World Superbike: Tom Sykes Leads Portimao Test

Paul Carruthers | July 22, 2014

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes doesn’t appear ready to allow anyone the upper hand – even at a test session. The Kawasaki rider ended up turning in the quickest lap of the two-day test at the Portimao circuit that concluded today, the Brit lapping at 1:42.719 this morning to lead the way in Portugal.

“It was a useful test,” said Sykes, the World Superbike Championship points leader. “In the first day the track was not in perfect conditions, but we managed to make some progress with the ZX-10R anyway. We started the second day a bit late, we had still some items to try but we had not enough time. Anyway we tried different geometries and improved the overall feeling on the bike. We could make changes that were impossible to do during the race weekends. The lap times were not our biggest concern, but it is always nice to finish on top. Now I am going to enjoy the summer break back in the UK and hopefully sort out my hand/wrist problem. I feel we have the right package to be competitive in the final part of the season.”

Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli crashed today, but still ended up second fastest. The Frenchman opted out of the rest of the test, despite being cleared by medical staff. His teammate Marco Melandri also had a crash, the Italian falling at high speed yesterday but escaping any major injuries. The Italian made up for the time lost yesterday by turning in 75 laps today. He ended up fourth fastest.

Sykes’ Kawasaki teammate Loris Baz ended up third fastest.

Fifth and sixth fastest over the course of the two days were the two factory Ducatis ridden by Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies. The Ducati pair also concentrated a lot of time practicing starts.

In addition to working on their race set-ups, the testers also got the chance to try some new compounds on their Pirelli spec tires. The new compounds were designed to tire performance and durability in the hottest rounds of the season, starting with next year’s season opener at Phillip Island in Australia.

The World Superbike riders will now enjoy a six-week summer break before the 10th round of the season, which takes place on September 7-9 at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain.


Testing Times

1.              Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:42.719

2.              Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1:42.954

3.              Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1:43.110

4.              Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 1:43.315

5.              Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1:43.592

6.              Chaz Davies (Ducati) 1:43.742

7.              Claudio Corti (MV Agusta) 1:44.485

8.              David Salom (Kawasaki) 1:44.487

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America’s Daily Motorcycle News Source.