Are Honda in contention after day one at Portimao?

Friday, 7 August 2020 17:54 GMT

Team HRC duo react after the opening day of track action as WorldSBK moves from Jerez to Portimao

Races are coming in quick succession in MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship with the Motul Portuguese Round up next at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. Team HRC riders Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam finished the day ninth and 11th in the classification respectively as Honda look to make a step forward after a best finish of seventh at Jerez, in Race 1.

Spanish rider Bautista has good form at Portimao in WorldSBK having taken two podiums in 2019 plus a fourth-place finish in Race 2 while Haslam has four podiums at the circuit since he first competed there in WorldSBK in 2008; both showing they have the pace to make the podium at Portimao.

Bautista discussed how he felt with the bike, saying: “In the morning, the feeling with the bike was not the best especially as this track is very different from Jerez. I had no grip, especially from the rear tyre and the bike was too aggressive. For the afternoon, we made some adjustments to the electronics and suddenly my feeling improves a lot.

“Now we have to analyse the data we collected today and make some adjustments for tomorrow. We don’t want to make big adjustments to the bike as we did that in Jerez and, at the end, we gain in some areas but lose in others. Basically, we prefer to understand the bike is working with this set up very well and then make small adjustments to the electronics.

When asked about where the improvements could be made, Bautista said: “Especially on the electronics side, in the power delivery and a bit in the engine braking control, we can make some step forwards. Maybe not too big, but enough to improve my feeling and just to get the feeling and try to improve myself. We won’t make big changes, just a small adjustment, but maybe it allows to gain some confidence

Haslam added: “Honestly, this morning was very positive. We were in the top three and spent most of the session on just one tyre. Personally, I have been struggling a little bit; I have a big abscess on one of my teeth, so I spent most of my time in the afternoon at the Medical Centre. Also, in the afternoon, we had some small problems with the things we were trying, so we didn’t make the improvement that I wanted to make. However, I am also very positive for tomorrow that we can make the step we need to make. This morning, in the cooler conditions, I was very confident for a podium, definitely top five. In the hotter conditions, we are still struggling a little, so we need to improve our feeling there.”

You can follow the Motul Portuguese Round with the WorldSBK VideoPass!