PARKALGAR HONDA racer Josh Hayes led the race and won the hearts of the Portuguese crowd as he battled for a podium place at the 13th and final round of the World Supersport Championship at the home of the team’s title sponsor, the brilliant all-new Parkalgar Algarve Motor Park circuit.
Josh , starting from eighth on the grid, was immediately on front running pace and led across the line on lap eight. He then settled in to a fight with Honda’s Juan Lascorz for third that went right down to the last corner of the last lap, with the brave American missing out on the rostrum by just 0.042secs and finishing fourth.
Wild-card Parkalgar Honda rider Simone Sanna enjoyed a thrilling race. Starting from 15th the Italian scythed through the field to finish a competitive seventh.
Parkalgar Honda home favourite Miguel Praia scored a season’s best 12th place finish from 18th on the grid. To celebrate he stripped down to his underwear and threw his riding kit to the crowd, eliciting enormous cheers and applause. Honda’s Kenan Sofuoglu won the race.
Parkalgar Honda racer Craig Jones, who was tragically killed in a racing incident in August and honoured at the circuit with the technical turn nine named after him and a memorial statue, is the team’s highest finisher in the World Championship in seventh. Josh finished 18th, Miguel 25th and Simone 28th. The team now goes into its winter testing period, starting tomorrow at its home track. The 2009 World Supersport Championship starts on 1st March at Phillip Island in Australia.
Josh: “That was a great race and I am just disappointed that I didn’t get on the podium for the team or our main sponsor the circuit. My Parkalgar Honda was real good and it was very close for third – all I could have asked for was a little smoother delivery on initial throttle to stop the wheel spinning and increase drive towards the end of the race. Thanks to the team and the circuit for the opportunity to ride in this Championship, it has been great.”
Simone: “This result is not so bad as I have not ridden a bike in six months, so I am happy. From the fourth row of the grid, I could not make much better result than this. Thank you for the wild-card ride, I have enjoyed it and really like this new circuit, it is world class and good fun to ride.”
Miguel: “I only wish I could have got a better result in front of my home crowd but 12th is my season’s best which is good. My lap times at the end of the race were quick and I was catching the people in front; which shows we can be competitive. I decided to throw my riding kit to the crowd; the Portuguese fans are the best in the world and I thank them all for their support both for me and the new circuit, this is a place to be very proud of.”
Simon Buckmaster, Parkalgar Honda Team Manager: “That was a fantastic job by Josh, Simone, Miguel and the whole Parkalgar Honda team. While the three riders have all scored well this is a team sport and I am proud of every member of the team – especially for running a third bike which called on a lot of extra effort.
“Just like Josh and the 91,000 fans here this weekend, I would have liked for him to have achieved a podium result but it does not take away from the fact it has been a great team effort all round. It has also been a brilliant day for the Parkalgar Algarve Motor Park Circuit, the racing is close and exciting, the weather warm and the facilities second to none. It’s a great achievement so well done to the Portuguese staff and event management – and a special congratulations to Paulo Pinheiro, the circuit and team owner for this incredible achievement.”