PORTUGAL

Passion in Portugal

Outshining the competition once again during the test sessions, Tom Sykes had a hectic day’s racing on the Portimão circuit. The Kawasaki rider still managed to keep his second place in the overall rankings.

The Races
After winning his fifth Superpole in a row, Tom Sykes must have imagined he was going to repeat his one-two at Donington in Portugal. On one of his favourite circuits, the Kawasaki rider led the first race for a long time before being overtaken two laps before the finish by Melandri and Guintoli. Thinking he might get his revenge in the second race, Sykes fell during the formation lap, forcing him to start from the pit lane. “I made a mistake by riding over a curb,” he confessed. I was hit on the head and I hurt my leg, but I was still able to return to the pits to take part in the race. Unfortunately, I had to start way behind the others, and since I was not feeling too good, I was unable to score a point.” Loris Baz had two good results in a row, finishing fifth and fourth, his best performance since his third place at Assen. In Supersport, Fabien Foret and Kenan Sofuoglu both made it to the podium, finishing hot on the wheels of Sam Lowes.

The Championship
Even if he only scored twenty points in Portimão, Tom Sykes consolidated his second place overall in the World Superbike championship. The Kawasaki rider is now 28 points behind the leader, Sylvain Guintoli from France. With his usual regularity, Loris Baz has a solid sixth place with 119 points. In Supersport, Fabien Foret and Kenan Sofuoglu are closely marking each other. The two Kawasaki riders each have 81 points. Second and third in the championship, they are 39 points behind Sam Lowes.

The Background
After some long and difficult negotiations, the stakeholders in the World Superbike championship have finally agreed to change the technical regulations. Dorna, the company that now owns the commercial rights to the championship, FIM and the MSMA, the manufacturers’ association, have jointly announced that major changes would be implemented in three stages from the 2014 season onwards. The objective of course is to reduce the costs of a competition that have been subject to high inflation in recent years. To achieve that aim, a limited number of engines will be initially introduced, as is already the case in MotoGP. Suspensions, brakes and gearboxes will also be components with regulated price rates. Finally and most importantly, the manufacturers will market either for sale or rent a minimum number of bikes with the same level of performance at a controlled price.

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