PARKALGAR HONDA’S Josh Hayes is second on the grid after first qualifying for the 13th and final round of the World Supersport Championship at his team sponsor’s circuit – the awesome new Parkalgar Algarve Motor Park in Portugal.
After a wet morning practice session, the afternoon qualifying was held in damp conditions. Double Formula Extreme Champion Hayes took an early lead on the timesheets using wet tyres before coming into the garage and waiting for the track conditions to dry. Times started to drop and Hayes was pushed back to second before going out again on intermediate tyres. Rain foiled his chances to improve and he had to settle for second behind provisional pole setter Matthieu Lagrive on a Honda.
Portuguese ace Miguel Praia took a season’s best 11th place on the grid in the treacherous conditions. Raising his performance in front of his home crowd, he took a calculated approach to building his speed. At the end of the session with rain falling he was one of the fastest riders on track.
Guest Parkalgar Honda rider Simone Sanna qualified in 19th place – the final rider to make the grid out of 32-starters.
The 13th and final round of the World Supersport Championship takes place at the 4-592km Parkalgar Algarve Motor Park near Portimao in Portugal on Sunday, November 2nd.
It is the first major event to be held at the all-new five-star track facility and a huge 50,000+ crowd is expected to visit to watch the World Superbike regulars in their last outing before the winter off-season. Less than an hour’s drive from Faro airport, the circuit is nestled in beautiful countryside and near the sea – with tickets still available for the event, organisers are encouraging people from all over the world to visit. Tickets are available on line from www.autodromodoalgarve.com.
Hayes: “I had a good run on wets and as the track was drying I came in for some intermediates. I waited and watched the times come down and then went back out to have a go for pole. By halfway round the first spot of rain hit my visor and by the end of the lap it was raining properly so I missed the chance to improve. The test we had here through the week has helped for sure. We are in good shape come rain or shine for the rest of the weekend.”
Praia: “I am not that fond of the middle conditions with a damp but drying track so I spent time getting a feel for my Parkalgar Honda. My bike feels very comfortable now and as the session progressed I was going faster and amongst the quickest which is good. I would like to improve and be better but 11th is OK for today and I hope to improve tomorrow in front of my home fans.” Sanna: “I am pleased to have qualified in such difficult conditions. I like the circuit and think it is an absolute gem for riders with plenty of blind crests and changes in elevation to make it interesting. I need to be careful as I only have one bike and it needs to last all weekend, so I cannot afford any crashes in tricky conditions. I will be trying hard tomorrow in final qualifying and then want to race at the front on Sunday and try to get on the podium for the circuit as a thank you for this opportunity to race.”