in the morning as the rains came and went with great frequency, if little force.
In the overall three day rankings, Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) is second, and WSBK rookie Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team) third, with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) a confident fourth.
Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) filled the top five places, with World Champion Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) sixth, despite only taking to the track on the dry first day.
Michel Fabrizio (Team Suzuki Alstare) headed off Smrz’s teammate Sylvain Guintoli for seventh, despite crashing twice in the middle day.
Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) was ninth and new WSBK rider Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) beat some established names to go tenth quickest.
In World Supersport, new regular rider Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) used his Wednesday time of 1:45.845 to leave the Portimao official IMS tests with the fastest lap in the Supersport World Championship class, with all the top riders also setting their absolute best on the opening day.
Lowes fell twice on the final day in changeable track conditions, breaking a bone in his right foot and hurting his left hand. He set laps in the final afternoon session, before stopping when it was clear that conditions would not improve.
“The test started off really well so we got the fastest time,” Lowes commented. “Yesterday was also mega in the wet, but today’s track conditions were a bit ‘in-between’, so that made it not a very productive day. We wanted to get a lot done but we couldn’t.
“It was just mega to get out riding again after the winter and get back in the zone. At least we know we are not a million miles off, and we should be all right. I broke a small bone in my foot in a crash at turn seven, but nothing major.”
David Salom (Kawasaki Motocard.com) was second quickest overall, and he also fell today in wet conditions, suffering a small hairline crack in his large pelvic bone. He has been checked out only needs a few days of rest to recover from the injury.
Australian Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com) was fastest today, and third overall. Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was fourth, while the top Yamaha rider over the three days was another late faller, Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO) who was fifth fastest.
Gino Rea (Step Racing Team) took his Honda to overall sixth, and another British rider James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda) was seventh.
The top eight places were finished off by the fastest rider in the first wet session today, Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO).